This was written by Jorma Kaukonen about his divorce, and somewhat strangely, somewhat understandably is often chosen for weddings…but I would like it played at my funeral. Because I would like people to carry their happy memories of me along with them, to see a cat’s cradle of variegated yarn or a huge abstract painting or a wonky trifle or a solstice cake with stars and candles, to hear some African dance music or political rock and think of me, with fondness and a smile. However separate we then will be, an essence will hopefully remain, a reminder to live well and take risks and make the space to laugh and be joyful, whatever the chaos around, a feeling of being loved for connecting to nature and art and beauty and reaching across brokenness to heal and help others, for standing for what matters, for integrity and positivity and creativity…these are the qualities I try to affirm in my friendships and indeed, all my daily dealings. To feel that death is not an end to my support of and love, but just a change…

Dying well requires living well, as Tzu Jan puts it, “the balance of forces and energies”, of what actions are taken and what spaces allowed, of giving and receiving, being the performer and then the audience, taking turns, playing fair, fighting fair when necessary. Being aware that possessions may end up possessing you, so living lightly, enjoying experiences and leaving happy memories in your wake. Having a ripple effect of empowerment, of encouraging others to blossom, celebrating their achievements, but most importantly their risk to be themselves in a society that would rather we were all fear and shame ridden consumers, buying happiness on a payment plan that never really delivers because if it did…we’d never buy anything we didn’t truly need again! and then where would they be?!

So I have spent a long time trying to live lightly by choosing fairtrade and organic produce, little by little, until they are the norm – and then, such a lovely thing today, I went to Lidl and bought sugar – they had white or demerara, and both were fairtrade! I can remember when almost no biscuits were vegetarian, now they all are, and as Britain eats biscuits by the ton, that’s an enormous swing, and this felt similar, no fuss, no bother, just the only choices of sugar were fairtrade…and easily affordable, because the market is so big now. The devil is in the detail, but so is the grace…anyway, that is my tiny/enormous happiness of the day 😉 that i used my “force” to support Traidcraft in the mid 80s when they first organised and imported fairtrade sugar and I told people all over Tyneside how to get to the one shop where it could be bought over the counter and now my energy has joined with a worldwide pool, so I need no effort other than going to my nearest affordable supermarket…

By taking a fair share of what is at the table, when it is a list of tasks to be done or bills to be paid means getting to enjoy it when it is a box of organic vegetables or a slice of lemon meringue cheesecake (the best birthday cake I was ever given!) and seeing these sweet changes (sorry, couldn’t resist!) while i still have so much life ahead of me (I hope!) doubles the pleasure…

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