Monday, November 2, 2009

How to Make Lemonade when Life gives you Lemons

– or perhaps some potent Lemon Drop Martinis at the very least…

I looked it up. You can find ANYTHING on the internet. Here is what I learned.

1. Life isn't fair, but it is still good.

Daddy told me this all my growing up. Every time I whined about something being unfair. It is true that our lives have unique challenges – some of which are related to our individual upbringing and personal development – others which are just thrust upon us randomly. But it is absolutely time to stop wasting our thoughts, time, energy and resources in ways that doesn’t benefit us. How can we move forward? Try this. Set a time to be miserable. Two days. Two weeks. Give yourself an outlet here. Do all the things you need to do to make sure you will be safe, and then, go ahead. Jump in with both feet, right into your misery, your hurt feelings, your despair, your lack of clarity - and WALLOW IN IT. Don't try to climb out of the pit until your time is up. Just stay in there and be MISERABLE. Think about kicking the dog (but do refrain). Give yourself a hangover. Listen to sad songs. Eat a whole dozen doughnuts, and then eat some junk food. Go whole hog.

And then, when the time is over, get up, dust yourself off, take a cold shower, open your eyes, and let’s get thinking. Look at the world anew. Think about things from a new perspective. Take a drive. Take a walk. Do shoulder stands against the wall - yes, get upside down. Look at things a different way – and see what happens.

2. Bird by Bird

Anne Lamont wrote a book by this title, describing how her brother had to think to get through a school project about birds.

We all need to do this, to trust our gut and our heart and go where we cannot see clearly. Put one foot in front of the other literally and figuratively. Resist the urge to go back to your misery - or even to your old way of looking at things. Wherever you go next it’s absolutely better than where you’ve been, because it is forward in your very own life. Just keep moving. This month with NaNoWriMo, I keep telling myself to take it word by word, sentence by sentence. You can do that too. Step by step.

3. Don’t compare your life to anyone else

Stop the what ifs, the if onlys and the coulda woulda shoulda urges. This doesn’t get you anywhere but unhappy. You are the only one that can be what you are. You are wonderful and can be what you want.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

What a Wonderful Affirming Liberating thought! Thank you Dr. Suess!

4. Help is not on the way –and today, that is a good thing.

If we stop looking to external circumstances, relying on others to “act right” or resorting to magical thinking we will realize no career, person, x amount of money or anything temporary will truly satisfy us. Peace of mind is the goal. This means we have to take care of ourselves first and foremost. So have a bubble bath, wouldya? Maybe just one glass of wine. Some celery sticks. Baked chicken. Yogurt.

Ok, now write down what you want. And let those thoughts start rolling around in your head, until you surprise yourself with a plan. An approach. A way. You are closer than you thought already, because you have been walking all this time, step by step.

5. Read the spiritual text of your preference – the Yoga Sutras, Psalms, your pick.

I think having a solid spiritual practice is a necessity. However you do it, however you find it, make it so. You will find yourself grounded and grateful at the same time.

6. If you don’t ask, the answer is no.

We’re not islands, alone unto ourselves. Everyone needs help from time to time, and so many of us are afraid to ask for it. But we all must build relationships and alliances. Find the space to try new things and be bold. Ask for help, and be grateful for it. Soon, someone will ask help of you. Come on. Let’s dance!

7. The best is yet to come!

Whatever has happened is done. We don’t have to repeat it. Today is a new day. We wipe the slate clean. This is why we put one foot in front of the other. This is how we move forward. This is what it means, to be a human on the planet. Hope for the future is how we grow, and how we go.


NancyB said...

Best post ever!!! Thank you for this. I am going to write down what I want, be specific, and create my spiritual plan. Bless you for this. It is so easy to get overhelmed when life deals a blow to you.

Thank you for this!!

Maggie said...

You don't mind if I take a warm shower or believe that if I don't ask, I won't get a "Yes?" Not a no. I like yes's.

Maggie said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving me a note. I was just going to take part in NoJoMo with thirty small entries on Journaling, and the flood gates fell open. It's frightening and dark, but illustrated. :)


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