15Here’s a phrase most of us know – if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” means, “Do your best.” Or, “Play the hand life has dealt you, to the best of your ability.” It also means you should take whatever you’ve been given that is sour, add enough sweet to it, and voila, you’ll be better off.

I say if life gives you lemons, have lemons. Sadness, disappointment and misfortune are the opposite sides of joy, gladness, and good fortune. Without grief and sorrow, there is no happiness. (It’s like the flipside of a coin; you can’t have a coin with no backside to it.)

Who wants lemons – grief, sorrow, misery?

Probably no one. But if that’s what you’ve been given, why not accept it?

Would you assume you should add “bitterness” to the “sweet” things you are given? If not, then why would you add sweet to the bitter?

The assumption behind “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is that we have the power to “turn that frown upside down.”

I don’t think so.

I don’t even think we can control our own thoughts. We can’t FORCE ourselves to be happy with lemons.

Yes, we can control our thoughts – to a point.
Similarly, we can control our breathing. Or our blinking. But…

Try this:

If I were to challenge you to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for one full hour or to blink exactly 5 times at the start of every minute for an hour, could you?

Technically you could, but I doubt you would.

Why not? You’re not practiced at it. You might get lost, confused, or bored as you find yourself unable to focus your mind on the mundane task.

Similarly, with your thoughts – you could attempt to change your thoughts, but if you’re not practiced at the act of changing your thoughts, you’re not going to find it easy.

People who are practiced at watching – not controlling – their thoughts have become more masterful at the art of letting their thoughts just be. They’re not practicing meditation in order to “find happiness” – they’re practicing so they can be at peace with their thoughts, exactly as they are. Even the “yucky” ones.

Maybe we should take a tip from the experts on that one.

This week’s spiritual-religious advice:
We will always face sorrow, fear, and “lemons” in our lives. We need to learn to live with those things.

With love,

rabbi_brian_name_written

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