“I want you to be like a war painter?”

‘A war painter?’

“Yes, a war painter.”

This past week has been pretty transformational. In fact, I would venture to say, that walking through the doors of my new school has the same feelings surrounding it as when I think back to starting writing in The Better Man Project. It has been that impactful…meaningful…and I can feel gears shifting and myself opening.

It’s not easy taking on vulnerability. In fact, I want to share with you what I posted today…because I think it’s important that everyone here is part of that conversation as well.

I have a confession to make. I hope you’ll stay with me. I’ve been doing this for a long time on my own. It has been me vs. the world. It has been me and then the crowd. I’ve been disconnected. Heavily disconnected. In fact, I built myself a moat filled with crocodiles and sharks with lasers on their backs to protect myself. 

From what? From being deeply hurt…because underneath the exterior there is a lot of pain and anxiety that I haven’t spent time with. I haven’t grieved. I’ve kept myself busy with goals, and dreams, and visions and pushed the rest back down. I thought this was a way to create myself, but in fact, it was a way to live a life of “doing things” instead of “being here.” 

This past week at my new school (professional integral coaching school) brought that all to light and showed me that the only way I’m ever going to connect deeply with this life is by severing the puppet I’ve been and expose myself to deep deep vulnerability. The type of vulnerability that leaves you completely exposed…because that’s where my joy is. My absolute love of life living in full awe of everything and wonder. Only when I give up my pursuit of happiness and satisfaction will it actually ever reveal that it’s already here. So here I am world. Here’s my testimony. I’ve been separated from all of you here because of my worry of being hurt. I haven’t put myself out there as much as I can because I fear that pain of being abandoned and left. No longer. I’m here with you. Us. In fact, I love you more than you know…I’ve just been to scared to show you. All of you. Together. And to the pain that’s going to inevitably bubble up…and to the pain that’s going to arrive at my front door…come on in, I made cookies.

My greatest challenge is to open up completely…no chasm…no separation between me, you, and them. Just us. 100% us. I have to let go of the future…to not occupy my mind with so many hatched plans and dreams and goals that I forget to live in the present. Because there’s no island where things are going to turn out and everything will be ok. In fact, the more and more I realize how true this narrative was in my mind the more I see that’s what I thought Los Angles would be for me. The fact that it didn’t work out and crumbled doesn’t surprise me at all. It actually reaffirms the fact that my life is in today and neither in the past nor the future.

When I first started this blog 4 years ago I took a big step into making this vulnerability appear. But I didn’t go all the way. I didn’t go into the space of really getting to know people on a deep level. Do I have those relationships – absolutely. But my best stuff is going to happen when I live in the present and allow myself to deeply connect with those around me. That’s when magic is going to happen.

The war painter is a painter that goes into the worst of situations and captures paintings of scenes. He is receiving massively heavy inputs and what he creates from that is often beautiful despite utter chaos. He is vulnerable as everyone else…and yet…he’s able to let all of this madness pass through him undercut something that ends up being joyous in a way. It’s interesting how that vulnerability and joy are there hand in hand.

So when I was told to be a war painter, I really felt somewhere deep inside a vibration of understanding. Of letting the emotions and feelings of what has happened in life and what will happen sink into me fully and then allow myself to transfer that energy into something amazing. That may be my relationships with others, that may be beautiful paintings or poetry…but this is the new world I would like to live in…a world full of chaos and beauty at the same time.

I’m up for this. I can already feel these energies in me vibrating. Not all of them are what you would consider positive, but they have been deeply covered up and it’s time to let them show up. It’s time to be with them…and that’s perfectly okay. It’s time to bring absolute joy into my life and it’s time to grieve.

It’s time to be.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project