There’s a great struggle within me.

There are the things that afflict me – the fears, doubts, worries, anxieties of life…

And then there is my spirit – this pure, knowing, whole and effortless side…

My greatest struggle has been to allow myself to connect with my deeper wiser self and to acknowledge but put away those stories of old that have steered a great portion of my life.

I think in many degrees I succeeded in taking steps forward into being who I could really be. At the same time, I have failed in many regards. I have stalled, procrastinated, side-stepped and avoided making that trek to the top. I think I was scared of who I would become, but also who I would lose, if I made that climb.

I’m having this bizarre questioning of identity.

About 7 years ago, in having lost baseball because of an arm injury, I had the biggest identity crisis I have ever experienced. The sport I loved, that I played since I was 4 years old and committed my entire life to, was suddenly gone. It disappeared. I was left with hours and hours and hours of my day that were previously filled without anything else to really engage in.

I found the gym but it was never the same.

I didn’t feel the same.

Nevertheless, I poured endless amounts of time and energy into it and allowed myself to use that space as a way for me to process my pain. I suffered. I learned. I healed. I broke. Another injury to my knee came and I crashed again.

After making my way back, I grew and challenged myself and finally conquered what seemed to be the unconquerable only years ago. While that moment was filled with victory, it was also marked with tragedy.

And then, somewhere along the line after all of that, I lost myself.

I traveled. I wandered. I explored and saw many great things.

But, this feeling still existed…

As if traveling was never the grand adventure.

Somewhere, deep down, I knew that my greatest adventure would come from diving into myself and understanding what is truly there. I knew that walking the streets of Prague. I knew that staring up at the ceilings in Rome. There was this knowing and a deep understanding that I had a different calling in life.

The shallower side of myself started to bark up with the should or should nots.

Despite all of that resistance, the wisdom knew far too well that it didn’t matter what the world thought I should be doing, but rather what I knew deep within me. I knew that if I could trust that then I would be okay.

Fast forward to this past week and it has been reaffirmed time and time again. In working with my healer, it arrived. In meditation, it was there again. And there’s this word that keeps popping up as well – surrender.

I think I’ve had a lot of issues with that word in the past.

I thought surrender meant lay down and stop fighting.

But in this case, I believe that to surrender to the path means to effortlessly walk upon it with trust and faith.

The surrender refers to stop fighting what is right. 

I have a past that I have yet to transform. What I find, to be so interesting about all of this is that I have it all written there for me to dive into. It was almost as if I knew 7 years ago that I would have to come back to bring as much light to it as possible.

It was no accident that my coach gave me this transformative narrative of The War Painter – a painter that goes into a war zone and paints these beautiful images of not so beautiful scenes. That beauty arrives from his inner filter and he allows it to pass through onto the canvas.

All of these things I’ve written. All of these moments and memories I’ve experienced are here waiting for me to bring light to them. Many are hidden in the dark. Many are covered up with so many layers of dirt you can’t even recognize them.

But that is my task.

My task is to go through this massive healing process and allow myself to see the light in all of this darkness.

It will not be an easy one. However, it will be worthwhile. I know this. I know I can create art with the life I have lived. I know there is light in these things that I have experienced. They have afflicted me along enough.

Time to change.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project