Search in the depths of yourself, and you’ll find a Trickster.
Dodging into the shadows. Ducking behind the rocks. Running from cave to cave. Planting booby traps, sabotaging trails, and masterminding the next crisis in your life.
This Trickster doesn’t seem to want the same things as you. It’s apparent concern is disturbing your peace of mind. It creates anarchy and chaos like a dust storm taking over the horizon. It seems to want to hurt you.
Whenever life is going well, this Trickster makes itself known.
Tossing in a new fearful thought, remembering an old anxious memory, releasing an illness, attacking your career, severing a relationship. Hurting your chances for happiness.
I spent 20 years of my life in the aftermath of the Trickster. I didn’t even know he was there. I just wondered why I was the way I was. Most of the time, I just did what I could do to survive.
My Trickster showed up often, sparking panic and anxiety in otherwise peaceful situations. Nothing was ever actually wrong, so why was this happening?
Visions of fears fulfilled would drop into the moment. Whether I was driving, hanging out with friends, or trying to fall asleep, that Trickster threw grenades without discern or compassion.
I feared losing my mind. I feared evil. I feared myself. I feared all these things happening all at once, and losing myself and my loved ones, once and for all.
This Trickster had taken over my life.
My 20s were really hard. Anxious ridden and beaten up. I found numbness in drinking and partying. I found significant rewards in my career. Both served as excellent distractions.
My 30s chilled out. I drank less, and found stability in meditation. The Trickster moved into my career and significant relationships. He evolved into more longterm, strategic plays, made manifest by a bloated ego and entitled attitude.
I systematically taught my wife how to not love me any more. I did this by thinking I was always right, and I deserved better. The Trickster marveled at my anger outbursts, and took particular joy in making my wife the enemy.
My talents as a designer were out-weighed by how much of an asshole I became. Yes, I was fucking good. The best locally, and quickly rising to become one of the best designers in the US. But working with me must have been a nightmare. My attitude outranked my bosses. My ego left my colleagues trapped on the falling bridge I just burnt down.
All of this is to say, the Trickster had taken over.
I became really good at sabotaging my life. All the good I had created came tumbling down, over and over again.
Why was this happening? This isn’t who I am? I know this isn’t me. And I don’t want these things anymore.
Humble pie was served with a side of freedom.
In the span of 18 months, I went through a divorce, left two companies I helped build, closed down another company, stopped hanging out with people that didn’t make me happy, hired a coach, changed careers, lost 20 lbs, and began my path inward.
The quiet of 2020 was serene. A gift. That may sound morbid and offensive, and I’m sorry if it does. But to me, the lockdowns were pure freedom. It was the space and time to find what I had been looking for.
Past the bombed landscapes, the scarred skies, and deep in the murky swamps, I found the Trickster.
Despite his violence, he’s actually quite playful and fun. His mischief is that of a 5-year-old boy. He actually doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s just trying to get my attention. I’ve been ignoring him my whole life.
I began to follow him. See what he sees. Look to where he points, and ask him questions.
The first place he pointed was a scene of a childhood home in Utah. My Mother was crying, clothed in a bathtub. A tangled up, stretched out phone cord made it’s way from the kitchen, around the corner, to here. My Mom was on the phone with the police. My Father had left town, and kidnapped my sister.
This is where I stopped feeling. This is where a boy made a decision based in survival. This is where the Trickster was born.
I needed to be stronger than a 5-year-old at that moment. And that meant no longer being a boy. I cradled my Mom’s pain so she wouldn’t have to. I rose to becoming a warrior that day, with iron shield, 2 inches thick.
The Trickster showed me many other things too.
The anxiety I felt about evil and chaos was the fear of becoming my Father. The career sabotage would keep me comfortable in my childhood poverty. My deconstructed marriage would mean I would never have to rely on another person for love and acceptance again.
And as the Trickster showed me each of these visions, they were brought into the light. Each would rise from the swamp before us to be seen. And as the motion picture played out on the settling dust, the painful energy seemed to dissolve, dissipate, vanish.
After a while, the memory held in the light was void of any density. It was free, and airy. And with it, a new sense of meaning and purpose. This thing that happened to me seemed… significant. It served me, supported me, and no longer blocked me. It made me better somehow.
My Trickster saved me.
I love that boy so dearly. He gave me a second life. One where I no longer fear. Where I deserve to succeed, and where it’s safe to love. Thank you, boy, for never giving up on me.
These days, the Trickster and I are homies.
We hang out. We cause trouble together. We take baths in the swamp and act like cavemen. We beat our chests, wrestle, and watch the unraveling beauty of the sunrise.
I notice when he throws a bomb my way. It’s my cue to STFU and listen. I take him seriously, because often, he understands me better than I know myself. He’s my hero.
I know you have a darkness in you. I know, because you’re human. I accept, love, and cherish this darkness within you. It’s your path to the light, and I want that for you.
I want you to know your fears are extravagant because they will never happen. You chose it that way, consciously, or unconsciously. Because it’s easier to hold a fantastical fear as a distraction, than it is to face the truth.
It’s also true that your fear is an analogy. It points in the direction of the truth.
I feared being taken over by evil. It would mean that I would hurt everyone I love, and eventually lose them. It would mean violence and chaos and misery and pain could erupt and any moment, without any warning. It would mean that I would destroy good, once and for all.
This fear is not of evil, but of becoming my Father, and reenacting the chaos and abuse of my childhood. Once I knew that, the fear began to dissolve.
Self-sabotage is the advanced form of darkness. Complex conspiracies you designed to hold yourself back. Why? Because if fear doesn’t get you, the deconstruction of your life will.
Held in loops of always wanting, but never getting. That one thing, always out of grasp. One step removed from becoming the person you want to become. Purgatory to the soul.
Your darkness is begging you to examine what you’ve pushed away.
And awareness is all you need.
Sit with yourself. Trust yourself, as much as you can. Be as natural as possible. Allow your body, mind and spirit to let go and show you what needs to be shown. It’s all significant, and it’s all temporary.
It’s not easy, but it’s meaningful. And you can do it.
The awareness you give yourself is a gift to the most wounded parts of you. The time you give yourself is a gift to the inner child that didn’t get what they needed. The space you give yourself is the freedom to heal and grow as you were truly meant to.
Beyond the shadows, silhouetted trees, and dark caves within, you will find the illuminated miracle that is your life.