It’s A Puzzle For The Brain, Heart And Me

by Sherry Riter in Lessons of Life,Motivation

It was late Friday and finally time to go to sleep. Like a child being forced to go to bed early, I scrunched up under the blanket and plopped my head on the pillow. Actually, I was quite tired because it was fast approaching the time for the sun to rise, so I really needed some rest.

Usually I am completely asleep before my head hits the pillow, but I had too many things running through my mind. Making a conscious effort to relax, I closed my eyes. Deciding that the best way to fall asleep was to bore myself, I began making a list of all the tasks I needed to accomplish over the weekend.

With a list and a plan, I felt that by Monday all the pieces of my sometimes puzzling life would be in place.

Eventually I fell to sleep, but it was somewhat fitful and I woke up far too early considering the hour that I actually went to bed.

Not one to just lay in the bed and stare at the ceiling, I mulled over the list of things to do and got up to start on them.

Everything seemed fine until after I ate breakfast.

I felt overwhelmed.

So many things to do and not enough time to do them.

It didn’t matter how many times I told myself to stay calm and just take things one at a time, I still felt the surge of panic.

Apparently my list was too long.

I expect too much from myself.

Just about the time I had started to feel a little peace, a wave of nausea and a terrible headache hit me.

Nausea and headaches are not a part of my life and so, I don’t suffer well when they decide to attack every once in a blue moon.

Most of Saturday was spent sick and alone.

I tried working on my chores while I was sick, but my list…

Well, my list remained long and I felt unaccomplished.

I kept remembering being a young child and sick. My mother would bring me chicken soup in bed, pull my covers up around my neck and read me story books. I didn’t have a care or worry in the world back then.

In contrast, Saturday I stretched out on the couch, pulled my own covers up to my neck and occasionally the dog would pounce on top of my chest in order to stare into my eyes. My body continued to be sick and my mind kept racing through everything I wasn’t getting finished.

I gave up worrying about my undone tasks. There isn’t anyone else to take care of my responsibilities, so I will just have to work on them all through the week and next weekend.

As I closed my eyes, I realized that life is a huge puzzle. We all have a set number of pieces and it is up to us to get them all to fit together to create a beautiful life picture.

I am very lenient with everyone and make excuses for their faults even when they hurt me, but I expect perfection from myself. Obviously, I have always fallen short of the goal, but I have tried and tried and tried to get it right.

Nobody is perfect.

My brain knows it.

My heart knows it.

Sometimes it is necessary to take a deep breath and pause so that the puzzling thoughts and emotions can settle softly around us and just be. They will be imperfect, but that is okay.

My brain, heart and I had a long conversation.

“I’m getting better every day,” my brain said.

“Yes, I know Brain. I really appreciate you coming back. There are so many things I need you to do and it is comforting that you are starting to pull your weight again,” I responded.

“I’m sorry,” my heart softly said.

“As you should be!” I exclaimed. “If you were not so compassionate and such a pushover, most of my unhappiness wouldn’t exist! You’ve let me love people that hurt me!”

“Wait a minute!” my heart shouted in defense. “Your brain isn’t entirely innocent. It agreed with everything I was feeling.”

My brain pretended to be asleep because it was also quite guilty.

“No need to tear each other apart now,” I said. “The damage has been done. Let’s just work together so that I can start fresh with a new life and in a new home before the summer arrives. I need you both. We have all been wounded and scarred, but we’ve learned so much and are better for the struggles. It would be a shame to let it all go to waste.”

Taking a peek, my brain smiled in agreement. Looking up at us both, my heart stopped rummaging through it’s box full of protective padlocks and keys. They both seemed quite satisfied with my explanation. We have a plan. Life is still a huge puzzle, but together we are going to take one piece at a time until we’ve created a beautiful picture.

Yeah, that’s the secret…one piece at a time.

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TJ February 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm

You have not failed! YOu are beautiful and I love every inch of you. I am here to still pull that cover up and get soup. You only have to ask, and that seems hard for you, Use me while you can for I will not always be here. We three can move more than one can , so pick up phone and open mouth.


By the way I still can read you would just enjoy my saying all the words wrong. I fooled you as a child , I could not do that now,lol


2 Kasey February 6, 2012 at 4:27 am

I can totally relate with how you expect perfection from yourself but are lenient with everyone else. I totally set myself up for failure but allow others the benefit of a doubt. I try to remind myself to go easy but I'm very hard on myself.

You are right, life is one piece at a time and you will get to where you were meant to be.

That comment from your mom brought tears to my eyes. You have a great supporter!


3 America's Next Top Mommy February 6, 2012 at 4:28 am

I often struggle with the same battles. My brain can be such a bitch!

P.S. It speaks volumes I knew what that puzzle was in the second picture?


4 Skip_D February 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I'm also a perfectionist, & know how often that can lead to frustration & disappointment – not to mention headaches. A brain is a terrible thing…


5 Bev February 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I hope you are feeling better. You are never alone! And I waved at you, didn't you see?


6 By Word of Mouth Musings February 7, 2012 at 5:16 am

ack, beautiful you, why are we the hardest on ourselves?
and that puzzle, has not made it out of the box here … all those teeny pieces, all the same shades … knew i was setting myself up for failure as soon as i handed the money over for it 😉


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