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The Previously Unpublished Life of Rick Pursell - Abridged

Once upon a time a long, long,time ago, in a timeless place a long, long, away and before I incarnated into this body, I was invited to join a bunch of brave souls to volunteer for a incredibly adventurous mission.

It went something like this; a firm but loving, non-gendered voice called out with the request: “I am looking for volunteers for an extraordinary mission to a little blue planet, which the inhabitants have almost completely f**ked up” or something along those lines. I did mention it was a long time ago and my memory is a little hazy these days.

I do recall however, that there was a bunch of us, keen, fresh-faced souls, busting for an adventure into the unknown and quite a bit of jostling was going on. Not being one to miss out on a good sojourn, my hand immediately shot up and I yelled out “I’ll go”!!

Several of my comrades, elbowing their way to the front of the pack (and if you are reading this, you know who you are) were equally keen to join and a tad over-exuberant in their jostling, may have upset some of the slower volunteers, but in the end, we all secured our places.

We were given various tasks and mission statements to bring into fruition on arrival at our destination and I for one received a large tan-coloured, cardboard box.

Its dimensions were one metre by one metre by one metre high. Now I have to admit, I didn’t know much about calculus, arithmetic, trigonometry or algebra in those pre-birth days, which was to prove a little embarrassing in my early childhood school days as my oldest daughter will testify, but thankfully, I was informed that the contents of this said cardboard box equated to one square metre. It wasn’t that heavy though.

The sides and bottom were plain and affixed on the lid was a picture of the most exquisite landscape I had ever seen or imagined. I must have led many very cloistered lives prior to this, as I had never ventured to anywhere where the mountains were so spectacular, the azure blue sky so clear, the cotton wool clouds so fluffy and white. I had never seen such emerald green vistas, or the blue, clear waters of a mountain stream, witnessed such rainbow coloured birds, or brilliant butterflies. The scenery I had experienced up until then had been pretty dull. Lunar and Martian-like landscapes had been the norm.

I gazed upon this vision of exquisite beauty for some no-time. Did I mention where I was, was beyond time and space, so in reality, I have no idea how much no-time I gazed, but forgive me, I digress.

Shortly thereafter, we were given our exact departure dates, which were aligned to some weird astrological occurrences that were supposed to shape our character or something similar, once we reached our destination.

I was advised my name at this chosen destination would be Richard of the lion heart and not to accept any other moniker such as Bill, Fred or Walter, as this would cause all sorts of confusion in my Numerology Chart and I would find myself spending an inordinate amount of time trying to explain to fellow travellers, why I behaved so badly.

Apparently, there were more pressing matters at hand that went beyond the smallness of visiting school headmaster’s offices to explain why I was late, had pulled little Gertrude’s pig tails or had written on the blackboard “Gravity Sucks” and besides, in my pre-pre-pubescent state, I had no idea what “f**ked up” meant and didn’t fully comprehend the gravity of the mission I had volunteered for.

And so it was, after creating this body in the safety of my mothers womb, the most spectacular manifestation of my life on Earth (so far anyway), I burst forth, or in this case third, as my two other brothers beat me to it, into the world of dualism, clutching my one and only prized possession, a one cubic metre cardboard box, the contents within remained a mystery and unseen.

Despite her difficult childbirth, my mother never once complained to me about my arrival and my attachment to the cardboard box, although her long recovery time was mentioned by my Dad to me quite a few times when he got heated and that I was the cause of him going without his marital delights for what he described “a very, very long time”. Needless to say as I grew older, he had no affinity or interest in my cardboard box.

As it was, I soon discovered to my utmost distress, that I had left the top of the box with its glorious picture, behind in no-time, no-space.

Imagine my despair!

Did I mention, that before we exited no-time, no-space, we were all given one of those Men in Black thingies that you look at and it erases your complete memory? So my beloved scene was gone and all that remained was a box full of jigsaw puzzle pieces that made absolutely no sense and my mission was to make sense of it. “Put all the pieces together and you will figure out your Life Purpose and what it is you have to do to get the Planet Earth unf**ked up” I was told.

Just stop and ponder for a moment, what a cubic metre mound of jigsaw puzzle pieces looks like. It’s big isn’t it?

I spent much of my spare childhood time trying to figure out how put the pieces together. I mean it can’t be that hard can it? If it is blue colour, then there is a good chance of it being the sky right? Did I mention a river running through the scene, a blue watered river?

Eventually, swelled with the success at finding the four corners and the entire straight-sided bits, I bragged to my unimpressed brothers that I would have this mastered in no time. It was around about this time that I learned from my Dad, the word naïve.

Of course my early success was short-lived, for as soon as I had the edges sorted out the real challenge began.

Years later and much laboring over my puzzle, it started to dawn on me that this was the picture of my life and as soon as I had all the pieces in place, my life would become easy-squeezy and I could coast my way along from there, probably sipping Margaritas, whilst lounging around a pool in some exotic location, like Bali perhaps?

Naivety has played an important role in my life.

What I didn’t know was, that during my pre-life, life, little Gertrude had accidentally tipped the contents of her box into mine and I had, much to my chagrin, pieces that just would not fit in anywhere. So what does an adventurous boy do who is completely stumped and baffled, he creates a separate puzzle with the renegade pieces.

Over the years two quite different jigsaw puzzles emerged. One a spectacular scene filled with beauty, nature, love, compassion and caring and the other filled with fear, separateness and superiority. Slowly they took shape, with me convinced the latter had nothing to do with me and sometimes judgmental towards poor little Gertrude concerning her clumsiness, which spoilt my picture and wasted my time.

It was around this time that I learned that denial was not a river in Egypt.

Of course, I spent most of my time on the “Good” puzzle, seeking out all the happy pieces that completed a section of my life picture and wallowed in my achievements, but on occasions, I was drawn to the darker puzzle and painfully, it too came together.

I guess as time progressed and I became busier with my life, my work, family, entertainment, etc., I didn’t have as much spare time and my focus was centred on the “good” puzzle and getting it completed. However, there in the centre of this huge picture, was an undeniable gap that refused to be filled, until one day, I brought the two puzzles out onto the same table and lo and behold, it became patently obvious that the two fitted together!!

What a painful realisation that I had spent so much time laboring over half of my life story, when the other half was staring in me in the face all that time!

The missing ingredients were assembled within one puzzle and the puzzle took on a life of its own – my life.

I now fully understood that for my life to be complete, both sides of my character, my heart and soul and my ego-mind have to be integrated into one seamless, yin yang picture.

My puzzle is yet to be finished and I believe this will occur on my final, outward breath of this body and there is no urgency to complete my life story, for I am quite happy to let the remaining pieces fall into place as they will.

And the box you may well ask?

Well this is how I see it now.


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