I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt motor-boated, razed to the ground, destroyed, ruined. And yet, every time, I’ve risen.

Twice, when discussing power animals or personal archetypes, friends have called me the Phoenix. A former teacher and spiritual leader even tried to give me that name. I stuck with Psalm, because that is the name my late mother gave me, dealt to her by a tiny violet angel 5 days after my birth. As far as names and name stories go, that’s hard to beat. Plus the middle name she chose for me is Renee, meaning rebirth. So Phoenix Renee, might be a tad redundant 🙂

In 31 years, I’ve moved over 60 times. I was orphaned by suicide in my preteens. I was taken from my mother at age 1 and shuffled through multiple foster homes until her death. I’ve given birth. I’ve experienced the dissolution of the relationship with my child’s father. I’ve had close friends die. I have gazed into the lifeless face of my teacher Umi, after his death from cancer… and I’ve recognized some of the simplest, purest truths.  No matter how many times my hope, my faith and my trust is cracked, broken or shattered – it rises again; continually, no matter what happens – it continues to rise.

I am the Phoenix.

I have sometimes puzzled over the Phoenix side of me. In ancient mythology, the Phoenix is a creature that dies, and in the flames of transformation, is reborn. Like the caterpillar disappearing into the chrysalis, the Phoenix takes the decomposition of its former life and uses it as fuel for its growth into something gloriously brand new.

This process – This transformation that is always occurring – Is you.

Archetype or myth is the language of connectivity. It is the architecture of our oneness. It is the personification of our process of transformation.

The process of death, transformation, and resurrection. The cycle that governs our lives. We are always at different stages of it.

The purpose of this process? I am not sure I can say. I can only harken back to a quote for which I can find no attribution, and can only roughly summarize as “The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to open up.”

Challenges can soften us. Challenges can have a mystical way of pushing us and breaking us into acceptance. If we don’t accept, we harden, begin to decompose, and eventually die. Or we experience pain. Or we struggle. If we do accept, something breaks and we emerge through that brokenness like a bud through the cracked shell of our hardened, seed-like former self.

Sometimes, when I am experiencing the labor pains of transformation, or the tightness of the chrysalis around my winged body as I struggle to push into the soft, cool air, I find it helpful to remember these three things:

     1. The World is Changing for the Better, and Fast.

Back in 2012, there was a lot of fuss about the end of the Mayan calendar. Reactions ran the gamut, from “doom and gloom” to “the new age is upon us!”… and all of them a tad dramatic. After December 2012 came and went, things kind of went silent. Nothing big happened. No out-of-the-ordinary calamities took place, and everyone seemingly went on their way. A bit anticlimactic? I’m not so sure. No matter your take on the whole 2012 situation, a shift happened. It happened planetarily. It happened energetically. And as integral parts of the planet, it’s happening to us, too. The shift is behind us.

I am constantly amazed by the number of people who are “waking up” out of the malaise of fear so characteristic of the industrial era. This is not to say that these hundreds of thousands of individuals are becoming Buddhas and gathering Sanghas and delivering Satsangs 🙂 Not so much (although many are). Instead, these awakened individuals are remembering their passions. They are recognizing the hypocrisy and corruption in government. And they are getting creative. This creativity looks like Represent.Us, Elon Musk publically advocating off-the-grid energy, nonviolent protest of police brutality, documentaries like Thrive and Fed Up hitting the market and garnering widespread, global attention. The violent revolution so many government officials feared isn’t happening. Instead, we’re re-routing the system, slowly & carefully. We’re finding a way to change it, from the inside out. And change it we will.

In this changing system, our individual role is to recognize that we are no longer limited, in any way, by our circumstances. We can chart courses only dreamed of by our parents and our grandparents. The sky is the limit, so ask yourself: What do I want to see in the world today? How do I want to positively impact my environment? What are my gifts, and what resources can I harness to bring them to the people in my life or to the population at large? There is a way for you to create the world, or just the life you want to see or experience. More and more, there is support, and there is a way.

A recent study at the Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute showed that it takes only 10% of the general population holding an “unshakable belief” in an idea, to effect a shift into that belief by the general population.  10% is the tipping point. Looking at the state of the world today, I believe we’re already there.  Like the Phoenix, we are in a massive phase of transformation. 10% is behind us.

