You Are Not a Phoenix

You don’t need to get burned to change

I’ve been experimenting with ways to reach people.  Someone I love suggested that I just ‘get over it’ and get with the whole meme thing.  Pretty pictures with inspirational quotes that speak to what others will appreciate and may encourage them to engage with me.  I’m not exactly quoteable so what the heck. There are other ways to jump into the time suck, right?

In my search to find the inspired words of others, I found an endless well of pithy and trite, overused and much-abused quotes that are pasted and pinterest-ed ad nauseum. I took another tack into the web of words and found things that spoke me for me that aren’t Rumi and was fascinated. I was fascinated by the renewed love of literature, authors I’d long forgotten or somehow missed when their light shines so brightly, and the stream of language related to change.  All of those words by all of these authors can be summed up thusly: Change is hard and you must be damaged in the process of same.

I call bullshit.  The myth of the phoenix is one of those that has been perpetuated as truth for so long that it’s been adopted by the ‘awakening’ market, self-help gurus, and twisted from straight poetic angst into a pretzel of, well, mythic proportion.

The myths of the Phoenix go something like this: The Phoenix is a bird that lived from 500 – 1400 years.  To be perpetuated or reborn it must die.  It did so by alighting itself afire to rise again through the ashes of its predecessor to keep doing the thing it did before it died. We modernish folks have slightly adjusted the Phoenix myth to imply significant change via that rebirth by fire.

Here’s the dealio, kids.  You are not a mythical bird.  You have opposable thumbs and 3.5 pounds of genius sitting on top of your neck. Self-immolation is not necessary to change. Change doesn’t require drama, trauma, dark nights of the soul, disintegration, divorce, rituals resembling death, or cathartic catastrophe of any kind.

One of our least effective stupid human tricks is to assume that without the litany of the above, change can’t or won’t occur. It’s a manner of thinking that keeps people afraid of it. Change is an endless process and for those situations that cross our path appearing incongruous with how we think they should or offering a different perspective for consideration merely require us to do something a simple as be curious.

We’re kinda bright. We can choose to not get burned. If you’re starting to feel a little singed around the edges, get the hell out of the fire.  It’s as easy as cocking your head to the right a smidge to adjust the perspective, raising the right eyebrow to open one eye juuuuust a little more, and saying, ‘I wonder…’






2 thoughts on “You Are Not a Phoenix

  1. Although it has been and it still is harsh to transit your shift, I always felt the authenticity behind you. And in the midst of wild, unexpected and many times unwanted changes, that was the only thing left to trust. So I did.
    I cursed. I blamed you. I went on endless pity parties. I numbed myself as much as possible because my body really couldn’t take it all at once and those measures were necessary part of the process. They were the first glimpses of self loyalty and self support in my life.
    And slowly, reluctantly, as the pieces of my blown up identity and the massive belief system attached to it began to land on solid ground, I started to experience understanding. Of you. Of the process. And myself.
    These are my conclusions:
    As a messenger, you will always be mistaken for the storm that initiates the changes that we demand, but sooner or later, the distortion will fade and you will be recognized as the true soul midwife you are. I would suggest a brutal informed consent, so in the blaming and mistaking part you can redirect our anger to the initial choice. Something like: It may be bliss, but chances are that breaking up with the crap will trigger and bring massive discomfort. This is a process á la Shackleton: “”Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”
    There’s this bratty, scared voice defendind the body and it’s natural, as most of us went through major trauma and loss and it’s the trauma that leads us to you or you to us. I am amazed by your generosity, Ingrid. And your grit. There’s something so very Jesus to you and I mean it. The the gift of light and the fierce cleansing of the temple. This part is hard sometimes. Most of us are in postraumatic wandering and sleepwalking and waking up a person knocked out by abuse or chronic re-enactment of violence (in my case, it was having been raped twice, and forced not to be me through the crack of my empathy), is like what the f* all the time. But here’s the very interesting thing about it: you tend to take (and I don’t mean it’s transference), the heavy part of the anger we carry because it may be the only way to release it or shift it.
    But the truth is that you don’t deserve it, and a statement of informed consent would help a lot, not only because the blow up will happen, and the more trauma accumulated, the bigger the blast. This is the reason why a Shackletonian statement would be useful. I know you cannot guess how the whole thing will develop, but sometimes a bit of negative anticipation does the fix and gives us a temporary sense of control. Most of us are worriers, and we are used to it.
    “It may be hard, it may take time and I cannot, in any way help you or assist you personally through it, because it’s the living it fully and left to your own means that will give you proof of the rest of assistance and above all your almighty strength. Your main problem, and the reason that we met, is that you believe in your frailty, powerlessness and helplessness. You will be immensely pissed at me. So be it. I won’t take your shit or your tantrums or cuddle you back into slumber because I am here to blow you up so you can discover your strength and your real wants and feel what you don’t want to feel, which will be mostly fear and anger and wanting to go back to what you know, which is exactly what is confining you.
    You want freedom. To break free you must accept a blast. It will hurt. I will not pick up your pieces. You will hate me. It’s normal. It may take a lot of time to normalize. It will eventually do. In the meantime breath, curse and listen to yourself. Wanted or unwanted, the right help will be provided. After the blast I need to move on to the next person who needs a spiritual bomber. Say yes. Say no. Count ten and leap or accept confinement.
    I love you. ”
    Meme is crap. It’s global hypnosis. Herd behaviour. I cannot possibly associate meme to you. So maybe there’s only one option. To trust that you are reaching exactly the number of people you need to reach, being you. The effect will gain momentum, eventually.

    Another conclusion: There’s a body to Ingrid. There’s trauma in Ingrid. There’s fear and anger in Ingrid. And you are entitled to them. You are human, not only this blessed blasting, dancing spirit. Many of you human needs are not met and you are literally homeless and in precarious terms, because you’ve become an outsider.
    Maybe you need a base, but it’s not community, in part because your force is stronger and any leader will feel freaked out and compelled to tackle it down or bend it to his/her will.
    You need a solitary base that you can open by choice. Remember my metaphor of the sliding doors? Probably the most disturbing part of this process was no longer being able to shut the doors at will. I am still struggling this part yet becoming more aware of how to create temporary bubbles or a strong home inside. A cave to hibernate and rest and repair and think, signal minus the noise.

    Maybe you also need a cave, Ingrid. To rest, repair and find the words to state the only promise that can be delivered through you: big, true change.
    Orgasmic for some, scary and promising explosion for many.
    You so deserve them.
    Thank you.
    I love you.

    1. Honey, I think we should chat soon! I’m feeling you’re connected to this First People’s work I’ve embarked upon and I’ve had the strong push to reach out to you. 🙂

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