Monday, November 18, 2013

“Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.” – Hafiz

FSYC Teacher Dani Leah Strauss

I started singing at a very young age, and much of this was in the form of chanting Hebrew prayers in synagogue. As an anxious young child, I loved the hypnotic way that the repetitive melodies and phrases lulled me into a cocoon of comfort, warmth, and ease. When I heart Sanskrit chanting and kirtan for the first time, it was like a rediscovery of truth. After years of feeling disconnected to my spiritual life, I suddenly felt a direct, heartfelt connection to nature, my community, and my yoga practice through the simple act of chanting for a few minutes each day.

During the winter of 2011, I spent a week at the beach with my family. I was in the salt air a great deal, chanting and cleansing my malas in the ocean water and just praying with all my heart to the sea and the stars for a way to find a harmonium. I had heard this instrument used to accompany chanting, and the melodic drone sounded just perfect to me. It resonated in a place deep within, and awakened a spaciousness and clarity around my heart.

When I got home from that trip, a teacher friend miraculously showed up in the FSYC lobby. He had just arrived back from a trip to India and had a spare harmonium in tow that he wanted to sell. It felt like the universe sent that instrument across the world as an answer to my call. The beautiful synchronicity of my dreams and reality confirmed that I was meant to walk the bhakti path, and from that day on I have played my harmonium and chanted every single day.

No matter how hectic and frazzled my life and my mind may seem, it all dissolves as soon as I open the billows on this instrument. The mantras that I chant at my home altar are mostly devoted to Saraswati, the goddess of creativity, wisdom, and the Sanskrit language. Her name means “the flowing one”, and each mantra I sing is for her, with the direct intention of inviting her ease and calm into my life. When my eyes are closed and I’m playing and singing, I feel like I become an open channel that she is flowing through. It allows me the chance to put my ego and small problems in the back seat, and just ride the wave of spirit.

I chant in the Sanskrit language, which is particularly unique in its internal resonance and ability to clarify the energetic body. The words are designed to echo back into the body and amplify the vibrations within. When I pay close attention, I can feel and hear a humming throughout my body after chanting and devotional practices. The yogic term for this is nadam – the mystical sound that resonates within every being. This is also the sound of Om that starts and finishes our yoga practice, as a reminder that we are all linked together through a sacred pulsation, the rhythm of the universe. In kirtan when we call out various names of gods and goddesses, we acknowledge that these are simply different manifestations of the same cosmic creative energy that animates and connects us all. Every mantra is a variation of Om.

Kirtan is a practice of devotion and offering from the deepest place within. It is gleaned from the branch of yoga known as Bhakti, or the yoga of devotion and love. In this tradition, we use call and response chanting to connect to the ancient wisdom of the yogis and sages of the past. The mantras we chant hold the light of all the beings who have thought, whispered, spoken, sung, and wailed them for centuries. Kirtan is designed for every emotion – we can practice in joy, in sadness, in success, and in struggle. We offer all these feelings to the universe and in doing so, we clear out our internal cobwebs and create a sanctuary of peace inside the heart. I return to this refuge again and again when I am looking for answers or feeling disconnected. We live in a fast-paced world now that does not put much value on self-care, nurturing, and selfless action. In my opinion, devotional practices that allow us to both offer and receive what we need are extremely valuable.

Kirtan is a safe space for all beings - the practice itself guides and instructs us all, leading us back to the heart. We repeat these ancient sounds and melodies again and again, and find our way home to ourselves. When we surrender our efforts to something greater, a deep release of old wounds and stagnant energy is possible. This clears the way for spiritual opening and exploration. I see it happen when I lead a group in chanting – there is always the initial feeling of hesitancy, followed by a softening, and then a vibrant infusion of joy in the room. We are all on our own journey as we sing, each person lifting their voice with unique prayers and hopes. But by singing together, we support and strengthen each other and give one another permission to release and relax.

Chanting allows me to speak heart to heart with the members of our community, and extends far beyond my altar and the yoga room. These bhakti practices are a recipe for a conscious, connected experience on this earth, and they provide me with deep purpose and joy.

