Relationship status...

how do you define a rebound?

9 minute read

  • The PIT

  • Emotional Order

  • rage, rage… and the light

  • How to rebound properly

I went through a breakup last year and I’m just starting to feel like myself again.

These things take time and there is simply no way to rush the process that doesn’t create more pain later on.

Erin 1.0 always rushed this and avoided feeling the hurt.

It usually involved some mind-numbing substance, a relationship rebound or an exhaustive amount work or exercise…

Something to distract from the feeling.

Time passes, memory fades and the ache disappears in the excitement of something new.

It’s a great coping mechanism — but a very poor tool in personal [emotional] development.

… and it creates the probability of repeating similar mistakes.

You cannot learn what you don’t feel.

This time around, instead of distracting I got quiet.

I posted less on social media.

I took on less clients.

Said no to more, yes to less and became very still.

A meditation.

I became still and felt a pit.

It seemed bottomless — dark, murky and wet.

Haunting, eerie and ominous.

The kind of pit you tend to avoid.

Something beckoned,

‘the only way out is in.’

So, in we go.

When the darkness came it was rage.

Violent, visceral and red.

A mobilizing energy that sought to destroy — full of power and malice.

Electric and energizing — a dominant force I know very well.

In the agitation I sat, very still and the blind rage became anger.

Convicted, justified and full of passion — forceful — but for reason.

I sat, very still and the anger showed way to fear.

Trembling, gripping, suffocating — an overpowering fear.

Until this point, the deepest and darkest part of the pit.

Tempted to rise, back towards anger and fury.

Fueled with vindication and violence, 

forget about the fear, feel only rage.

But still, very still, I sat.

Deeper I went and the fear melted into sadness.

Soul wrenching sorrow that felt so very heavy.

An agonizing pitiful sadness not entirely my own.

A collective sadness for the shared suffering we all create.

A tired, worn and exhausted state.


It was here that I wept.

An uncontrollable grieving that shook me.

I wept until there was nothing left.


No emotion, no story.

Just silence and stillness.

A hallowed place in the pit.

I sat, very still and felt peace.

Rage, anger, fear, sadness, sorrow, grief… and relief.

Emotions have order.

There is a beginning, middle and end.

They are simply biological responses designed to trigger immediate action.

Anger is mobilizing, it is a catalyst for action.

Fear, moves you away from danger.

Sadness and sorrow deepens connection and stimulates awareness to loss.

From a biological standpoint they are meant to be felt, experienced and released — signals without story. 

But, we love our stories and we are wildly untrained as men [and society] to process, experience and fully feel our emotions so most of us repress, distract and avoid.

Stuffing them into the Pit and hoping they just disappear.

They don’t.

You have to know the depths of the pit to really know life [art/poetry/love].

It doesn’t mean you spend all of your time there — It means you know what is actually down there.

You can’t pray your way out of facing what’s inside or you’ll controlled by a monster you never face.

…and you can’t distract from this place forever otherwise you’ll miss the revelation and just repeat the same journey again and again.

You can’t learn what you don’t feel — and feelings have order.

They have a beginning, middle and end and usually daisy chain together.

Most men, can easily identify anger and maybe rage [usually only the fear of it]— perhaps the edges of fear and sadness.

But, it’s only in sorrow and grief that you experience real relief.

… and true empathy, compassion and freedom.

Unprocessed emotions cloud our judgement and affect not only our perspective but also decisions we make.

Like the partner you choose, the relationship you leave, the business you start and the work you stay in.

Know thyself.

This is the messy part most men avoid. 

It’s “soul work”.

Dark, muddy, murky and wet.

It’s the potential of who you could be, who you are and the painful gap of reality.


You cannot talk, think or reason with this place – it must be felt.

And, rage is the doorway — anger, just won’t do.

The P.I.T. [Pain Initiates Transformation]

I’ve been stuck here many times.

I call it the false rise out of the pit. 

It’s not enough to be angry, to yell or cry a bit and feel convicted — it may feel like the pit, but it’s not enough to drive you through agony of fear and sorrow.

Rage lives deep in the heart of men – it’s fire, fury, passion and conviction – but for many of us it’s the fearful place we don’t dare go.

It feels uncontrollable, frightening and intoxicating — it is raw power and if we grew up with an absent or violent father the fear is we would become what we hate.

It bubbles under the surface begging to be released — it’s a terrifying feeling when you first experience it.

“What is this monster within me?!”

I know a man whose father was violent to him as a child so he took up the banner of peace and takes great pride in being measured and meditative.

He is incredibly calm, sedated is a better word – there is no edge. 

His wife is begging for conviction and passion… and his son hides from life.

He’s afraid of his monster and therefore hides half of himself.

I asked him once, “How long has it been since you let the rage out?”

He couldn’t answer.

It’s messy, especially if the man has never experienced his own anger, there may be fear and shame behind feeling it — much less expressing it.

You need the rage of the monster to find peace in the pit.

“And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

- Dylan Thomas

The Pit represents the safe place where man can let it out and travel through the full range of emotion.

It’s a container — the gym, a men’s group, therapy, counseling, the mountains… or an actual pit.

[*Side note… We had a PIT at The MDK Project, a one mile gravel gravel lot that our candidates crawled through for hours… it was brutal, but we always heard after it was the place of the greatest breakthrough. Steve Eckert, US Marine and fellow instructor coined the acronym PIT: Pain Initiates Transformation.]

It’s real, raw, messy and dark. 

[You might need all of it]

Women cannot be a part of this. 

Nothing feminine can live in the darkness of the Pit. 

Rarely, will a man give himself permission to be fully raw when a woman is present – she can help initiate this process but you have to do the work.

This is the deep masculine.

A pit that you must enter willingly, repeatedly and usually… alone.

On the other side is everything you want…  

Within the reflection came revelation and by passing through the full color of all emotions there was a welcome realization that everything is going to be just fine.


I loved that woman and I will miss her deeply.

I know that people come into our lives for a reason, season or lifetime and I know with certainty she came into mine for a reason this season to make a lifetime impact.

There is tenderness over the loss and what could have been and there is wisdom in knowing that that was not the relationship for us.

I’m not ready quite yet, but soon I’ll step back into the world of dating, with wholehearted intention of meeting my wife and God willing building a family.

I know all of this experience — the depth of emotion — the Pit and its purpose, is ultimately going to serve love and support the mission of building better men.

Pain is temporary and love is never lost.

I’m sharing this with YOU because if you’re reading this more than likely you’ve experienced or will experience loss at some point in life, and more than anything I want you to know that we’re all in this together, I care about you and I want to see you win.

I’ve felt lost, alone and wildly unprepared for the experience of life [much less my emotions] during several seasons of my adult life.

The world says to men “suck it up buttercup” work harder and just win…

And I largely agree with that — most issues can be solved with greater discipline, but sometimes you need a different set of tools.

There’s another thing I did during this season of reflection that is very different in Erin 5.0…

I sought counsel from my tribe of men.

I am blessed to have really great men in my life and I know that anything I haven’t yet mastered is only because I haven’t modeled the right man.

Everything in masculinity is modeled — faith, fitness, finances and FAMILY.

It works in every domain.

If you don’t yet have it…

Get around someone that does — that’s the secret.

I’m excited for this season because I have templates for really great relationship, unlike I’ve ever seen in my 40 years, and one man stands out…

A father, husband, leader and relationship coach that I am excited to do some life with.

What better way to learn than to partner with someone?

Stream it wherever you listen to your podcasts, subscribe and leave us a review.

We have a ton in store for ya’ll this year.

Much love and many blessings.


Join the conversation

or to participate.