Phoenix Rising

Phoenix, by Santiago Iborra (c) 2005With the holidays winding down and the New Year fast approaching, I am in the entirely non-unique position of reflecting on ’08. This has been a year of immense change, growth, heartache and questioning for me. I moved to a new city, completed a divorce, made wonderful new friends, was diagnosed with early stages of cancer, had two surgeries, enjoyed a brief romantic love affair, started a spiritual journey of self discovery and embarked on a new career path (in tandem with still working full time at my day job).  Wow! Say that three times fast! It’s been pretty packed. And that’s just my life; let’s not even start with the election and the economy!

While there have been some definite highs in ’08 – the overall year has been a real challenge. There have been a lot of tears shed. There have been a lot of miles run to vent frustration, hurt and anger. There have been some long, dark nights of not letting go. But as I sit here and reflect I remember the Legend of the Phoenix.

The Phoenix is a Chinese mythological bird that lives for 1,000 years. It is a symbol of opportunity, opulence, and immortality. It is also a symbol of resurrection. For at the end of its 1,000 year life cycle – it builds its own burning funeral pyre and sacrifices itself. The Phoenix is burned to ashes in the fiery flames. But out of ashes arises a new, brilliant incarnation. The newly resurrected bird is then free to fly away for a fresh 1,000 year life cycle.

There are several things I like about this legend that I think we can all learn from:

1)      The Phoenix recognizes when its current incarnation is up. It doesn’t fight to remain the bird it is, resisting the change ahead. No. It openly, happily and in full willingness builds its own pyre to start the transformation process
2)      The Phoenix commits itself fully to the fire. It doesn’t hop in, say “Damn it’s hot!” and then fly back out deformed and on fire. It gives itself fully to the process, trusting that its current incarnation is complete. It trusts itself to the process of being reduced to ashes in order to start fresh
3)      From the ashes, from the most basic state of itself, but still from the core parts of itself – it rises again as a new and beautiful bird

I am challenging myself and YOU to make ’09 your year of the Phoenix. Even though we’re coming up on the Year of the Ox for the Chinese calendar – I want to make my own calendar. The Duchess Calendar! And for the Duchess calendar it’s the year of the Phoenix.

I made my funeral pyre in ’08 and I can tell you first hand, it was damn hot! But I knew my 1,000 year cycle had ended (so to speak) and that my current incarnation was up. I stayed in the fire, was consumed by the flames and trusted my instinct to follow through with the process until it was complete. I am hopeful that out of the ashes of ’08 – a new Phoenix will arise in ‘09. And what a fearsome, powerful and vibrant woman that will be!

—Jill Brown

Jill Brown - Duchess GuideJill Brown is a Los Angeles, California based Life Coach and Writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: