In our lives we are faced with challenges on a regular basis. How we handle those challenges ultimately affects our body and our spirit. When you come from a place of understanding, peace and acceptance of the things around you, you will find that challenges or challenging people help you to grow instead of harden or deflate you. You have the power to change the world around you one person/experience at a time. Here is a great story that illustrates this concept.
I went to visit my Nona one day and found her in her normal place in the kitchen. I had a really bad day where nothing was going right for me. I was done with people and done with the world in general. I didn’t understand why things were happening to me and I was ready to just give up altogether on what I was doing.
She sat me down and told me to help her with the lasagna. She put the pots on the stove with water to boil and didn’t say anything else. In one pot she put the pasta, in another pot she put eggs and then she put the espresso maker on the stove. For those who don’t know about stove top espresso makers, you grind the coffee beans and put them in the top with the water in a metal contraption that looks like kettle. As it boils the water mixes with the grinds and makes the espresso coffee. I digress…back to the story.
Eventually she was ready to drain the pots. She asked me to come and help her hold the strainer. The pasta came out first. She asked me to use a fork and test them. I said they were soft so they were good for adding to the sauce. Then we took out the eggs and she asked me to remove the shell. She asked me what I noticed and I said they are hard boiled. Then she said she needed a break so we should have a cup of espresso.
As we sat down to drink our espresso (mine with more sugar than coffee), she asked me a question. “What do all three of the foods have in common?” I was confused, I had no idea what eggs, pasta and espresso had in common. I blurted out what came to my head and said “We can eat them”. She laughed and said I was right but there was something else. I looked at them and remembered the pots so I said “They were all boiled in water?”
She said yes and then began to explain. All three items were exposed to the same conditions but they all reacted differently. The pasta went into the water hard but came out soft and limp. The inside of the egg was soft but after being exposed to the water it became hard. Then she asked me what happened to the coffee beans. I thought about it and realized that the coffee grinds were still there the same as before but the water had changed. When I told her this she smiled and patted my hand across the table. Yes the beans did not let the water change them, instead the water changed and became something greater as a result. I remember sitting there across from my Nona and thinking that I wanted to be more like coffee beans. I gave her a big hug and went off to finish what I started by taking a different perspective. I chose to change my behaviour and my thoughts therefore changing my world.
My Nona was a wise woman and I miss her. That lesson has stayed with me for my whole life. When situations come up as they will, you have the choice to let them change you into someone who is bitter and hardened against life or give up completely and be soft OR you can choose to let it be a learning experience that will enrich your life and add flavour to your world.
I don’t know about you…but I prefer to be the coffee beans. Bet you never look at another cup of coffee the same way again.