The Puzzle-Box Analogy

Figuring out the Pieces and Putting Them Together

When thinking of where to begin, it can be hard to find that place amidst many stories as we shift through all the experiences that make up who we are and what we’ve learned if you are yet to come across what lead you there or how. For many, this many not be as important but in writing, maybe even journalling it’s key, as I’ve found out.

Without coming across the lid of the puzzle it’s like trying to put it together without the pretty picture to guide you along. It can be particularly challenging in memoir. Where there is much sifting to be done in order to find this out. From my experience it takes a lot of soul searching, reviewing and remembering to find that one common thread to put everything together. Almost as if you are playing Sherlock Holmes in your own life- taking clues or common conclusions from each experience and piecing them together bit by bit (or piece by piece I should say) to form bigger sections linking everything together.

By exploring this idea a little deeper I’ve realized that the outline of our story/stories is just like the edges of a puzzle in that they help reveal the bigger picture. Sometimes it’s an overall lesson other times it’s lessons-different but similar- in each story gently reminding us of what we learned.

hand-982059_640Almost like the universe saying “Hey. Good job you’ve managed to put those two sections together. Now try putting it all together. 

For instance, I’m learning that mine is that it is okay to be me and take things at my own pace- that’s the way it always has been and will be. This is my jigsaw puzzle box picture (if one existed), and through learning this my jumble of pieces is slowly coming together, one after the one it’s all making sense. Once we realize this, then we’re no longer desperately trying to make sense of where they fit, but working around that understanding to help fill out the larger areas of our particular puzzle and more importantly our stories.

Therefore, our own moral direction, in which we came from, are going and might go is very similar to the vertical and horizontal of your puzzle, how big or small it is, and finally how many pieces you need to include around the outside.With everything in the middle-all the experiences, stories, mishaps and mistakes- are the pieces filling in the outline and allowing us to realize how we’ve been growing, what we’ve been learning about ourselves and how that wisdom helps us continue to navigate the world we are in now. It is no coincidence but an all important lesson that’s going to stick with us- and hopefully help in writing. Eventually, helping you realize your journey and the paths that guided you along the way. None of which make a whole lot of sense without the box’s picture to help you start. Hence the importance of the puzzle box, as our way of knowing in which direction to build our outline and fill in the missing pieces so our story makes sense.

I’m interested to hear about your puzzle box realizations or what you think yours might be… (so please feel free to comment below)

Keep puzzling away,

Introverted Butterfly

Gratitude- How Simple It Is

Practicing Gratitude (Journalling)

Let’s see. I was going to write about how my Meaningful March went but a new burst of inspiration came to me. So instead, with the sun shining and Spring somewhere possibly among us I’m deciding that now would be a good time to look at things with a fresh perspective, a burst of hope and a grateful heart. That’s right, I’m quite confident that now once we’re hopefully getting out of Winter’s grip it’s the time to practice Gratitude, and really anytime could be a good time to start but for me, it’s Spring.

With the grass literally becoming greener as the snow thaws and sun shining bright I’ve decide to take up the practice of a Gratitude Journal. This practice/type of journal I’m sure has been around for quite some while, but to me it’s a new twist on a favourite habit of mine- journalling-. As a way to keep me staying positive and optimistic, even when times are a little rougher. I am fully prepared to always write in it even when things are stressful or a little bit more crazy, or frustrating and I know that I probably won’t be up to writing much, but that’s okay. Even a sentence or two like “I’m grateful this day is over.” or “I’m grateful that I get to start fresh tomorrow.” is something, as you are still practicing the act of being grateful for something. To help me along this journey, I’ve picked out an extra special notebook or journal to keep me inspired and have already got a good start on sticking to it.  So wish me luck and if you’re ever in need of a way to stay positive or change one’s perspective for the better than Gratitude Journalling could be a great way to start!

Thanks for listening, I am always grateful.

