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Life Lesson Quotes Worth Remembering

Eat whatever life dishes up to you

White plate with a face on it made of food. Chopped parsley for hair. Circles of red capsicum for eyes, small tomato for nose, downward-curved piece of chive for a mouth.
Produce from the garden at Evergreen, arranged on a plate to make a point. Life doesn't always dish up what you want.

Imagine you go to a restaurant where you don’t know what’s going to be served that night, but whatever it is, you must eat it. That’s the number one rule of the place.

‘Okay,’ you say over the phone as you make a booking. ‘I’ll do that.’

You arrive hungry, smile at other guests seated around the room, and look for the RESERVED sign with your name on it. After sitting down, you lick your lips with anticipation, eager to see what will be brought to your table. The napkin is on your lap and the knife and fork are in your hands, ready for action.

The swing door leading from the kitchen bursts open. A waiter appears, carrying a steaming plate heaped with – something – but you’re not quite sure what it is yet. The waiter carefully lowers it in front of you and your eyes widen with distaste.

‘I don’t want this!’ you say.

‘Pardon?’ The waiter looks affronted.

‘I said I don’t want this! Take it back! I want something else.’

‘There is nothing else for you this evening. This Is It.’ These words are said with a finality that makes you angry.

You push your chair back with disgust and rise, waving your arms wildly and disrupting the whole room. Pointing at the plate with a quivering finger you say, ‘This meal is unacceptable! It’s disgusting! I refuse to eat it!’

The waiter is polite but firm. ‘But that’s the rule here. You must eat it. This was explained to you when you made the booking.’

‘But I didn’t know I would be served this rubbish!’

‘Well, you should not have come.’

You walk out the door. The waiter follows you, carefully carrying the loaded plate you had refused to consume. You get in your car. The waiter slips into the passenger seat, passive but persistent, leaning forward and holding the plate steady so nothing spills as you speed through darkened streets. When you arrive home and unlock the front door, the waiter is close behind you.

Ignoring the waiter and the plate of unwanted stuff, you shower, tuck yourself into pajamas and slip between the sheets. The waiter steps up to the bed, towering over your recumbent form.

‘Here you are,’ the waiter says, magically producing cutlery. ‘Stop fussing and eat it up.’

You sigh, sit up, take the knife and fork, and start eating. It’s tough, bitter, and contains unpleasant lumps, but you manage it. You even lick the plate at the end because although you didn’t want it, there’s a hint of something in the sauce that you know is making you wiser and stronger.

Life Lesson Quotes

Life is like that restaurant.

You don’t know what will be dished up to you in the next moment.

Protesting about what you find on your plate is a futile use of energy.

No matter how unwanted it is, it’s best to accept what life dishes up to you.

If you don’t accept it now, what has been served up to you persists. It follows you around during the daytime and enters your dreams at night. What has been served you doesn’t go away until you eat it all up and find the benefit of the eating experience.

One of my favourite life lesson quotes comes from Pema Chödrön, in her book, When Things Fall Apart:

Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself.

Life can seem cruel but there is an underlying beneficence that we somehow sense is holding us in an embrace, even at the lowest point of a meal.

The waiter who follows you around, holding what is being served up to you today, isn’t your enemy. The waiter is your friend, your teacher, your conscience.

Eat whatever life dishes up to you.

Another quote from Chödrön:

We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up.

Trust the waiter.

Accept what the waiter is offering you.

The waiter is Life.

With love, Marlane

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