The Bravest, Sexiest Thing You Can Do in an Uncomfortable Moment. ~ Garrison Cohen

Via on May 19, 2013

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 natures 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.

peach pit
Via Baby Brezza on Pinterest

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.

 

garrison cohen

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.

When I was a kid my Dad always said to me, “Don’t tell me, show me.” And I’d always say, “Okay, I will.

For information on his personal coaching for life, relationship and personal empowerment for men and women visit him here. And for products and programs on empowered authentic living and relationships just for men for visit him here.

 

 

Like elephant Love & Relationships on Facebook.

 

Ed: Caroline Scherer & Brianna Bemel

Source: Uploaded by user via Caroline on Pinterest

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71 Responses to “The Bravest, Sexiest Thing You Can Do in an Uncomfortable Moment. ~ Garrison Cohen”

  1. ~SSS~ says:

    Boy is this timely! Life is the pits for me right now so I decided to share every grit filled piece of it with my audience yesterday. I felt a little woozy, then I felt light. Then I felt like my life was over. Then I fell asleep. I don't know what's going to come of it all but if you're theory turns out to be true then I'm gonna be all right! <3

    • I'm glad this resonated for you. There is an old saying, "The Key Is In The Darkness". A big high five to you for being so brave! If you keep bringing the light into the darkness eventually you will find the key.

  2. EB says:

    I think I know the ex you speak of! ;-) great article!

  3. Jeremi McManus says:

    Great thoughts, thank you!

  4. Nathan Otto says:

    Garrison, great article, and great memorable metaphor. Thanks for your wisdom. –Nathan Otto

  5. damien says:

    I did this Vipassana course many years ago – and one of the teachings is to accept reality as it is. They told a story of a man who wanted only sweet mangoes, and ridiculed the notion that you could have choose only sweet mangoes – basically, life is what it is, and its not always sweet. Better to become adept at accepting life as it is, not as you would like it to be.

  6. tbird luv says:

    "Breakdowns are designed for the purpose of our own evolution." Yes!! Over the years, I've come to appreciate the valleys as much as dancing on the peaks of my highs. Allowing love to happen in every moment of my life, including the discomfort has always benefited in reward. I really love your wisdom Garrison. Thank you for the reminder and for taking lead. Big Love. tbird

    • Thank you Tbird, the peaks and valleys metaphor is such a rich one. I've got an article I've been wanting to write about that. I've found that when I experience enough peaks and valleys side by side and appreciate them both for what they are it simply starts to feel like "wholeness".

  7. Bryan says:

    Classic Garrison Story. Love it, bro!

  8. Siobhan Gray says:

    I love this article. Thanks for speaking this succinctly and with kindness. You're a great writer.

  9. What a great metaphor!

    It can be counterintuitive to move *towards* the pits — especially when tempted by so many other juicy opportunities! This is reminding me of our approach to conflict in Radical Improv: http://radicalimprov.net/blog/2012/10/10/conflict

    Yes, it applies to all kinds of relationships; in fact, I think of it as the defining characteristic of a relationship. Without it, what have you got, really? The willingness to work through conflict to arrive at the kernel of truth is what will make your relationship blossom!

  10. Well said, Garrison. Pleasure is in the juices and I'm all for the juices! But truly, deep Intimacy begins by entering the pit hand in hand. I also love the fact that peach pits contain the chemicals for cyanide – right there in the middle of so much sweetness – the power to kill. Burn away the unneeded, the unwanted, the habitual. Ripe for rebirth. Keep rockin it!

    • Cyanide! Amazing. The way we can find a mirror to our own human experience through nature is consistently amazing to me. It goes without saying that when we only look for what is wrong in the relationship VS celebrating what is, that is what we end up with! Thanks for sharing, Adam.

  11. marclar says:

    Really dig it, Garrison. (And I can picture you running into the market :) Will keep this in mind the next time I'm in the 'pit' of a relationship.

  12. Howard says:

    When life hands you a lemon,,,,,,,make lemonaid.
    When life hands you a pit……..

  13. Jan says:

    Loved this perspective…aligns with a personal mantra to ‘look for the way in, not the way out’ on the road to maximizing my capital ‘S’ Superhero Self! Thanks!

  14. Taber says:

    What a sweet, juicy & delicious (and hard & dry) metaphor… love it.
    AND, those potentially toxic cyanide-like elements in the kernel, at
    the center of the pit, can serve as… a treatment for cancer!!
    the metaphor continues… nicely written, G-man… T

  15. Whitney says:

    My favorite article/comment thread yet! Wholly wonderful insight. Cheers!

  16. barrykort says:

    Did you know that a Hebrew word for "the pits" is she'ol (שְׁאוֹל) which is the metaphorical term in the Old Testament for "Hell"?

    From Wikipedia: She'ol is the Old Testament (Hebrew) Bible's underworld or "abode of the dead" — a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from divinity.

  17. Robert says:

    Interesting perpective, one which I've shared for more than 30 years with anyone that would listen .