Introverted Butterfly

Image from: http://thehappinesscatalyst.com/2015/12/gratitude-fuel-for-happiness/

Take a Break- Have a Pause

Do you ever find when you’re telling a story that’s really exciting, painful, tough to get out or scarily honest as sometimes the toughest ones are that by the end of them you’re not only out of words but breath, too wrapped up in the action that it’s not until the end that you realize “Oh, I forgot to breathe, while telling it!”
band-aid-heart-2I know I’ve experienced this myself both in retelling old stories I’ve written and adding new ones to the mix that are ready to be brought to the surface. From the deep depths of my consciousness on some level it seems that I’m reliving it- even though rationally I know better. Perhaps what is it we experience is the vulnerability of opening up and like opening a can of worms those emotions- happy, good, bad or sad- still a little rough and raw, come up  again? Darn it! I think to myself, I thought I have gotten over this- turns out not.  It seems that much like a bandaid we like to get those stories over with in one big swoop and pull, because if you pause enough then those pesky emotions get the best of you- and the stories continuation is ruined (at least that’s how the story teller might see it).

I hadn’t thought of this until upon telling one of my stories and realized by the end I was grasping for breath barely…able…to….get…out… a… sentence by the end. This served as a good reminder to breathe and take pause. For me, it was through retelling a story of the past that I came to realize this but it’s overall message could be applied to everyday life- couldn’t it?

Upon more thought this occurred to me as I realized how true it was. That often at times we find woman-570883_640ourselves too caught up in the action to take a pause/break, even just a moment for ourselves to slowdown this dizzying action happening around us.

When we are writing, I believe it’s called using the period (.) to break up our sentences. Adding them into the stories we’re telling not only allows the impact of a particular event in a story to sink in, but gives the teller a chance to catch up to the action and allow both him/herself and the listener to reflect on the impact of a particular moment without worrying about living it again.  In life, it’s called slowing down, taking stock of what’s going on around us and remembering where we are- in the present-. Either way, taking pause is important in reflection and slowing down, and way for us not to get swept up in the action.  An essential point to consider in keeping balanced and not getting too caught up in the action of it all.

Introverted Butterfly

On Bravely Being Open

Sometimes I think we spend way too much time over-analyzing each moment for what we think it should be or where it will lead, you miss out on so much of the wonder it offers and the memory it provides. At least, this is what I’ve found and learned about my experiences that have come and gone. It seems that when you are always wishing for something more or letting your mind wander into the future you miss so much of what you are building on now in the present.

“Why is it?” you may wonder

I’ve come up with no real answer but am getting closer to that point of letting go for the need to control or have explanations and just going with the flow. Maybe not completely or as much as one would have thought but learning to trust and through that being more open to connecting on a more deeper level to those I am building a connection with. By doing so I am able to apprewoman-1000769_640ciate how truly lucky I am feel comfortable opening up, letting my guards down and sharing. That feeling that it’s safe to do so and so worthwhile is something that can’t be beat and explained other then you’ll have to trust me on this and try for yourself.  So, be brave, vulnerable and show others the true you that’s worth getting to know and is willing to be seen because those who truly care about you will embrace and accept every part of you- the good and the bad-,and make it okay. Those who aren’t willing to accept everything about you aren’t worth sharing as much with. But you’ll never be able to figure this out if you don’t try!

Introverted Butterfly

Seizing Your Own Journey

Taking Ownership of Where We’ve Come From and How Far We’ve Come

 

Often in life, I’ve heard this analogy “You can be the victim or warrior” along with other variations, what’s important to realize is where the “victim” thought comes from. For me I discovered it was from giving others more credit or my credit for experiences I had gotten through with my own strength and will power. This I’ve noticed as I retell old stories to friends, that I often point out the other person’s role before acknowledging that it was me who got through it and is thriving in her own way. I’ve come to realize that I no longer am making myself the main character or hero in any of my stories.

Understanding this is just simple awareness that’s taken this long to get, but has helped me know where I need to reclaim my own power and change a personal history I’m not too proud of.  This is where the true shifting begins, and we can break down those beliefs that we’ve built up in our minds many years ago of being small or unable to recognize how far WE have come and take hold of how much strength it must have taken to carry on! For me, I hadn’t realized this until recently, and thought “you know what. enough!” I have worked hard to be where I ahands-956652_640m, and accomplish what I did. Others may have helped but it was I who got through those experiences and learned from them. I’m figuring out it is hard to change that belief and put myself as the one in power. After many years of playing the helpless, couldn’t-have-done-it- without-you card, and neglecting my own strength. I am ready to claim it moving forward.

