I was watching a pretty horrible rom-com movie the other night that had one redeeming moment. It was when the female told her heartbroken friend that he was ‘broken apart like a puzzle and needed to search for the blue pieces.’
Now this seemed like pretty bad advice. Putting together a puzzle involves seeking and creating distinct subject matter piles: the farm house, the feathers, the tractor. The blue ‘filler’ pieces, like the sky and the ocean, are chosen last. (Why would you eschew the obvious for the nebulous?) Clearly the puzzle comment was a metaphor; but was she actually advising her friend to find himself by looking outside himself?
I thought of my daughter. In recovery she has found success looking outside herself for stability. She has learned that arranging and re-arranging, ruminating and re-assessing the pieces of self is not always productive. Turning her attention to something bigger, something out there – like the sky – can be the best anchor there is. It becomes an intangible you can neither wrangle with nor second guess. You can rest in its remote vastness.
She often sends me pictures of the mountains she climbs. And the rivers she runs beside. And I download these photos to my iPhone. I look at them occasionally – they have become my blue pieces. I feel this is both wrong, and right.
We spend a lot of time as mature adults concentrating on the subject matter of our lives; paying for and tidying the concrete spaces we have built. When we find time to consider the blue pieces – how often do we notice if they are truly our own?