When Marcela Telehanicova opened the living room curtains of her Devon, England home one morning she was astonished to see 107 garden gnomes arrayed in formation on her front walk. After blurting out, “Ok, who the f*** has put these gnomes outside my front door?!”… she burst out laughing because of the insanity of it all: Now that’s enthusiasm for life!
How would we react upon finding the front walk covered in garden gnomes? How do we react when life throws us an unexpected curve ball? Is our first reaction anger? Frustration? Anxiety? It has been said that when life hands you lemons you should make lemonade… but what if you don’t know how? I suspect that it takes practice. We are so busy yearning for what we don’t have, for where we are not… that we are blind to what is in front of us, and being blind we miss the opportunities built into today which could get us to where we yearn to be, which could help us to become who we want to be. So the first step in making lemonade is to stay rooted in today, even if it is the lemon of not being where we want to be.
It is all too true that we become what we focus upon, so becoming aware of our focus is important. Do we keep focusing on the negative moments and negative people in our day? Catching ourselves focusing on negativity is a lemon that we need to grab hold of. Having become aware of a dark attraction to negativity, in order to break its hold on us it might be necessary to even deliberately make an agenda of seeking out positive things. Some people are, by nature enthusiastic about almost everything; the rest of us have to practice at it, so the second secret to making lemonade is to begin the new day determined to find SOMEthing about which to be enthusiastic! Yes, that might feel awkward and unnatural to us, but like a pair of new shoes the more we exercise this new mindset the more it starts to feel right. If we are not enthusiastic by nature then, like a fire, what little enthusiasm we might have needs to be fed in order to be kept alive. Short of drug-dealing and prostitution involvement in almost anything that catches our interest can stoke our enthusiasm for the day in which we find ourselves.
In speaking about his Uncle Oswald, Roald Dahl wrote: “I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” So the third and final step in making daily lemonade is to combine steps one and two, add the sugar of a daily treat… something we like to do, something we like to eat, someone we like to be with… and stir!