The Carrot, the Egg and the Coffee Bean; a Kitchen Fable– with bonus Chickpea.

I found this on Facebook in a group called Exceptional Living and promptly decided to broadcast it.

Story: Handling Adversity: Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

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, she placed carrots. In the second, she placed eggs and the last one, 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 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 daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, mom?” Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–the 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 insides became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water. “Which one are you?” she 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, 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 a 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?

~ Author Unknown

Speaking for myself, my ego would like to be the coffee bean who changes the water that boiled me. However, in the process I would lose my shape completely and be thrown out while the water would be relished. I think the lesson here is that no matter what sort of effect the boiling pot of life has upon us, it renders us more palatable than we were before. Cooked carrots and eggs are good, and coffee is great!

Here is a famous poem by Rumi about boiling chickpeas. http://wildriceblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chickpea-poem.html

A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot where it’s being boiled. “Why are you doing this to me?”

The cook knocks him down with the ladle. “Don’t you try to jump out. You think I’m torturing you.

I’m giving you flavor, so you can mix with spices and rice and be the lovely vitality of a human being.

Remember when you drank rain in the garden. That was for this.”

Grace first. Sexual pleasure, then a boiling new life begins, and the Friend has something good to eat.

Eventually the chickpea will say to the cook, “Boil me some more. Hit me with the skimming spoon.

I can’t do this by myself. I’m like an elephant that dreams of gardens back in Hindustan and doesn’t pay attention to his driver.

You’re my cook, my driver, my way into existence. I love your cooking.”

The cook says, “I was once like you, fresh from the ground.

Then I boiled in time, and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings. My animal soul grew powerful.

I controlled it with practices, and boiled some more, and boiled once beyond that, and became your teacher.”

Rumi

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