Last night I went to yoga class. With vacation last week it was the first time I was able to get to the studio in 2 whole weeks and let me just tell you, I don’t think my body has never needed something so much EVER. I had a lot of anxiety before class wondering how much I was going to have to dial it back because of my leg pain, I was carrying some residual work stress with me, traffic was a hot mess and I was already running late because we are in the midst of potty training and that sometimes involves sitting in the bathroom for awhile. For Betty, not me.
But I got there and from the moment class started I realized that I had found myself in the perfect place at the perfect time. Usually I like to keep things light and silly on my blog, but I have been in a bit of an icky headspace for the past few days, analyzing every twinge and ache and missing out on so many miles. My instructor – who was a sub, but one of my favorites – started off our class with a restorative, supported fish pose that felt so good in the hot room. She told us she was going to share a story with us and this story hit me in such a way that I thought about it all through class and all last night and I’m still thinking about it today.
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 that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother 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 in 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 do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the young woman replied.
The mother 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 daughter then asked, “What does it mean, 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?” the mother asked her daughter. “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, or a financial hardship, 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. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?
I’ve been acting like a total carrot.
I have a very outspoken, strong personality, am competitive, and like to be the best at everything I do. I can be pretty relentless. When I am interested in doing something, I tackle it head-on. And for the past week, rather than seeing my current situation as an opportunity for self-improvement, I’ve instead been feeling weak, defeated, and very, very sorry for poor Salt.
Last night, at my perfectly timed yoga class, I decided that pessimism looks worse on me than harem pants.
Then, as if the universe was seriously trying to get through to me, I had a Twitter exchange with Mar of Mar on the Run. She is halfway through her stint in a brace for her foot injury and has attended exactly zero pity parties for herself the entire time. Her optimism is awesome. She has big plans coming up and with her can-do attitude, I have no doubt that she is going to crush all her goals. Mar is a coffee bean and it’s really inspirational.
I’d much rather be a coffee bean. You guys know how I love my Starbucks.
So I’ve decided to tackle this head-on like I do with everything else. I contacted my chiropractor, Dr. D, who apparently knows a lot about how to help sports injuries. He was able to fit me in this morning so I should have some more answers about what’s going on today rather than sitting on my hands all weekend waiting to see the foot and ankle guy. Depending on what he says, I will give my acupuncturist a call. In the meantime, I have a date with a bike and GUESS WHAT? Apparently cycling will make me a better runner.
Silver linings and Starbucks all up in here.
Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you were in the right place at the right time? Are you a carrot, egg, or coffee bean?