I am a fan of Disney animation films, of challenging puzzles, and I‘ve been a long-time fan of Thomas Kinkade paintings. During the pandemic, I have had the great fortune of being able to pass the time working on a collection of puzzles based on paintings by Kinkade. To be more specific, these four paintings are based on beautiful scenes from the Disney films The Lion King, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, and – my favorite puzzle – The Princess and the Frog.
Now these are 500-piece puzzles, so they don’t take long to do, and yet they’re still a good challenge for any puzzle fan. These aren’t your average puzzles: these are high quality products.
The pieces are very unique – not like some of the cheap puzzles you buy with only four different puzzle shapes that repeat over and over. These Disney puzzle pieces are not only unique, but they also fit together really well. Not so snug that you can’t fit them together, but not so loose that they slip apart from each other. You can easily pick up a completed puzzle and move it to another table without worrying about it falling apart.
In short, these puzzles are top quality puzzles.
So, when it comes time to put the puzzle away – when it’s time to separate all those little pieces – that part is not as easy as one might think. You have to start undoing the puzzle by bending over a small section of one corner, gently coaxing it away from the rest of the puzzle, and then breaking down this one small section carefully between your fingers. Then you can move on and break away the next small section of puzzle, gently pulling the pieces apart.
It takes time. You actually have to pay attention to what you’re doing! Your awareness has to be high because if you try to rush or force the pieces apart, you could damage one or even multiple pieces.
A few weeks ago, as I was breaking down my favorite puzzle, it dawned on me that that delicate and deliberate process just might be what our society is going through right now.
Our society works. It not only works, but it is one of the best societies in the world. I understand that that is a pretty brash statement, but I’ve lived in 4 different countries overseas: three were benevolent dictatorships (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the Kingdom of Jordan), and one was the European democracy of Switzerland.
Based my life experiences in the Middle East and in Switzerland, I think I understand one of the main reasons why many want to immigrate here: The corner stone of our society is based on freedom. The freedom of expression and the ability to fully be who we want to be, these are the liberties of our society that make the United States so attractive. In short, our society works really well…like the pieces of a high-quality puzzle.
Racism. What about racism? Where does racism show up in this picture, in this highly desirable society? Aside from recent months, our society has largely hushed racism, swept it under the rug, and ignored it. If our society is like a well-made puzzle, then racism is like the fine cardboard dust in between the pieces. Over these last months, all that fine dust has surfaced and turned into a silky mud, marring what we had thought was a beautiful, well-made puzzle. Marring what we thought was a desirable society. Not a comfortable feeling, but a truth that can’t be denied.
Having said that, I am encouraged. This time the unrest and the protests are not dying down. People are uncomfortable. They don’t like what they are seeing and they want it to change. Not a change to soothe our disrupted lives back to “normalcy”. No, people want change that is for good…and for the good of all.
Maybe we have to go through the pain of pulling apart pieces of our society, but such an effort will help to uncover and heal this deep scar on our nation’s soul.
The Quantum Field Angle. Where concepts from my book Leverage the Field for Success are concerned, I have two things to say. First, oppression, suppression, and repression are at cross purposes with the #1 priority of the Field, expansion. Remember, when you expand, the Field expands. And “you” means every person, every animal, every thing on the planet. The Field’s ideal would be for all of us to help each other grow and expand, reaching the full potential of our lives here on Earth. And that means Black Lives, too.
The second thing I’d say – in Field-verbiage – is that when we find ourselves presented with such situations from the Field, we know that even in the midst of despair, there is reason for great hope. Why? Because to pull ourselves through such challenge and conflict takes great growth and expansion. We reach a better state of balance. How will we do it? How long will it take? I don’t know. What I do know is that as long as we keep pulling the pieces apart and asking questions about the mud that bubbles to the surface, eventually we will create a puzzle that far exceeds the beauty of our current society.
May we each have the heart, the patience, and the persistence to raise our awareness as we delicately pull the pieces apart, and creativity and compassionately discern how best to move forward. Black Lives – and All Lives – will flourish as a result.