  18. judy.kos says:

    Had a husband who always ran way … the relationship died. Always thought he killed it. Now I know how. Thanks for the insight. Maybe I can stop blaming myself!

  19. womanwhisperer says:

    really enjoyed this post! nicely, done, Garrison!

  20. Sonya says:

    I think he misunderstood the meaning of “being down in the pits” as being about the pit in the center of a fruit, but really that phrase is referring to feeling like you are down in a pit (Like a hole or a trench). In any case I like the idea behind the article! I completely agree about the value of life and greatest growth and light being found in the hardest most uncomfortable dark spaces. But I’m pretty sure the metaphor is wrong…

    • tommy says:

      Great article. Sonya is also correct, the phrase in the pits originally referred to the hard life of those who mined the earth- coal mines, copper pits, etc. It was later used as a slang term for the stage of severe heroin addiction when the addicts veins had mostly collapsed, and the last places to inject were between the toes or in the armpits and apparently the pits were the most painful last resort do get a fix.

      Doesn’t change the great points this article makes but the article definitely reads differently when you know the history of the phrase.

  21. Tal Rachleff says:

    I've heard it said that everything we experience is either happening for our growth or for our pleasure/enjoyment…and this article reveals why relationships can be massive catalysts for growth. Thanks Garrison for your insight and refreshing honesty about the joys and challenges of human beings doing their best to relate to each other.

  22. joy says:

    Terribly reassuring. I love this perspective. I think I’ll weave it into my yoga class tonight. Let your darkness shine bright!

  23. Mobilia says:

    Reminds me of the concept of the life/death/life cycle in the "skeleton woman" story of Women Who Run With the Wolves. Highly recommend if you haven't read it!

  24. Troy S says:

    I love this metaphor! I'm going to pass this on to my girlfriend. When we go through tough times we can remind each other to embrace the "pit".

  25. Linda Wells says:

    A truth well-said and very good advice.

  26. Justine says:

    Or perhaps you are meant to drop someone. If the pit turns out to be abusive, controlling, or slave to an addiction, perhaps you share some fruit and you may move the pit forward, but no reason to keep the pit person in your life to your detriment. Depends on the nature of the pit.

    • Well said, Justine. I agree. I believe that once a person chooses to let themselves go to the pit of the relationship they can then make a clear choice as to whether it serves them to continue to nourish it. Contrast that with denial of truth when a person keeps themselves in abusive or damaging relationships for years.

  27. Magnus says:

    The Metaphor is great… However when starting with a practical example (The situation with his girlfriend) one should conclude with a practical source of action to take. If you are telling me to cherish the "pits of life" as it were, how does one do that? In the example with the girlfriend, does cherishing that situation mean just think positively about it, but don't do anything different than normal? Does it mean you should run towards the situation (e.g. force the girlfriend to talk v.s letting her disappear?). This article leaves it completely open to however one would want to interpret it. For me all this article did was present me a practical "real world" situation, give me a good metaphorical way to view it, but no practical way to apply said metaphor it to my life. If he is just pushing the power of "positive thinking" it is a very poorly implied point… The metaphorical content of this article is good, but without a practical way to apply it, even if it is merely to have a different outlook on life, it has no actual value or meaning in my life, because I cannot apply it…

    • That's a fair consideration, Magnus. The answer is about "Composure" which is like walking the razors edge. It's the hardest thing to do but by far the most rewarding. On one side is "Posture" where we say and do things that represent "I don't care, whatever, she's a bitch anyway." On the other side is "Collapse" where we say and do things that represent "Why won't you talk to me? What did I do? I'm so sad. I'm the victim here!" Composure walks the middle line. Imagine you lit your hand on fire. Posture is to grit your teeth and tough it out. Collapse is to cry and scream and run around lighting everything else on fire with it. Composure is to take a deep breath, feel the intensity of it so fully that there is nothing to resist anymore. By the way, do not actually light your hand on fire.

  28. April O'niel says:

    That image of the hugging couple at the top of this article is from Streetcar Named Desire. Its shot just after that man (Stanley) had backhanded his wife (Stella). Later in the movie Stanley rapes Stella's sister. I was shocked to see that photo circulating with the headline on facebook.

  29. Thais says:

    I think the expression of being “in the pits” has more to do with being at the bottom of a pit rather than the pit of a fruit, but I appreciate the sentiment of the article.

  30. Deborah Kuprunas says:

    Hey Garrison! Thank you for a thoughtful article! I was struggling with a similar situation. I am a amateur gardener and seed saver. While I was harvesting seed for future botanical adventure, the two thoughts melded together. I sprout a lot of food seeds just for the plants and give them to friends and family celebrating their victories and supporting them when obstacles arise, as they do. Your words hit home, while eating a breakfast mango and reading EJ(much better than the back of a cereal box). It was a lovely meditation exercise to just be with the pit and be in the pits. It was all good. It was OK… and I learned lots and now have a new tool in the box! So, thanks again for the nifty dharma and zombie gardening tip! Kindest Regards, Deborah

  31. jewelz cody says:

    Have you read "The Guest House" by Rumi?

