I finally learned how to play (and like!) Sudoku.
Normally, numbers are not my comfort zone.
It was a mom day last fall, and my mom enjoys her Sudoku puzzles…so I asked her to show me how it’s played.
Can I tell you, once I learned there is no math involved in Sudoku--that it more like MATCHING and MYSTERY-solving–I found I actually enjoyed it… to the point of picking up my own Sudoku puzzle book, and playing them often. I am my mother’s daughter once again.
In the months I’ve been solving these crazy puzzles, they’ve become a metaphor of how life works.
Life is like a Sudoku puzzle; just keep finding one right answer after another. Fill in what you know; fill in what’s easy. Notice how those answers you’re filling in are all over the board…across rows and boxes and columns.
Filling in one answer at a time lets others become clearer….and before you know it, you’ve completed the whole puzzle!
In life, too, go where you’re led from each right step you’re taking, and trust that each one is a needed piece of your life’s completeness, wholeness–even if those steps seem to be all over the board and in no seemingly particular, logical order. This has been the greatest lesson. Life works and flows, amazingly and delightfully… and it’s way of doing that for some of us is not a traditional version of orderly and logical. Like a Sudoku puzzle, we fill in pieces–bloom where we’re planted–following where the current right answer we fill in leads us.
In Sudoku, when you get stuck, go do something else for awhile, and come back to it later. Often I find another fill-in I didn’t see before, and I keep going.
In life too, when something gets frustrating, stop, let it go, and do something else for awhile. Come back later. A fresh look often brings another answer, solution, step, to be revealed, clarified…
And sometimes that clarity is that your part of this Sudoku puzzle / life challenge has been completed, and that it’s time to leave the rest of this particular puzzle for someone else to tackle and finish!
As anyone who has moved their belongings, remodeled a room, or engaged in a dynamic creative project, there are parts we can do by ourselves; and there are times we need to tap the expertise, skills, and help of someone else. Some Sudoku puzzles are community projects. Always play to your strengths and let others help with theirs.
How to Find Right Answers:
Within the rules and game objective, there are multiple ways to discern right answers. There are in life too.
Finding right answers, next steps, requires jumping all around the Sudoku board; it requires exploring outside of single boxes, requires scanning the entire matrix for knowledge, patterns; requires tapping and synthesizing all one knows so far; and then filling in those answers we know, in the spaces they belong.
There’s trust involved…trust that each Sudoku puzzle has a solution. We go in knowing there is one. I go into Life knowing that too–only I know in Life that there is more than one. I can’t get it wrong… there are just some ways that are easier and flow.
In Sudoku, wrong answers (that seemed right at the time) sometimes lead to interesting anomalies…two fives in one column and two sevens in another; blocks missing a number; or coming to an impasse about moving ahead until one is okay with those anomalies– or goes to the answer key and enters the fixes.
There are certainly anomalies in life too; I think first of families; the one I came out of is diverse and I love all of them. And I think of movies like Under the Tuscan Sun and a family created by relationships, rather than birth. And I think of inventions like post-it notes that started out as a mistake. In Life, wrong answers are a beginning to creating something new.
Sudoku Neutralizes Numbers Resistance:
Maybe one of the most beautiful things about Sudoku is that it has me playing with numbers without any money or math baggage attached to them. One is simply playing with numbers, to have each one represented evenly and equally.
All numbers are equal players and values.
Somehow, there is significance to this…and it’s still percolating. It’s helping one maybe to more easily let go of any math and money resistance… And with no resistance, in the energy of play, we are more attracting, like magnets, to our heart’s desires. It is a law of life…
Here’s to playing with numbers, Sudoku and living life a bit more like a Sudoku game: Fill in one right answer at a time; Explore all over the board; Trust; Take a break for a fresh perspective; Do what you can, what you know, and it’s okay to let it go for someone else to finish sometimes; Enjoy the process, and discover your own Life parallels.
There are no choices that are really a detour that will take you far from where you’re wanting to be — because your Inner Being is always guiding you to the next, and the next, and the next. So don’t be concerned that you may make a fatal choice, because there aren’t any of those. You are always finding your balance. It’s a never ending process. —Abraham
Life is an amazing adventure…Have a beautiful, joyous day! Play a little.