Monday, June 17, 2013

What We Can Learn From Storms, Rhubarb ... and Lemons?

Even though my gardening endeavors have gone from full-scale, all-out yardage to container gardening on my porch, I till like to keep up with what’s going on in the gardening world via blogs and newsletters. My current favorite blog is, “A Way To Garden,” by Margaret Roach, author of a book by the same name in addition to my all time favorite, “And I Shall Have Some Peace Here,” and her newest, “Backyard Parables.” Margaret has a wit that I connect to, both of us having come from the Big Apple to reinvent ourselves in the wilds of upstate New York. She has also become quite an experienced gardener, all of it self-taught.

Last week Margaret shared with her readers the plight of her garden after a particularly nasty storm which included some large hail. Alas, her rhubarb was quite torn to shreds. Now Margaret is a veteran of many, many storms of every variety so rather than have a negative reaction to this event, she chose instead to take a positive approach – she simply pulled up the plants and set about the task of making rhubarb compote, crumble and syrup. But not just any compote, crumble and syrup. She decided to make new and improved, healthier varieties of compote, crumble and syrup. In essence, she took what might be conceived as a bad experience and found a way to make something positive come out of it.

I’m sure you’ve all heard that tired old saying, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” However, as we get older, the lemons seem to come at us with more and more frequency: we lose our jobs, a spouse dies or leaves us single again for the first time in decades, the kids leave the nest, parents, friends and other family members pass, and suddenly we are alone and wondering what to do next. I know there have been some spirited discussions recently on VN about these very subjects, and Margaret’s experience got me to thinking about applying some of her home-grown logic to these experiences as well.

What we can do when the lemons are coming at us is to throw out that old lemonade recipe and create a new and improved one. We can get rid of all the old ways we used to define ourselves that involved our “roles” and start writing a whole new story, a new and improved one that is no longer fiction, but real life, real you stories.

I know, I know, change is hard and scary, but more often than not it is much scarier in our minds than it actually turns out to be. First you dip a toe in, then the whole foot, and before you know it you’ve taken the plunge and surfaced as a whole new, and authentic, you. This is the you that creates her life in a new and improved way that nourishes her spirit as well as her body.

Who knows? You may end up the world’s greatest authority on lemonade!

And so it is.