In a recent podcast for Lemonspark, Megan Tull said something very powerful about a retreat she attended years ago. She said the retreat forced her off “autopilot” and to ask herself what she wants in life. She had never asked herself that question before, and in that moment, she realized she was not living the life she wanted. So she decided to change and hasn’t looked back.
That’s the thing about life’s lemons. Like retreats, they push the “pause” button on our life. Out of necessity, our normal life suddenly stops. Everything we thought we knew about our surroundings, whether it is the physical environment, our jobs, our family, or ourselves, is called into question. It is a very unsettling time and space in which to live. I know during one of my lemons, I felt alone and even abandoned by some of my closest friends. “Normal” activities, like shopping for bathroom tile, seemed so unattainable to me.
But here’s what that dark time in my life also gave me: a chance to look inward, and outward, about what I wanted life to look like after the smoke cleared. My lemon decimated my existing landscape. It was like a bomb blasted into my life and left nothing but ashes of my former life. It was up to me to rebuild. In a way, the lemon gave me another chance to reframe my life. With what I thought were my most precious parts of my life now gone, I could imagine a new way of living. I could move to a big city, get a different job, change my name, start a business, write a book. The possibilities were truly endless, if I desired it.
During so many moments of our life we operate on autopilot without stopping to ask whether we are living the life we were meant to live. Unless something gets thrown in our path, we may never stop to ask that hard question. It takes a lot of energy to stop inertia, much less ponder our purpose in life. Life’s lemons are strong enough to stop us in our tracks and make us answer the hard questions. They truly can be a blessing in disguise, if you are willing and able to embrace that fact.