For as long as I can remember, I’ve been lighting my life on fire and watching it burn. Once everything has burned to ash, I rise from it and rebuild. I’ve done this over and over and never before noticed I was even doing it.
Some of the fires took the form of breakups, others were a change of job or career. And maybe the most transformative of the flames has been when I’ve decided to recreate my own self. Light the match, watch it burn. There was never any way back. All that’s left is ash.
When I noticed this pattern within myself, I started to look closer at it. I found that before each match, there’s always this yearning within me. A yearning for more. A demand for growth of some kind.
Like a living thing, squirming within me and looking for a way out. I must destroy what is, in order to make way for what is coming. The next evolution of myself.
It’s calling to me, this thing within me. Restless, unable to be at peace. Something is wrong, but I’ve yet to figure out what. I just know something isn’t quite right. What is this? Why am I unsettled? What is this yearning that won’t go away? I ignore it at first. I shove it down and stop feeling. But it remains. Waiting.
At some point, a door has cracked open. Light seeps in and calls to me. I try to close it, but it won’t budge because I know it’s there. Almost as if my knowing has made it a living thing. It’s fiendishly fascinating. Where does the door lead? What magic sent it? What adventure lies in wait upon opening it?
It’s dangerous this call. That’s why I try to ignore it. It threatens the security of the life I’ve built for myself and my family. It threatens the self I’ve created. It’s a good life, a good self. Anyone would be proud to have this life or be this person. It should be enough. And yet, I’m still tempted.
I know that opening the door would mean destroying myself and everyone around me. It scares me. And rightfully so. It’s a lot to ask of a person. However, I’m also scared of staying here and missing the prize that awaits the bravest that cross the threshold. I’m afraid of staying in this life and finding it empty, devoid of any real meaning or purpose. Staying is where dreams die, and where you die along with those dreams.
Eventually I can no longer ignore the call. The light of the path calling me is too loud, too persistent. And so, I open the door, lighting the match, and burn my whole life to the ground. What falls to ash cannot follow me through the door. Only the Phoenix birds can survive the flame.
Over the years, I’ve carried guilt over taking my children through the flames with me. The fire burns, it hurts. But they’re Phoenix birds too. They are strong enough to withstand the flames.
The Phoenix emerges from the ash new, stronger, with tools and wisdom she didn’t have before. Are there easier ways to grow? Perhaps. But this bird knows only the way of the flame. She enjoys the purge brought by it. Only what is strong and true can remain.
The growth that comes from it surpasses any other growth. It takes her life over, burning anything weak that can’t take the heat. All that remains is the raw strength, honed in the heat of the flame.
Growth looks different for everyone. Maybe the Phoenix eventually comes to a point in life where the flame is no longer needed, or not for the entirety of her world at least.
There are other metaphors that encompass growth. The snake, shedding its skin. The caterpillar growing into a butterfly. These are more gentle transformations, bringing their own form of growth.
The way in which you grow isn’t important. It’s the growth that matters. It’s calling to you now. Can you feel it? That yearning for more? Maybe you follow the same pattern, you push down the call. You attempt to ignore it and pretend you don’t see the light that peeks out the crack in the door.
You’re not sure when the door appeared. Only that the light keeps shining on you, tempting you to peek into the path beyond. That unsettled feeling you try to ignore keeps returning, each time stronger than before. Something’s wrong, but you’re still not sure what.
Growth is calling. And it scares you because it threatens the security of the life you’ve built. It threatens the person you’ve become. But security is a cage. It’s a pretty lie. Life is lived when you cut away from security.
The call is to chase a dream, follow your purpose, feel something. That could look like taking a photography class, painting, writing, singing, being a plumber or a doctor or a mechanic. There are infinite purposes in this life. But your purpose is yearning to be seen and lived.
Maybe the growth is self-discovery. Learning who you are beyond the thoughts in your head and the tasks you perform for others. Learning who you are and what that voice within is trying to tell you.
It could be a call to break the bonds of the traumas you’ve lived through. To cut away the ropes that tie you to the patterns you’ve become attached to due to these wounds. It’s a call from you, to you.
Perhaps it’s a change in job, relationship, location, beliefs or any number of things. Forget about what could be caught on fire. If it’s meant to go through the door, it will survive the flames.
Maybe the Phoenix dies without the flame, without the growth. Or maybe they live a life in which they feel nothing at all, which is worse.
Stagnation is worse than death. It’s a slow and sad death. One that hurts everyone around you much worse than the flame ever could. It’s a death of unlived dreams and regret. A sadness that oozes out onto everyone you love, creating its own pattern to be followed by your children. The path of unfulfilled dreams.
Growth burns but it’s freedom. It’s magic. You see things you couldn’t before. It burns the blinds away. The path leads past anywhere you’ve ever been or ever known. It’s worth the price paid.
Grow. Tune into that call within you and grow. Turn inward and follow that thread that’s desperately trying to lead you somewhere. It’s there to guide you. You cannot be lost when following divine guidance.
Instead, you’ll be found.
Thank you for reading my inspired thoughts. To hear more from me, add your name to my email list, follow my TikTok (@girlfixyourcrown), follow me on Social Media (Facebook and Instagram), find any of my books on Amazon (by Holly Rhoton), or keep your eyes out for our podcast that’s coming soon called “Growing Up for Adults” (available on Spotify).
Have a magical day!!