When Adversity Knocks at Your Door, Are You a Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee Bean?
Posted on July 29, 2013
One thing that has hit me recently is the collective adversity we live through in our life. We all lead messy blessed lives. From birth to death we’re given a path of intersecting paths where we change direction, take a break or move along as best we can. More recently I have found myself sitting still in reflection of the events in my life and how they’ve shaped me, the good, the bad and the ugly, all have played a part in who I am today. The passed few years have been a renaissance glow in me going back, shifting perspective as I cannot change the past, but I can change my perceptions, finding peace with the events so that I may continue liberated and tranquil in my being.
NounFreedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.
Peace is not attained sitting on a secluded mountain top where nothing can touch you but the gentle breeze. For that, you’d have to live alone atop mountain (and some monks do) for eternity. For the rest of us, however, as soon as you come down from the elevation and connect back in, the pressures of life descend. I’ve come realize, and fleetingly experience, the peace attained amidst the chaos of life; where I am centered at the core – the breezy summit. There are no givens in life, and there is tragedy just as much as there is bliss. It’s your reaction that shapes you. Can you lean into joy? Can you embrace change letting it flow through you like the gentle tide coming home? Can you live fluidly with the slightest cosmic flux?
Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? If your curious, read the story below to find out.
“A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The granddaughter then asked, “What does it mean, Grandmother?”
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them?”