Sometimes life hands you a bunch of lemons… And, yes, that’s when it’s the best time to make lemonade. But sometimes that positive attitude can be your worst enemy. Here’s how we turned things around this weekend.
There’s been some tough stuff going on at our place, over the past few months. Pretty much every renovation project we touched has gone wrong. People have let us down. People have even abused our trust and tried to cheat us. And we have kept as positive as we could. But this weekend, I finally cracked. And I’m glad I did. Here’s why.
Sometimes that stiff upper lip is a really bad idea.
I had kept going for months, with that stiff upper lip, that positive attitude, that ‘let’s look for the silver lining’ approach. And it had completely worn me down.
Something was stuck, somewhere. I couldn’t figure out where (no, not even with my massive toolkit!).
Then the final crunch came that brought me to my knees and made me stop pretending it was ok.
The wall between our home and the little cottage next door to us (which we are going to be renting) collapsed. I’m not talking a couple of bricks, I’m talking full-blown tumble down. And it’s not just bricks. It’s made of massive rocks that are nearly too heavy to lift. It was the proverbial final straw. I cracked. I sat down and cried. I couldn’t keep going with telling myself it would all be ok.
Sure, it’s just a wall. But the problem was finding yet another workman to help and having to spend yet more money on jobs we hadn’t anticipated.
I sat down, let hubs give me a big hug, and cried. And cried. And cried. Then I slept. And woke up the next morning. And cried some more. I was worn down and frazzled.
As a quick aside: people often assume, just because I run courses and write books about changing your life, that mine is somehow ‘perfect’ and that I never fall apart. Not so. I have simply learned to pick up the pieces, and rearrange them into a pattern I enjoy, faster than most 🙂
Then, in the morning, I felt inspired to go and buy some roses, to add some colour to our front garden (we’ve only lived here a few months and the previous owner had a big thing about cotoneaster and ferns in the south-facing front garden!). I came back and lovingly planted those flowers. Then I went over to help hubs with make the remains of the old wall safe, trying to salvage some of the plants from under it. That’s when he asked me:
“Wasn’t there some project you were excited about a while ago that needed some stones?”
Not yet ready to let go of the drama and pain, I dismissed his question. Sure, there was a permaculture herb spiral idea I had seen, but that needed smaller stones, not rocks.
He was wise enough to let it sit and not try to ‘fix’ anything.
After a while, though, somehow – I’m not sure how – a new idea was birthed. What if we made the stones into a herb spiral anyway, but instead of making it a dome (the original permaculture idea), what if we made it into a walkable spiral labyrinth? The rocks (they’re mahooosive!) would act as a fabulous heat sink for Mediterranean herbs in the summer and as stepping stones, to walk the labyrinth.
And that’s what we’re doing!
The space in front of that old wall had always felt dark, damp and sludgy, even though it gets plenty of sun (ideal for herbs). It is the view from the kitchen window and it always felt so sad and negative, covered with 8-10 foot high sprawling ivy. We all avoided going there.
Suddenly, with the ivy gone and half the wall down, there was much more light. And with the start of the labyrinth herb spiral in place, it’s got a totally different feel. The kids have already been playing on it (fab! 🙂 ), jumping from stone to stone. They’re getting excited about the different herbs we’re going to plant; how they will smell, what they will taste like. They’re already excited about being able to walk the spiral with their friends. And the feel of the space has totally shifted.
As if to prove the point, within an hour of us starting to create the shift in energy (or perhaps ‘accept’ it?!), someone who had expressed an interest in renting the cottage last week, but hadn’t really made up her mind, drove past the driveway. I was looking over and waved – even though I hadn’t met her before, I somehow knew we needed to connect. It turns out she felt drawn to visit the cottage on her way home from a day out and has now fallen in love with it. She’s going to put an offer in with the agent today. Wonderful news.
And the best bit? Instead of rebuilding the wall or replacing it with a fence, I had this crazy idea of growing a stunning lilac tree, to create that extra bit of privacy – placing it so that we and the cottage could share its wonderful blossoms. The new tenant is really excited about the idea and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a deal clincher.
So, what did I learn?
Yes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But…
Sometimes you simply have to surrender – to let go and trust – before your heart will give you the recipe.
I’m curious: has anything like this happened to you lately? Do you have any thoughts? Any questions? I’d love to hear from you, via the comments box.