I want to be a coffee bean.


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?

~ Salt

Story source unknown. It’s everywhere on the Internet, but the author is a mystery!

31 thoughts on “I want to be a coffee bean.

  1. kristenk says:

    Best post ever! I wish I was a coffee bean too! Usually I’m a carrot but I’ll try to remember this post next time I’m a hot mess! And congrats for having an awesome yoga class and for finding other workouts to do while you rest!

  2. Alexis @ funrunning4life says:

    Yoga is just such a savior sometimes. I haven’t been able to get to classes lately, but even just 10 minutes on my mat at the end of the day (mostly in child’s pose, let’s be real) makes a huge difference. And that is really the most beautiful story. I unfortunately think I’ve tended to be more like the egg recently. I didn’t have the words to explain it, but that’s totally how I’ve been feeling and acting. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • runsaltrun says:

      It’s amazing how much my attitude can change after a class or just meditating at home for 15 minutes! I am never going two weeks without it again!

      And I don’t think anyone can deny the awesomeness that is child’s pose. 🙂

  3. Meg says:

    Excellent, excellent! Some instances I’m a carrot, others I’m an egg. It is absolutely much better to be the coffee bean. We should all strive for that! It seems that you are feeling better and that makes me happy!

  4. Diann says:

    Lauren, this is seriously beautiful!!! Thank you so much for sharing. And of course you’ll be a coffee bean. Injuries, especially the first, can take you so off-guard because, you know, you’re a runner, ie, you’re invincible. It’s positively shocking to find out we’re not.

    I had to laugh too because I think the last time I talked with you on twitter when you were still writing Salt Says was about your foray into the world of harem pants! : )

    • Diann says:

      One more thing: I think my favorite part of yoga is the stories and metaphors during the practice. So powerful, and I feel like because we’re in that receptive state, we’re more likely to absorb the lesson.

      • runsaltrun says:

        Thank you so so so much! I totally agree with you and in a way I think I kind of needed this kick in the pants to show me that I can’t just keep going forever and sometimes it’s okay to sit down for a minute. I totally agree with you about the receptive nature of yoga class as well!

        And OH MY GOD THOSE PANTS. I think I wore them twice. I found them in the back of my closet about a week ago and tried them on again and was like UM NO. I love that you remember that!

  5. afastpacedlife says:

    I hadn’t heard that version of the story before. I like it. It’s hard not to get negative when you’re stressed. Thanks for the reminder to take a different perspective in these stresses.

  6. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    I love this story – and I would love to change the fact that I’m a total egg to be a coffee bean too. Thank you for sharing. I hope you get good news, and are back to your running self again. Thank goodness you have yoga it just seems to help everything doesn’t it?

    PS Potty Training already, where is the time going???

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ugh I have no idea but it’s stressful! Some days she’s a rock star and some days she won’t sit on the potty for all the M&Ms in the world. Interestingly enough, she is more potty trained outside the house than at home which is a little weird.

      Yoga really is a cure-all for me. Starting my practice was one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself. Love you!

  7. Kristin says:

    Yes, I’ve definitely been in those situations where I knew I was meant to be there- right place, right time! I am a carrot…I usually wilt to my weaknesses although have all intentions not to. When push comes to shove…I sometimes get really scared and over analyze everything (although I’ve gotten a lot better with it).

  8. ambertherunner says:

    Wonderful story – props to the sub instructor for telling it to the class (and with perfect timing for you).
    I used to be a total egg growing up, but over time I’ve become slightly more like a coffee bean, thank goodness. As frustrating as injuries are at the time, I’ve found it’s a good lesson on what’s been missing from training (typically my strength training is lacking), and I use it as a wake up call to treat my body right and work all my muscle groups.
    Loved your analogy with the harem pants 😉
    Hoping for some good news from your chiropractor!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you, my friend! I am learning that lesson right now. I figure at this rate, I’m going to be like The Hulk when I’m back to running again! I’m actually not minding the extra strength training so much. It has already made a difference in how many pushups I can do!

  9. Lindsay says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! I have a very similar personality in that I like to win and like to be good at everything I do, and that is very hard when I put a lot of pressure on myself. Let’s be coffee beans together!

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