The secrets of life

I am in intense and joyful final revisions of my yoga manuscript. It’s a ‘kill your darlings’ kind of process.

What is self-indulgence and what moves the story forward?

I’m choosing to omit this piece. But I can happily post it here and give it a life of its own.

My favourite author as a child was Agatha Christie. Nan bought me a set of her novels as a gift and one of my most cherished presents. I was always intent on solving the crime before the detective: to beat the great Hercule Poirot to the reveal of whodunnit. As I remember, it didn’t happen often, if at all; Christie’s books were so cleverly crafted. As a bright and confident twelve-year-old, I felt certain I would solve the next one.   

            My young writing pondered the possibility of Jupiter as an ancient sun and life on Mars and what it looked like in its glory. I had questions, thousands of them, and no apparent expert source for answers. These were the days when your mom bought a set of Encyclopedia Britannica. That, coupled with National Geographic’s maps of the world, informed your homework and your life. Well, maybe your mom also kept Reader’s Digest copies in the bathroom closet — there was always a tidbit or two of interest in there.

I knew one thing as a child. I don’t know why, but I knew that upon my death all would be revealed. There was something exciting about knowing all my questions would be answered that day. Perhaps only that day. Maybe that was the rub of life on Earth; you don’t get to walk the planet and know the answers at the same time.

            Maybe the lesson was to give up the need to know and simply live life. Like an important presentation, you prepare for it, stress about the day: what to wear, remembering your notes and lines, speaking clearly and making eye contact. Then the presentation comes and goes and you’re left at the end of the day, looking back on it, wondering why you hadn’t taken the time to enjoy the experience. It all turned out; you worried for nothing. You want a do-over, a chance to go back and savour it, live each day of your life, present.

            Will we be there, at the end, seeing how it all worked out and wanting to have enjoyed the ride just a bit more? To have slowed down or perhaps at times sped up. To have dared to try. To have laughed more. To have published that poem or introduced ourselves. To have gotten our hands dirty and our feet wet. To have painted landscapes or played trombone. To have played hooky with the kids and sat under a tree eating ice cream sandwiches. To have stared at the stars for hours, expecting nothing. To have bowed at the temple of nature and danced on the altar of the oceans.

            Lying on my back on a sleeping bag spread out on a campground picnic table in the Rocky Mountains, seventeen years old, I watched in awe, the August meteor shower from the top of Tunnel Mountain. Again on my back, deep in the snow, at the far end of Lake Louise at twenty-three, as an incandescent sky serpent snaked its way through the mountain tops: green and pink northern lights. The beauty, magic and mystery of life on and off planet Earth fascinated and captivated me, perhaps life off Earth more than on.

            Life got busy after school. I went off to make my way: a living, boyfriends, a job, groceries, secondary school, more jobs, rent, more boyfriends, more school, husbands, children. Sidetracked by life’s duties, I became embroiled in earning a living, establishing a career and becoming successful in the workplace, followed by the parenting arena, oblivious to the cravings of my soul for the mysterious, for a return to curiosity and the great whodunnit.

~Taken from the upcoming book, The Yoga of Boiling Eggs, by Stephanie Hrehirchuk

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