When life gives you lemons do not make lemonade

Sugar-coating problems and negative feelings does not make them go away

It simply makes them more palatable so you can swallow them down and carry on for now.  But in the long run this may do you more harm than good, stopping you addressing issues which need to be changed or taking time to heal and recover from situations - feeling the feelings and letting them go.  Sometimes you've got lemons to deal with and there's no getting away from it.  So what can you do about it?
Don't buy bags and bags of sugar - instead try getting to know your lemons; get to know people who understand lemons, who love lemons, who cultivate lemons and help them grow.  Get to know other people with lemons - there's nothing like sharing with other lemon-carriers to feel you belong and are not alone.  
Lemons are not all bad - they can teach you things if you're able to sit with them a while and contemplate.  Instead of a sugar rush they can bring you wisdom, self-awareness and growth.
The quote about making lemonade when life gives you lemons is a great way of saying, 'whatever life throws at you - you need to make the best of it, be resilient and ultimately turn a negative into a positive.  But sometimes those lemons are just too bitter and it's impossible to sweeten them and make anything positive.  When you get those kinds of lemons you may find it just the right time to come and discuss those lemons with a counsellor.  I am fluent in lemons - I've had quite a basketfull of my own and no doubt will get more along life's path.  And I've sat with people wanting to deal with their own lemons.  I will never ask anyone to sugar-coat their story.
Lemons are a very bitter fruit but they also produce the most beautiful, sweet-scented blooms and counselling can help you to bloom again no matter how many lemons life has thrown at you.  
alp 31/01/2024


Strictly Come Counselling

Tis the season of glitz and glamour; love it or hate it, Strictly Come Dancing seems here to stay as a staple of the Autumn TV schedules.  Looking at Strictly set me to day-dreaming about how a venture called 'Strictly Come Counselling' may look.

Maybe a 'novice' - someone who has not had counselling before - will enter with a dream or a desire to know more about themselves. There will be no fake tan and it's all about 'realness' here.  The soundscape is the music of the soul played out in tears, laughter, anger and silence.  Silence is golden in counselling; it's time to breathe, to think, experience, feel and process; maybe to ponder what next.

There are no dance steps to master but counselling definitely involves a dance between two people, both playing their part towards a common goal, bringing awareness, self-understanding, enlightenment, acceptance, focus, resolution of feelings and change.  We seek to uncover those hidden strengths and psychological flexibility - a bit like the unforeseen talents Strictly contestants may unveil.  The process may cause you to think differently - a bit like learning dance steps, getting the body to acquire muscle-memory for positions it's not held before.  Our minds like to tread familiar paths of certainty but we have 'neuroplasticity' which means we can learn new ways of thinking and acting, creating new pathways which work better for the life we have now.  Over time the new paths become well-trodden - we have new psychological muscle-memory and ultimately this is change.

In Strictly celebrities arrive in their everyday clothes and undergo an amazing transformation under the meticulous handling of experts in hair, makeup and stunning costume design with eye-catching sequin and sparkles.  People arriving at counselling may come dressed in their comfortable 'shields' covering wounds, hurts, frustrations and unmet desires.  In counselling we notice these shields and when and if you're ready, together we may peek beneath these shields very gently with the aim of healing the wounds so that shields are no longer needed.  Then you may be free to get back to showing off all those amazing bits of you - your talents and the unique 'youness' of who you always were.

Each dance has its own timing; some are fast; some are slow.  In the same way people in counselling bring their own unique tempo and are never forced to pick up pace.  Sometimes we may slow down to notice how things really are and there will be times of fast movement and times of pause.

There is no 'expert' setting rules of how counselling should proceed but there is still expertise.  When you come to counselling you will always remain the expert of your situation and your life.  Counsellors bring expertise of knowledge and skills to the dance.

Of course, counselling is not a public process; there is no audience; there are no judges; no eliminations.  There is no failure here.  Like Strictly, counselling starts with two strangers who work in partnership for an agreed purpose within a timescale.  Like expert ballroom dancers, counsellors are with you to provide a strong frame whilst we tiptoe through all that is strictly confidential.

There is no trophy at the end of counselling but you may leave with a lightness of step.  A dance partner awaits for your first steps.





'Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul' Emily Dickinson

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