Tag Archives: Rebirth

The Rise of the Phoenix

In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a long-lived bird that regenerates or is reborn through a cyclical process whereby upon death (traditionally the legend cites death by fire), the phoenix gains a new life and rises from the ashes of its predecessor. As such, this mythological creature is often used as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. And when you think about, what great symbolism – to go down in flames only to rise again anew! Powerful imagery to say the least. But I also think it is symbolic of what many of us go through at various times in our own lives. We’ve all been there – something big happens in our lives forcing us to start over in a major way…to be reborn or renewed like the phoenix. Perhaps it is the loss of a loved one or of a job, maybe it is the loss of a significant relationship or prized possession, or possibly a huge financial loss. No matter what it was for you, it rocked your world…but, hopefully, you made the decision at some point during your healing process to pick yourself up and move on…to rise from the ashes and start anew. There’s no doubt, these kinds of life events leave their mark on you, but after you have overcome them you are able to look back and know you are stronger because of them.

Deborah Day once said. “Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling .” How very true! In order to rise from the ashes of those significant life altering events, you will most likely need to open yourself to a new view, a different way of thinking or feeling about life as you know it. Easier said than done, right? Certainly, but definitely worth the effort. We are such creatures of habit and we get stuck not only in the way we do things but in how we think and feel about things too. Those stagnant thoughts and behaviors stunt your growth as a human being! And at no better time is that apparent to us than when we are “rising from our own ashes”. Hard as it is, be open to new ideas, new feelings, new interpretations, new ways of viewing your world. Trust me, it will transform your life. It really is all in how you view things. Choose to view your world in a positive light. Have an attitude of gratitude for everything…even the challenges you face, for they have something to teach you too!

And so as we work our way through our March theme of rebirth and renewal, keep in mind that we are all human – translation: we are not perfect, nor should we hold the expectation that we, or others, will be. Have love and compassion for yourself and for others. Be compassionate towards yourself as you emerge from your ashes and be a support to others who are rising from theirs as well. Rise like the phoenix and do great things!

The Best Laid Plans…

I can recall the plan I once had for my life as an archaeologist living and working in a southern state (any place where it was warmer really). I knew where I was going to go to school, what kind of archaeological digs I was going to go on, what kind of place I was going to live in, etc. I had it all figured out. And while that plan was one I held in middle and high school, it was nonetheless one I felt strongly about. But, as they say, “life happens” and “reality sets in”…needless to say, I never left my home state and my career path never was one in archaeology (though I still love that subject and read about it often). My plan never came to fruition. I could offer plenty of other examples of this “phenomena” in my life, as I am sure you could do the same. Whether it’s the big things, like my “life plan” to be an archaeologist, or the little things like when it feels like the whole universe is conspiring against you some mornings as you just try to make it to work on time, the bottom line is that life seldom goes as planned. (I’m pretty sure this is some kind of universal truth.)

The challenging thing is to find a way to stay positive in the midst of the curveballs life can throw at us. And understandably so. Whether we are in the midst of a life path that suddenly takes an unforeseen turn or we consciously decide to make some major life shift because an unexpected opportunity has presented itself, unplanned change has a significant impact on us. It can be frustrating, irritating, and at times can leave you feeling defeated. The important thing to remember is you can get through it and come out on the other side in a better place than when you started.

You made need a little time to mourn the loss of someone or some thing in your life…you may need to take some time to gather your thoughts or wrap your head around what has occurred. Sometimes, you just need to stop and take a deep breath. Whatever you need to do…do it…it’s okay. Take that time to mourn, process, gather your thoughts, breath…whatever you need to do to be able to close that door and walk toward the next. Just don’t let yourself get stuck there. Allow yourself the time to be human, but then take the opportunity to move on and create something new. I know this sounds easier than what it often is in practice, but its all about your mindset. And you may likely need a different mindset each time something different happens in your life. You could choose to look at the unexpected change to your life plan as an opportunity to do something that maybe you have always wanted to do but for some reason never have. Or look at it as the chance to start over and be anyone and do anything you choose (in other words, redefine yourself). And I would also recommend that, as often as it is appropriate, you develop a sense of humor about it, especially when it comes to the smaller stuff. Life will happen to you so if you can laugh about it you will feel better than if you are always so serious about it, trust me….I have been there, done that, and got several T-shirts as they say!

Whether we like it or not, those times when life doesn’t go the way we had planned it will happen. Just remember that they are opportunities to rejuvenate or renew ourselves and our lives. In the words of Mark Nepo, “There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.” Seize the opportunity when it comes your way…learn from it what you can and make the most of it. Become a better version of yourself and be the person you always wanted to be.

Is it Spring yet?

As I sit to compose this week’s blog posting on rebirth and renewal there are 12 inches of freshly fallen snow outside. Makes it hard to believe that Spring is only 2 weeks away. And so the irony is that as I anxiously await the season that brings us the wonderful experience of rebirth and renewal, I am off work for the second day in a row…ah yes, “Old Man Winter”…pretty much the antithesis of rebirth and renewal.

I often contemplate moving somewhere that is warm all year long. Where there is no snow to shovel and no ice to scrape. I can assure you that after shoveling a foot of snow on Thursday, it really sounds like a fabulous idea today. But all joking aside, the thing that always causes me to pause when I find myself seriously considering a move to someplace warmer is that I would no longer experience the 4 seasons. As much as I dislike the cold and snow, there is just something rejuvenating about getting to late March or early April when the weather turns warmer and everything starts to get green, lush and colorful. I honestly think I appreciate Spring more because I am coming out of a season that is defined by cold weather, living things that have gone dormant, and a very blah color scheme everywhere you look. Indeed it is this contrast from the one season to the other that helps me appreciate the beauty of what Spring has to offer us.

This month’s theme, rebirth and renewal, was certainly not chosen by accident. With March being the launching point for Spring, which is by its very definition all about rebirth and renewal, it seemed a perfect fit. But Spring isn’t the only place we experience a rebirth or renewal. Many of us have had opportunities in our own lives to renew or rejuvenate ourselves, be it personally, professionally, or both. The great thing about every day being a new day is it affords us the chance to start over, to be someone different, to do things in a new way, to write a new chapter in our lives…this is the essence of rebirth and renewal. And how exciting! To know that if yesterday, last week or last year did not turn out the way you planned, you have the opportunity to write a whole new script for tomorrow, next week and next year. Don’t dwell on what didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Don’t let that inner critic beat you up for some thing you said or chose to do. Let it go and start anew. Just end that one act of the play called “Your Life” and let the next one begin. Of course it’s never quite as simple as I am making it sound here but, deciding you want to do that is half the battle…the other half is actually doing it (and how you do it), which is a topic for another time. For now, just revel in the fact that, in this month when we celebrate rebirth and renewal, you get to decide when to close one door and open a new one.

And so, in the words of Robert Browning, “My sun sets to rise again.”