There are generally only two types of experiences we usually have on earth: “good experiences” and “bad experiences.” Good experiences typically are the ones where we feel good, loved, appreciated, creative, hopeful, and healthy. Bad experiences typically are the ones where we feel bad, unloved, unappreciated, stuck, hopeless, and unhealthy. But there’s actually a third type of experience: Bad experiences that we change into good experiences—or at least as good as it can be. People often refer to this as “turning lemons into lemonade.”
Let’s not forget that none of this is random; the type of experience we have (good or bad) is a choice—even though it may not feel like it in the moment. Whether we have good experiences or bad ones, they can only come from choices we’ve made. In other words, our experiences are the outcome or effects of our previous decisions in life—conscious or unconscious. We traditionally refer to the results of such decisions as “good karma” and “bad karma.”
As we learn to recognize our part in life’s lessons, we then empower ourselves to turn even the worst experiences into potentially positive ones—mainly by making different choices. The types of choices we often make that end up manifesting as negative experiences can include any of the following (and more):
- Failing to start and end each day in communion with God—even if for five minutes
- Holding judgments or opinions about ourselves and others
- Not completely healing our wounds of the past
- Believing someone or something outside ourselves can offer us anything of value
- Failing to recognize, integrate, and give thanks for lessons from past experiences
- Failing to take responsibility—which means we have no power to make a different choice
- Not choosing again—to make a different choice, a better choice
- Choosing to judge or hate instead of to love and forgive
So what is it in us that would make such self-destructive choices? We could attribute it to laziness, stubbornness, hurt/anger, and so on. But in a word, it really comes down to “EGO.” It was our ego who convinced us in the first place to make any of the poor choices noted above, and then convinced us to create the karmic effects (a way to punish ourselves) for our poor choices. In so doing, the ego keeps us trapped in “lose-lose scenarios” and even succeeds in keeping us from noticing it.
What To Do When Life Gives Us Lemons
When life seems to give us “lemons,” there are three distinctly different ways that people handle such things (each being a progression forward):
- Being tired of having so many lemons (lessons), then trying to throw them away—those of us who act like victims and react poorly to life’s lessons
- Beginning to search for different uses for the lemons—those of us who begin to take responsibility and grow from our experiences
- Mastering our use of the lemons—those of us who emerge from life’s tests and end up turning life’s lessons into the greatest gifts possible
The bottom line is that “life happens.” But it doesn’t happen to us; it happens with us or for us. Life reflects our inner and outer choices, but can be seen as a gift, since whatever it shows us can help us make different choices, changing what we experience tomorrow.
Of course, making better choices does not always reveal a better world immediately. Some gifts are seen (or felt) in seconds, while others might be delayed until another lifetime. It’s still worth the effort to create these changes, in order to change the effects (bad days) set into motion from our bad decisions in the past AND prevent ourselves from creating more of those bad days for the future.
The Formula for Changing Lemons into Lemonade
- Own that whatever is occurring is the result of an unloving choice you made somewhere in the past. You don’t even have to know where nor when. Unloving choices include anything or anyone we allowed to make us feel fear, hate, or judgement of any kind.
- Make a conscious effort to learn from that previous choice and the resulting experiences. And remember, the more you learn from the previous choices, the better and sweeter will be the taste of your lemonade.
- Make better choices from the lessons learned—including the choice to forgive yourself and any others who were involved in the bitter (or sour) experiences that resulted from your previous decisions.
- Surrender to a greater level of trust in God and allow the sweet gifts of Spirit to pour upon you. These gifts do not require that you be perfect, nor do they require any great effort on your part. Just as living from your ego brings bitter (or sour) experiences, making better choices and living in the Light of God brings sweeter experiences. A sweeter life is the natural, positive result of making better (responsible and loving) choices.
- Remind yourself that only the Spirit of God knows exactly what you need in your recipe to create the sweetest life and experience (lemonade) possible—transforming even the most bitter and/or sour experiences. And give thanks, even in advance, that this is so.
Strangely, some people are so addicted to bitterness, they are repelled by that which is sweet. For them, it might take some time to adjust to this new way of life. However, it is inevitable, that we will all come to know and affirm: changing bitter (or sour) choices into better choices brings a sweeter life.