Have you ever slaved away over a 1000+ piece jigsaw puzzle for days and nights on end? You know the kind that have at least 200 pieces that are exactly the same color and are therefore really challenging to find their exact fit in the puzzle? Every time you pass by it, you find that you must sit down just for a moment to work on it, and the moment turns into 5 hours?!@? On the day--or very late night--that you finally complete it, you place that second to last piece in the puzzle and your heart flutters as you anticipate the victory of putting in the final piece and ending this journey that you have toiled through and even perhaps lost sleep over!

Can you imagine your dismay and despair when you look on the table for the last piece, and it isn't there? You snatch the box from the table and look inside hoping that perhaps it is still in there or that it got stuck in the creases. When the box is empty, you hit the floor on hands and knees searching for the elusive tiny piece of cardboard that you need to complete your journey all the while becoming more and more frantic. But to no avail. Of course the search doesn't stop there. You violently tear through any surrounding objects that it might be hiding under or lodged in. You even ask the kids about it and glare at the dog suspecting that perhaps he has eaten it. But still nothing.

It is as if the piece has vanished into thin air, and your brief moment of victory felt just before placing the final piece has vanished along with it. With your hands on your hips you survey the puzzle with a long disappointed sigh. It doesn't matter that you have managed to put together this wondrous creation of 999 pieces of cardboard into a Monet replica. What matters now is the missing piece.

Okay maybe I am the only one who gets this obsessed about puzzles, but if puzzles don't do it for you, there is surely something else that you will obsess or have obsessed over completing. Some goal that you will almost die trying to reach or some mountain that you will walk your legs off trying to reach the top of. Only to complete it and then find that you are still missing something.

How many times have you experienced this feeling? Not over a puzzle, but over another goal you have completed in life. You cross the finish line with a great sense of victory, but soon after comes that uncomfortable and sometimes frantic 'missing piece' feeling when we realize that this goal was not the bearer of joy and everlasting fulfillment that we thought it would be.

So what do we do when that happens? We start again. We pick a new puzzle or a new goal. Surely THIS time there will be no missing piece, and we will have that feeling of true fulfillment that we seek after! Yet more often than not, we are met with the same "victory-void" cycle until finally our enthusiasm is melted into a bitter pile of apathy. SO what is missing? Why can we never find fulfillment in the things we do or the things we obtain? What is the missing piece to the puzzle?

Deepak Chopra said, "There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle"

What if the missing piece is...YOU? You just haven't figured out yet how YOU fit into the puzzle or what your purpose is. You are the missing piece, but you believe the missing piece is something else--some object, goal, or achievement. In all of our striving and seeking for happiness, we often miss what is right in front of us and even sometimes get further away from the truth.

Next time you find yourself faced with the void of the missing piece, don't start over! Instead look harder for the piece! In finding out who you really are and what you really have to offer to humanity, you find how you fit into the great and magnificent jigsaw puzzle of humankind, and subsequently you will find the fulfillment you are seeking.

Remember...when you find your piece, you will finally find your peace!

Author's Bio: 

Linda McPharlin is the developer of the Power in We--a social enterprise with the mission of empowering people through the "WE" perspective to change their lives AND the world. Please visit her web site for more information at www.powerinwe.org