When I was younger, I read a book called The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. It is the story of a circle with a triangular gap missing that ventures out to find this piece of itself. At the time, I remember feeling like I was missing part of myself, too. I tried to fill it with my career, my children and my spiritual search. Now, years later, I realize what the book was trying to convey. Thinking that we are incomplete or imperfect is not the truth of our existence. Rather, as the circle discovers in the end of the book, we are complete already, radiant with sacred souls, even if we don't look “perfect.”
In the book, the circle rolls slowly along, finding many pieces that it tries to make fit. But it holds on too tightly and breaks them, or they fall away, or they're too big. We may find jobs or partners or things that make us feel so good and complete one day, but if we're using them to fill what we feel deep down is an emptiness in ourselves, they're bound to fail sooner or later. External fixes can't hide that secret fear within that we're not enough.
The circle also experiences many hardships on its journey – harsh weather and falling in holes – but it manages to sing along the way and delight in the world around it. We're also bound to experience difficulties in life, to suffer wounds, but we must recognize that these challenges can't damage the essential beauty and wholeness of who we are, and that they’re really an integral part of life.
I interviewed an inspirational author on my radio show who had been severely abused sexually, emotionally, and physically as a child. I was amazed to learn that she is now traveling the world and uplifting others with her incredible story of hope and healing.
Instead of focusing on the terrible things that happened to her and letting them convince her that she was broken, she learned to love herself and to appreciate the love and support in her healthy and happy life. She is married to a loving husband, has her master’s degree, and leads seminars in self-empowerment for victims of abuse. She managed to find peace within herself, without the external support that most of us believe is so crucial to creating happy, whole selves.
We can all awaken to the light of our souls shining within the fog of our life stories. We can remember our wholeness in spite of what might look like missing pieces. Despite what our childhood wounds or shortfalls taught us, despite what society tells us about needing to buy this or that product to be beautiful or happy or complete, we can discover a simple and wonderful truth: we are already perfect, and we can let that realization be a beacon to others.
At one point in The Missing Piece the circle finds a piece that fits perfectly and makes it a full circle, but as a full circle it rolls too quickly to see the butterflies, and it can't sing. So it chooses to set the piece back down and journey on, delighting in its perfect imperfection and its slow roll. As humans, we're destined to always feel some longing in this glorious, imperfect world, but if we're lucky, we can sing happily along the way.