When my nephew Drew was 2 years old, I helped him put together a puzzle that was a little bit beyond his cognitive development. He was having a hard time getting the pieces oriented in the right way. So with each piece, after he had tried for a bit, I would surreptitiously put it in the right position, so that all he had to do was press down. When we got to the last piece, he slapped it down and then looked up at me with delight and said, “I did it!”
I gathered him in my arms and said, “That’s right, sweetheart, you did it! Well done!” Then he went off to play with his trucks. I was left pondering that God must feel the same way about us as I felt about my nephew.
Our lives are like puzzles, and in the end we see how all those seemingly random pieces make a beautiful, unique picture. What I have realized is that God is the one who finds just the right piece for my next step, and puts it blatantly in front of my eyes so I can’t miss it. When I was younger, I might proclaim, “I did it!”
I can imagine God as the Divine Mother watching and saying, “That’s right, sweetheart, you did it!” Then she would fold me in her arms of energy and light, and let me go off to play with something else.
We have all experienced moments of synchronicity that seem fortuitous, or possibly even miraculous. One time I was looking for a new car. After doing some research, I decided on the Volkswagen Beetle, but I wanted to talk to a Beetle owner to make sure it was a reliable car. I remembered that an acquaintance of mine had one, so I called her. She said, “Funny you should call today. Yes, I love my Beetle, but yesterday I found out that I’m pregnant, and I have to sell it and buy a minivan. How would you like to buy it?” It was so easy! I just slapped that puzzle piece down.
Sometimes the puzzle piece is not so easy to accept. In 2010, I was going through a divorce and was asked to move to Los Angeles to sing for Swami Kriyananda’s talks at Ananda L.A. I have to admit, when I first heard about it, I wanted to slide that puzzle piece right off the table and under the couch where nobody could find it. I had no reason to leave Palo Alto. My life was perfect. I had a fantastic, high-paying job teaching Pilates and Yoga full-time in a beautiful studio with wonderful clients. I lived in a lovely, newly-decorated, large one-bedroom apartment in the Ananda Community, and was friends with everyone there. My family all lived in the area, and my sister (and best friend) was pregnant with twins. I consulted Asha, the Spiritual Director of Ananda Palo Alto, and asked her why in the world would I give all that up and go to L.A.?
She said, “Well, you have created the perfect life. Now you can check that off the to-do list. Perhaps this is an opportunity to grow in another way.” I knew immediately she was right. I had grown a little stagnant in my perfect life. I went to L.A., and faced many challenges that helped me learn, grow, and heal. I am a much better person today because I was willing to press that puzzle piece down. God gave me a choice. I could have stayed in Palo Alto. But I have a feeling that had I stayed, I would not have escaped the lessons in store for me. My soul was yearning to grow, and God knew I was ready.
Now I take my cue from Swami Kriyananda. Whenever someone praised him, he would say, “God is the Doer.” Paramhansa Yogananda reassured us that God is infinitely patient, just waiting for his children to return home to Divine Bliss. That’s where I want to be, so I will do my best to follow the path laid out for me, while God and I put my life’s puzzle together, piece by piece. It’s a lot of fun, anyway.