I am so grateful to the bhaktas (Allison Dennis Collins, Govind Das, Michael Johnson, Amanda Hale, each one such a bright light in the world) who have shown me this path, and given me the sweet nudges I needed to keep on walking. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Elaina's practice

My practice




Exhale. The soft whirling of ujjayi moving at the back of my throat. My eyes close.

Inhale. I move my hands into Anjali Mudra at the center of my chest and bow my head slightly, honoring and celebrating the present moment.

Exhale. My thumbs lower as my chest softly falls. My body softens and begins to let go.


Exhale. OM passes through my lips and my body vibrates with the sound. Cavernous and eternal, reminding me of the space and peace I carry with me at all times.


Exhale. I sing the opening invocation. Every time the chant is both comforting and invigorating.

Inhale. Surya Namaskara begins as my arms float up and I gaze upward. My palms press, sealing my commitment.

Exhale, I fold forward, surrendering to the practice, ready to leave it all on my mat.

Inhale. I lengthen, feeling strong and reaching for my intention through the crown of my head.

Exhale. I step back, core engaged, reminding me that the center of me is my foundation, and lower.

Inhale. Into a backbend, an opening that is much needed. I feel freer and yet more vulnerable. More connected, more my authentic self.

Exhale. My strong center pulls me up and back into five breaths of stillness. Peace.

Inhale. I look forward with focus, ready to move.

Exhale. I travel, excited for the journey.

Inhale. I lengthen again, revisiting my intention, reclaiming my space, and filling with light.

Exhale. I fold, bowing with devotion.

Inhale. I float up to standing, gathering energy as I sweep my arms upward, and then collecting it to my heart with my hands.

I am ready.

The practice moves on like this, the same breaths, the same movements as the day before and the day before. This devotion to my practice giving me the gift of moving meditation. This is a gift that I dedicate to my loved ones and my community every chance I get. Together we say, Namaste.

-Elaina Howard

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We love our teachers!!

Nora Barger

What is the best part about teaching at FSYC? 

If you have been following the blog you understand the impact and importance of the FSYC community to all of the teachers.  It is palpable.  From the first time that I came to Franklin Street during a free week of yoga 4 years ago Lori was welcoming and every teacher made the practice accessible and inviting.  I am honored to now teach at the studio and I work to create the same warm and welcoming atmosphere in each class.  

However, it is more than the community that is the best part about teaching at FSYC.  It is the Seva, the service, to the larger local and global community that inspires me.  From the Eve Carson Scholarship to the Africa Yoga Project and Coalition to Unchain Dogs, Lori and the FSYC community have donated over $60,000 to different causes.  Yoga is and can become a very self-centered practice, focused on turning inside and self-examination.  Supporting the larger community is important for balance and perspective and FSYC continually creates opportunities to give back and connect to those around us. 

How have your students inspired you in your life?

My students inspire me through their dedication to practice and through their sense of humor on the mat. As for dedication -  I teach at 6:30 on Tuesday mornings and generally the same dedicated group of students come through the door even in the cold, dark mornings of winter.  It would be so easy to stay in a warm bed but week after week they show up and offer their breath and energy and explore the benefits of an early morning practice to start their day.  

As for sense of humor - as a teacher, I want to create beautiful sequences coordinated with breath and music that inspire and empower students.  The reality is I get my left and right confused, leave something out or stumble over my words.  My students are quick to laugh and roll with the confusion understanding that it is all part of the practice and it inspires me to laugh, keep my sense of humor and perspective.  My students show me it is OK to drop the need for perfection whether teaching, practicing or simply moving through my day. 

Other than teaching how does yoga fit in to your life?

I have always been an anxious person.  I have looked to physical outlets to keep my anxiety in check - it is hard to let your thoughts run wild if you are exhausted from running or biking.  So, I began practicing about 6 years ago mostly for the physical benefits - flexibility and strength.  I never imagined that stepping onto my mat, slowing down and breathing could be the antidote to my anxious mind that I was always looking for.  Therefore, integrating yoga into my life - both on and off my mat - has become a necessary element in my life for peace and happiness.   

Friday, August 30, 2013

We love our teachers!!

Sophia Giebultowicz

What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?

