Googling a lemonade recipe is pretty simple these days. Best Lemonade ever, they boast. It is also easy to get the simple ingredients; lemons, sugar, water, and ice. But try googling ‘how you can get over a bad-ass lemon and make lemonade’! Unlike real lemons, our lemons are all different, some are big, some are small, some knock your breath away, some shake you to your core and some are more annoying then devastating! Some take seconds to convert to sweetness, some take a life time.
Furthermore, unlike sugar, we all differ in what makes life sweet and, even more perplexing is that, we don’t know how to convert the bitterness of a lemon of life to the sweetness. How was I to know that, in the aftermath of the accident, life would become brighter, more joyful, more sweet. It seems like an oxymoron! So what is it? How is it that a woman, a victim of domestic violence comes out stronger, happier, more fulfilled because of it? What is it that turns the bitterness to sweetness, how do we find the sugar?
During our rehabilitation in Canada, I had the good fortune to spend time in dog parks…. I know, please bear with me in understanding what this has to do with lemons!!!!!! Dog parks are a funny place, kind of a dog meets consequential stranger situation. People would ask me what I do. “I am a Life Coach”, I’d say. “What dos a Life Coach do?” “Well, you know when life throws you lemons, I help folks make whatever they want out of them, their own lemonade!” I’d answer. And then inevitably, they would share their lemon stories with me.
One lady’s husband had suffered a severe stroke and suddenly, she found herself not only without her partner but as a full-time caregiver, exhausted, lonely, and worried. So, she rescued a little dog, named Wicket (name has been changed to protect Wicket’s privacy). Her twice-daily visits to the dog park with Wicket, were HER time, her time to get out, to get away, to feel ‘normal’. This was her sweetener a way of taking away the bitterness of the stroke! Another lady had a similar lemon story…. Her husband had Parkinson’s and her once-active, cheerful mate had become listless and depressed, so her visits to the park with her rescue dog named Chloe became a bright, sweet part of her day!
Leaving, the dog park discoveries. I learned that the battered woman found her sweetener in the Yoga studio, the young bereaved widow in her little girls, the suddenly deaf musician in his paintings, and so on and so on. One of my first post accident sweeteners, was to be able to lovingly cook beautiful meals and eat them by the cozy fire.
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And so, it turns out that to find the sweetness in life, after being thrown a lemon is a key ingredient to making lemonade. What that sweetness is, is as individual as each one of us…. but it is a crucial part of the recipe! So, next time life throws you a lemon, find your own sweetener, look for what has brought you joy in the past, or what you think might bring you joy. Start big, start small but start! Today Right now!