Not all lemons make lemonade
As you go about your daily life, you will encounter many lemons. Sour expressions, sour attitudes, sour auras! The good thing is that if you don’t want to be a lemon, you don’t have to be! Just don’t let those lemons rub themselves all over you! And you don’t even have to save them! Just let lemons be lemons! -C. Joybell C.
photo: Morning Accomplishments by PositivelyAnne
As the morning sun was just peaking over the hill behind our house, I sat in my favorite chair, enjoying my first cup of coffee, when through the window I spotted a pair of doves who had begun the process of building a nest in our lemon tree.
The nest was being built in the apex of two branches towards the back of the tree. These branches were covered with dark green leaves and laden with bright yellow citrus fruit. One of the doves appeared to be in charge of gathering the twigs to make the nest and I watched it as it scoured the ground underneath a nearby pepper tree, where it would bring back to the waiting dove a single twig of the exact same size as all the others lining the nest. The other dove would take that twig and maneuver it in place using their beak, head and breast. One layer of twigs laid vertically and then another layer laid horizontally on top of that layer and then all layers compressed to form a sphere.
I got up from my chair, face pressed against the window, and I marveled at the architectural, construction and engineering skills of these two birds. I’m supposedly smarter than doves and yet, I can’t cut a piece of lumber without measuring and remeasuring and here each twig this bird gathered was somehow proportionate to the previous twig. How could that be? And that spherical shape…what’s up with that? I certainly couldn’t build anything spherical without…well, I can’t build anything spherical period!!!
What really caused me to pause was the fact that the doves were building this amazing creation completely surrounded by dozens and dozens of really large lemons. Some of the lemons appeared to be heavier, and larger, than their tiny bodies, and many of the lemons were hanging directly, ominously, over their handiwork. All it would take is quick snap of a stem, a wayward fruit dropping and all that these two industrious creatures had worked so hard to create would be destroyed. Yet, the doves seemed completely unphased by the lemons and just diligently went about the work they had set out to do.
Maybe the birds weren’t too smart after all. I mean I wouldn’t build my house with a potential disaster looming overhead like that.
A thought crossed my mind:
“Not all lemons make lemonade.”
photo: Lemon Reflections by PositivelyAnne
Practicing positivity requires a certain level of “intentional awareness” of life’s lemons: the people, the places and the things, that bring one down and impact a person in a negative way. A few years back, I made a list of the lemons in my life and it was a bit humbling to discover that even positive folks like me can get caught up in some pretty sour situations, with some pretty sour people.
But being “aware” of life’s lemons is a totally different proposition then feeling compelled to try and make lemonade out of ALL OF THEM!
Is that even possible to do? To make lemonade out of all of the people, places and things that bring us down. Or were the doves onto something? Is it possible to be your positive self, do your thing, surrounded, just as these doves are, by life’s lemons?
When I was a little girl, I remember being very sensitive to anyone in my life, be it family, friend or stranger, who had a sour disposition or approached life in a negative way. Although I didn’t have much life experience, I had a keen awareness that there were some people in the world, who preferred to stay sour lemons. The folks who had no interest in making lemonade and made it their mission to make life difficult for others. I didn’t understand that. I wasn’t wired that way.
Now this did not include the folks I knew with horrible childhoods or who were poor, suffering from depression, mental illness or addiction issues. As complex as those issues were for a little girl to process, I somehow understood that there was a difference between being a victim of your circumstances and “consciously choosing” to be a lemon in life by permanently wallowing in anger, nastiness and hate.
As I got older, my concern for doing something about these individuals who checked off “lemon” as a lifestyle turned into a compulsion to where I felt I had to turn these lemons into lemonade any time I encountered one!
And that meant lots of sleep lost and lots of disappointment for me.
Life, in case you aren’t as attune to it as me, is sure full of a lot of lemons!
Families! Friends! Communities! Workplaces! Schools! Churches! Grocery Stores! Banks! Airplanes! The list is endless…
LEMONS! LEMONS! LEMONS!
Literally, I’m drowning in lemons…a heavy, depressive pile of lemons! What happened to positivity in this world? What happened to light and hope and peace?
Social Media is the worst of it. The divide and conquer mentality, the focus on all things that tear us apart, all the things that don’t matter in the end. I’m a cancer survivor so I know how futile it is to spend one precious moment of life focused on negativity. It’s a big reason I started a positivity blog. A happy place in cyber-space.
“Why does the world have to be so focused on the lemons, when it could be focused on making the lemonade?”
I remember one night recently, I unloaded on my husband (I owe him one!) my concern that the world was being taken over by negativity, a bunch of lemons with no interest in making lemonade. He said something along the lines of “Maybe, but they are not stopping you from doing what you do best. Be your positive self, which everyone appreciates and it’s natural for you. No matter what you do, there will always be some negative folks,” aka, some LEMONS!
I won’t tell you how I reacted. It wasn’t pretty. My poor hubby. Gosh I do love him so for putting up with me. I think I argued something to the effect that it was a cop out for me to just give those negative folks a pass without even trying to make lemonade.
But in the end, not looking forward to another sleepless night, I had to agree my hubby was right. My way wasn’t working. I was worn to a nub worrying about all of the lemons I couldn’t fix, when I was doing so much good with those who were open to positivity.
And truth be told, not a one of the stubborn lemons I had come across, either in my past nor in my present, was permanently stopping me from doing anything I wanted to do, least of all creating a successful positivity blog, talking about positivity, BEING POSITIVE!
It was me that was stopping me! Me that was so focused on bringing all of the lemons over to my side that I lost sight of the fact that I didn’t have to do that.
“Not all lemons make lemonade.”
I finished my morning coffee and looked out at the lone dove, work complete, sitting quietly on her nest, trusting life in the face of all of those lemons above and below and all around it. In fact, the more I looked at the bird nest, I began to notice the beauty in the lemons surrounding it. Their brightness of color, their different shapes and weights. Their importance in providing a cover and safety for the doves and at the same time a reminder of their vulnerability.
Maybe the doves are a little smarter than me after all. We all encounter lemons in life. Some will make lemonade sweeter than we’ve ever known, but many, and in some cases most, will only serve to remind us that we need to stay focused on our goals, on what makes us happy and positive.
photo: Lemon After Storm by PositivelyAnne
Sometimes, we just have to let the lemons be and build our nest the best way we know how. One positive step at a time.
You, Me, Us. Together.
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