Soul of A Lion

The other night I watched a movie that had a profound impact on me. Warrior. The story of two brothers who end up fighting each other for MMA’s ultimate 5 million dollar prize. Going into the movie, I initially thought I was going to be watching a movie about MMA fighting, which it was, but as I soon found out this movie had something much deeper to offer.

I remember this summer and what I recognized I had always done since I was a child. Everyone has one of these, but what I would go to (an attitude) when I was threatened by a situation or by people, I would act specifically this way. “I can do it on my own, and leave me alone.” I am sitting in the movie theater watching Tommy (the angry Marine) on screen do the exact same thing, and it struck home deeply within. I have been there. I have been haunted by the past and acted out irrationally because of things I was holding onto. He was angry, upset, and said things he didn’t mean. I sat and watched in awe as I saw myself on the screen. The other brother, Brendan, was a simple school teacher who was stuck in a rough place in his life and was fighting for his family. As I watched his story, again, I was struck. He came from humble beginnings and had watched his dreams slip away from him over time. However, when it came to what he wanted in life, he fully committed himself to something that seemed impossible. Against all the odds, he achieved something that at one point in his life, was completely ungraspable. However, for me, the real moment of realization came when the two brothers face off at the end of the movie. They both have this dream to win the championship, and an intense situation of brother vs. brother comes to be. For me though, I was watching the internal battle between the side of me that was originally full of anger and the side that is full of passion and love. At the beginning, the school teacher gets his body absolutely pounded by his bigger and stronger brother, but eventually he realizes that “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa. While he is going through an internal struggle of whether to end the fight with his brother or not, his coach looks him in the eyes and says, “If you don’t win, you don’t have a home.” The school teacher realizes that his commitment to his family and what he set out to do at the beginning of movie was his word, and that he was going to honor his word. Eventually, Brendan puts the finishing moves on his brother and ends the fight in victory. So the good side wins right? No.

What I saw wasn’t that there was a good guy and a bad guy. Rather, as the two brothers walk out of the ring, they were embracing each other in love, something that they didn’t have before. But what really resonated for me was something that I learned over the weekend. In life, there is always a flip side to every emotion and feeling we have. With great happiness comes great sadness. However, instead of having to fight the sadness and try to get out of it, you just accept it as a valid emotion, and eventually it will pass. So as the brothers walked off, it was a pure vision of embracing both sides of yourself. I am committed to helping people live a life powerfully and one that is full of love. However, on the other side of that statement is the potential of someone who wants to be alone and who is angry. Instead of fighting that side though, I just embrace it as a valid point of view. Now, I am free to be who I want to be. Not haunted. Not stopped from creating something amazing. Just me.

Embrace every part of you. Embrace the good with the bad. Most importantly though, declare who you want to be in life, and then be that person. Even if you don’t know how to be that person you have declared yourself to be, in time, you will act accordingly. For me, I am a person who declared to help people live a life full of love and power. And how am I doing to do that? By having a soul of a lion.

Evan.

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  • Bill Bassett
    January 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Evan: I want to compliment you on your quest and challenge to help others with The Better Man project. I have felt the same way as you in that and want to start with me and then see about helping others. I ran across your post and had to comment on this as like you, I recently saw the movie Warrior and it had a huge and profound impact on me. Both the movie and the song (About Today) I could truly relate to. It speaks to the heart of being a better man, for often as men, we fail to do what we are doing here — talk about our hopes, fears, successes, failures, and challenges. This movie which I did not see in the theater, hit me in so many ways, for it reminded me so much of the relationship I had with my youngest brother.

    We (my family) lost my youngest brother Shane back on 9/15/88, just after my 23rd birthday & months before his 17th. I’m the oldest of 3 brothers and 1 step brother and to say that we all have gone through a lot would be understated — not to say others have not too. We all loved the martial arts. Shane was training to join the Marines or Army in the years before he passed. I was in college a few hundred miles away. The weekend just following my birthday (9/8/1988) should have seen me head home to visit with my family/brothers; but I got tied up and did not go home that weekend thinking I’d see everyone the following weekend. That would be true for everyone but my youngest brother Shane — just a day before I was to head out, a drunk driver killed him.

