It has been an extraordinary week.

Like clockwork, my life functions on a “nothing happens at all or everything happens at once” basis. This is just an inevitable reality of how it has always happened for me, and I think I came across an understanding of what that actually is. Let’s see if this makes sense…

It all has to do with walls. Big, shifting, moveable walls. These walls come up when I start coming from a place of “what I should do” vs. what truly resonates with me. I guess tonight is going to be a more vulnerable night than others as I dive into my own personal “story” with you…or at least the story that I used to be living in.

Roughly 8 months ago, I was in a conversation with my own coach about wanting to become more vulnerable with others and developing the capacity to bridge the gap between the people who I don’t know and myself. I really did want to be able to bring more and more incredible relationships into my life but for some reason I was blocked, stuck, and couldn’t see that a way I was living my life was cutting me off from creating this. My coach presented me with something that really changed my life – the story I was living in.

He gave me the story of the marionette, the man who controls the puppet behind the stage. I would find myself at times being the hand and the puppet putting on this show for people. While I did do things that were very vulnerable, I was also disconnected. There was this gap between me and others that I wanted to close desperately because I knew that’s where magic would happen. This story of the marionette is about almost concocting certain things to say or ways of being in order to be in line with what the world thinks I should do. It’s a show. it’s a play. It’s convincing and it was “nice”… but it wasn’t necessarily real or kind. This moment for me, in hearing this story was huge. I saw that this was absolutely the case and I spent so much time wondering what I was going to say to other people to get them to like me instead of being incredibly curious about who they were.

But the true power came when he offered me my new story – The War Painter. For anyone who has read my work over these past few months they may have read stories of this before…but I’ll bring it back up here. The War Painter  goes out into the worst of the worst, the darkness, and paints these beautiful landscapes and scenes of what is happening in the world. He can be in a completely vulnerable state with death and destruction around him and live through the worst of the worst…let all of this pass through his filter – his gifts of life – and bring something beautiful out of all of it. He could live in the dark times and out of some indescribable way create light with it.

His alchemy didn’t create gold…it was the process of creating light from darkness.

Deep down inside of me and what continues to flame brighter and brighter every single day is this joy that is hard to explain. This joy is that filter that my world is filtered through. That joy is the paint that I create these beautiful portraits with. That joy is my creative heart.

So as I have traveled down this path over the past year, unlocked from the previous story of the marionette and living as someone who could live in the dark and create light, I have changed significantly. I’ve changed in ways that I can’t truly describe to you because I can’t really put words to them. I’ve changed as a man and have grown deeper.

Maybe I have casted grappling hooks deep down into every corner of my soul with the intention to belay down…and I have been.

This darkness, this undeniable darkness that we are all surrounded by at times doesn’t have to be the end of us. It can be the beginning. We each have the ability to not only survive the dark times, but to thrive in them. We have the ability to shine as a light for others and to be something so bright that it doesn’t completely replace the darkness, but it does a damn good job of illuminating the landscape.

This story has changed me. I can’t say it enough. It gave me the freedom to create something with everything that I’ve gone through in my life. It gave me the ability to see these experiences in a completely different light and change how the pages of this history I am writing right now are read.

If that’s not powerful, I don’t think anything is.

So as I further discovered this concept of everything happening at once or nothing at all, I have begun to understand that nothing happens when I am living as the Marionette and everything happens when I live as The War Painter. The world is completely open to me when I am open to living in light and in darkness. There’s no show. There’s no play. There are no ropes controlling how I act or moving me in ways that I should act. There’s just me and my deep intentions to show people light and to create beautiful things with all that I experience. I become a reflection of everything that is happening in the world – a mirror to it all – and that allows me to live…fully live.

From all of that…everything I do is a living embodiment of fearless love itself.

How much life has changed…

That’s how a rose could grow in a dark room

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project