I love the variety of students that walk through our doors and how they all bring their own unique experience to the studio. It can take a a lot of courage to make it to the mat and to let go of whatever holds us back from feeling separate or isolated. Yet from the moment that we chant the first OM to the final "Namaste," I witness the students becoming one cohesive community, supporting each other with breath and presence. It serves as a constant reminder of the connection we all share---which can be especially helpful if you're sweating through lots and lots of Navasanas! On that same note, I also love teaching to a group of people who aren't afraid to work hard, laugh, and give their neighbor an encouraging high-five!

How have your students inspired you in your life?

When guiding a practice, I encourage self-compassion and remind my students to be okay with exactly where they are that day. Yet more than once I've neglected to do the same towards myself, especially in those situations away from the yoga mat. When I catch myself in a pattern of negative thinking or self-judgment, I realize that if my students can let go of these behaviors, I certainly can as well. 

Other than teaching how does yoga fit in to your life?

Practice, of course---but the philosophy of yoga has also become an integral part of my life. It's a way to cope with those curve-balls that come out of nowhere, like an injury (non-attachment to the physical practice), or feeling inexplicably blue (practicing contentment). In moments of crisis, I take a few deep breaths and tell myself that it's okay to surrender and trust in something greater, as long as I do the best that I can. And finally, during times that everything seems awesome and I find myself wondering what could go wrong, yoga reminds me to accept the impermanence of each moment, while also experiencing it with complete presence.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We love our teachers!!!

Patrick Shannon

What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?

The best part about teaching yoga at Franklin Street YC is the opportunity to witness the palpable shift in energy when we breathe as one. Our community is so present and committed that the breath becomes a power in and of itself.  You can feel it in the air!!  There is nothing better than being in a room that is charged with life and vitality.  To be a guide in this space is beyond inspirational. 

How have your students inspired you in your life?

The FSYC students show up. Always. No matter how rough of a day, week, or year they are having, they find a way to get on the mat.  The students inspire me daily to do my work so the practice can do it's work.  Their commitment has helped me realize that yoga can offer space to process and breathe no matter what you are going through or where you are in life.

Other than teaching, how does yoga fit into your life?

Yoga has taught me how to pause before reacting and this one skill has changed my life.  The physical practice, the breath work, and the support I get from the FSYC yogis are all pieces of the puzzle that help me enjoy my life and be the person I want to be.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We love our teachers!!

Linda Yu

What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?
I love being part of this vibrant community, both committed to power yoga and committed to being of service to others.  FSYC is really a unique place with an amazing energy.  

How have your students inspired you in your life?
They show up on their mat, which I think is the hardest part of yoga!  My students have carved out time to take care of themselves and to be open to the experience.  Their strength and commitment to the practice is awesome, and the transformation that I witness is truly extraordinary.    

Other than teaching how does yoga fit in to your life?
Oh my goodness, where do I even start?   For me, yoga used to be about the physical accomplishments and superficial benefits.  As time has gone by, I've realized that yoga doesn't end when you say 'Namaste' and roll up your mat.  Yoga teaches me to be more aware, authentic, and accepting in this moment.   It teaches me humility, as well as compassion for myself and for others.  And it teaches me the incredible power of breath!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

We love our teachers!!!!

Laura Lazarus

What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?

I'm one of the newest FSYC teachers, but what I've appreciated most about teaching at the studio so far is similar to what I've cherished about practicing there for years: community.  The way in which members of the FSYC family love and support each other and also give back to the world around them inspires me to be more selfless and compassionate. When I walk into FSYC I feel at loved and at home.  When I leave FSYC I feel committed to sharing that love with the world around me.  

How have your students inspired you in your life?

My students inspire me to show up on my mat and in my life, no matter what a I may feel or a my practice may look like that day.  On any given day, the room is full of folks who are sleepy, energized, tight, injured, "beginner," "advanced," or in a funk.  But every single one of them showed up and the hard-work, perseverance, and dedication that each of them demonstrate by making that choice is the same. The rest is just shapes.  

Other than teaching how does yoga fit in to your life?

