I like to end the holiday break with 1000 pieces of 1/2" by 1/2" cardboard lying on the dining room table calling my name. The challenge of fitting oddly shaped pieces together into a work of art is the kind of demand my heart loves to indulge. I’ll admit, it’s not for everyone. This year, I tackled a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Most 1000 piece puzzles are slapped together in a weekend. Perhaps 2000 pieces will take two. Not so fast. This delightful snowing scene where the sky and snow covered ground use the same shades and the pieces are very nearly all the same shape has thrown me a curve ball. What used to be a thrill and even a race, is starting to feel laborious. The old way of getting it done is not working. The back up systems I resort to when it’s getting difficult are not bringing it together. And yet, I continue to stand there doing the same thing in the same way. The only difference, I feel frustration instead of delight.
When we keep doing it the same old way, we keep getting the same old results. It may sound like, "Credit card debt like this is normal." "You can’t control teenagers these days." "I have to work these long hours to get ahead." "I need these to help me relax." Moving forward involves finding out why things aren’t working and discovering new ways to approach it.
When my extended family got together to celebrate Christmas, we played a raucous game of charades. My very talkative niece kept repeating the same gesture to her team until her brother-in-law said, “That’s not working, we’re not getting it. Move on to something else.” And then she repeated it a few more times. We love to do what we know isn’t working. Maybe we think something even worse will happen if we stop our current action. Stopping the repeating cycles and the recurring hang ups, starts with simply looking at the obstacle in a different light.
What do you need to push pause on instead of repeat?