Thinking bigger than lemonade to ease the struggle of forced isolation
Today is Sunday, marking the start of our second week in self-quarantine in an effort to quell this social phenomenon we know as Corona Virus. Sounds dismal, doesn’t it? Well, that’s actually not my intention here. In fact, my hope is that I can take this time to use Creative Pause to its utmost potential. My topic today came to me as I was making the bed this morning and noticed the cushion that is there every day – see image (that’s my buddy Nero on the right). It’s about that metaphor we so often use to represent having been dealt a raw deal – the Lemon.
You know, that wonderful and multi-purpose fruit we so quickly judge to be bitter, and need to sweeten in order to make palatable? And in so doing, we feel the need to turn it into something different – lemonade. Not a terrible idea, noted, but what if said lemonade isn’t actually what’s needed? What’s wrong with a lemon, and why do we instantly feel it has to be diluted in sugar and water in order to be appreciated? Wow. I know, I’m waxing philosophical, but think about it. What if we paused, and looked at the lemon for what it is, all it can be, and think about what we need right now, from the lemon each of us is holding in our hands at this moment.
Why? Because we all share this challenge put before us, however each one of us may need something different in order to accept, adapt to, and get through this crazy time of self-imposed isolation. Now is an opportune moment to look at this lemon before us, and turn it into the thing we need most right now. For me, that’s not lemonade, as I’ve chosen to accept this challenge for what it is, and make it better in ways I find more positive and productive for me. No lemonade haters here. Good on you for keeping it positive.
After taking a bit of time to pause, this is the narrative I’m composing as I strive to see the positive in this challenging time:
I have been given a gift I didn’t ask for or want. Like it or not, this has come to me like many other challenges I face an a regular basis. Everyone got it, so I just need to accept it and do so graciously.
There’s no return policy, so I’m stuck with it. There’s no avoiding it and any efforts I make to do so is only prolonging the pain. Literally and figuratively.
It isn’t going to last forever. So I need to do something good with it before it starts to go bad and is useless to me. The last thing I want to do is look back on all this free time and regret having wasted it. This will undoubtedly be a historical milestone we will be proud to have been part of.
Should I be making lemonade right now? Nice thought, but maybe not for me. I’m not thirsty, nor is lemonade something I want or need right now. Too much sugar, and it’s freezing outside.
What can this lemony time of pandemic and isolation do for me?
Personally, it can give me the time I’ve been waiting for to take pause, catch my breath and think.
What do I need right now? I need to do the things that I know are good for me, and rarely take the time to do. Eating well, relaxing, reading, and of course writing. Good habits I’ve made an effort to do more of over the past several months.
How can it help others? As long as my intentions are good, and pure, I hope that my writing will entertain, motivate, and encourage others to pause and pay it forward.
Are you picking up what I’m laying down, Pausers? I’m no lemonade hater, but for me right now, and possibly for many of us, the lemon I’m holding in my hand could potentially serve a much greater purpose than the obvious lemonade we all try to turn this bitter yet juicy, flavourful, nutritious, and beautiful thing. This is my ode to the lemon.
When the lemon we know as COVID-19 arrived at our collective door, I saw a lot of people’s reaction being that of fear of going ‘stir-crazy’ and not knowing what to do. Running out of things, and not being able to ‘survive’ the next couple weeks, stuck at home with our varying family units. Totally fair, and I completely relate to that fear. We’re only human, right? No judgement here. But now that we’ve had some time to pause (like it or not), ad hopefully have begun to adjust – I’ve seen pretty much everyone around me do incredibly well so far.
I’ve seen some amazing and inspired examples out there in the past few days: On Facebook, LinkedIn, at the local grocery store, and even in the local park – yes, great things CAN happen even if we remain six feet apart.
- Various Facebook friends and friends of friends have very creatively sparked up conversations using the most basic and obvious tactics that have completely lured me in and done wonders for my social brain and current disposition.
- In fact, they have brought me greater joy and connectedness than I’ve felt in a very long time, before this lemon was even a thing.
- A friend I haven’t seen in awhile and I are making a point of meeting at the park (maintaining our 6′ of course) so her daughter can walk my dog, as she LOVES dogs and doesn’t have one of her own. Ah, the fresh air…
- I’m seeing previously cancelled social occasions being re-ignited through the wonders of web-conference technologies, to great response and success.
I marvel at our innate ability to turn lemons into so many different things
Now I ask you this one question (and to myself as well): Remember a couple weeks ago when our biggest complaint was that we were so busy?
Go ahead, tell me your too busy now…
I guess my intention here is to put my pausing practice into play at a crucial time: to think about what I can do with this delicious lemon before me; figure out its best use; and do something good with it. Something that not only helps me and my family, but also has the potential of helping others too. We can all use it right now, and I encourage you to do the same.
As per my previous post, isolation and loneliness don’t have to be bad things, especially when we turn them into opportunities to pause, think, and be creative. Right now, the power is in our hands to make this gift of time something positive and memorable.
For me, this post is just one of several I promise to write in the coming days and weeks, as a thank you to everyone out there sharing some great stories, ideas, and opportunities to connect as the social beings we humans are.
I welcome your ideas, stories, and questions on this topic, and look forward to continuing building this recipe book dedicated to lemons. I hope you find the time.
Stay home, healthy, and safe.
SP Wiseguy out!
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