It’s not going to be the easiest thing to do or hold oneself to, but then again it might just be worthwhile. I believe it begins with becoming aware of when that happens and realize that there’s a difference between “giving credit, where credit is due” and “giving it all away.” By acknowledging this you can start to realize “Hey, this is my story and I’m not even featuring myself as the main character! What gives?!?” After all, wsuperman-295328_640e all need a little extra help sometimes to grow and move forward beyond ourselves. It doesn’t mean that we have to put that person as the hero in that particular part of it. If they were there to help, then there’s nothing wrong with giving them credit for being a supporting character but remember YOU were the one who took the step in asking for help in the first place and more importantly it was you who got through it.

 

So be careful my friends, about giving other people in your life the role of hero in YOUR OWN STORY (I might add), they are welcome to play a supporting part or role. Even as a secondary character but always remember whose story is it in the end… Yours! So it only makes sense to be your own hero in the end. Keep this in mind, as you share your story with others and be sure to remember how far YOU have come!

Introverted Butterfly

 

Writer’s Show and (Not) Tell

Have you often wondered what draws you or readers to certain authors or stories and keeps them there? Or what that means in terms of your writing or style? Me too. I’ve wondered how can I show you how hurt I was if I was too upset to notice what was around me? Or perhaps, I’m still too hurt, angry, or heartbroken to describe this scene but I want to get it out there so I know I’m not the only one feeling this pain, I want to relate to you. Which as it turns out, is not just telling readers about it but describing it to them. The advice I’m sure writer has passed down to writer for ages. Which is “showing not telling” the reader what’s going on. What does that mean exactly? You may ask, well here is my humble take on it, and on how it can apply to  writing.

For a while, I thought the best way to write memoir was to mainly focus on the lessons I’ve learned, and describe those from where I am now with some occasional detail. What I neglected to note was how effective it can also be using specific situations or experiences to put the reader where it’s taking place, and how by describing feelings, or your emotions through the use of detail can just as effectively illustrate the lesson you learned or help them understand some hidden truth by the end of what’s said. Putting them as close to what happened or what you remember noticing as you can- the smells, the light, the noise, your raw emotions-. Right in your shoes. The key is also using the right details at the right times- as sometimes using too many might not move the story along, but the right ones can help the story move along while showing them what it’s like to be you helping them feel, see or envision what you did so they can empathize with you. Otherwise, how are they going to believe you’ve been through it if you can’t describe it for them.

Example: “The sun peaked through the window just enough to shine onto her bed. Music was playing throughout the room “Hey there Delilah”,  this song made her stop and think of a friend. Then again, almost every song  made her think of her friend. It was the guitar  she liked the most in this one, with some other instruments. Simple, she thought, poetic, melodic. The perfect ode to a special friend. The sun continued to peak through the window as she wondered what her day would look like.”

My second belief is you can only understand what this means for you as you follow the pursuit of writing. You can read it for yourself, or say “hmm, interesting” but the right moment will come when you know how to approach putting detail into your style or writing in the  way that works best for you. We all notice things differently or different details at different times. Therefore, there is no right formula for putting detail into your story. The hope is then eventually that through detail they may get to the same conclusion or climax as you got to through relating their experiences and yours creating a little understanding of what it could possibly be like to be you putting them in your shoes. This can’t happen through telling them that it’s hard, what they’ll want to know is what made it hard, what was happening or in the environment that made you feel that way. That’s what gets people’s attention. If you can put them as close to the action or what’s happening as possible. A touching/heroic story of how you got through with good detail as if they were there when you were, can get them feeling those things on their own. So be bold and couragous with detail- for a better story telling and reading!
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Introverted Butterfly

Inspired Dreaming…

It’s Just a Dream or Is It?

Have you ever had those dreams that felt so much like real-life you find yourself waking up believing that what actually happened to you actually did… in a panic or sweat, or tears- if they are fond-?  Only to realize, that it was simply your subconscious trying tell you something or help you remember a simplier time. I often have those, where I’m helped realize memories I’ve long forgotten. Of times, I thought were lost in the depths of my memory files until I realized they held the key to how I’ve actually felt about a certain situation or revealed a theme to my life and how I’ve been living it. Suddenly, playing the hidden therapist through images and subconscious situations.