  32. Joe Sparks says:

    As children, if are thinking wasn't inhibiting or interfered, we could solve a lot of these difficulties and struggles, we experience in the present. Whether, cruelly or kindly, most of us we were not allowed to show how bad or uncomfortable we felt as children. So, it is no surprise the vast majority of us, struggle with getting close to other human beings. Until we resolve those early hurts we will be running away from those feelings, which get attached to other humans. So, unlike those feelings, we are born to get close to humans and be completely connected to every human being on the planet. That is the essence of being human! Unlike what most people feel, the confusion caused by the patterned behavior foisted on us by our family and society.

  33. Booster Blake says:

    Love the metaphor, perspective, all that = great! REally, really great bro. What I wanted more of was the "How to" bits. For example, "When I'm in an uncomfortable or awkward silence, I bring my awareness inward to my breath. I start a process of noticing how I'm feeling. I take a moment to look at my partner and notice what she appears to be feeling. I start to look for something I'm curious about." Maybe mention that a big part of turning a breakdown into a success is simply staying present. Literally just waiting it out. I've noticed in particular with just common awkward moments that simply waiting and noticing will lead to emergence of something new and juicy.

  34. Nancy says:

    and when you take that huge bite out of each other don't be surprised if that pit and the rest of the fruit wants to be buried and grow in someone else's backyard.

  35. Hannah Eagle says:

    Thanks Garrison. Nice Metaphor. One ingredient you might consider is changing how you talk about this in your head. ReSpeak from Reology.org makes dealing with our pits so much more "fruitful". In ReSpeak you own all of your feelings, replace the word "it" with "I", and talk about what your feeling in present tense. So 1) "It drove me crazy" would become "I drive myself crazy". 2) "And then when we come to a breakdown (the pit) we want to throw it away, ignore it, treat it as worthless." would become "And then when I break myself down, I come to the pit of me, I want to throw myself away, ignore myself, treat myself as worthless." 3) "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." becomes, "Just don't resist myself Let myself be in "the pits". The less I resist myself the quicker i will get to the feeling myself alive."

  36. Kiyomi says:

    LOVED this. Beautiful, beautiful and such a great lesson to life. We are ALL attracted to the sweetness of life and always pull away when it gets sour. It's those times of difficulties where there are great lessons and the times where we grow. Thank you for this!

  37. Kathryn says:

    Excellent perspective that clearly resonates with many of us! The comments that followed were also valuable! I have always thought that when we allow a relationship the time to develop, we each will finally see the real person behind the exterior…for me there are stages…the first 6 months, then the 2 year mark…then the pit appears. I’ve been guilty of both unwisely proceeding forward in order to change the pit and from unwisely withdrawing, instead of seeing clearly that we all must be brave enough to reveal our pits, and love ourselves anyway, and hopefully connect with another who is willing to do the same. The outer sweetness is merely the “invitation” to the center. Will we say yes to the journey?

  38. Yogahound says:

    Sadly having only recently stepped out of the shadows after a heartbreaking divorce I can look back and see that our relationship fell apart because we always avoided the ‘pits’. We never argued, we never broke down and as a result we no longer understood each other. The life in the relationship died because along with not expressing all the so-called bad feelings, the good feelings couldn’t be wholly expressed. You cannot have light without darkness. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Ronna Holtz ronna26 says:

    love it. thank you.

  40. XX_cromosom type says:

    -nice thoughts, but you forgot to mention the pit is a child,- the source of life, dude ;-)

  41. Faye says:

    Thanks very much for this, although I think the phrase 'this is the pits' refers to mining pits….

  42. slsimms says:

    This was a dope article. Simple and timely. Thank you for writing this.

  43. Bojana Stojkov says:

    Thank you for this metaphor! I'm sure I'll use it. I too believe that you heal quicker and grow from the experience if you embrace the pit :)

  44. Fiona says:

    Awesome article, thanks Garrison!

  45. Great article – thanks for the insights!

  46. The pit (pip in OZ) to me is the source & the beginning of a new life… A new start.

    eg.. New relationships..or a new challenge where a dying relationship has been given a chance to transcend or evolve into a new growth of awakened spirits knowing and accepting the challenges that arise by noticing and embracing the pit as an opportunity to be planted or sowed.

    We are the farmers of the heart, many seeds and windows of our pastures are harvested to greet ourselves through every changing season. ..

    So dont become a stone of resistance.

    Be a pit for life!!

    -vlad x

  47. Amy says:

    Well written. I am a pit. When I was about 7 years old, my father showed me how to grow a peach tree from a pit. We weren't sure it was going to work. It took years, but we were able to harvest peaches from the tree that was grown from a pit. Pits are new beginnings…true.

  48. Jon Lemke says:

    This is interesting, but trite and overly simplistic. Turns out the guy who wrote it also sells $300 DVDs to guys to help them impress women and get laid. It also looks some negative comments have been curated out… be careful, this may not be genuine!

  49. Judy says:

    Life is just a bowl of cherries…or peaches… :)

  50. Heidi says:

    Mr. Cohen, I truly needed this nibble today. Thank you for this perspective !!

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