Today I’d like to share with you an unconventional exercise on how to let go of things that are standing in your way from really speaking your truth. You just need two ingredients: Some free time and a coconut.
That’s right. A coconut.
One of my favorite books is called Outrageous Openness, by Tosha Silver. In it, Tosha writes about a ceremony in the Hindu religion, where coconuts are broken as a symbol of letting go of the egoic voices in our heads that keep us trapped or stuck. Usually, it’s fear just keeping us paralyzed in some way, and preventing us from stepping into our true awesomeness. By breaking a coconut, we consciously decide to let go of those fears by symbolically smashing it, and then sending it down a river (or into some other body of water).
There are so many things that get in the way of what we truly want to say or do in our lives and work. So now, the coconut breaking ceremony is integrated into everything we do at evoso. The coconut is the basis of our logo and our overall philosophy that speaking and platform building is not about YOU. It’s about the message that needs to flow through you, to connect with your audience.
Please note, we have modified this ceremony for our purposes of speech development, and you can modify it for your purposes as well. But the basic gist is to see your fear, energetically transfer it to a coconut, then smash the hell out of it.
Step 1: Think about something that is standing in your way from putting yourself out there. Is it money? Time? Fear of greatness? Fear of failure? Judgment? Insecurity? Pick your foe, that little devil you can’t seem to get out of your thoughts, and try to nail it down to 1-3 words. Simple is best.
Step 2: Buy a coconut. Any one will do at the grocery store.
Step 3: Write whatever you’re releasing on the coconut in permanent marker. Sit the coconut somewhere that you see a lot. (Example: desk at your office, vanity of your bathroom, kitchen counter top, etc.) Basically you’re looking to get familiar with the thing you’ll soon be releasing. Have fun with this part. Feel free to name it, talk to it. I always like to be super kind to the coconut, and actually thank it and be grateful. Usually this this you want to release actually kept you safe at some point, so there is no need for anger. It’s just evolution, man.
Step 4: On a nice day, find a place that has a river, lake or ocean. Locate a quiet spot, and don’t be in a hurry. Take your coconut to somewhere private, and sit with it. Maybe meditate for a bit, if you’re into that sort of thing. Thank it for keeping you safe. But also tell it that it no longer serves you, and you are choosing to let it go.
Step 5: When you feel ready, it’s smashing time! You can hurl it against a wall, pummel it at the ground, sit on a bench and beat it on the pavement, or whatever else feels cathartic for you. Once it’s broken, watch the milk flow, feel the adrenaline rushing through your body, know that what you’ve been carrying around for so long is now released.
Step 6: After you’re done with the destruction phase, pick up the pieces. Throw them into the water, and watch them sink or float away. Think of it like an old friend that you had outgrown, wave goodbye but know you’re not gonna miss it. And oh yeah: DO NOT EAT THE COCONUT. That’s like ingesting the thing you want to get rid of. (No bueno, amigos.)
Step 7: It’s helpful to write about your experience right afterwards. Even just a paragraph, talk about how you felt before, during and after. Go ahead and share it with people you think won’t make fun of you. (Or to share among likeminded folks, post a photo/video/write-up about your coconut ceremony. Naturally, hashtag #coconut.
We are not a religious company by any means – but the process we conduct here has a spiritual component. We help leaders and entrepreneurs get to their truth, identify the message they are here to share, then help them get it out to the world. But in order to do this, sometimes we need to get out of our own way.
Breaking coconuts helps with that.
Annihilating the ego doesn’t mean “stop being an arrogant jerk”. For the people we work with, it’s usually quite the opposite. They struggle with fears like:
- This has been said before by someone else. Why bother?
- Who am I to give this speech? There are others more qualified.
- I’m scared to say this, because it will expose me for who I really am.
- A person in my life will not approve of this speech message, and I’m scared of backlash.
- What if I lose something (money, success, prestige) by speaking my truth?
All of this is fear. All of fear is ego. And egos get in the way of some super compelling leaders, no matter how successful they appear to be.
SO FREAKING SMASH IT. This ego madness does not serve you. Nor does it serve the world. (Also, it’s fun to smash coconuts. And stress relieving. Watch a video below of a recent coconut ceremony we did after a Speech Workshop.)
Now my question to you is: What happens when we get fear and ego out of our communications? What happens when we simply let loose, quit controlling and just unleash with authentic abandon? Now this isn’t to say you don’t prepare, or you don’t put the hard work into a great presentation. (quite the contrary!) But it is to say, what is possible when leaders in the world take off the filter, say what needs to be said and fulfill their own purpose in the process?
PROGRESS. That’s what happens.
And yeah, sometimes progress is messy. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s scary. But usually, there is freedom. There is change and there is validation and there is peace.
So if you ever find yourself struggling with something, don’t stress. Just break a coconut, and know it’s all gonna be okay. You are a channel for awesomeness, so quit letting something like fear stand in your way of being who you need to be.
Bust that hairy fruit and know that freedom awaits on the other side.