A Life Well Lived
Late last year my family and wider whanau gathered to celebrate the life of my Nana who passed away peacefully at the age of 97. So much of who I am and what I do is a reflection of her life and the lessons she passed on to those around her.
Like so many of her generation Nana always kept a large vege garden, eating seasonally, organically and fresh from it every day. What was unusual about Nana, is that she ate much of her fruit and vege’s raw, when the popular consensus was to boil your cabbage and brussels sprouts to a flavourless mush!
There were always salads on the table instead of roast veges and she also started juicing her vegetables after reading up on the health benefits of this. Nana healed herself and her family from many ailments with the power of raw fruits, veges and juicing. At times she ate only raw foods for extended periods to allow her body to recover when resting up was not an option (she was married at 18 and had 4 boys to raise!)
I’m not sure as a young person I fully appreciated the joy of gardening. Turning over and planting a quarter acre of potatoes or weeding the carrot patch during my summer holidays was not my idea of fun! However now, all those values inform my life and eating habits. I couldn’t imagine not juicing or enjoying food the way nature intended it, fresh from the garden.
I also believe that time spent around a table sharing food with others (be it our whanau, friends or community), feeds not only our bodies but also our souls. Finding joy and practising love in the midst of life's challenges was something Nana modelled so well and inspires me to embrace life everyday.
It seems appropriate, as we enter another year of uncertainty and change, that we hold onto what we value and allow this to strengthen and shape us for the days ahead.