Freda Shaw, my gran

The wisdom in a cup of sugar.

My journey across the cancer seas and beyond.

Feels great to be adding beyond into the title of my blog. One step beyond theme tune is playing around my head as I sit peeling off the layers of the past 9 months and reflecting on it all. The journey has been arduous and all the more challenging with the pandemic as a backdrop. When did we all enter this dystopian drama? Was it last year with the start of lockdowns, or was it the early versions of man starting to tame nature way back in the aeons of time? It seems hard to comprehend.

From my perspective it looks very much like we are in the no man’s land that great change offers. The land is as dry and challenging as the cancer lands. And yet there is growth here, though often under great resistance. What was pulls against what is becoming and none of us have it figured out. Inside me there are massive cracks, places blown wide open from the chaos of what happened to me and my task ahead now in its aftermath. And all I can think is that the quality of my questions need to improve that I may continue to traverse this path of the living. Not that I know where it leads. Macrocosm and microcosm, we all reflect the state of each other, from outside to within. Is my journey any different than yours? Sure the content is different, but the anguish, hope and challenge feels all too human. As does the joy, love and tenderness.

In the in between, the place beyond what we knew, is there room for former baggage from our lives? How much of its relevant now? Or is it the clarity in our hearts that counts? The certainty of our inner value systems that will define our place in what emerges? Because from where I sit in deep observation, the weave of what we held true in our world is unravelling. There is no normal any more despite how much we yearn.

I have been thinking a lot about my gran these past months. In the time spent with her as a child I inadvertently learned my value system. It was through everyday example. Her comments of not understanding me but loving and accepting me anyway gave me curiosity for the differences in us. Her insistence upon chatting to each local shop keeper as she wove around the town. As a child I was always eager to move on and found the enforced time waiting massively frustrating. But the thing is she knew each person that supplied her food. She knew their family, farms, children, animals, marriages and deaths. They each formed the very ordinary backdrop of her community and she showed kindness and gave time to each of them.

And as to the cup of sugar, well that was the best bit. One day she went out to the next door to borrow some sugar for a cake she was making and then sent me round with half of it. She told me nostalgically that during the war when food was rationed they all used to do that, share their resources to make a cake and then share it around everyone. A little moment of joy in the midst of a cruel situation. Even though I don’t eat sugar or much cake these days, I live by her tradition. The free sharing of what we have, and who we are with each other is as profound as it is simple. So, we are in the in between times, beyond what we knew and yet to find the next bit. I have a cup of sugar for you, do you have any metaphorical flour or eggs so we can make some much needed cake for the soul? I reckon we need to nourish each other in these times. Gran would very much approve.