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Post by John Crewdson

How are carrots, eggs, coffee, and tai chi related? First a story I got via email from my friend Melanie Hirsch.

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee…You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

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 and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to 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 you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter 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. 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?’ 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 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 hour is the darkest and trials 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?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

May we all be COFFEE!!!

Tai chi has helped me become soft when I need to be and hard for brief moments when necessary, so I could learn to change my surroundings. Tai chi’s spiritual nature allows you to blend with the water of daily life, be it a rushing torrent or a boiling pot. It would take too many words to explain it better than this simple and elegant story, if I even could. It’s better to experience it. Visit me at

My friend Mel is also talented at teaching people how to effectively deal with stress. Download her free 5 minute relaxation session from

Posted by John Crewdson –
Experience Bursts of Tai Chi(TM) click here –

John is a formally accepted protege (disciple) of the 5th generation Yang Master, Cui Zhongsan of Beijing, China. John trains and teaches at The Mei Zhong Yang Style Taijiquan Association, USA in Decatur, Georgia, as well as teaching via the internet. He trains with his master whenever he travels to Beijing and whenever Master Cui visits the United States. In keeping with tradition, and just plain old good form, John also likes to acknowledge Miriam Holland who is the founder of Mei Zhong, John’s senior training sister, and a fellow disciple of Master Cui (visit

Anyone may copy this article and use it however they see fit, as long as it is copied in its entirety with all links, the author’s information, and this statement. You may also email me at

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