Every year, during the holiday break, my daughter and I build a jigsaw puzzle together. We’ve been doing this for about 10 years, and it has become a precious part of our annual downtime together. We started with jigsaws of beautiful paintings. Depictions of ballet dancers by Degas inspired us, as the works of art took form on our dining room table piece by piece. We moved on to very detailed cartoon pictures of snow skiers, beachgoers and shoppers, chuckling as we focused on each intricate piece of humour.
Looking back, we were engaging in mindfulness as we co-constructed our masterpieces. We were also experiencing positive emotions, including interest, amusement, serenity, awe and pride. There was one exception however – the year my son (the engineer) presented us with a 3D puzzle of Big Ben and challenged us to build it. There was very little evidence of serenity as I complained my way through the compilation of the Beast! Eventually I had to admit defeat and enlist the help of many others. Thereafter 3D puzzles were banned, in the interest of mindfulness and positivity!
One year we bought a Wasgij. I looked like an amusing puzzle with 1000 pieces. We diligently created the border and started building inwards. There was mindfulness, harmony and all those warm and fuzzy pre-3D feelings. Then we realised that the picture on the box was not the picture of the jigsaw we were building. Wasgij literally is Jigsaw backwards, and we were building what the characters on the box were seeing. We’ve been hooked since then and many Wasgij creations have ensued.
So here’s my challenge to you, as you contemplate passing the next few days. Practise mindfulness by building a Jigsaw. And if that sounds too boring for someone with ADHD – try a Wasgij. Or a 3D puzzle. I dare you.
See you in 2016!