Graphic3Up until recently, I haven’t really looked into them as a helpful signals or messages, mainly it’s been a curiousity as to “hmm… I wonder why this happened there?”, and the investigation stopped there. That was before I looked more closely at how they fit into my memories; who was involved, and what role those people played in my life past or present. I discovered my dreams all along were trying to indicate to me that it’s time I continue to find my voice. How wonderfully- freaky I’ll admit too- seredipitious! Once figuring out what one meant I could then find that same thing in many others that take me on exciting self discoveries and now I’m figuring out exploring further approaches in my writing.

So, I’ll ask this: Have you given much thought to your dreams? Do you think they’re giving you an hidden insights into your life, interesting themes or messages? Perhaps, you should take a closer look, you never know what insights, or inspirations may be lurking in the depths of your subconcsious!

I’d be interested to know more, and that it’s not just me.

Introverted Butterfly

Images courtesy of Pixaby.com

A Ode to Writing!

I often find myself sometimes torn between a love-hate relationship in writing, that’s not too hard to figure out why or explain. It’s simply this when I am feeling down about my progress or frustrated with going in no particular direction I’ve uttered into the world “arggg!!! I am done with writing!” or something like “I’m giving it up!” Utterances on how hard it is, how much I hate being stuck for ideas or worse sometimes not having many. To which family and close friends have asked the very poignant question: “Really… you sure about that?” or “Do you really think that’s what you want?”. It never is, you see. What I would like sometimes is for it to be easy, with a nice clear cut path in front of me. This is where and how you move forward next. But, alas, writing isn’t like that as I’m finding. It’s full of twisty turny points, ups, downs, pitfalls and yes moments of sheer frustration. Where one wonders: “why did I get myself into this mess in the first place?”
Well, as you’ll find out through my writing, we often don’t get ourselves into it, as it gets into us. For some strange, unexplainable reason it decides to grant us with this cursed gift. Sorry, writing sometimes it’s true that it seems one of those hard to give away. So much so, that in the midst of banging one’s head Graphic1 the keyboard or notebooks in frustration. We get mad at it like an old friend whose done something so very terribly wrong. Also much like an old friend, though, it remains loyal. From time to time politely reminding one that you really don’t treat a good friend that way. So we make amends with it, and for doing so sometimes it rewards us with inspiration and ideas we thought we’d lost. Just on the brink of giving up and feeling stuck forever, what we want to say finally comes to us! Alas, the torment is over! Time to move onward and upward, and just write…damn it!

Introverted Butterfly

Meaningful March

The Beginning of a New Month! Fresh Start !?

Well, would you look at that. It’s March already- the past two months have flown by, and as I recount that fact I can’t help but reflect on what I can do differently this month. Now that it’s here and offering a fresh start why not take this opportunity to figure it out. As the saying goes “there’s no time like the present”. I’ve decided that I want to make the most of creating better habits for myself and working more towards my goals. Starting by taking advantage of what works best for me. We all have these times (some refer to it as “night owls” and “morning birds/early birds”) that allow us to get the most done. So why not take advantage of the fact and have it work for us. I’m going to use it to help create habits when I know I’m more likely to follow through on them. I am determined to take better care in creating good habits for myself, and making the most of the time I have in the day.

I also plan on hopefully starting to take small steps to help me move towards reaching some of the goals I’ve been meaning to set for myself. Continuing to search for opportunities to take risks, and work towards the place I’ll be ready to share more of my story. Yes, it will take courage and more commitment, but I’m now willing to be brave and take a chance on myself. It sounds odd, I realize, but makes sense for me. Sometimes we don’t always bet on ourselves often others do before we even believe in what we have. Anyways, this means becoming more dedicated to my writing (perhaps setting a limit or schedules in the morning) to help keep me on a better track and moving forward. Fed up with feeling stuck where I am, I’m about ready to do something about it for myself. “Enough doodling, and complaining, or wishing for things to happen.” It’s time to make them happen, I’ll think to myself instead. After all, opportunities aren’t going to come knocking on my door. I’ll have to go out and seek them. Which means one important thing: Stop letting fear get in my way. I need to remind myself of that when feeling overwhelmed or stuck. It all starts though with taking small steps towards a better ME (or you) and to my goals. I’m the only one who can make it meaningful and find what works for me. It’s the same for you, as I’m finding out. No one else can make those decisions for you, you’ll have to do that for yourself. Just remember there is no better time to start than now!

So how can you make March meaningful?

Introverted Butterfly