Lessons Learned From A Lemon Tree


Things need to change from time to time, but that doesn't mean that we embrace or welcome the change that is imminent--oftentimes just the opposite.  In our homes things can stay the same for a LONG time, long past the point where it had stopped serving us well, or nourishing our souls with beauty.

My lovely friend, Marilee, who lives in Florida, wrote a piece about this that I wanted to share with you this week. Hope you enjoy!

What I Learned From A Lemon Tree

A few months ago I cut down our lemon tree. It was a big event. I had been waffling about removing the tree for nearly 18 months. It was obviously not healthy, but I held out hope for a return to its fruitful glory.

I watered. I fertilized. I tended. And, I ignored reality.

It wasn't until last week when I was visiting with family - some of whom are citrus experts - that I accepted our tree's fate. I described our tree's current condition and simultaneously (and in stereo) my two cousins said "Citrus Greening."

Reality bites.

The term Citrus Greening is synonymous with "no way to save your tree."  Yet, to be absolutely certain there was no hope - because two expert opinions weren't quite enough, I Googled it; Google confirmed it, of course. Citrus Greening is bad news.

As I began removing the lemon tree, I could see how the removal process and my journey to get there was a metaphor:

Sometimes, the things in life that aren't working can be hard to accept, and it requires an objective perspective to fully accept that it's not working. As soon as my cousins confirmed what I already knew, I was able to take action.

And so I began the task of removing one limb and branch at a time. And while taking action sounds easy now, it was fraught with a kaleidoscope of emotions and mixed feelings that momentarily distracted me. The inhalation of the beautiful, sweet, lemon scent broke my heart and caused me to question what I was doing. My tree smelled so good! Then, just as quickly, a thorn pierced my skin through my glove, and snapped me back to the present moment.


This is a pattern I recognize. Anytime we make big changes or remove what no longer serves us, our old, limiting beliefs pipe in and cause us to question our decisions. But, if you can return to the present moment, remember your intention, you can quickly get back on track.

My lemon tree reminded me how difficult it is to take big action to release the things in our lives that no longer work. It's no easy thing to eliminate something you've grown accustomed to - even if it no longer serves you.

Here are three lessons I learned from my lemon tree:

  1. Sometimes, you need an objective perspective. Someone with expertise and knowledge can help you decide to take action.
  2. Taking action makes things better, not just deciding to take action.
  3. The lure of "what-could-have-been thinking" will sneak in and cause you to doubt yourself. The sweet lemon scent caused me to question my resolve. But, if you expect doubt to elbow its way in, you will be prepared and can acknowledge your feelings, yet keep moving forward.

The saying goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." I never expected to learn a few things from a dying lemon tree. But, I'm grateful I was present for the lesson.

Marilee Metelko
Marilee Metelko

Marilee  is a person who knows all about making difficult choices and taking action to make things better. She is an educator who is passionate about helping families through challenging transitions, and founded MyMarilee.com to help parents of children with disabilities and learning differences know what they need to do next, so they can create better lives for their children and families. 


Do you know a parent of a child with special needs (I know I do :) who might need to create a positive profile for their child? Click here for Marilee's FREE step-by-step workbook that helps to create the ultimate transition tool--an amazing thing to have on hand not only for teachers, but for doctors, therapists, and babysitters, too!