It took me my entire life to understand this.

There are moments that arrive at your door that will make your heart tremble and your entire body shake uncontrollably. You’re not falling to pieces in these moments. Your world isn’t ending. You’re breaking open.

These moments have arrived many times throughout my life. The surges of electric feeling running up my back and into the depths of my chest have rocked me to my core over and over again. I never understood the reason for the uncontrollable shaking until I had a teacher once explain to me that my body was taking on a different physical shape to hold that moment. I was becoming something else in those moments.

Darkness used to crawl in. Once the pain hit the lights of my life would dim. Everything would be turned down a few notches and I would disintegrate quickly. I’d hide. I’d run. I’d do anything but what I had to do in that moment.

And what was that?

Head straight into it.

Heading into those moments head on is one of the scariest things you can do. And at the same time, they will set you free. If you speak the truth directly from the heart, the words release the chains buried deep within your back. It still hurts. It tears away at you for a while. But you’re never stuck with the feeling of having wished you were brave and then couldn’t be that for yourself.

I’ve let myself down so many times.

I’ve choked on my words or cowered behind feelings I expressed that were far from the truth. And what was that truth most of the time? That I felt hurt. That I felt damaged. I just never knew how to say it. I never knew how to put myself out there and because I had absolutely no control over my emotions I usually would stuff it down to explode later or just go into meltdown in the moment.

A lot in my life has changed.

That came at the cost of plenty of mistakes. I’ve made more mistakes with people and with myself than I could possibly imagine. But I think because of that, I’ve actually come closer to loving people more. I’ve been there. I’ve made the mistakes. And as much as my ego doesn’t want to do it at times, my heart puts itself in other peoples shoes and sees the light and intricacies in things unfolding.

Life and the situations that bloom within it are far from black and white.

Things are complicated. People are complicated. It’s just all…pretty damn complicated at times.

The expected rarely happens and the unexpected shows its face more than I would ever really like to acknowledge. Things change so fast. One minute something is perfectly fine and the next you feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you. That’s the great mystery of it all. You never really know what’s going to happen.

I guess that makes for an even bigger argument of being present and grateful for the moment that’s in front of you.

I’m watching many things from a distance.

Patience, above all else, has taught me many things. It’s helped me settle into letting go of a sense of timeline for something to happen when I intuitively feel that it will arrive. It has given me the clarity to see things more clearly (while still naturally blind to a lot that I don’t know) in a way that’s not run by my emotions completely. It’s given me a opportunity to be gentle with myself and know that all of this hasn’t been for nothing.

But above all, it’s taught me, and I truly do believe this, that good things are coming.

Everything passes. Of course I would love to hang onto the good as much as possible and that idea really helps when the bad stuff rolls around. But it all passes nonetheless. It all eventually recedes back out into the ocean. The good and the bad. As much as you hold onto it in whatever way, you have to eventually let it go for the moment that is here.

There’s beauty in the darker shades…those harder moments in life.

They are revealing in so many ways. As you tremble and as you shake, you understand down to your foundation who you really are. The hard moments teach you in ways that the times of happiness never really could show you. You’re not tested then. You’re not challenged to bring the best of who you are and what you stand for to the table.

It was in the early days of my writing that everything had come from that thick black darkness that I couldn’t exit out of. It was there that I did my deepest learning. I learned what mattered to me by those great things being absent in my life. Knowing hate in your heart makes you understand just how important love can be. Living in fear makes you want to step into a place of having great courage. Hiding from the world can open you up to showing your light.

It was in these places that I became who I am today. It wasn’t that things were nice and clean at the beginning. In fact, all of this started right after having spent a couple of years writing the darkest, most tragic, and brutal pieces in journals (which were later burned to a crisp).

I found myself and rebuilt it all from that place.

And yet those moments will always be a part of me. The darker side is as much of a part of me as the light. I just don’t decide to live there anymore.

That’s been the biggest change. 

At first, I couldn’t help but dwell in the caves because I was filled with so much negativity and there seemed to be no other option for me. But as I discovered more and more about myself and saw that there were different ways in going about life, I understood that I had that choice.

Light vs. dark.

It’s not that there won’t be dark moments or dark days…that’s a given. It’s that there are moments for you to bring light to this darkness. In those moments that your heart trembles, you can scurry back into protecting yourself and bring out the worst that your character has to offer, or you can fill that moment with light.

I choose light.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project