    To say we had much unspoken between us would again be an understatement, for our lives had been at extreme opposite ends growing up. The movie/song reminded me of that. The last 15 minutes or so of that movie, during the final round of their fight — I must have watched now at least 30 times — each time it all hits me, but in some ways allows me a release of things that have been inside me now for more than two decades. I see a scene that should have played out in my life with my brother — where we were headed actually in the year before he died — where we’d open up and put past differences aside and gain acceptance. Too much alike in ways we could never admit — but should have. I wanted that chance to actually put my arm around him in his toughest hour — to let him know I was proud of him and that I loved him — to say it, not just hold it in due to pride.

    This is sometimes what keeps a man from being a better person and a better man — pride. We always feel it’s OK to let others come to us and share their hearts — but we, perhaps out of fear that others will see us as weak — we dare not let loose of those inner feelings at times or emotions. I have learned over the years what I already knew, that to be a better man — one must be more in touch with his own feelings and not so afraid to let others know. My father often told us when we were young — boys, always love one another — don’t hold anger — for in the day when one of you passes, the others will remember all too well any bad things that were said or held within. He was right. You remember all those things — even if they were little things — that you had between you.

    Well, to put show that even beyond death, we are often spoken to if we will just listen. This movie had many signs if you will, that pointed to a message for me, from beyond I will believe. It’s always amazing how some things come to us from afar. Being moved by their performances, I was looking up info on the actors and the one who played Tommy in this movie (who reminded me so much of my brother Shane per above) had something too close for it to be random (in my opinion). I noted Tom Hardy’s birthday of 9/15/77. That date (9/15) struck me right away as my brother passed away on 9/15/88. It’s not the first time something has been so. All things accounted for, perhaps it was time to let things out that had long been inside — haunting me in their own ways and impacting me in ways that both helped and hurt me.

    Sometimes we are reminded there is much beyond the grave. Although many things that were between my brother and I regretfully went unspoken, I must believe the love and our bond remain beyond his death. My other blood brother (Lowell) and I often talk about things like this because he was still there at home when my brother passed — both of us had so many questions that never were answered. Only recently was I able to bring myself to talk to my youngest brother’s fiance who was with him and was injured severely during the crash; she was on the back of the motor scooter my brother and her were riding when struck head on by the drunk driver. She lost her leg — but survived. I know my brother would have wanted it that way. She and I conversed about a lot of things — I told her that my brother would be happy she was able to pick up the pieces and go on with so many tough challenges she had to overcome in life — I told her he would be glad to see her happy again. She told me that through it all, she’s always loved my brother and her husband knew my brother and respected that. I was happy to hear her say that and told her I admired her. We now touch base via email, Facebook, etc more regularly.

    In my 40’s now — with family — I too, want to strive to be a better man. To remove past guilt that has affected me and my relationships with others. To let go of pain — to reshape my soul — yes, to have the Soul of a Lion. To that end, I thank you for your words and the expression of them for others. You are a better man for that and I a better man for having read them. May your journey be true and may your path be one of enlightenment. “Using No Way As The Way… Having No Limitations As Limitations… (Bruce Lee) — one of my brother’s favorite quotes.

    FYI: If you want to know more about one of my heroes, I have posted the link to my brother’s grave site memorial here for you: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=41882277

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 26, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Bill,

      I remember reading this comment way back when it was posted. Just wow. So heartfelt. Thank you. Thats all I have to say.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • linleyk
    April 6, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you for being so candid. It is refreshing and inspirational. Look forward to following along.

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      You are so very welcome. I try to be as real and inspirational as possible. Glad you liked the post so much 🙂

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