When life gives you lemons, become Amish.

lemon
I am at home with the perfectly familiar weight of the knife in my right hand. The way the smooth, cool, 1/4″ steel blade fits snugly between my thumb and forefinger. Rhythmic slicing, precision peeling, choreographed carving… Time is suspended and all actuality dissolves into itself like so much Turbinado sugar, cascading and encasing a delicatebaked cream; this is my meditation. I am the conductor of a beautifully spun symphony, imperceptible to the untrained eye. The soft pitter-pat of bubbles rising to the surface in a simmer; reaching crescendo at a soft rolling boil. Little trumpets of steam escaping from the sides of my double boiler while the beat is kept by knife meeting board as paper thin slices of lemon are cut. All of this plays with my heart strings the way Maxim Vengerov makes the violin sing. It is here, in these moments, where art truly meets life; where I cam create magic.
Up until fairly recently this was enough. Somehow, it’s not anymore– and this has had me thinking of what my next move(s) might be. Change is often scary for most people (I am no exception) and while I enjoy the dreaming and planning involved in how I might be the next Martha Stewart (minus the bad attitude and jail time; of course) and/or an advisor to the President on such topics as the effects of GMO products on society or sustainable agriculture, for example, I’m always left slightly overwhelmed. And not even by the obvious things! Lets just pretend that I have bottomless funds, endless ability to relocate–and that when I do I instantaneously know how to get around and have a thriving social life, and that some noteworthy college would actually accept me. We’ll pretend that none of this makes me nervous; I’ve climbed that mountain a few times. It is that little voice inside my own head that is the biggest obstacle to face every time.
And so begin, all over again, the long “I’m not worthy” debates. The: “Is my butt too big?”, “Do you think he’ll call me?”, “What if I get to Yale and I’m the only one who can’t sing acapella?” debates. And we have these conversations with anyone who will entertain us, and mostly with people who have to love us: children, sisters. best-friends… How is it, when we come into this world little balls of pure love, that we’re either jaded or broken by the time we’re supposed to be on our own? Where does all this fear come from? In the words of the Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake (and frankly, who doesn’t have a song on their life’s soundtrack that doesn’t include some J.T.?), “Where is the love?”.
I found the answer in a Steve Carell movie, Dan in Real Life,by Touchstone Pictures. In less than 10 words I was completely set free from every situation in which I was ever damaged. When I remind myself of this golden truth it’s like taking a double shot of self-esteem.
“Love is not a feeling, it’s an ability.”
Take a second and really ponder that…isn’t that great?! This means that every time someone showed up in our lives and didn’t give us the kind of grace, or respect, or decency that we deserved– it wasn’t because we are inherently bad; they just didn’t have the ability! Oh, sweet freedom! I’m actually as fabulous as my mom always said I was– and so are you!
Isn’t it easier to extend forgiveness to someone who just couldn’t love you the right way? Not because you’re unworthy, but because they were so broken. Sometimes, if we are having a good day and being very kind, we try to hold to that: “they did they best they could with what they had” story. But that doesn’t quite explain how they knew better than to treat other people like crap. The difference between the two is understanding what real love is: the ability to remove the glasses through which you view the world and extend something to someone that isn’t impatient, self-seeking, fault finding, or easily aggravated; something completely unconditional. It is very rare to find someone who has this ability.
We’ve all been told that by offering forgiveness to others, we help ourselves. I didn’t fully understand how until I realised that by not forgiving (essentially holding on to) “it” I could go back in time and relive that pain anew all over again; anytime i wanted, even involuntarily. Ick. And that’s to say nothing of the power we give others over ourselves when we look inside and see a victim. So, okay… your mother hit you repeatedly and not your sisters, or your dad couldn’t be bothered to even act interested in your recital, maybe your ex broke up with you because he wasn’t ready to wed and then married someone 2 months later… it happened, and we felt rejected. The good news? We can pick ourselves up firm in the knowledge that in fact: we are fabulous! We are strong, capable, intelligent, and worthy– they were just to broken to act accordingly.
I’m gonna get this pie in the oven and then I’m off to see about making some concrete plans to take on the world!
Quaker Lemon Pie
Ingredients:
2 large Meyer lemons, sliced paper thin
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, beaten
2 pie crusts, your favorite recipe
Directions:
1. For filling: in a medium non-reactive bowl, mix together lemon slices and sugar; cover and let stand overnight in refrigerator. Bring lemon mixture to room temperature . Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
2. Fit 1 pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan. Stir eggs into lemon mixture and pour into pan. Top with remaining crust. Trim excess dough and crimp to seal. Bake for 45 minutes, or until done. cool on wire rack

I am at home with the perfectly familiar weight of the knife in my right hand. The way the smooth, cool, 1/4″ steel blade fits snugly between my thumb and forefinger. Rhythmic slicing, precision peeling, choreographed carving… Time is suspended and all actuality dissolves into itself like so much Turbinado sugar, cascading and encasing a delicatebaked cream; this is my meditation. I am the conductor of a beautifully spun symphony, imperceptible to the untrained eye. The soft pitter-pat of bubbles rising to the surface in a simmer; reaching crescendo at a soft rolling boil. Little trumpets of steam escaping from the sides of my double boiler while the beat is kept by knife meeting board as paper thin slices of lemon are cut. All of this plays with my heart strings the way Maxim Vengerov makes the violin sing. It is here, in these moments, where art truly meets life; where I cam create magic.