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  • Writer's pictureGreg Powell

Jigsaw puzzles for a mindful spirituality

I always looked forward to visiting my grandparents: they put sugar on their cereal and they always had cookies! And, more significantly, there was a sense of abundance of time whenever we visited them. We'd play cards at night. I got bored enough that I took up knitting (boredom is a really important aspect of child development).

And there was always a puzzle on the go.

When we were older, we'd get to help Grandma with the puzzle she happened to be doing at the time. When we were younger, we'd choose from a selection of age-appropriate (and easy enough even for me!) jigsaw puzzles.

I'd later learn to put this problem-solving training to use during my engineering studies. But in those moments of snappin puzzle piece to puzzle piece, it was all about slowing down...focusing on one thing...getting lost in a task that, in fact, lacks any greater significance.

But mindfulness activities are meant to be pointless -- that's, ironically, the point. Spiritual practices allow us to attune to God's voice that we experience in our own bodies, through other, or in nature. When we allow for noise all around us, God's voice is nearly impossible to hear.

We've been fortunate to discover jigsaw puzzles with a range of piece sizes so young kids and adults alike can work on (and be interested by) the same puzzle. Eliana, 6, is perfectly able to do 'adult' puzzles. Sebastian, 4, still prefers slightly bigger pieces and easy puzzles.

Another element of the jigsaw puzzle that I've come to appreciate is the opportunity to actually interact with beautiful artwork. Most art is meant to be seen and not touched, but not so for the imagery of the jigsaw puzzle. Cobble Hill is one of our favourite companies. They even have some puzzles that are tactile, which can be an asset for the visually impaired.

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