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The Value of Simple Joy

By Guru Kaur

A list came round recently on Facebook of ten things that money can't buy. For the sake of completeness here it is:

  1. Manners
  2. Morals
  3. Respect
  4. Character
  5. Common Sense
  6. Trust
  7. Patience
  8. Class
  9. Integrity
  10. Love

When I look at this list, what stands out to me is how these essentially describe a selfless being who is enlightening his soul not offloading his emotions by dumping on others. They reflect the human who enjoys life in its most simple, and therefore most beautiful, form.

When I read that list again I see that this list best describes those who have faced challenges and healed through them. These are not states of consciousness which can be bought for money, nor necessarily can they be bought in time. They are the result of education in the true meaning of the word: they are brought out of your inner core to your outer expression of who you are and what you stand for. They are values.

Today Nick, Millie-Pup and I went together en famille to Borough Market and The Spa Terminus for our household weekly shop. Nick last came with me at the end of August last year, gosh ten months ago already, when he presciently ordered a Borage Honey for Courage for me to collect a couple of weeks later in what became a watershed experience of my understanding of Food for Life, Food for Thought. What happened that weekend was the cherry on the cake of what became (another of) our Annus Horribilis, only then to evolve into a beautiful Annus Transformabilis. Throughout this time it was Nick's values, as given in that list of ten, which kept him alive, and both of us going while that great and oft repeated phrase of the Bible, "And it came to pass," worked through time and space to create a healing at an inner core level.

It is when we are most in pain that our values are susceptible to slide yet in all this Nick has blossomed with wisdom, fortitude and most of all gratitude.

The market operates on several levels underpinned by a community of market traders, then a layer of regular weekly shoppers, and iced with lathers of tourists. What keeps it all operating without descending into chaotic mayhem is the shared values of its foundations. First up, all those who work there love the produce they sell as much as their customers do. The customers have great respect not only for the quality of what we can buy there but also how without the whole infrastructure and clientele it simply wouldn't be one of the finest food markets around. There is a very simple joy in experiencing how the order just works.

Deeper than that though, was the very simple delight in seeing Nick back in a place he loves enjoying the beauty of the simplest experience. We just don't have the garden to grow more and so we first pick up on our food chain here in the market. After the shopping, we prepare and cook all our own food, serve it, what Glorious Food, and then clean up. The received wisdom in the media and the meme around which modern day society operates is that there is nothing more demeaning than household and kitchen chores, including cooking and feeding the family. Yet this is not just food of the heart and soul of a community; it is also the key to its most cherished, yet elusive, state: health and happiness.

Last week Nick went to see the Diabetic Nurse at one of the top London hospitals. Poor thing, she simply couldn't understand why Nick was showing all the signs of outstanding health despite the sugar crisis he went through nearly ten months ago. She couldn't understand that he didn't want to eat Tracker bars and inject himself with higher units of insulin. The booklet she gave him about food includes crisps under vegetables; vegetables, listed in less than half a page, are predominantly potatoes, and exclude pretty much most vegetables we eat, all other root vegetables and leafy greens; it has four pages on confectionery, biscuits and cakes, and two on snacks. Her view was that Nick could give himself the pleasure of a sugary treat whenever he wanted failing to see that his values are based on something far deeper than pleasure.

As we emptied the shopping baskets we were united in the simple enjoyment of all the beautiful cornucopia that Mother Earth has bestowed on us: the plump red gooseberries, good enough to eat from the punnet; the aubergines and courgettes, the bags of greens plucked only yesterday; raspberries fresh from the field this dawn, nasturtium and courgette flowers, radishes so loved by Peter Rabbit; fresh feta and mozzarella. As we each stacked away the raw ingredients for our week ahead of healing, the awe of gratitude for the power to heal enveloped us both.

More than anything, it was the sheer happiness of just being together, enjoying each and every moment of life together, uninterrupted and yet only half an hour ten months ago from being but a memory. Now it's a moment to treasure; every moment is to treasure. And that is something beyond that list of what money can't buy: companionship and community.

Photo: Nick Fleming and Millie-Pup at Borough Market; Photo by Guru Kaur

Guru Kaur founded the online course and community Be the Woman You were Born to Be in 2007 (www.be-the-woman.com). This continues daily to inspire women around the world no matter what challenges they face to develop as fulfilled and rounded women learning through the collective wisdom of an intimate global community and a highly insightful and practical 42 day course which can be taken at a pace to suit the individual.  Guru Kaur also teaches monthly Kundalini Yoga masterclasses in London. For more information please visit www.gurukaur.com