Something very peculiar hit me this morning. It’s no surprise that I’ve had my massive challenges and struggles over these past two months. Anyone who has read my blog would be able to understand that there has been a bit of a storm at times as well as incredible moments of happiness. In the previous history I had written, I ran from this storm always. It would overcome me, consume me, and overwhelm everything with me eventually. So running never did any damn good. This time, I saw that wave, and I charged it. I tied everything down strong and kept those sails tight. Today, I dropped over the top of the wave…and watched it crest behind me.

I finally became the captain.

For months, I’ve been going through the thick of it. Climbing that wave, climbing that wave, climbing that wave. I’ve been exhausted actually. If you could imagine sailing up this gigantic wave, one that has hit you time and time again in the past…you could probably begin to feel the amount of anxiety that would run through your veins. What if I crash? What if I don’t make it? What if I fall apart? That inner critic has been screaming in my head for months on end. I mean screaming at times. My coaches have a chuckle because they knew this was coming. They knew the amount of struggle I was going to go through the minute I exited the building. But they also knew the amount of learning and experience I was going to gain. And I have. Day after day, no matter that wave, I have opened, bloomed, and charged with more confidence, assurance, love and passion than I ever have.

The inner critic, that voice never dies by the way. You just have to begin to understand when that voice starts to ramp up. There’s no turning it off – and instead of getting pissed at it, you can come at it gently. My process is pretty simple in dealing with this. When I have the voice going off…I usually sit back on my legs and quads…find my grounding…breathe and whisper “shhhhh.” Not violently, but gently. “Shhhhh. Quiet. Gentle. Easy does it kid.” Honestly, that inner critic of mine, the one that ruled my high school and beginning years of college…that voice is the angry, pissed off, loner kid who got bullied. It’s mad. It’s hurt. It’s uncomfortable. But that’s not who I am. That’s not me. So I treat it just as that…something to be soothed and taken care of – not something to run from and to be angry at back. I am gentle with my inner critic, and it disappears quickly when I am.

What happened this morning was this – it all released. Those waves, the tides, the ripping and tearing at the sails…it just all softened as I went over the top. It’s been months like I’ve said, of ups and downs, twists and turns, completely unexpected things happening and things that I never thought would happen…happening. I have been challenged in more ways that I can possibly imagine – new things have happened over and over again – and yet, I stuck with it…drove through it…as hard as it has been sometimes. i’ve spent hours in meditation which has been a combination of dream land, soul ripping experiences, shame, fear, strength, courage, smiles, tears, and everything else in the book. I have written hundreds and hundreds of flash cards, consumed over 30 books, and opened my life up to everyone. I’ve found my passion…what I thought was just a hobby ended up being my deepest purpose. I’ve taken care of my body, fed my soul, and nourished my mind. And today, in that moment…I let everything go.

My body, as I just wrote that, was overcome with a display of goosebumps.

I let it all go.

The greatest lesson I have learned over this past two months is how to be in this world, and starting to experience what it’s like without being attached to the good, or the bad. When the good comes, I smile, I love, I let myself sing and dance and laugh. When the bad comes, I work with it, I go through it, I experience it, and I get very very close with the emotions that present themselves. Each of these things however, the letting things just be has helped me ease my attachments to things. Everything comes and goes. We receive and we lose. There’s something to be said for coming from a place of genuine compassion to the both good and bad instead of gripping onto experiences to tightly. As I look back at these past couple of years, I can see where I grabbed onto memories too tight and ran as far as I could from what could hurt me. And now, having gone through what I have – doing the necessary work (which will never end) – I feel this amazing release of pressure. Softness. There’s great power in me still, but there is something incredible gentle that has come about.

Never try to escape. There is no escape really. Never run because you can’t. It will overwhelm you and overtake you easily. The only way is through. The only way is through.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project