The Parable of the Three Peas

 

During last week’s Warrior Sculpt class, I talked about the power of getting outside of our comfort zones and trying something new. This Friday there is a pop-up Yoga Sampler class in place of our normal Warrior Sculpt and knowing there’d be some resistance to this class change, it was an important theme for me to highlight. As part of class, I shared the Parable of the Three Peas, a story I came across some time ago. It’s a story I’ve received such an overwhelming response to, and so this week I’m sharing it with you!

 

 

The Parable of the Three Peas

In a beautiful garden, there flourished a pea plant and in time this pea plant brought forth a pod containing three peas. One day, strong winds blew the pea pod from the plant to the ground. Upon hitting the ground, the pea pod spilled open, scattering the three peas onto the dirt.

 

The first pea looked around, saw the dark and damp earth and said to itself, “It is dirty and dark and damp out here. I feel so uncomfortable.” And so, it crept back into the pea pod and drew the two halves together to keep itself warm and dry.

 

The second pea looked around, saw the dark and damp earth and said to itself, “It is dirty and dark and damp out here. I feel so uncomfortable and I stick out like a sore thumb.” And so, it immediately burrowed itself into the dark, damp earth and covered itself with mud until no one could tell that the green pea was there any more.

 

The third pea looked around, saw the dark and damp earth and said to itself, “It is dirty and dark and damp out here…what this place needs is a lot more green!” So, the third pea put down its roots, germinated and grew into a tall pea plant above the dark, damp earth and in time produced a fine crop of fresh, green pea pods.

 

 

 

For me, the Pea Pod story is so poignant because it illustrates the three ways in which we can confront discomfort and growth.

 

 

The first pea looked around, saw the dark and damp earth and said to itself, “It is dirty and dark and damp out here. I feel so uncomfortable.” And so, it crept back into the pea pod and drew the two halves together to keep itself warm and dry.

 

Like the first pea, we can go back to our “pod” – we can return to what we know, engaging in our old thoughts, habits and patterns; as uncomfortable as they are, there is comfort in staying in what we know. This is the first and easiest choice to make.

 

In the early days of recovering from my eating disorder, I always chose the path of the first pea. At the time, I believed it was safer to engage in the habits I was trying to break rather than take the chance to commit to recovery fully and “get fat”.

 

As you can imagine, the path of the first pea is fruitless. And each time I chose to crawl back into the comfort of that “pod”, I closed the gateway toward any real change.

 

 

 

The second pea looked around, saw the dark and damp earth and said to itself, “It is dirty and dark and damp out here. I feel so uncomfortable and I stick out like a sore thumb.” And so, it immediately burrowed itself into the dark, damp earth and covered itself with mud until no one could tell that the green pea was there any more.

 

Sometimes, we’ll choose to be like the second pea. We’ll make the decision to disengage from old habits, but we’ll also find ourselves too consumed by fear and overwhelm to fully commit to our new surroundings. In a word, we’ll find ourselves stuck and the uncertainty and fear of failure and loss will be so great that we’ll shutdown and close ourselves off to the world. Like the second pea, we’ll dig a hole and bury ourselves within it. We believe if we close ourselves off to “it”, we don’t have to deal with “it”.

 

While the path of the second pea allows us to enter new territory, the problem with this path is we end up building walls instead of roots.

 

I used to believe (and in some areas of my life, I’m still doing this) that if I don’t deal with it, if I close myself off to it, whatever “it” is will go away. It didn’t matter if “it” was an unhealthy relationship, a bill collector’s phone call, a nagging ache in my body, or a persistent sadness I couldn’t shake – I believe(d) if I avoided feeling it, I didn’t have to deal with it and it would eventually go away.

 

It didn’t.

 

In the end, it doesn’t matter how high we build our walls or how deep we burrow ourselves in the earth, whenever we emerge, all of our “its” will be there waiting.

 

 

The only way out is through.

 

 

 

The third pea looked around, saw the dark and damp earth and said to itself, “It is dirty and dark and damp out here…what this place needs is a lot more green!” So, the third pea put down its roots, germinated and grew into a tall pea plant above the dark, damp earth and in time produced a fine crop of fresh, green pea pods.

 

The third pea reminds us that if we’re serious about change, we’ll have to go through some uncomfortable situations. We’ll have to grow our roots so we can rise up stronger.

 

Strength isn’t built in our comfort zones or even from what we know – it comes from growing outside of what we know. Strength is manufactured in the moments we decide that the struggle to achieve something is more important than the temporary discomfort of the process or the pain of regret.

 

 

How will you get out of your comfort zone this week?

 

 

xo

1 Comment

  1. Jane on January 23, 2018 at 3:37 am

    Lovely, thank you for sharing!

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