     2. There is an Inborn Genius Encoded in Your Cells.

Who can deny the miracle – the absolute, astonishing miracle – that is life? As researcher Alexander Tsiaras states in his TED Talk and brilliant visualization of the embryotic process “Conception to Birth”, the human body is “so perfectly organized… it is hard not to attribute divinity to it.”

There is an intelligence, an inborn genius, encoded into our cells, and into every living cell on this earth. What is this intelligence? Some say it is DNA. Some call it energy. Some call it “spirit”. But I’m not so sure anyone really knows.

Albert Einstein famously said “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” I believe we simply need to observe life to know its natural, innate friendliness.  With simple awareness of the process of perfection that characterizes life, this ‘decision’ is not a decision at all.

Sure, there is the scourge of a select few corporate interests preying on weakness and fear to further life-negating practices on the planet. Yet the resilience and the beauty of life and of nature is undeniable – and humans… are… nature. Humans have historically handed their aliveness away because we’ve bought into a scheme. This scheme is quickly coming to light, and many of us are recognizing that we are not victims. We are intelligent, creative geniuses (to borrow a phrase from my dear friend Chandra). And we have the power to birth life in much the same way our DNA births life in the form of our hearts, our brains and our 60,000 miles of complex arteries, capillaries and other vessels.

This inborn genius in our cells, this friendliness, is something I like to simply refer to as aliveness. You’ll notice life and aliveness thrive under nurturing circumstances. Aliveness naturally moves in and as love. Pause for a moment and soak that in. Aliveness naturally moves in and as love. For me this is naturally intuitive. A realization I grasp when I step outside of thought and imagine life moving in its natural, organic fashion.

     3. If You are Suffering, You Are Seeing Things Incorrectly.

I recently had the privilege of watching Esther Hicks (or Abraham) speak.
Of all the things she said, the simplest and most profound message I gleaned was this:

When you are suffering, you are simply seeing things “not as they are”.

Sure, I’ve heard Esther Hicks say that before. In the past, I believed I grasped the “Law of Attraction”. Yet I have failed, repeatedly, to get this one simple truth. Re-reading Ask and It is Given, I am amazed how many times she repeats this, yet somehow… it never clicked. I jotted the following quote from her talk at The Chopra Center recently:

“Everything you are feeling is guidance. Painful or not. You may be translating it into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ guidance… Negative emotion (or experience) is guidance and it means that you are not looking at things the way we (your soul, life itself) want you to be looking at it.”

She went on to speak further on this subject, and what I gleaned is this: If you are unhappy, or in pain, you are out of alignment… You are simply seeing things in a way that is not in alignment with the nature of reality, or life as it is.

When you really get this, it’s profound. Unhappy? Sure! Because you are focusing on a way of life, a way of thinking or living or being, that is out of alignment with what you want, or who you are, or how you want to live or be.

This is not to negate our current feelings of unhappiness. It is merely to notice them, and then to begin to identify what we really want in our lives, and begin to shift ourselves, instead, into alignment with that. Our feelings are our guides, telling us when we are or are not in alignment with what desire.

Now, I won’t wax poetic on the subject, but I will leave it to you to ask yourself: How am I feeling now? Is this really how I want to feel? If not, ask yourself: What feelings would I prefer to experience? And then, I dare you: Start aligning yourself with those feelings and those experiences instead.

No matter where you find yourself in the cycle of transformation… Death, Transformation or Resurrection, you can be sure that the cycle will continue.

In my experience, the best we can do is to continually return to the simple truth at the core of our lives – Our deep, pulsing hearts and the quietness inherent in all things living.

Whether you are feeling disheartened by loss or disappointment, or are facing grave consequences as a result of prior actions. Whether you are engaged in a battle with forces you feel you cannot surmount, or feel abandoned and left alone when you crave connection and intimacy, I have this to say:

Quiet your mind. Reconnect with nature. Find your tribe.

You will find, in time, that life has a magical process to it. Trust that process, lend your whole self to it, and I guarantee: You’ll come out alright.

I’ve been there.