I’m not really one for punching pillows or throwing a fist into punching bags. A good dose of quiet in nature usually helps to restore my equilibrium. Yet what if instead of restorative action, what we actually need is release?

Sure, I get release through a strong yoga practice, but what about release that’s wild and crazy?

I’ve been reading about the Indian tradition of breaking a coconut as a way of offering any problems, conundrums, fears or stuck energy. There was something about this that fascinated me. You sit with the coconut and imagine using it as a container for whatever you’re struggling with. There are no rules.

Perhaps you want to shift your constant self-judgement, or maybe you’ve had it with people crossing your boundaries. It could be fears and attachments that you want out of the way, it could be a tricky relationship you’ve yet to resolve. It’s rage at a situation, your emotions flaring urgently everywhere or it’s a quiet but fierce desire to finally let go of this thing you’ve carried around for long enough.

With that beautiful full moon in the sky, I wanted to mark it and so my coconut beckoned. I carried it down to a secluded little beach yesterday and while my two boys played with their boats in the freshwater stream leading down to the ocean, I cradled the coconut and spoke into it.

I thought I might sneak off and smash it on my own but the boys were excited and came with me. I’m glad they did. I hurled it against the rockface and the boys watched from a short distance. It fell to the ground unscathed. I grew wilder, hurled it again. Just a crack. I was loving the release. The boys shouted ‘Smash it’!. I threw it harder several more times until all that was left were pieces of shell and flesh on the sand.

It was exhilarating. I was grateful to have a beautiful beach to ourselves, I was grateful that they knew to follow me so they could witness a ritual that might speak to them at some point in their lives, I was grateful for the sweet release, I was grateful to break something.

It isn’t to say that everything I put in there has all gone. But it’s the setting of an intention that will often bring about a shift. It felt like the first big crack in the foundations of what I was releasing. The first colossal crack and there will be more cracks to come and it will all eventually tumble down and crumble away.

We all have stuff we’re carrying around that isn’t who we are. It’s stuff we’ve unconsciously picked up. And because we all have lives to live and great things to get on with, it’s time to put it all down – because we can’t rise, we can’t truly create, we can’t transform unless we’re willing to destroy first what is holding us back.

I was in the mood for wild destruction – my usual restorative time alone wasn’t going to cut it, nor was anything else for that matter. I didn’t think I was the type to wildly unleash, but it’s just I’d never given myself permission. Smashing a coconut? Why not?! Hell yes!!

The boys went back to their stream and I walked away carrying the sweet-scented coconut flesh, my head singing the words to Roxy Music’s Dance Away.

Dance away the heartache. Dance away the fears.