Most of my mentees, those I mentor through conscious conversations,  arrive wanting to find the missing pieces of their lives. 

I remember being a child and loving to play with
puzzles – putting all the pieces in place was such a great

But when a piece was missing, it didn’t matter that I had put
all the other pieces together, the hole sucked away all my joy.
It took all the pieces to create the complete picture. Missing a
piece meant I should throw away the entire puzzle.

We can’t do that with our lives.  We need to keep searching for
the pieces and put the puzzle together.  Over many years as a
personal mentor, I have become adept at finding
missing pieces. Having an understanding of the human soul –
the puzzle with infinite pieces, has helped in many searches.

I want to share four essential pieces.  I will give them names,
ask you questions about your experience, and suggest exercises.

These are pieces that come from paternal forces.  They define the internal good father.  Most of us have generations of missing paternal forces.  You can have a very loving, wonderful father and still find these pieces missing. doing this work is not a betrayal of the father you love. Not doing it may be a betrayal of the you you need to become.

The four deeds of the  generational paternal forces (going back to great-grandfathers and beyond) are

to provide
to protect
to name
to lead or guide

When these deeds are not fulfilled essential pieces of life, of our sense of self, are missing in some degree.

without adequate provision satisfaction is missing
without adequate protection safety is missing
without adequate naming identity is missing
without adequate guidance direction is missing

Each and everyone of us is missing satisfaction, safety, identity and/or direction in some areas of life:

the physical,
the emotional,
the intellectual,
the financial,
the sexual,
the relational,
the spiritual

And we suffer and puzzle over every missing piece.

This names our missing pieces and the naming empowers our ability to complete ourselves. I am giving you some challenging and comforting naming activities.

One of the dilemmas of being human is that we are never complete and always evolving.  We are always growing, changing, transforming, transcending, learning, never fixed.  We want a sense of not being curtailed or entangled or stuck.

The feeling of completeness is the experience of being unconditionally loved.  Nothing to be, do or have to be totally seen, embraced, acknowledged, validated and valued. To complete ourselves we must love ourselves unconditionally as we are and as we are becoming.

Sadly, there is no magic wand for self-love.  Coming to self-love is a process of self-attention.  Working with the missing perceptions of satisfaction, safety, identity and direction is a significant path to self-attention. 

Rate the Missing

Begin with simply rating your overall degree of satisfaction, safety, identity and direction in your life on a 1-10 scale. (10 means there is no way in heaven you could experience more, which means I can’t imagine anyone having a 10.) You can consider 5 a midpoint of reasonable degree.  Below five is challenging and a 2 or a 1 is a dramatic missing. Ideally, you would feel pretty great with an 8 and nine is fabulous.  Remember, self-loving is always a feeling that encourages growth, so hold off on the perfect 10’s. You can have an 8 in safety and a 3 in satisfaction, a 5 in identity and 2 in direction.

This is not a test on which to seek a perfect score in order to feel good about your self.  This is just an exercise to support your self-awareness. 

You can go through each of the life areas I mentioned above.  Feel free to add to the list.  I suggest you create a chart to track your ratings. Do this in a spreadsheet on your computer or a page in your journal. 

Create a Positive Definition

Write down your description of each feeling: satisfaction, safety, identity and direction. 

If your family was deeply dysfunctional you may not have a clue how to describe these feelings.  If that is the case, begin with a dictionary definition.  Use a dictionary as a source of possibility, not as the word of God.  You are looking to create the description that rings true with you, not anyone else. 

However, sharing this exercise with a close friend or two can be very encouraging. 

If The Missing Pieces Are Found, This is What I Would Know….

Make a list of five to 8 statements indicating fullness in each feeling. I have put down four for each feeling as a source of inspiration.


I have…
Growing recognition of my needs.
Knowledge of responsible ways to meet those needs.
Awareness of essential resources.
Ability to forgive those who could not meet original needs of childhood.

I have…
Ability to articulate my boundaries.
Ability to maintain my boundaries.
Sense of my personal strength.
Willingness to call for help.

I have…
Confidence in my authority.
A sense of inner integrity.
Knowledge of my rights.
No need to fantasize being someone else.

I am…
Orientated toward an achievable goal.
Grounded  in a clear assessment of my talents and gifts
Able to say no to seductive distractions.
Able to create and follow effective plans of action.

This exercise is to first be approached from an overall consciousness.  Then, you are encouraged to bring this first list to a more specialized consideration of each area in your life. 

I don’t know about you, but I would have loved to have been able to do this in high school or college.  But it is never too late to get hold of your life.

You are the source of your satisfaction, your safety, your identity and your direction.  You can find the missing pieces and put your puzzles together. 

If you find this challenging, disturbing or isolating you may want to give yourself the gift of personal coaching or counseling.  A good counselor will provide the elements of warmth, containment, encouragement and creative review and reflection.  Each of us needs a rhythm of sacred conversation centered on our own path of self-development. 

Please let me here from you.  Share your questions, your process, your surprises. Post your comments on the blog.