At the most basic level, I practice asana in some form every day.  In a broader way, however, yoga has become a part of who I am and how I approach the world every day.  In class, Lori often jokes that one day you might be frustrated and impatient waiting in line at the grocery store and before you know it, your "yoga breathe" will kick in.  This actually happened to me!  I was shocked.  When I first started practicing, I was somewhat of a yoga skeptic.  I appreciated asana, but wasn't sure that I wanted to let the practice into my life beyond the physical.  Over time, I learned that wasn't really in my control.  My practice has made me more present, compassionate, tenacious, honest, and at home in my own skin.  I'm continually surprised by the new lessons yoga has to offer.  Whether I wanted it to or not!  And I am truly grateful. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We love our teachers!!!

Dani Strauss

What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?
I am continuously inspired and uplifted by the energy and pulse of the studio, and this is a creation of every person that walks through our doors. It is a total joy to teach in a space where the yogis feel safe to breathe and move and explore in their own way because we are there to hold each other up. Our community is a web of support, and I am honored to witness the compassion and respect that our students and teachers have for each other.

How have your students inspired you in your life?
My students have inspired me to be bold and fearless. They open their hearts and minds and explore poses and ideas that are new and challenging in each class, and I am constantly in awe of their bravery and willingness to offer their full attention to the moment at hand. The line between effort and ease that I see my students navigate through the practice reminds me that internal balance and taking time to pause is so important, and their commitment to this path inspires me to rededicate myself again and again to yoga as a way of life.

Other than teaching how does yoga fit in to your life?
The practice of yoga grounds and steadies me each time I feel scattered or unsure. It helps me trust my intuition and make decisions that are in line with my core values. My daily practice of asana and chanting reminds me that each moment is sacred, and that there is always more space to explore and open to the beauty of what surrounds me on this earth. My relationships are enriched in every capacity by my practice. Yoga offers me the tools to live a life of purpose and integrity, and to channel the energy that flows through me in the most positive ways.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We love our teachers!!!

Michelle Johnson
What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?
 The best part about teaching at FSYC is the strong sense of connection and community that is cultivated in and outside of the studio. When folks come to class and roll out their mats they see familiar faces and if they are new to the studio they feel the warmth and welcoming environment and return many times.  FSYC is connected to the community and encourages students and teachers to both practice on the mat and off of the mat by supporting causes that are important to us.
How have your students inspired you in your life?
The students make the studio and they push me to be a better teacher. What most inspires me is the openness to change. Students come in from various places, carrying emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual, baggage with them and by the end of the practice they dropped some of the heaviness.  I appreciate student’s openness to being transformed.  The students are FSYC are committed, we don’t see them one time a week, we see them multiple times a week, sometimes more than one time in a day and they are committed to their practice, growing, stretching, and learning.
Other than teaching how does yoga fit in to your life?
Yoga doesn’t fit in; it’s a way of living.  As I’ve practiced more and taught for a few years now, I realize how much yoga is a practice that we use off of our mats much more than on our mats. Yes, I show up for the physical part of the practice but what I most enjoy is the meditation, the quiet time. I appreciate the reflection and the burning away of layers of old stuff so that I can get to the truest sense of myself.  Yoga show up in how I greet someone in the grocery store, to how I walk down the street, meditatively or preoccupied. Yoga shows up when I am compassionate or when my mean part is showing up. Yoga reminds me of my dharma, duty, and when I stray away from my path my practice guides me back on the path, back to the truth.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We love our teachers!!!

Nathan Logan

The best part of teaching at Franklin Street Yoga Center is the community. Plain and simple it's just an amazing part of what we all get to experience. Being part of the community is such a blessing in my life, and to be able now to teach to this same community of friends and enjoy the bond of friendship as they accept me as a teacher is such a wonderful part of my yoga. The community that is Franklin Street Yoga Center is so giving and forgiving, so many different personalities and levels of yoga practice, it makes for a well rounded learning center for all of us with yoga, health and well-being at it's core. 

My students have inspired me in many ways, encouraging me to be my best, all around, not just teaching. But then on a teaching level they challenge me to do them right and keep it fun, teaching creative and challenging classes that they will want to come back to. I was lucky enough to sub for Linda on Sunday's for her maternity leave this summer and announcing her return and the support of that, today I had a couple that has come regularly to my Sunday class now, and they came over and thanked me for having this summer together, and that just meant a lot, not only their returning practice, but their vocalization of their thanks makes me truly grateful that I worked to do my best and had some in this community that saw my work and growth and hopefully were thanking me because they got some of their health benefits from taking my yoga class this summer. Very grateful for the whole opportunity and experience to grow. 

