What To Do When Life Hands You Lemons (Besides Throw Them At Whoever Came Up With That Phrase)

I had a good run. I took a huge leap into the unknown in the name of growth. I planned to launch my own business. Live the American Dream. Be a risk-taking, adventure-seeking, go-it-alone maverick.

Except I’m not.

So that meant facing fears. I got honest about them. Called each one out – feeling self-doubt, fraudulent, overwhelmed by how much I don’t know about running a business, and sadness at replacing what I have on Dog and Dojo for the sake of digital marketing. Every day I wanted to tuck my tail and run.

But I didn’t.

I pushed ahead with the business plans, the accounting classes, the figuring out the legalities of contracts, the shopping for bookkeeping thingys, the researching different corporate structures and how to start one, then rewriting website copy, then endless work on designing a new logo, then business cards.

Green Health & Healing logo

Cute, right?

I scheduled several Nature Journaling workshops (see download on Free Resources page for description) to promote this new venture.

Before I could pull it together for my big debut, life launched that lemon. As you know, life has good aim.

To be fair, it could have been MUCH worse. But finding my senior dog, Rico, laying in our yard in the hot sun unable to stand left me struggling to breathe, I was so scared.

Close-up of Rico's face

I mean, that face!

Rico’s around 10-12 years-old. Every day is a gift. In that moment, I feared the gift-giver wanted him back.

Peeling a 75 pound, squealing, squirming dog off the ground to carry 60-plus feet across a yard, up eight steps, across a hot deck, and through the door was … interesting. Especially with two slipped discs. It’s crazy what one can do with focused determination.

The next day, our vet confirmed the doggie equivalent of a torn ACL. The perfect compliment to his rampant arthritis. At his age, we ruled out surgery. His prescription is caution.

Rico sleeping with his turtle pillow

Resting after a tough afternoon

For the next six months or so, I am his human stair lift. Thank God I workout regularly.

Seeing him struggle sucks, but, like I said, it could have been worse. This isn’t good-bye. Just an interruption.

Whiskey and Rico lounging in the front yard during a potty break

Potty breaks often take a while.

But with everything that goes into caring for a large, gimpy dog, it’s an interruption that brought my career plans to a screeching halt, including scrapping half of my workshops.

Since this happened, my entire body hurts either from sore muscles or my aching back. Juggling his health and well-being, keeping my other dog, Whiskey, from feeling left out, my floundering career plans, and endless volunteer activities felt impossible. The fear that Rico’s home stretch might be spent cooped up coupled with the sinking feeling I’ll never strike a balance in time made my heart ache.

Yet time marches on mercilessly, balanced or not.

Compounding this is the fact that I love spending time with Rico and Whiskey. At times, I questioned whether I was using his condition as an excuse to avoid scary business stuff. Other times, I blamed them for flushing my goals down the crapper.

Can you sense the looming meltdown?

Life saw its lemon didn’t get the point across. So it nailed me. Almost literally.

At the same time as the injury drama, contractors replaced our roof and gutters. They seemed to clean up, but nails and large staples kept appearing out of nowhere.

An assortment of nails and staples left behind

Jagged, little reminders

One morning, I carried Rico into the yard. I like to walk barefoot. Upon walking back up, I found a nail had been on our path. I had been lucky.

Being the picture of calm, peaceful, serenity that I am, I berated myself for not proceeding more carefully. Wouldn’t I know by now…? Watch what I’m doing … So stupid …

And that’s when I finally got it.

Slow down and take each step in life mindfully so that I don’t abandon what is good in an effort to make progress.

I’m so lucky Rico is still here for me to love and care for, injury and inconvenience be dammed. Likewise, Dog and Dojo better represents me than the slick marketing I crafted. There’s infinite benefits I hope to show you can gain by being mindful not just with your pets but with all of the natural world around you. That’s the premise behind Dog and Dojo. Why would I change that?

So I’m adding things now. Like an invitation for a free health coaching session and a free resource page. But I’m not getting rid of a single thing.

What do you do when life hands you lemons? Try paying attention. It could be that life is making you a glass of lemonade.

Thank you for stopping by today.


About Christie Green

I'm a certified health coach, intuitive healer, writer, animal-lover, and peace artist (formerly martial artist) helping clients create lives with more balance, less bark.
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2 Responses to What To Do When Life Hands You Lemons (Besides Throw Them At Whoever Came Up With That Phrase)

  1. Arletta says:

    “What do you do when life hands you lemons? Try paying attention. It could be that life is making you a glass of lemonade.” Christine Green

    Thank you Christine for this warm, meaningful piece. Unlike you I am not good with words, but I love reading your blog, funny, sad, never dull.

    This year life not only handed me lemons but throw them at me, ha, ha. What a lesson.
    While cheerfully walking my fury beasts, a rather silly Labrador, for which I have always felt rather sorry (story for another time), have mowed me, literary, full on, like a blind dog, not being very ironic here. Broke my right leg, just below the knee, in three places. Being post menopausal but very active 54, I really didn’t need that. Now have two metal plates holding my precious trotter in place. Sadly (sic) not making attention seeking noises at the airport security checks, apparently not enough metal.

    Wow, and yes, after 9 months of pain, joy of being able to walk again, finding out, who my friends are, I can say “life has made me a wonderful, tasty glass of lemonade”
    I have learnt so much, mostly about myself, and wonderful dogs, who made recovery so much easier.
    Thank you Christine for sharing this experience, I love it.
    P.S. so glad you didn’t operate Rico’s torn ACL. I have had two dogs now with this type of injury and have learnt a lot. Surgery, the one we are usually offered for our dogs, is a bad idea. You only need to look at professional footballers, a very common injury for them, somehow, no one does the kind of surgery on them, for a very good reason.

    • Yeooowww, Arletta! That injury sounds nasty. Glad you’re nearing the end of your healing journey – sounds like a true mind, body, spirit one, at that. Thank you for sharing your experience. The fact that you can see the lemonade in what you’ve been through gives me even more faith.

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