Life’s Lemons!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. We can take a difficult situation and see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth. We can change our mind on how we see the situation and create openness. It doesn’t mean to give up or run away. It means to see clearly and wisely.

I have a hospice patient who is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is a disease affecting motor neurons of the spinal cord, which causes progressive weakness and atrophy of muscles. My patient is confined to a wheelchair, and he can only move his head. He was handed some major lemons.

I am surprised by my patient’s calm attitude and acceptance of his situation. It’s been a long two years for him. I’m sure he’s gone through a process of acceptance over time. My patient is happy with his life, and he has no regrets. He’s an amazing person!

When life hands us lemons, it’s hard to see that “this too shall pass.” But everything is temporary and impermeant. Our impermeant body is a blessing. Most of us will face the lemons of old age, illness, and eventually death.

What can we do when we have to face the lemons in our life? The making of lemonade is mindfulness, deep breathing, acceptance, positive attitude, resilience, and appreciation or gratitude. No one is perfect. There will be days when you don’t want to make lemonade – and that’s okay. A few days ago, I had a hospice patient who is consistently pleasant and happy, who said she was feeling angry that day. We are human – be human.

The main lessons that I learned from my hospice patients are to enjoy your life, be cheerful, and drink a lot of lemonade!

Namaste, world.

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Mindfulness in Action

“Mindfulness is an embodied knowing of our present moment experience. It’s being present with our experiences in real time rather than being reactive and mindless, and pulled along by whatever is happening around us. It’s not about getting rid of thoughts or even about relaxation. It’s about developing the skills for greater clarity and choosing how we respond in any given moment.” – Alex Haley, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing

Investing in Friends, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Even if we have a lot of money in the bank, we can die very easily from our suffering. So, investing in a friend, making a friend into a real friend, building a community of friends, is a much better source of security. We will have someone to lean on, to come to, during our difficult moments.

We can get in touch with the refreshing, healing elements within and around us thanks to the loving support of other people. If we have a good community of friends, we are very fortunate. To create a good community, we first have to transform ourselves into a good element of the community. After that, we can go to another person and help him or her become an element of the community. We build our network of friends that way. We have to think of friends and community as investments, as our most important asset. They can comfort us and help us in difficult times, and they can share our joy and happiness. – Thich Nhat Hanh