When life gave lemons to our guest editor, Mr Brian Saunders, he decided to make lemonade!
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! There was a poster saying this in the English Teacher’s Room at my school. As a youngster, I never understood what that meant. The poster showed a rough hand pushing the lemons through an ancient mincer. It seemed most unpleasant. All I knew was that the end result was very tasty. It was only as an adult that I understood the idea that if you encounter hard times in your life, then you should use them to make something good. Great idea, of course. But easier said than done, for sure! So, how to make lemonade in life?
- First, prepare the ‘syrup’ by dissolving sugar in water. One striking thing about our modern-day life is that we spend so little time making ‘good syrup’; taking the really sweet experiences of life and really absorbing them. I’ve noticed that many recipes suggest you make the syrup in advance and leave it to infuse with herbs like mint or rosemary. Gain a strong foundation in life by not just having good experiences, but savouring them and taking time to live them, not photographing them! Let the warmth of the dissolving process be the time and feeling you give to these memories.
- Next, squeeze the lemons to release their juice. Oh dear, I hear you say, this is where the pain comes in. Yes, maybe. Life does send us some trials and troubles. I’m not suggesting that you make the problems worse. But, conversely, fighting them or denying them won’t help either. What we can do is to try to stand aside a little and ‘observe’ them. As I read more about ‘mindfulness’ I come to see that standing aside a little makes such a difference. We can try to observe the challenge and try a little to ‘disconnect’ from it. Perhaps it’s like watching the lemons squeeze themselves!
- Next, collect the lemon juice you’ve squeezed and use it. Life’s experiences are really there to be used. I wonder so often how valuable we could be to others if we were only willing to admit and accept our mistakes and offer to help others, instead of hiding away. There are many people out there in the world facing your challenges too. Did you ever think that they might benefit from your learning? Question is, will you admit and share? Do you feel safe enough to help?
- Then mix the strong lemon and syrup mixture with water. The old song says, ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down’… One of the most amazing steps I’ve taken recently is to turn my thoughts every day to some gratitude for all that I have and the experiences I enjoy. I honestly believe that if we choose to be grateful for what we do have, some of the other ‘stuff’ that we don’t want could be a lot more palatable. Adding the sweetness of thanks to those sour experiences we sometimes meet is like a piece of alchemy. It really does release amazing tastes.
- Finally, stir and taste and then add ice or even garnish for chill and for variation. Great lemonade gets made by mixing all of the experiences, not just the ones we like. Adding the extra garnish and chill of variety and challenge to our lives is worth it for the taste. When life gives you lemons, don’t hide away, make GREAT LEMONADE!