“The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
In an earlier post, Ever Have One of Those Moments? , I spoke about light bulb moments, seeing things that have been there right in front of you for a very long time. I didn’t get into much detail about it, but I think now it’s time that I did.
My wisdom-packed daughter said to me last night just as we finished reading a bedtime story:
“Mommy, I wish I could remember what it was like to see the world for the first time, like when I was born.”
Wow, what a statement! We talked about this for a while. I wanted to know exactly what she meant by this. She went on to say that it must have been beautiful and scary to see the world for the first time when you’re born because all you could see before was the inside of your Mommy’s belly. So, with this I knew that she was very aware of what she was saying, and contemplating. I became even more honoured to have been chosen to be her Mom.
I lay awake in bed that night for a while, thinking about what my darling daughter said. She is a very curious, and contemplative little girl, and has a deep desire to discover new things. Such wonderful characteristics to have. And while thinking I realised just how many opportunities we are given to see things for the first time, just like when we are born.
I was reminded of a book I read by Elizabeth Lesser called Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow. In her book, she talks about how you need to be broken open in order to make the changes to really live, to find the courage to choose life. She describes what it takes to break open and what the result of it is. She explains that we go through many Phoenix Process’ in our lives to achieve this. For those of you who don’t know the story of the mythological bird, the Phoenix bird realises that he has reached an impasse with his life. He built a pyre and sat in the flames to burn to death. Then he rose from the ashes as a new being, yet ever more himself – authentic, vibrant and especially at peace with himself and the world.
Theodore Roethke says “In a dark time the eye begins to see.” What this means is, like the Phoenix bird, you can emerge from the fires of frustration, depression, false starts, disappointments and self-lies and become the real you, the person you are meant to be. You begin to realize that things do not need to be this way, and there is a possibility to change.
But to go through a Phoenix Process we must make the conscious choice to turn our misfortune into insight, instead of becoming bitter, reactive and cynical. I have been broken open many times , and as a result have CHOSEN to go through many Phoenix Processes at once – my divorce, work, living arrangements, raising a daughter as a single Mom and even contemplating the dynamics of relationships with other people. Not an easy feat, but I wouldn’t change this for the world. I absolutely am beginning to adore the person I am becoming as I rise from my ashes.
Every single one of us is a Phoenix bird, and during our lifetime we will die and be reborn every single time we feel stuck or resist change, whether it is a life catastrophe such as a death or divorce, or while asking every day questions such as “Is ____ fulfilling my purpose in life?” The reason why the Phoenix Process is difficult and painful is because our egos get in the way and try to prevent us from burning in the fire. Our ego doesn’t like change or death, and it is a control freak. However, deep down, on the spirit level, we know that with every ending, there is a brand new beginning. We can make whatever we want with that new beginning.
We can see the world for the first time again, just like when we were born.