Puzzle of Self

Puzzle of Self: Part Two

I hope you’re settling into this new year well.

And if you’re struggling with this new beginning-remember it’s only a calendar, (the Gregorian calendar) and New Years festivities are just modern ways of marking time. Time that we’d prefer not to march on if we’re grieving…

In this culture there’s such a focus to let go and start over at this time of year. But we’re still in the depths of winter! (in the northern hemisphere anyways). And you can’t let go of what you lost so easily.

For me it makes more sense to celebrate new years around mid-winter or Imbolc on February 2nd. This is when seeds begin their slow growth upwards towards the sun.

So instead of making resolutions and intentions, what about asking yourself-what still needs your attention? What’s in the darkness that still needs tending?

I invite you to have a simple grief intention by giving it attention. Set up a small grief altar and tend to it-sit and meditate, emote, and write in your journal there. 

And let’s take time to be in this dark stillness by being with your grief creatively. 

In my last blog I wrote about a creative prompt called Puzzle of Self. 

I encourage you to take your time with these prompts. It was intentional to not give you everything in that first blog. With enough time the insights and ah-hahs arrive naturally. That’s when the wisdom comes; when there’s no pressure to understand it all at once.

Also, with big grief, the answer to WHY comes much much later. We go on a quest, an apprenticeship to grief that we didn’t want to take. It’s an unexpected detour; a soul sabbatical. 

So take your time with these prompts and come back to them when you feel ready.

In this blog, I give you more ways to deepen your process with your puzzle of self. If it’s helpful, write in your journal about what comes.

  • What part was easier for you to do? Why? 
  • How did it feel to find the images you used? 
  • Did you rip up or cut up your images? What was that like? Did any insights arise as you did this? 

I tore up an image of red rocks because that’s what the rock looked like where Michael fell. I placed these red rocks upside down because our world went upside down.

I also tore up an image of an old man’s hands, which then looked similar to the red rocks. 

After I was done, these large hands and red rocks appeared to be holding us. We were being held all along by healing hands and the earth, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time.


  • Was your piece divided into pre/post grief images? Or were some images crossing the middle bridging the two?
  • Was there one image that pulled it all together?
  • If you could talk to the original images-what would they say? What would the ripped up parts say? And what would that final image say to you?
  • If the final piece could give you a gift that would help you move into the future-what would that be?

Use this writing prompt: 

Begin with I am or I am one who… 
And then describe it as if you’re explaining it to someone who cannot see the image. 

I am Michael torn into four pieces-his hand holds strong. 
I am the accident-a man upside down falling off his mountain bike. 
I am one whose dreams of having a child were ripped up.
I am Italian travels torn in two.
I am pieces of a man’s hands. 
I am upside down red rocks and blue sky.
I am broken through the middle and still putting the pieces back together.
And yet I am also strong; I am woman proudly carrying her staff and sword. 
I am practical silver hiking boots, grounded on a trampoline as I navigate all the ups and downs. 
I am an emerging white house covered in green growth. I am green healthy shoots and regardless of all the destruction, I am growing.
I am one with an abundance of wings; I am butterfly, moth and eagle. 
And despite it all, I soar.

You’re essentially writing your image into a poem.


This prompt invites us to look at how grief has shattered our identities of who we were before our loss and how to piece it back together.

It’s not an easy process. It took me six years to do this prompt. 

So it’s okay if this opens up your grief and you’re unable to do it. Come back to it later when you feel ready.

And if you need some help with this, I’d be happy to help you-schedule a few sessions with me in this new year.

Or invite others to do this with you; gather together to create and then witness each other’s process.

And as always, I invite you to send me an email and let me know how this goes for you.

Many blessings to you as you continue this hard work of putting yourself back together after deep loss. 

Stay the course, have courage…eventually you will find meaning and the answer to why, even if it takes you a lifetime. 

Or as Rainer Marie Rilke says so well:

I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a foreign language.
Don’t search for the answers which cannot be given to you now because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far into the future you will gradually without ever noticing it, live your way into the answer.