When life gives you lemons, cool down with some lemonade!

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

As a life time devotee of a more tropical climate, I couldn’t be happier that the sun is finally out and looks here to stay for a while at least. Ordinarily I’d be arranging to meet friends for a refreshing alfresco beverage somewhere or going for a picnic in a beautiful park. Unfortunately I can’t do any of these things because I have to self isolate until next Wednesday.

For someone who loves to be active and get out and about this is going to be a challenge to say the least. I’d like to say my kids are sad they are missing school but frankly they are delighted to just have an excuse to spend more time on their devices. I thank my lucky stars that we have a garden. I’m not sure Monty Don would rate it that highly, but without it, there’s a good chance I might actually go stir crazy. In the past my poor old garden has been taken for granted and we’ve let the weeds go wild but now I’m so grateful for this outside space that I could literally do a Pope John Paul II and get down on my knees and kiss it.

Joking aside, I recognise that I’m very fortunate. There were plenty of families who were cooped up in cramped flats with no access to an outside space during lockdown. In fact given the amazing weather we are having I'm trying to make the most of the situation by spending as much time in the garden as I can, just reading and chilling. These are things I don't normally get to do so much because, well you know, life. With no school run twice a day or Yoga classes to rush to or shopping to pick up, I've suddenly got a lot more time to spend in my hammock. For someone like me whose default mode is fast and busy, this slower pace is actually pretty welcome. I might not have chosen to have quite so much downtime but I'm using it as an opportunity to recharge my batteries and top up my tan. There is a silver lining after all.

So while it’s a major inconvenience to be stuck at home, it could be a whole lot worse. In fact the self isolation is actually small fry in comparison with other areas of my life that let’s just say could be running a lot smoother. I’m not ready to open up about this just yet, but suffice to say that life has served up a fair few lemons over the past 18 months or so. It’s been tough for many people and I’m certainly not saying that my lemons are bigger than yours (!) or that I’ve been given more, we all have our own stuff to deal with.

Having a regular Yoga and meditation practice has helped me navigate the tricky waters I have found myself in of late more that I can possibly convey. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s probably prevented me from sinking into real depression. When I meditate or practice Yoga asana it helps ground me and brings about an inner stillness and calm to my thoughts and emotions. But my practice is so much more than what I do on the mat, it influences how I react and cope in stressful situations too. Each time I meditate or do Yoga I feel like I'm saving up for a rainy day or for when life dishes up more lemons if you like. It helps build reserves of resilience and allows me to appreciate that we often grow the most when we have had to endure great difficulty. Like the lotus flower we can emerge from the mud renewed and refreshed. Of course sometimes I also totally lose it just like everyone else, I’m not perfect, far from it. But what I do know is that I would be in a right old pickle if I hadn’t discovered Yoga all those years ago.

One of the most significant shifts it has brought about is that it’s helped me to be present much more frequently whilst accepting that nothing is permanent. So today I might get lemons, tomorrow it might be mangoes next week it might be something else. Even when things feel pretty intense and you can’t see a way out it’s incredibly helpful to know in your heart that things will eventually shift, bringing better, happier times. If we focus on the enormity of a challenge ahead then it can often seem totally insurmountable and we just sink into despair. But if we just take things one step at time by focusing on this very moment, and then the next, and then the one after that then things can become infinitely more bearable. We might not know when or how a difficult situation will become resolved, but we can have faith that it will.

So while my period of self isolation and the challenges that I currently find myself facing persist I will keep on making lemonade. I know that the happier days ahead will be so much sweeter for having had to swallow the bitter pill of disappointment first.

If you want to find me I’ll be self isolating in my hammock in my garden drinking, yep you guessed it, some ice cold lemonade.


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