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WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS….


A pitcher of lemonade with a lemon and a cutting board
Lemonade: Life Will Supply All the Ingredients

 

 

You know the rest, right? These days, it seems that lemons are all over.

 

Not, really, but to carry the sour lemons metaphor, I have to set the stage as if all the things that are swirling around in my life are ripe for griping.

 

For the last few months, I have had a litany of big-ticket items looming on my plate (I love mixing metaphors. So, sue me….). These included:

 

  • A trip to the US

  • A sudden death in the family

  • An expensive last-minute airline ticket change

  • Getting home to Paris to face:

  • Finding a new apartment (which in France means an extensive dossier – basically landlords want a thick folder that tells your whole life story)

  • Packing up the old apartment

  • Dealing with movers, landlords, apartment insurance (required in France)

 

(****As an aside, as I typed the word “France” Radio Deluxe is playing Ella and Louie singing “They won’t Dance” and the line You’d be the idol of France with me.)

 

Let’s see. Where were we? Oh yes….

 

·      Moving to a new apartment

·      Unpacking (slowly, in progress)

·      Cleaning the old apartment

PLUS

·      Doing my French taxes (with help from Maja Savic, my singing coach, dear friend, amazing life coach and amazing jazz singer) she fixed an anomaly in the return, and we were able to upload it on the last day it was due!)

·      Compiling my 2nd dossier for my visa renewal appointment which is coming up and sending that off to my amazing agent, Allison Lounes at Your Franceformation who will get it organized and make it presentable when I go to the prefecture.

 

And there’s more, but them’s the highlights.

 

Everything, as we have discussed in many blog posts, is perspective.

 

This confluence of major life changes could be called a Crescendo of Awfulness as the insightful Carol K. Anthony describes Hexagram # 26 of the I Ching.

 

This is where the Universe piles it on! Events build and build, having a dark momentum of their own, seemingly (and deviously) without ending, more is coming.

 

When it rains it pours, describes it pretty well.

 

But…. These times are great opportunities for learning and for growth.

 

Some say, God never gives us more than we can handle.

 

I say, God gives us just a little bit more than we can handle, so that we have to ask for help!

 

And did I ever ask for help! Not that it comes easily to me. Addicts and alcoholics are notorious for having a toxic combination of excessive pride (I don’t need anyone to help me) and extremely low self-esteem (I’m not worth anyone helping me).

 

Egomaniacs with an inferiority complex describes it pretty well.

 

A friend suggested I have a packing party. So, I threw out a call for people to come over to build packing boxes and pack up the apartment. A number of people came, and we had pizza and soda and talked and laughed – and did a good deal of packing.

 

To find the apartment, I spent a lot of time searching apartment listings, but it was overwhelming, so I hired a wonderful apartment search agent, Eszter at FlatzParis. She was super helpful and seemed to be on the case 24/7.

 

She guided me through putting the dossier together, finding apartments that were worth looking at, and communicating on my behalf to the landlords. She found a super cute place (actually the very first one that I looked at) and although there were well over a hundred potential tenants who wanted the place (typical in Paris! Apartments are usually snapped up with minutes of being listed) the landlords took my dossier and I got the apartment.

 

To make things even better, for a few extra bucks (euros), Eszter expertly handled switching my electric service and my cable/wifi service.

 

Similarly, finding a moving company was a shot in the dark, so Eszter referred me to Nextories where Marijana was available at almost any time of the day or night to run interference with the movers we selected.

 

My friend Maja not only helped me with some unpacking and organizing, but she sat with me for almost an hour, puzzling of the tax return, until we were able to fix the problem (still not sure what it was) but we were able to sign the return and send it to Fiscale Publique on the very last due date.

 

This barely scratches the surface, describing what the last few months have been like. Lots of anxiety; lots of projection worst-case scenarios.

 

Lots of forgetting one of my Top 5 mantras:

 

Things always work out well for me

Because God is with me in every situation.

 

But…asking for help is always required in this life, if we are ever going to grow emotionally and spiritually.

 

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade is a wonderful prescription for success, but most people don’t realize that the saying just assumes that you have clean water, sugar, a pitcher, some ice and a spoon to stir it.

 

Oh! and glass to drink it.

 

We need more than just the basics.

 

Maybe that is why the Universe from time to time presents us with dilemmas, problems, issues and (hopefully rarely) Crescendo of Awfulness situations. So, we have to ask for help.

 

Lean not onto your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)

 

Many of you may remember the story Stone Soup. Hungry strangers enter a town. Rather than begging for food, they borrow a pot and begin to fill it with water and several good-sized stones.

 

Villagers come out and curiously ask what they’re doing. “Making Stone Soup,” they reply.

 

Tasting the water as it’s cooking, they begin to say things like, “This soup is wonderful, but it would be even better if we had some carrots/potatoes/ onions/celery/meat/herbs etc. etc.

 

The villagers offer to supply the missing ingredients and soon they have a hearty and delicious “Stone Soup.”

 

Whenever we are faced with life challenges – huge and daunting or even small and easy – ask for help. It is an exercise in humility and grace. People feel good when they can offer assistance, whether it’s an hour at a packing party or a potato for the pot of soup.

 

We help each other. We feed each other. We support each other. This is love in action.

 

Can I offer anyone a pitcher of lemonade? Perhaps some soup?

 

Blessings,

 

 

Johnny

 

 

I am available to do private tours of Paris, based on my book, Paris Histories and Mysteries.

You can get life-guidance using my book, Prosperity Now! A 12-Week Journey to the Life of Your Dreams.

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