Smoke is the perfect metaphor for change ahead—whether it’s some workplace fire you weren’t expecting or a change in a business relationship you hadn’t foreseen.
Given the choice, most of us would never head into a fire, metaphorically or otherwise. So when you find yourself in the middle of one, make a Simple Shift™ and look for the Phoenix it contains.
J.K. Rowling is one of the more recent authors to describe the Phoenix, that magical bird who dies in flames only to be reborn in its own ashes. In cultures throughout the world—from the ancients through modern times—writers have had much to share about this bird and the transformative power of its fiery regeneration.
If you’ve read about Albus Dumbledore’s Phoenix, Fawkes, you recognize those Phoenix qualities that people have shared for centuries: its strength, courage, loyalty, connection to royalty—and its absolute absence of fear.
Most of us are afraid of fire—like we’re afraid of change and loss—because we miss the point that the Phoenix embodies: new life rising up out of the ashes of the old. Despite what it looks like, ashes don’t signify the end; they always signify a new beginning.
How about you? What’s your experience?
Think of something that happened at least five years ago, some “fire” you experienced and worked through. Maybe it was a job you lost, an important personal or professional relationship that unexpectedly ended, or even a death—of someone dear to you or a dream you cherished. Although it took some time to emerge from the “flames” of that experience, don’t you find that you’re no longer the person you were before it happened?
No matter what else, now you know you can survive a fire.
In the process, you may discover that you’re smarter than you were—now you can make distinctions that were previously invisible to you. And it’s highly likely that you engage with life more deeply than you did; you may even be more compassionate to yourself and more discerning of others. As a result of this experience, you have the benefit of everything you’ve learned when the next fire ignites in your life.
So what Simple Shift™ can you learn from the Phoenix?
You can learn to shift your perspective from what you’ve lost to what’s rising out of your ashes. When you embrace the inevitability of the “fires” in your life as a prerequisite for your transformation, you’ll emerge from every flame with a strength you never knew you had.