Lemons into limeade: the art of the tipping point

When life throws you lemons….you know the saying. But what happens when life slingshots them straight into your stomach? Well, for one thing, lemonade doesn’t sound appetizing. After crashing on my bike Monday night, twisting my knee while flipping into a parked car, the week seemed to unfold with the same downward spiral. The stress of work and the upcoming move came accompanied with a lovely cold sore, annoying the hell out of me for the rest of the week. Not to mention stripping coffee, wine and chocolate out of my diet. Awesome, right?! Guess it was my week to cleanse and the Universe failed to give warning!

Despite the fact that I am extremely used to being injured for the past year, the injury was still as hard on my heart as it was on my knee. Limping through the beginning of the week was deja vu to the past rides down Injury Lane. On Thursday night at the climbing gym, my workout consisted of only two routes up the wall…impressive, I know! Walking away so quickly was crossing the grounds into what felt like personal failure, but was honestly more just frustration. With the beginning of a few angry tears on the way home, I felt myself swiftly approaching the tipping point. You know the one; where you want to scream and shout just because — a.k.a. “I’m a victim!”.

Well that was me in the car. And then I somehow realized how unproductive and tiring all the screaming and shouting would be. Plus, I was already looking a little ridiculous to begin with, so intensifying the drama factor was not the best idea. So what do you do when life slingshots lemons at you?? You catch them bare-handed and trade them with your neighbor for limes. What I mean by this is, we have to catch those uncomfortable, vulnerable moments by the hand and learn to transform the frustrating, sour juice of our less-than-compassionate emotions into a new zesty outlook. And in the mean time, can we reach out to our neighbor, best friend, sibling, etc. for support? Sometimes a hug is enough to turn it around enough to gain back some consciousness. When we fully accept that we do not have to do it all alone, rather than isolating ourselves, there can be a refreshing inhale of relief. The beauty of support is in the comfort and assurance that even though things didn’t go “our way”, we are still valued.

Gracefully mastering the art of the tipping point is an everlasting practice because life will forever point in many directions. On top of life’s obstacle course, we have to partner with our deciphering mind to get ourselves safely to the treasure chest. So we must be ready for little yellow fruits to come flying at us along the way — we must be ready for unexpected changes, injuries, stresses or huge successes/joys. We also must be willing to give up our lemons, share with others and learn to love limes. Can we let go of habitual reactions to disappointment? Adopting a new practice of releasing the victim role and installing an open-heart point of view can keep us atop the tipping point and in charge of our reactions.

For me, as life is beginning to point in a new direction, I am keeping my eyes open knowing that with change comes challenge and with challenge, comes frustration. My goal is to walk the balance beam of the tipping point with humility and an open heart. And my hope is that I will gain a whole new love for limes! Besides like Jimmy Buffet says…

“If life gives you limes, make margaritas!” Unless you have a cold sore. Damn!

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