My friend loans me jigsaw puzzles. We get together every couple of weeks or so and hand off a pretty box of someone else’s art in a restaurant parking lot. We laugh about how she’s enabling my obsessive compulsive nature. Sometimes she gets serious and asks if she should quit enabling me, but hey, it’s not like I’m doing drugs.
Doing puzzles lets me decompress and think about stuff. I play food shows in the background, and between puzzle pieces in my hands, other people cooking stuff I’ll never eat, and vengeful thoughts about people who annoy me, I get around to thinking about things that actually matter.
When I started out as an artist, I sat at a drawing table for many hours a day and had plenty of time to think. I liked painting painstaking things, and didn’t have to concentrate my full brain on what I was doing 100% of the time. Eventually the chatter in my mind would die down and I would just be with my art, my hands and mind moving together in a blissful nonthinking.
Computers wrecked my zen time, but I found times where I could get back into it if a project was complicated enough. Not enough zen time for my real needs, but some. Now I have a hard time settling down to anything focused except for puzzles, so the parking lot handoffs give me a happiness I used to get at work. I only get 1000 pieces every couple of weeks so I can’t get too OCD about things.
This week, my friend gave me a puzzle of 999 pieces. She dismantled her vacuum cleaner to find the missing piece, but wasn’t willing to dismantle a cat to find it. I made a new piece for her. The hardest part of making it was cutting it out to fit.
So what’s all this got to do with energy? In a perfect world, people add something good to each other’s lives. In this case puzzles, but more than that, my friend is sharing something she enjoys, and in sharing, she gets to share her pleasure in what’s basically a solitary activity. She’s giving me something beyond a loan of colored cardboard.
She’s very good at giving like this, and part of myself observes from the outside to see how she helps people by giving not what they think they want, but what they actually need. Too often we think of gifts as things, but real gifts are actions that help us to be better than we were yesterday.
When I first saw “energy” is the word for the week, I thought about psychic vampires who suck energy from others. Isn’t it better to think about the positive people in our lives instead? Angry thoughts just kill us faster. Happy thoughts of gratitude help us live the lives we’re here to live.
My current job has a lot to do with prayers. It never occurred to me before working there that reading other people’s prayers would change me, but I think it has. Seeing other people’s suffering reminds me to be grateful for what I have and to look outside of myself to add my prayers to someone else’s heartfelt pleas for help.
In that vein, prayers are appreciated for Mickey who is going through chemotherapy and Danny who is having surgery this week and possibly chemotherapy afterwards.