One of my favorite mythological creatures is, and has always been, the phoenix, which some of you may know as Dumbledore’s pet from the Harry Potter books and movies. However, for those of you who don’t know what a phoenix is, it’s a big and beautiful fictional bird that is supposed to live for several hundreds years. This bird eventually dies (hey, even mythical creatures don’t live forever), but the death in itself is not very peaceful because it literally explodes into a ball of flames and turns into a pile of ashes. Although this can be a jarring and most likely painful experience for the bird, something astonishing occurs once it dies; from the ashes, the phoenix is reborn, lovelier and more brilliant than before, and the cycle of life starts all over again. It’s a wonderful allegory about violent endings and fresh beginnings that we as humans experience many times throughout our lives and I think it perfectly describes what I want to share with you all today.
How many of you have started, or are currently starting, something new? Whether you’ve just begun a new career, been given a new position at your current job, entered a new phase of life, etc., you know that “growing pains” are a real thing in these situations and that it’s never as easy as some rare, over-night success stories make it initially seem. I’m currently in this position where I’ve just recently started a small business where I offer tarot readings and, although it’s been an extremely rewarding experience, there are days when worry and anxiety are my best friends. Now, I’ve put in a lot of time and effort in order to make sure these emotions don’t consume my thoughts without suppressing them and it usually works pretty well. However, once in a while something will trigger me to give into these fears and after feeling pretty crumby for a bit, I again try to build my confidence and strength back up in order to re-establish my foundation.
This old “song-and-dance routine” seemed to keep happening over and over again last week, but by Sunday afternoon, I felt pretty good about myself and my situation. I thought, “You know, regardless of when I start reading for more people, the important part is that I AM reading for others and I’m really helping them!” I had balanced myself out and I was excited for the upcoming week ahead; I even had an appointment scheduled! Then, later that day, my foundation started to crack and I felt the weight shift. I was asked to give a reading for someone I knew and I didn’t realize that this was someone who was a fairly big skeptic (not a problem, I just wish I had a “heads up” before the reading). As soon as I started explaining the cards to her, I could tell she was resistant. Instead of shrugging it off, I became intimated and felt I had to “prove” something to her, when in reality I really didn’t. She had already made up her mind prior to the reading and nothing I could have done before, during, or after would have changed her view about it.
However, it really got to me and it bothered me for days, but I didn’t know why! She didn’t mean anything by it and it certainly wasn’t personal, so why was I letting these emotions control me? I decided to get advice from my fiancé, who is always my “go to” anytime I’m confused about a situation. I kept expressing the same sentiment over and over again; “Why did she do that? Why didn’t she just tell me she was a skeptic? Why did she even want me to read for her?” Then, my wonderful, loving, and supportive husband-to-be said, “Hunny, I know you’re hurt, but I think this was a great lesson for you. Not everyone you meet is going to understand what you do, so they’re not going to see all of the good you do for other people as well. And you know what? That’s ok. This is going to give you tougher skin, so that when this does happen again, and trust me, it will, you can just brush it off. You know that the ones who love you recognize how what you do is beneficial and that’s all that matters. Everyone else is kind of irrelevant.” This didn’t necessarily heal my wounds in that moment, but it most certainly took the sting away and replaced my sadness and disappointment with confidence and contentment.
You see, it doesn’t matter what you do. Tarot reader, professor, counselor, yoga teacher, police officer, etc.; who cares? Are you happy? Do you feel fulfilled? Are you impacting other people’s lives? Good! You’re a minority in this world who we need more of because if we’re able to do something or be someone that can make this life a little less difficult, then I’d say you’re doing just fine. If people don’t support you and your endeavors or try to make you feel like what you do is somehow “not special”, then that’s their loss, not yours. The best thing you can do is shrug your shoulders, smile, and walk away because you know what the truth is. I mean, would you get angry or upset with someone if they told you that the sky is green when it’s clearly blue or that dinosaurs didn’t exist even though they’re are plenty of fossils to prove otherwise? No! You just laugh and say, “Ok! Whatever man..” It’s the same thing! You don’t have to prove anything to anyone unless it’s to yourself because honestly, that’s the only person who really matters when it comes to your happiness.
If you’re currently going through an enormous upheaval, then…good. That means you’re alive and with that comes the surprising twists, turns, and drops of life. They’re not meant to scare or punish you; they’re meant to excite you and lead you to something better. Similar to the phoenix’s death, the process for your transition maybe painful, but you’ll rise out of your ashes so much stronger and more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.
Because the truth of the matter is, the phoenix isn’t really a myth; the phoenix, my friends, is you.