The Promises I’ve Made

Somewhere, deep in the forest, I dug a small hole and buried a tiny wood box in the dirt.

What’s in that box? The promises I’ve made to myself for this year. Every year, I plan to go back to that tree, and revisit my little box and see what has come of me.

Year after year, I have devoted my life to stepping into the unknown and pushing the envelope. As life would have it, many unexpected things came up along the way and made me adjust my path. When I look back, I realize that at times I have vacillated too much. When the storms came, my roots weren’t deep enough to really give me the strength to dig in.

When the wind blew one way, I would bend that way. When the wind blew another, I would bend again.

But grounding…grounding taught me to be where I was no matter what.

And when the winds would come, they would bend over a mountain that refused to move.

I’ve started to go back and read the stories of the path I have taken. I have forgotten many of the lessons. It’s not that they aren’t rooted deep within me somewhere, but they aren’t at the front of my mind anymore. Going back and reading what I have learned has given me strength to continue moving forward.

Sometimes you need to go back to where came from to remind yourself of everything you’ve become.

As I sit here now, I believe that I’ve never given myself credit for achieving something that I set out to do all those years ago: be the master of my own fate.

I never wanted to work for someone else again. I wanted to be my own Captain. I wanted to man the ship and take it to wherever I felt like I needed it to go. I didn’t want to depend on someone to take me there. I wanted it all to be on me. At 28, I can say that I have done that. I can pick up and move to wherever I want to in the world. I can spend an entire day wandering deep within the forest if I need to. I can spend a year hunkering down and focusing on producing as much writing as I can if I really felt like that was the way to go.

I’m proud of that.

And, I learned a lot of things from that sense of freedom. One thing I’ve learned is that too many options without enough structure can cause you to lose track of the stars and your navigation becomes completely off.

But, in many ways, all of this time that I have been seeking answers for which way to turn has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Asking the question in the first place held a great deal of value. So whether it was me laying on my board in the water in Portugal or running through the rainy streets of Berlin, I stayed committed to asking the question and seeing what would come up from the depths of my soul.

Those answers came (like I wrote about yesterday) and they felt like I had come back home again.

In each of us lies a destiny that is awaiting our commitment. 

But first, we have to clean up everything that covers that destiny from being seen. Imagine a painting that has had years and years of dust on it. Even the Mona Lisa would be looked over if it wasn’t properly taken care of. I think we all work the exact same way.

A lifetime of being fed stories, being told who we need to be and how to be it, and having narratives forced down our throats until we conform to them covers up what makes us unique inside. It has taken me most of my life so far to disintegrate all of these things. I know that I will be spending the rest of my life dedicated to discovering who I am and what walking this path is destined to unravel.

Day by day, I have discovered truths that remain deep within my heart.

At times, I have chipped away at the same rock over and over and over again seeking to get through. In time, I did. But without that relentless effort, I would still be in the same place I was all those years ago.

Recently, I’ve been reminded that writing here is where my center lives.

It’s not that I haven’t been engaging in this project…it’s just that I haven’t been writing as much. But in having been reminded of what made everything start in the first place, I know that coming here every single day for this next year is what will make my heart continue to bloom.

Everything…and I mean everything…comes from this place. Sitting here, writing, is 100% the reason why I am even the man I am today.

So back home I am.

Here’s to our adventure.

-Evan Sanders, The Better Man Project

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