The Power of Choice

Let me share with you a story I heard at church last week. It is a parable about eggs, carrots and coffee, and it illustrates the power of our choices. 

The story goes that a mother was consoling her daughter who had so many stresses and problems in her life that she wanted to give up. The mother put 3 pots of water on the stove. She put eggs in one, carrots in the next, and ground coffee beans in the third. After boiling the water for 20 minutes, she asked her daughter to examine the results. The eggs had turned hard inside. The carrots had gotten soft and broken apart. But the coffee beans had changed the water into fragrant and delicious coffee. The heat, representing the stressors and adversities of life, was the same for the eggs, carrots and coffee beans. The eggs got hard and bitter. The carrots fell apart. But it was the coffee beans which were able to react to the heat in a positive way and actually change the water for the better. The water represents all those people and things around us, that is, our environment. The conclusion as described in the Huffington Post is: 

“If you are like the coffee bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is darkest and challenges are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?  How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? You may have started as a carrot or egg, but the beauty of life is you can consciously choose who to be.” 

This story is particularly relevant for all of us today because of the conflicts both in our country and the world. Reading or listening to the news and thinking about its possible ramifications can be very stressful. Each of us has to decide how to deal with it. Will we harden ourselves and try to ignore it all, like the eggs? Or will we allow the stresses to fester until we explode with anger or implode with stress related illness —like the carrots. Or lastly we can decide to make coffee. 

So just how can we all make great coffee?  First we have to make the decision to do so, and then we have to change our behavior or our thinking to make it happen. We all know this is not simple; in fact, many of us spend our lives trying to do just this. But here are some basics: always be grateful, try to see the glass as half full, think what the other guy might be feeling, smile often, pray daily, be respectful of others since we are all equal in God’s eyes, and leave your space in better shape than when you arrived . Let me comment specifically about the political stress and divisiveness of today. In my opinion, the key to moderating this heat is to acknowledge and accept that there are informed, intelligent, and caring people on the other side of the political divide from where each of us stands. If we truly believe this, the coffee will be hot, but it won’t be bitter.

Let us all try to grow and adapt in positive ways to the stresses and adversities of life. Our efforts can help others and together we can foster a more civil and loving society.

The bonus is that coffee is healthy.  See this link for an overview of health benefits that come from drinking coffee:  http://time.com/4849985/coffee-caffeine-live-longer

SUGGESTIONS:

1. Read or listen to a media source known to have a different viewpoint than your own. The website https://www.arcamax.com/columns (the politics section) is an excellent source to locate political writers that are left, right or moderate. You might be surprised to see how this can change your perspective.

2. If there is someone that you know and respect who has an opposing political view to yours, tell them you want to try to understand their viewpoint. Then listen.

3. Dedicate some special quiet time to prayer and reflection. Try to find new ways you can “make coffee.” How can you change your words or your behavior in ways that will make life calmer, happier, or more positive for yourself and others. If you have no idea how to proceed, start with prayer, meditation, walking, or spiritual reading. The key is to commit to a specific practice and then just start doing it, one day at a time. If you just think about it, nothing will change.

4. My prior Blogs and list of Resources at serenityandhealth.com may be helpful to you as well.

God bless you all.  Donna