Sooooo . . . Wha’ ha’ happened wuuuuzzz . . . I was recently preparing one of my favorite snacks — avocado with lemon juice — and when I squeezed the lemon over the bowl: YEOOOOOOOOOOOWEEEE!

You see, I didn’t know about the teeny paper cut on my lil’ finger. But there she is! Stinging quite sharply and insistently as I try to just move on and enjoy the simple pleasure of eating my avocado. The initial sting dissipated pretty quickly and I proceeded to squeeze the rest of my lemon — with my OTHER hand, of course (“Not gonna do THAT again!”). I throw away the remaining rind (slam-dunking it in the garbage can from inches away just to give myself a bit of profanity-sealed closure on the incident) and attempt to go on with my day ignoring this newly-discovered wound.

The thing is . . . You can’t un-ring the sting!

I’m now acutely aware of my sliced-open flesh. When I type and that finger hits the keypad, it’s a reminder. When I go to staple a stack of papers, I cradle them like a newborn bird while stretching that finger as far away as possible, and then I close the Swingline jaws with a little extra gusto and a hint of vengeful “How do YOU like it, Mister Paper Stuff?” Holding the phone receiver, taking cash out of my pocket, every thing you don’t realize your fingers are doing in everyday activities: reminders of The Sting.

So, I spend the rest of the day in a temporary ambidextrous existence, in reflective and protective mode as I avoid doing anything that will trigger that painful sensation again!

By the end of the day, though, this “acid trip” had me thinking about the parallels between this imperceptible wound on my finger and all the “invisible” but very much active wounds we all have — emotional, psychic, spiritual — that go unnoticed and therefore unaddressed for years or even our whole lives. If the lemon juice hadn’t flowed over my finger, I would not have known about that cut. And that awareness, although inconvenient, also allowed me to take care of the cut.

After thinking about it some more, I felt grateful. Not just for the citric sting but for all of the people, events, challenges, struggles throughout my life that were painful in their time but were ultimately gifts, opportunities to grow, to heal, to cleanse my mind and spirit of negative thoughts and choices, to deepen my sense of self and continue to aspire to be my most Whole, Joyful, Peaceful ME. They were catalysts that activated a more awake existence. A more reflected and aware movement as I forge my path in Life.

So, when life hands you lemons . . . Do NOT make lemonade! Do NOT dilute with water! Do NOT add sugar! Let the sour juice cleanse your spiritual palette and galvanize your salivation, your thirst for innervision and exploration. Let the sour be a fruitful reminder to take care of yourself, to nurture yourself, to make new choices and weave new patterns for your path with patience, compassion, Light, and Love.