Yoga is the central part of my healthy living and lifestyle. Without yoga I would not feel as good as I do. It has helped to cure many of the small physical ailments which my body has slowly acquired, as well as calm my mind and learn to slow things down breath and move easier throughout this beautiful world. My new found flexibility and strength helps me live life more comfortably. All of this I attribute to my weekly, sometimes daily yoga practice. I feel better every time. I am so grateful for the last three years of yoga in my life.

Monday, August 19, 2013

We love our teachers!!!

Leah Barber
What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?
Hands down, the best part about teaching at FSYC is the community.  I felt the community from the very first class I took here.  I was challenged by the teacher to live up to my fullest potential while on my mat and in our community and I that feeling comes with every class I take and teach.  I love seeing familiar faces, but I especially love when there is a brand new student to FSYC in my class.  I want them to feel the community that I felt when I first came here.  I want them to come back and feel that comfort each and every time they practice.  
How have your students inspired you in your life?  
My students have inspired me to be a better listener.  I am inspired when I see students listening to their bodies by taking rests when they need it, rather than worrying about how they look on their mat and trying to compete with other students.  As a yoga student, listening is hard because there is so much to juggle as you have to hear the teacher and your inner dialogue at the same time.  I am inspired when I see students truly listening to what their body is asking for.  I am inspired by the power of my own words when I say one little thing to help students adjust their alignment and everybody listens.    
Other than teaching, how does yoga fit into your life?  
Yoga has fit into my life as a balance.  It has helped me balance my energy and time as I need yoga to help me stay focused on the many activities that fill my days.  When I am not practicing yoga, my energy becomes scattered and sometimes negative.  All I need is a good asana and pranayama to help balance that out.   Yoga balances my time by helping me focus and be purposeful.  If I don't take time for my practice then my time management suffers.  I feel like my best ideas for work and life come right after savasana.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We love our teachers!!!

Elaina Howard

What is the best part about teaching at FSYC?

-The best part of teaching at FSYC is the community! I feel so lucky and honored to be a part of such a strong, loving, and motivated community. I know that no matter how my day has been or is going to go, a visit to FSYC can only make it better. 

How have your students inspired you in your life?

-Watching the dedication of FSYC students inspires me to make the decision every day to commit to my own practice and reminds me that we practice not just for ourselves, but for everyone that we come into contact with directly or indirectly. The patience, devotion, and courage of FSYC students is truly inspiring!

Other than teaching how does yoga fit in to your life?

-Yoga travels with me everywhere, reminding me to be content with what is. From taking a deep breath and feeling my shoulders fall away from my ears during rush hour traffic, to remembering to fully enjoy every sweet moment with my friends and family, yoga is a part of everything I do and everywhere I go. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We love our teachers!!!

Paige Zinn

What is the best part about teaching at Franklin Street Yoga Center?
I love the FSYC’s community of people.  This special place is created by the people who come to share their practice with others.

How have your students inspired you in your life?
I am constantly reminded that yoga is really about just showing up on your mat.  And since I teach at 6:30 am, the people who show up are incredibly committed and vested in their practice.  I’ve seen many of my students transform physically.  But the most rewarding thing to watch is how their minds become more and more open to the other limbs of yoga, particularly meditation.  They remind me to keep committed to my practice and remain open to change. 

Other than teaching how does yoga fit into your life?
My life outside of teaching yoga tends to be a bit over-scheduled, over-committed and a bit frantic.  I multitask most moments of my life and enjoy the adrenalin rush of managing people and large projects.  There have been many times in the past 10 years when I had to stop my asana practice due to my schedule or life circumstances.  And this is when the true teaching has happened for me.  I’ve learned that yoga isn’t my asana practice or my meditative practice.  It’s how I treat others.  It’s how I make others feel in my presence.  It’s how I impact the community of people in my life on a daily basis.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Be the wild card

Be the wild card. Act spontaneously. Then learn.

Be the one whose actions keep changing things in ways no one predicts. Not even you. Not remotely.

