In every turn that I’ve made, even the ones where I’ve felt completely lost, I found something special.

So I begin to wonder, “Am I really lost at all?” Or is it I’m finding everything I am supposed to find.

27 years went by before I decided that I could finally use my wings to fly. For many different reasons, it took me this amount of time to actually believe that I had wings in the first place. What seemed so daunting for years and years ultimately became a reality as I allowed myself to grow and change in the ways I needed to.

There’s no set path.

I don’t believe in destiny or that we are fated to end up somewhere. I believe that we do have decisions to make in this life and those can lead us down many different paths. As someone who tends to sit down and take a few minutes to think about their life, I have always been able to see many paths that lay before me.

This used to be paralyzing because I couldn’t make a decision. The indecisiveness led to a punishing amount of self-criticism that left me pretty much incapable of making the right decision for myself because multiple walls now existed – not just the one about which way to go.

Eventually, that all faded into the background as I began to develop some trust in what I knew and who I was.

There have been some challenges in packing everything up and leaving what I once knew behind.

The first are the growing pains – those pains that exist when you enter into a completely new situation without any sort of context, plan or much of an understanding of what’s going to happen. I think this is very different from experiencing mild anxiety when you’re facing new situations but have some context for. No, this is a whole new ballgame.

Imagine sitting on a bed, you’re entire life in a suitcase in front of you and having to answer the question, “Well now what?!”

Grab your camera. Go outside. Get out.

I can’t really say that I’m flying by the seat of my pants because I do actually know what I’m up to this life. I have purpose. I have integrity. I have intuition. As long as I have those things engrained into me, the foundation will always lay itself down right under my feet no matter which direction I head in.

So maybe that’s why I’m not that nervous about being here.

Because the truth is, lips to the heavens, I feel like I’ve been here for far far longer than I ever have before. My heart has been here before. It’s rooted itself deep down into the cobblestone streets and has reignited by walking over those crooked stones once again.

There’s a piece of me that asks, “How can you possibly feel at home somewhere you’ve never been before you nut?!” But the heart knows better. The heart knows, especially after this past year and dropping deep into my own depths, that many things are beyond what the mind could ever understand.

I know I’ve been here, even if I haven’t before.

Sometimes I have to disconnect from absolutely everything to hear myself think. Wander off. Get lost. Put in headphones without music and find someone completely secluded away from everyone so I can hear the silence. That silence that was so troubling throughout the beginning of this year has become something I have sought out more and more as times get louder and louder in my world. As my audience has grown, there has been more responsibility, more chatter, and more eyes watching what’s happening. This doesn’t intimidate me – it’s one of the greatest honors there is – but it does remind me that I have to take some time for myself to get away from everything.

You can’t just give give give and have nothing that nourishes your roots.

Whatever that process looks like for you, you have to do it. For me, sometimes it’s staying inside all day. Other times it’s running deep into the mountains without any general plan or direction but just going. Others it’s having too many bottles of wine with a complete stranger at my favorite restaurant in Florence and talking about everything and anything in between through the late hours of the evening.

It looks different for everyone.

And that’s fine. That’s why there is no guide on this life. There is only bits and pieces of wisdom that you can take to heart…and usually those pieces of wisdom sit at a 50,000 ft level…because you’re responsible for laying down the groundwork.

These transitions I am currently in are encouraging, tough at times, and make me think of what a seed feels like when it’s cracking open from its shell. I wonder, if a seed had feelings (maybe they do), what those would be like? Is there pain in that moment of vulnerability and growth? I would venture to say yes.

In one way or another, we are all cracking open. The danger is in allowing life to shell us up and protect us from everyone and everything. But that’s no way to live really. That’s just surviving. You’re going to get hurt. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to make really wrong turns at times – but that doesn’t have to be the end for you. I think we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do this thing called life right. 

But what is that really?

Doing it right?

I can tell you that the times I tried to do life right I ended doing it the way someone else did and never felt more disconnected from myself and who I was. It’s not supposed to look a specific way that’s acceptable to the masses. It’s supposed to look your way. Because you’ve been put on this planet to express the individual gifts you’ve been given and to set yourself free…further giving others the permission to follow your light and to free themselves as well.

But by playing it safe and by doing it the way everyone else is doing it, you become a pawn rather than something completely off the board and unique.

Whatever resonates deep within your soul, follow those vibrations.

They are to be trusted.

No matter what happens on that path, you are in good hands. You’re being taught things that you would never have learned if you trapped yourself inside your comfort zone and refused to come out.

Oh no, you must break free.

The greatest lie is that we are each caged in our own worlds.

The greatest truth is that we live in a cage at times, but the door is open for you to fly out if you choose to.

So choose to fly.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project