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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…’

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