Be the wild card. Be so honest that you seem hard to believe. Show your soul’s nakedness.

Be the wild card. Be so open with your love and give so freely that people are afraid you won’t survive. And then survive. Surprise yourself and them.

Love when they leave you. Love when they stay a while. Love those that can’t decide.
Be loud. Experience everything so intensely that everyone, including you, wonders how you hold yourself together in the hurricanes inside yourself.

Spend time in prisons. In hospitals. Volunteer to feed the hungry. Talk to the old man on the street and smile as if he is your grandfather you’ve just seen the day before.

Go to an earthquake or tsunami ravaged country. Give your love and skill, knowing there is nothing you can do. Feel the powerlessness and unstoppable destruction.

Save animals and children and plants. Feel life bursting and growing beautiful and unchecked.
Be quiet. Die twice a day in meditation.

Give up all judgments and expectations of yourself. Stop holding yourself together. Feel who you are at the center of yourself and then let go.

Thank your body for letting you breathe here for a brilliant shining moment.

Apologize for not being aware enough to keep it as perfect as it knew how to be.

Cry possibly, breathe probably, and begin again, in love with everything.
Be the wild card. Be bright. Be nurturing. Be passion.

By Dr. Andrea Seiffertt, D.O.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just for today, i will not anger.
Just for today, i will not worry.
Just for today, i will be grateful for all my blessings.
Just for today, i will work with honesty and integrity.
Just for today, i will be kind to all living beings.♥

~Reiki Principles

Consider picking just one statement and let it be your mantra for today.

Friday, May 17, 2013

If you want to live life to the fullest, you must do something that you fear the most.

Monday, May 6, 2013

"If I can do it anyone can. The only difference is a few years and a few thousand hours on the yoga mat. The benefit of yoga isn't something that materializes out of thin air. You have to work for it and then you receive its grace." -Kino MacGregor

Kino McGregor Huffington Post Article

Friday, May 3, 2013

Alice: "How long is forever?" 

White Rabbit: "Sometimes just one second."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Great way to put things into perspective.
Top 5 Ways to a Better Life According to Dave Grohl

(An interpretation of his Keynote speech at SXSW last week in Austin,TX)

1. No one is you and that is your biggest power.

“It’s YOUR VOICE. Cherish it. Respect it. Nurture it. Challenge it. Stretch it and scream until it’s f**king gone because everyone is blessed with at least that, and who knows how long it will last . . .”
“Who’s to say what’s a good voice, and what’s not a good voice? The Voice? Imagine Bob Dylan sitting there singing ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ in front of Christina Aguilera.”

2. Don’t be afraid of not fitting in.

“I can truly say out loud that ‘Gangnam Style’ is one of my favorite f**king songs of the past decade. Is it any better or worse than the latest Atoms for Peace album? Hmmm… paging Pitchfork! Come in, come in, Pitchfork! We need you to help us determine the value of a song! Who f**king cares.” Don't be someone who designs their lives to impress others.

3. Give a damn about yourself.

It’s about taking care of yourself so you can be a better human being. A 2.0 version of you is way more equipped to help others in need. Take up yoga if you’re stressed. Ask for a big raise. Walk away from a relationship that is abusive or draining. Or just take a nap, for Christ’s sake.

4. Be humble.

No one wants to go to lunch with a supermodel who says things like, “My cheekbones, if you’ve noticed, have a similar incline to an escalator.” One thing I’ve noticed is that if you are good at something, people will acknowledge it. Appreciate the hell out of those people. Should you be blessed enough to have the fortitude to work so hard at something that people celebrate you, your first reaction should be gratitude. And know that there’s a ton of people out there from all races and socioeconomic backgrounds who can still teach you something. I don’t care if you’re Bill Clinton or Jay-Z – always be learning; always be improving.

5. Spark a revolution.

Always have the highest bar for yourself. Wake up everyday and no matter how crappy you feel, want to change something for the better. Do something that makes someone happy. Create something that inspires someone. Be someone’s light when they are hopeless.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land." - Peter Pan

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A young woman went to her grandmother 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 grandmother 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 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 granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that 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 granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point,grandmother?”

Her grandmother 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?” she asked her granddaughter.

“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 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?