This month I want to share a story that I recently came across.
It begins with a grandmother asking her granddaughter, “Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee….Which are you?”
‘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 as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. 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 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 got 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 granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point, 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. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.’
This is the power and strength of our yoga practice, the commitment to our self.
Showing up and being present, is what teaches us how to become like the coffee bean.
We tap deep into ourselves and release the light within us; able to share that light with others.
Our practice is important. It does matter.
We don’t need to worry about the effects of our practice and what changes will come. Doing the work alone is enough. The fruits of the practice will follow.
“In this quest, my body is my bow, my intelligence is my arrow, and my target is myself. I am aware inside and I am aware outside. We must learn to stretch the bow well before we can hit the target, so go on extending the bow of your body. Then the arrow of your intelligence will become sharp, and when you release the arrow, it will hit the target, which is your soul. Don’t worry about the target.
When the bow is stretched well and the arrow is sharp, you will hit it.”
~B.K.S. Iyengar pg. 73 The Tree of Yoga
Stay in practice my friends. You are worth it.
With love and light,