today, marks 100 blog/posts
(This is one of my favorite analogies (an oldie’ but goodie’))
A young woman went to her mother 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 as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first pot, 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 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 daughter, she asked,
“Tell me what 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 got soft. She then asked her to take the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to smell and sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she smelled and tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, mother?”
Her mother 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 daughter. “When trials and adversity knock 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 passive heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, 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. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you become better and change the situation around you.
(moral; When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?)
I had thought about changing this to be another zen master and student tale but I didn’t want to chop-up a well known story, but I wanted to add it to the blog. I had a really rough week at work and thought about this story and how I would come out of the ‘pressure cooker’ like a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean. Here I sit drinking my coffee hoping my aroma is a pleasant fragrance. Looking forward to a couple days off, of rest, relaxation, getting the to-do-list done and writing poetry and zen-tales before it’s back to the grind.
food for thought
Adversity has the effect of elliciting talents in which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant …
If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.
Bernie Siegel M.D.
May you have an ‘adverse’ day