Relephant Bonus: Strangers, Intimacy.
Ever notice how most people tend to run from uncomfortable moments, especially in relationships?
The truth is that there are always going to be moments that are painful, uncomfortable or awkward. It’s just the nature of being human. However, in our effort to avoid feeling any form of emotional turmoil, confusion or upset, we unintentionally create even more of it in our relationships and for ourselves.
I want to share with you a perspective shift that really started to turn it around for me.
Several years ago I was in a relationship that was beautiful and fun and light and playful. It was great on all accounts… except for when things would get confronting or challenging. Then she would disappear for days at a time. It drove me crazy.
I could point a finger at her, but in my own ways I would run away as well by trying to be obstinately right, not considering her perspective or trying to get her to change.
One day during one of her disappearances I was driving by a fruit market and had an epiphany. I swerved my car over to the side of the road and ran inside. I needed to know something about how nature worked.
I had a question about peaches.
I entered the store, found a peach, walked over to the first person I saw wearing a green apron and demanded an explanation. “Listen, most people like peaches because they enjoy the juicy, sweet, refreshing exterior and then when they come to the pit they simply throw it away. But doesn’t nature have a different perspective? We think the fruit is what it’s all about, but through nature’s eyes isn’t it pretty much all about the pit?”
The clerk was a college-looking student with dreadlocks and a thin beard. He looked at me for a long moment, taken aback my question. Then he simply said, “The pit is the source of life, dude.”
“Yeah,” I said, “that’s what I was thinkin’.”
So check it out. We all enjoy the juicy, crunchy, sweet, refreshing, moist, delicious exterior of fruit, and then when we finally come to the pit we throw it away.
The majority of the time we see it as worthless. That’s why you hear old sayings like, “Oh man, this is the pits.”
In relationships we all enjoy the fun, light, playful, juicy exterior of knowing someone. And then when we come to a breakdown (the pit) we want to throw it away, ignore it, treat it as worthless. The majority of the time we see “the pit” of relationship as a waste of our time, not what we want, not fun anymore.
I believe we’re missing the point.
Just as the pit is the source of life for the fruit, breakdowns are the source of life for the relationship. Not just your relationship with him or her—but your relationship with everything and everyone, including yourself.
If we run from the breakdowns, we simply stay on the surface where we can only have light, fun experiences. When we allow ourselves to really experience the breakdowns, we start to see the core of who we really are. This can feel scary and vulnerable and yet, only by embracing the source of life can we continue to grow.
More often than not it is in the breakdown (the pit) that we find access to more life.
Nature is intelligent. Fruit is designed to be sweet and tasty because it attracts animals (us included) who eat them and carry them far from the tree and either drop them or poop them out and the seeds or pits go into the ground and grow new trees. This is nature’s doing. Nature is drawing us in so that we can help it to procreate.
Also, by our nature we are drawn to relationships because of the sweetness we naturally crave to experience. But that is just what draws us in. Just as the fruit draws us in to forward its own procreation, relationships draw us in by their own sweetness so that we will come to the pit, experience breakdowns, discover ourselves and be forced to evolve… just as nature does. Crazy, huh?
*Side note: In truth, to say “just as nature does” is kind of a silly because it implies that we are separate from nature. We’re not. We are nature.
So the point behind all of this is that there is no use in resisting it. Breakdowns are designed to happen. They are meant to happen for the purpose of our own evolution. So let them come, celebrate them, cherish them and let them be a source of life. Welcome them, instead of letting them be a source of destruction, stagnation or de-evolution by resisting them.
So how do you do this? It’s simple. Just don’t resist it. Let yourself be in “the pits.” The less you resist it the quicker you get to the feeling of being alive.
This isn’t just for your romantic relationships. It’s for every relationship you have with everything and everyone in your life. Your work, your health, your family, your friends, your self. Any place where you could find yourself “in the pits” is a place that is a potential source of greater connection to life.
However, in our romantic relationships we have the opportunity to go on that journey together in a way that massively accelerates our own personal evolution. That is why relationships that choose to run toward the source of life instead of away from it are far richer and enjoy far more fruits than others.
Consider doing an experiment for yourself by simply having an awareness around cherishing and nourishing the pit when it arises in your relating.
It is the source of all the fruit you’ll ever want.
How to delight in eachother:
Garrison Cohen, former co-founder of AuthenticWorld Media, has spoken at over 250 colleges (as far away as Singapore) for audiences of up to 2,500. He is an award winning filmmaker, speaker, writer and honorary member of the Society of Leadership & Success, which hosts speakers such as Patch Adams & Jack Canfield. In addition to his work in education and entertainment, Garrison has been a voice in the field of transformational media for men & women teaching them to discover, embody and relate with the world as their most solid, sexy and authentic selves.
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Ed: Caroline Scherer & Brianna Bemel