How to Phoenix

5 steps to rise from the ashes!


Khawaja Saud Masud

3/25/20243 min read

How should one face chaos when it's thrusted upon you? What to do when the end is near? Whether it is heading towards a divorce or bankruptcy or escalating health issues, running away or looking away doesn't even really delay the inevitable. It only makes the entire hit-and-getup-if you-can process exponentially harder and the recovery exponentially longer.

The problem is here. You are in it or about to be in it very soon. Phoenix time!

Phoenix, the fabled bird and a symbol of resilience, rebirth, and hope in antiquity, teaches us how to accept, prepare and navigate disruptions. As legend has it, a phoenix lives around 500 years and when it approaches its end, it builds a nest where it sits and lights itself in flames, only to perish in them and rise anew.

How to phoenix in life then?

1) Fulfilment zone over comfort zone: comfort zones catch mold so don't stay there too long. A phoenix voluntarily leaves its comfort zone to purposefully renew its essence. If your current goal is exhausted or you find yourself stuck in a dead-end relationship or business, it's time to seek fulfillment elsewhere even though it may bring pain and temporary chaos. The prisoner of the comfort zone only appreciates his escape once he breaks free. Before that, his attachment and complacency dominates all. Let the new you seek new skies to soar in.

2) Dramatic can be slow: just because you are thrown into some unforeseen or foreseen adversity, doesn't mean you have to react and risk destabilizing everything in your universe. The main shift needed is in your mind. Are you ready to make radical change? If it's a yes, it's a no. It has to be 'there is no other option' and then maybe you have a chance at change. But then exercise this option gradually. Slowly plan your way out of the current undesired state, whether it’s losing fat, or putting your financial house in order. Big mind shifts coupled with small state shifts lead to dramatic rises from the ashes, except all of this happens not in an instance but in a year or five. The phoenix takes it’s time dutifully preparing the pyre well before bathing in fire.

3) Alone is ok: the myth says there can only be one phoenix at a time. It is not guided by or helped by other phoenixes. But it still drives its own glorious transformation to be reborn as a single phoenix. We come into existence alone and leave this world alone so why be so afraid of being reborn alone? Trust yourself. You may make mistakes but if you grow from them, you only took gritty lessons in hindsight. Also, alone doesn't mean lonely, it means self-reliant. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself and adversity will swiftly and deeply reveal you to you.

4) Healing powers: the tears of a phoenix carry healing powers. So do yours. Whatever dislodged you in life and spiraled you down must be absorbed before you rise again. In learning to heal, you must first learn to hurt! Don't bury the past just yet. Digest it. Shed your tears and fears without self judgement. Flush your emotional system by venting, screaming and crying if need be. Write down what weighs you down. Rewrite it. Untangle the trauma and give your tears meaning. Assign cause, not blame to all that transpired. Allow yourself to feel helpless down to the ashes. Then remind yourself to phoenix up with a new vision for your remaining days. Forgive and aspire. Remember, you are your best healer, don't count on solar cycles to do it for you. Time heals all wounds is a greater myth than the phoenix itself.

5) Identity: the old phoenix is still a phoenix, the ashes are still phoenix ashes, and the reborn phoenix is the inspirational phoenix but in 'reality' it is the same phoenix, just three different states. In life you will face different states of mind and body, both. But what won't change is who you really are. Good or bad times will cycle, not every 500 years but perhaps every 5 years or so. Don't let it get to your heart in the bad times and don't let it get to your head in the good ones. You be you and know that you are magical in all your states.