When life hands you lemons…

when life hands you lemons“What to do when life hands you lemons” is not the post I had planned for this week.

But I got handed a bunch of lemons – figuratively – by being stranded for three days [going on four] just three hours from home due to a blizzard.

When life throws us curves [the proverbial lemons] we have choices: to fret and moan and sulk, or make the best of it.

Hence the analogy to the classic piece of advice: when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

My lemonade story

This past weekend, I taught a healing seminar in upper Wisconsin in the U.S.

My seven-hour drive home entailed driving south through Wisconsin and Illinois, through the great city of Chicago, and around the bottom of Lake Michigan to return to my home in Southwest Michigan.

Monday morning as I was en route, I received a call from the friend taking care of my animals that there were blizzard conditions in Michigan and I shouldn’t even think about trying to make it home.

My first thought was, “Holy $%^&#”

But then I went into solution mode and called a good friend who lives in Chicago and asked if she could put me up. Ironically, she lives in both Chicago and Michigan and was stranded in Michigan and couldn’t get home to Chicago.

So here I am staying in her lovely Chicago apartment, with doormen who escort me up and down the elevator, overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan from the Chicago side.

The sun is out and it couldn’t be lovelier [though it is VERY cold!]. And yet on the other side of the great lake is a blizzard. Hard to fathom.

I was determined not to let my initial frustration rule the day. How could I turn this situation around?

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Find something to be grateful for: I’m grateful that I have a generous friend providing me with a place to stay.
  1. Be flexible and inquisitive– learn to embrace sudden change. What can you do differently now that you’re thrown out of your routine? 

I have my laptop with me and am taking the opportunity to catch up on email and phone calls, write this week’s blog post and watch videos that educate and inspire me:

•  Talks on TED.com

•  Brendon Burchard

•  Tony Robbins

•  Webinars

•  And a myriad of educational videos on health and the body/mind connection that add to my knowledge base for teaching and writing.

  1. Stay disciplined: there are things I do every day at home that are a little more challenging to do while traveling and teaching: meditate and work out and eat well. So I walked to the store to buy the healthy food I’m used to, and found online yoga classes to take on yogainternational.com

The above three things are also things I need to be doing when I’m home. The more we practice a productive, healthy routine, the easier it becomes!

What lemons have you been handed and how can you turn it around?

Start with focusing on what works and be grateful for the little things.

Commit to those core daily practices that help you maintain a rhythm of balance: daily spiritual practice, healthy diet and some form of exercise.

That project you’ve been putting off? Now’s the time.

What action do you need to take that you’ve been procrastinating on?

Get serious about using your time well. Imagine you’re snowed in. Block out distractions and just get it done.

The last time I was snowed in for three days by a blizzard, I built a website!

A friend of mine is working on a book. He has a demanding full time job, so he’s blocked out weekends for writing. It’s inspired me to carve out special writing time, too.

When I was working on The Wind Is My Mother, I also had a full-time job. So I set the alarm for 5 am every morning and wrote for two hours before I had to go to my job.

Small steps add up to big results.

No time? I don’t believe it. Watch one less T.V. show a day and put that time into your special project.

And don’t buy into limiting beliefs – be expansive. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Be daring and adventurous.

In the words of the Nike commercial, “just do it!”

Use your challenges to your advantage. And please let me know how it works out for you!


Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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