Life brings us lemons and we must learn to make lemonade.
A popular saying.
But what if we forgot what lemons are?
What if we were forced to eat them and now lemons make us sick?
What if we prefer peaches instead?
Do we have to make lemonade?
What if we want candied lemons?
What if we make lemon curd instead?
Life does not just give us lemons. Many times, we are thrown into the acid itself and we come out scarred, with our taste buds ruined, our sense of touch numbed.
When this happens, and it happens more often than we are willing to admit, something stops working.
We can’t experience things like other people. It’s like something is missing.
We feel inadequate, disconnected, out of step, wrong.
We think we are broken. And this brings us tremendous pain.
Everyone is having a wonderful time at the picnic, drinking cold lemonade, enjoying the sun, playing games, talking about sports, swapping lemonade recipes.
You are looking for a bottle of wine.
You can’t stand the small talk, hate lemonade, stay in the shade because the sun irritates your scarred skin.
Sometimes we adapt. We must so that we feel “normal”. We become masters of barbeque, we organize great picnics, and we make lemonade like a pro. We concoct yellow, pink, blue lemonade. Lemonade for all tastes. Gourmet lemonade with mint and cucumber. And everyone loves you.
But secretly, you bring a bottle of wine.
You feel broken.
I know this feeling very well. I have felt broken most of my life. And I have pretended to like lemonade too.
But are we broken by the traumas of life?
Do we need to be fixed?
Thinking we are broken is also a way to dismiss our experience and further disconnect us from life and love.
Thinking we need to be fixed makes us feel wrong, bad, unsuitable for social joy.
What if we are not broken but just hidden?
What if we don’t need to be fixed but acknowledged?
Who we truly are, does not disappear. What we are, does not get broken. Why we are is only unrevealed.
Recently, I joined a Tantra class. I have long been curious about it but felt shy to try it. All these shame and guilt-based thoughts would enter my mind.
“I don’t want to be touched by strangers.” “Tantra sounds like an excuse to have sex with strangers.” “Eww! I hate body odor!”
A class I attended with my husband years ago only confirmed those thoughts. I did not like the people in it, did not appreciate being touched or touching them. Not all teachers, classes, or trainers are meant for us. Not all Tantra practitioners know what they are doing. And you also need to be ready for the experience.
At the time I was very closed off to my body. My mind needed reframing and opening to new ideas. I needed to resolve my own prejudices. I was still not ready, still being controlled by my history. I was still too full of anger and resentment. I still believed myself broken. I could not see my beautiful longing.
Our beauty is only crusted over by our scars. To reveal it, we need only to tap into our secret desires. What we feel in our heart-of-hearts to be true.
Sometimes it takes a little practice. Sometimes we only need someone to remind us. A teacher, a mentor, a trainer. It takes practice, radical self-acceptance, and love.
With mindful practice, we can find our true selves under the conditioning, the lies, the abuse, the neglect, the abandonment, the silence, the shame.
We are luminous beings, perfect and complete from the beginning. We can’t be broken. We don’t need fixing. We only need to remember.