Nor shall this peace sleep with her; but as when
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden Phoenix,
Her ashes new create another heir
As great in admiration as herself;
So shall she leave her blessedness to one,
When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,
Who from the sacred ashes of her honour
Shall star-like rise as great in fame as she was,
And so stand fix’d.
From: The play Henry VIII by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, the King says this in Act V Scene V, in flattering reference to his young daughter Elizabeth (who was to become Queen Elizabeth I)
As I leave the past 40 years in my wake, I push the restart button. I am ready for a rebirth. Just as the Great Phoenix combusts and from it’s own ashes rises again, I too shall recreate myself from the ashes which were left behind.
Religion for me has been a tumultuous path. Praying in the traditional format has not been something that has felt right to me. And so a few years ago, I decided that since journaling was something that worked well for me, that I would keep prayer journals instead. My last entry in my prayer journal (I do have other ways that I pray as well) was a few weeks before my 40th birthday, which was in December of 2017. In it, I analyzed how I would define each of the decades of my life and description of myself at those points in time thus far and to set my intention and hopes for the upcoming decade. Here is my analysis and intention.
1st Decade: 0-10 years of age: Course re-direction, follower, unaware, asleep
2nd decade: 10-20 years of age: Chrysalis stage. Intuition and clairsentience appear, leader qualities emerge
3rd decade: 20-30 years of age: Rebellion, self-discovery, personal philosophies and spirituality develop
4th decade: 30-40 years of age: Paradigm shift, re-evaluation, metamorphosis, resilience
Hopes and Intentions for 5th decade: 40-50 years of age: Emergence of butterfly, deliverence from Dark Night of the Soul, clarity, courage, peace, truth
For three years prior to now, I have been in what I would best describe as what Catholics call the Dark Night of the Soul. Almost every single one of the important relationships in my life had major paradigm shifts within less than a year’s time. It shut my psyche down. I was struggling to stay functional and afloat.
I finally asked my doctor for an extra medication (I am already on an anti-anxiety med) for depression. I began taking that probably in September or so of 2017. It did start to finally work and get me over the hump and quiet my mind from going down the rabbit hole every single day. Unfortunately, it also, like many anti-depressants do, made me gain weight very rapidly. Weight is something I struggle with and that plays on my self esteem.
I wanted to get myself off this medication due to the weight gain. Every time I tried to stop taking it, even for a day, I would cry uncontrollably and slip down that rabbit hole.
At some point in December, a friend of mine began texting me. She is someone who I worked with several years ago. During the summer, she and I and two other music teachers made a trip to a music store together to purchase music for our bands. On that road trip, she noticed I was wearing a necklace that had several charms with chakra symbols on them. She opened up a conversation with me about reiki, chakras and things of that nature. This was a side of each other that neither of us knew about until that moment. Once she realized this about me, it opened up a commonality between us, something I think we both longed for, since we both don’t seem to have many people in our lives that are supportive of this side of us. She texted me in December about something on the esoteric side, about people who are new souls frustrating her. We began texting frequently with each other. Those conversations led to me having an insight about something that would re-direct my journey.
I began to develop a ritual and spirit space that would include an altar of sorts and during which I would have a nightly tea and sweet, have prayer, light candles for various needs, journal, balance chakras etc. The development of this finally led to the beginning of my restart, my rebirth. This was right around the time of my 40th birthday and the New Year. It also allowed me to finally discontinue the use of the anti-depression medication. Now I need to find my groove and motivation to shed the pounds I gained from the medication, along with the excess pounds I had even before I began that medication, as I was never content with my weight to begin with.
I wish I could be someone who didn’t need to be shallow and feel the constant need to lose weight in order to feel good about myself. But circumstances in my life have drawn my brain to function in this light. I am working to develop confidence in myself and to love myself in other ways so that I can shed the psychological need for junk food, which is what causes the excess weight; they go hand in hand.
Today I attended another meeting of the short term spiritual book club I am a part of. The book we are reading speaks of not focusing so much on getting rid of a bad habit, but developing many good habits so as to crowd the bad habits out. I love this perspective and I think that I had already intuitively begun to do just that. I have been doing this by creating my spirit space ritual, joining that short term spiritual reading club, making a habit of writing for this blog every day instead of once in a while as I had been doing previously, and ensuring that I keep up with my daily inspirational readings and doing two of them per day instead of the one per day that I had done for the past couple of years. I am working slowly towards adding in more and more good habits, and hopefully the bad habits will be crowded out.
I decided when I made my New Year’s Resolutions this year, that I would approach them in the opposite manner that I, and probably most people, usually do. I am pretty certain that most people begin the year gung-ho with their resolutions, full force, and then can’t keep up with it, which is why you hear of so many people failing at their resolutions. So this year I decided to have compassion with myself and to not be hard on myself if I failed at my resolutions and to not let that mean I was going to give up on them or that I failed myself. I can always restart a resoltuion even if I fail at some point. I was going to work on one resolution at a time so that it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of change all at once that would be impossible to keep up with. Baby steps. We enter the third month of the year as of today, and I believe that I am definitely doing much better with this approach than the other method. I am continually adding new, good habits all the time and am feeling better, on the whole (of course I have my bad days, but I am rebounding much faster than I have in the past).
A restart and rebirth, like a phoenix, in the 5th decade on this planet and during this lifetime. I rise from the ashes!