The mythological Phoenix has been a tremendous source of inspiration for my professional work, as well as in life, in general. The Phoenix is not just some mythical beast; it is a creature that has some amazing powers, powers that we have as well. I had always seen the Phoenix as just another creature of myth, like the Dragon or Medusa. It wasn’t until I had begun to research the historical origins of the Phoenix, that a wave of enlightenment came over me. “The Phoenix is real,” I said. Soon after, I contacted Joe Nigg, prolific writer and author of many books about mythical or “wonder” beasts. He lent some guidance as to where I could look to find more information on the Phoenix. The Phoenix is just an allegory that represents meanings to life that would otherwise go undiscovered. So just what are Phoenix Relationships and what does the mythological bird have to do with anything in real life?
The Phoenix and You
The Phoenix was an eagle-sized bird that traveled from Arabia to the temple of the sun (in Egypt) roughly every 500 years to be born anew. Hundreds of years later, fire became a central element of the rebirth and became symbolically an allegory of resurrection to Christians. In all tales, the Phoenix was one of a kind. It is referred to as a Benu in Egypt, and Feng-Huang in China. So there wasn’t just one bird in historical texts. Rather, vastly different cultures and societies used the Phoenix to explain life and offer spiritual guidance towards enlightenment. The death that the Phoenix encounters is not the death that we are all accustomed to. Instead, this bird finds new life, or new youthfulness.
I came to realize that the Phoenix was not being reborn as a new animal, but one that had recaptured its purity or authenticity. As individuals, we can become tainted by the personal interactions that we have with others, lovers, friends, family or otherwise. We may assume new qualities that form part of our behaviors, thoughts and actions. The Phoenix was its own nurse, its own caregiver, and we have these same abilities at our disposal. As individuals, we may be reborn, and we need not wait 500 years, but can do so at any time by directing our efforts appropriately. Being reborn does not mean changing who we are at our core, it entails shedding the qualities, traits and habits that only shroud our authentic selves.
This mythological bird is not only a source of inspiration for individuals, but also for relationships, as well. When I think of the abilities that the Phoenix has, I am reminded that we can use them to restore any relationship, no matter the cause of contention. In relationships, the Phoenix is an allegory for forgiveness, the trait that allows individuals to let go of the past and live mindfully, in the moment. As a relationship coach, almost all of the problems that I encounter is an inability to let go of the past from individuals and couples. Individuals re-invigorate the past, constantly holding their partner in contempt for a wrong that had been committed. It is because of this that they refuse to expend the appropriate level of energy that is necessary to restore the relationship. It is not that each partner became a different person or “changed”, its that each partner allowed their prides to get in the way of what used to be an incredible and passionate tale of romance.
In light of this, it isn’t that individuals must change in order to save and strengthen their relationships, it is that they must un-change. Relationship success is absurdly simple. The same effortless drives that were characteristic in the early parts of the relationship can exist in relationships that have many years under their belts. It wasn’t infatuation that caused the success during the courtship process; it was actions guided by intent. If we give up on the concept of being right or asking what we can get out of the relationship, we can realize untold benefits. In doing so, we simplify the process tremendously, looking to our intent to guide the relationship to continual bliss.
Any relationship problem can be temporary, if we allow it to be. For this to be temporary, we have to use our Phoenix powers and let the pain and incessant ramblings of our pride to burn away in the pyre. There is still that wonderful human being behind that angry or sad face that we have or that our partner has. Too often, individuals are hypersensitive to the moment and lose the focus on the long-term relationship and on the person that is under that mask. There can be no bliss when individuals are not guided by positive intent. Happiness can only come by giving unconditional love, as it is loving without conditions that keeps romantic partners from living in the past.
The past does not matter; It truly does not. The only thing that the past can do is serve as a distraction from you, granted that you have learned from it already. Partners became complacent in their relationships because they take their commitment for granted. The passion dies out as conditional love is reciprocated less and less. I advise individuals to use their eyesight, not their mindsight. Don’t think; see and feel. Use the five senses. Individuals can live mindfully, in the moment, if only they look to the powers that they share with the Phoenix. It begins with forgiveness.