Surrender to the Green Beans

27 Apr 2011, by michelle in personal development, Stress

One of my early spiritual teachers shared with me a story about her process of training to become a shaman.  She had traveled all over the world, learning from amazing spiritual masters.  Part of her last leg of preparation was working in a spiritual community, where each member of the community performed a certain task that would benefit the whole.  This task was assigned based on the inherent gifts each member had, as well as what would task was believed to most benefit each member’s spiritual growth and evolution.  With all her travels and through everything she had learned, she had secretly hoped she would have an “important” function.

What did her role turn out to be?  Her very important and oh so exclusive role was preparing shuck beans!  Umm, not exactly what she imagined.

green beansStill she took on the task, thinking quickly it would be changed.  But after a few weeks of doing this, she grew incredibly bored and decided to mention something to the person who assigned tasks.  He assured her that preparing the beans the best place for her and where she was meant to be.

She would then go back to doing her work but she wasn’t enjoying it in the least.  She decided each week, she’d check in to see if she could be assigned a different task, something that would expand her gifts.  And each week, she was told again and again, green beans are where you are meant to be.

After months went by with the same rejection week after week, she reflected on how her strategy of trying to assert herself into a different position was not working.  She decided to dedicate herself whole-heartedly to preparing the green beans and let go of what she thought she ought to be doing instead.  She found herself becoming lost in the process she had learned so well.  At first it felt like a form of meditation and then it blossomed even further to have its own melody.  Soon she found herself signing as she performed her tasks.  Others noticed how happy and at peace she was.  It was then that she was told she had completed her task well and it was time for her to share all she has learned out into the world.

melodyAlthough her heart had known for a long time she was going to be a spiritual teacher, she had not received all the lessons that would make her teachings fulfilling to her.  Her ego was trying to push and force the change that her heart so deeply wanted to create.  Yet, the heart’s language is not push, it is flow.  It is an internal melody that is found when you surrender to your current reality.

So many times when we reach this point when life isn’t working out as planned, we turn our backs on the tasks before us.   We want to say, “To hell with it!”  Or maybe you fall back into an old pattern of behavior that isn’t working, yet feels comfortable to you.

Do not confuse surrender with giving up.  The tasks are there for a reason –  to prepare you to share your gifts.  This doesn’t mean life is going to stay this way, as your ego would like you to believe.  If your ego, is like mine, it wants to get on with it and keep moving forward.   However, if you find yourself stuck, yet again, that is a sure sign there is something you are missing that will support you to move forward.  That is when you are being called to find acceptance in what this moment is trying to teach you.  Ask yourself “What do I need to learn about why my relationships, career, finances, physical health or whatever your current challenge is in this present moment?”

You will find your spirit/essence/authentic self is guiding you, once the pushy, assertiveness of your ego is witnessed.  Then it is your choice as to which voice you are going to follow.  When you whole-heartedly choose your essence, your ego’s job has been completed with this task and let’s go of the deep grip it had on you.  That is when you realize that your essence will always be the more difficult voice to trust, yet it is the only path to reap the rewards of your heart’s desires.  Til this day, I have kept a jar of baby food green beans on my meditation table to remind me to surrender to my own life’s unfolding by choosing my essence rather than my ego to be my guide.

Living Emotionally Conscious Together,


  • Thank you for this story! It helped me see things from a new perspective. I can see where my ego is the one who wants to push forward and get where I think I need to go in life. But if I follow more with my heart, my essence, my Soul, it will always lead me down the highest path for me.

    • You’ve got it Crystal. Beautifully stated!!


  • Thank you! This is just what I needed to clarify my “muddled” views of things that are happening to me right now!

    • Wonderful Jenny – glad to hear it and thanks so much for sharing!

  • That was the perfect lesson. I love it!

    • My pleasure to share this story with you Shawn. I am glad it was meaningful to you. It brought back fond memories to when I first heard the story!

  • Patti

    Thank you!!! I’ve always had a problem with surrender vs giving up….but now i have a much clearer understanding. I tend to “push” things along, but now, i look forward to allowing, to surrendering and learn more from each situation. I love the way big lessons come in the form of simple tasks.

    • I agree Patti, the whole concept of surrender vs giving up can be a tricky one. Glad the story helped make it clearer. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jos

    Thank you for this lovely story/lesson.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I wish you all the best. May you keep helping us in our journey to become better human beings.

    • Thank you so much Jos for your feedback and kind words. It is absolutely my honor!

  • Judy Gacheche

    Surrender to the Green Beans is yummy!! when I learn that holding onto ego will give me a nose dive I decide to surrender it with immediate effect. I know it can be done instantly. Do not think its dificult to do. It takes a brave one to decide and effect it. Try it NOW.