Carrot, Egg & Tea: A New Twist on an Old Story
A young woman facetimes her mother complaining about how hard her relationship has been while sheltering in place. She does not know how she is going to make the relationship work and is considering leaving once shelter in place orders are lifted. She is so tired of fighting and struggling.
Her mother takes her iPad into the kitchen and props it up on the shelf so her daughter can watch her fill three pots with water. In the first pot, the mother places a carrot, in the second she places an egg, in the last she places loose tea leaves. She allows the water to sit on the stove and boil without saying a word. The daughter alternates between frustration and tears as she continues to share her stories about the anger, anxiety and stress she is feeling in her relationship while sheltering in place.
Twenty minutes pass and the mother shuts off the burners. She removes the carrot, puts it on a plate and places it on the counter. Then she does the same with the egg. She ladles the tea into a clear cup and sets it beside the plates. She turns her iPad so her daughter can see each item, then asks, “Tell me what you see?”
“A carrot, an egg, and tea,” she replies.
The mother invites her to take a closer look. The young woman watches as her mother picks up the carrot and smashes it easily in her hand. Next the mother takes the egg and cracks it on the countertop. After carefully pulling off the shell, her mother places the egg between her hands and applies gentle pressure so the daughter can see how much it has hardened. Finally, the mother holds the cup of tea to the light. The daughter is stunned at how dark it has become and knows it must be very strong.
The daughter asks, “What is the point of all this Mother?”
Her mother explains that each of these objects faced the same challenge, but each reacted differently. The boiling water represents the stress and tension of sheltering in place and the uncertainty of the spread of Covid-19. The carrot represents people with rigid mindsets who are realizing they can no longer control everything and are struggling to find balance in this unpredictable time. The egg represents people with fear or victim mindsets with poor boundaries. The stories they are telling themselves are being validated in the relationships around them now.
The loose tea leaves are unique. They represent the people who are balanced, who “hold on loosely” and have the skills to work together though separate to produce incredibly strong relationships. People who are like tea leaves know that if they remain flexible and allow their relationships to be transformed, they will come away better and stronger than before.
As Paul Harvey said, “And now for the rest of the story…”
The subtler message within the carrot, egg and tea leaves story is that in every situation there is an opportunity to mitigate challenges. The carrot, egg and tea leaves represent different relationship styles, each with their own level of self-awareness (or lack thereof). The awareness that the water is boiling and for how long represents the act of bringing presence and conscious choice to the challenge by becoming more self-aware. If one is aware, the carrot could be removed from the boiling water when it becomes tender not mushy. The egg could be removed after 3 minutes so it is soft and no longer fragile. The strength and flavor of the tea leaves can be adjusted to suit your own unique palate.
Bringing awareness to your personal and professional lives creates opportunities for every relationship to bloom. When you appreciate the gifts that others bring to the table, curiously exploring rather than judging one another, relationships are transformed. As you speak your emotions rather than bottling them up, create space for alone time, as well as healthy boundaries, you become the best version of yourself and are able to hold space for other people to be their best selves as well.
If you are interested in bringing more conscious awareness to your relationships, create healthier boundaries and learn how to communicate more effectively in your work and personal lives, schedule a time now to chat with me here: https://calendly.com/teresalodato/free
Together we will create a plan to reach your goals and in no time you will be experiencing better results with less effort and more joy!
Teresa Lodato, CPCC is a Conscious Leadership & Relationship Coach and the founder of Becoming Aware™ Coaching.
As a former stressed-out financial services executive with over 20 years delighting clients, Teresa now guides individuals to unleash their sixth sense to level-up their professional and personal relationships. Her clients learn to effortlessly create inspired and motivated relationships that drive results while creating a stable, meaningful work/life integration. Teresa is an author and speaker in addition to being a highly sought-after coach for forward-thinking individuals and organizations. For more information about me and the work I do, please visit: www.teresalodato.com