Note from Elise: Occasionally I invite guests to post their thoughts for you. I think you’ll enjoy their ideas and unique voices. At the end of each post, you can read a brief bio about the guest author. Enjoy!
The world is in the midst of tremendous changes, and the ripples are flowing through my life as well. Endings lead to new beginnings and are interwoven together in a tapestry that shapes our lives. I am reminded of the legend of the Phoenix consumed in fire and miraculously reborn out of the ashes. I find myself in that Phoenix space of transformation, holding the existing structure and what wishes to be birthed and emerge afresh into this time and space.
Transitions catapult us into the unknown where we often don’t have a sense of what is to come; emotional energies emerge that we could label as either anxiety or excitement. Our lives change and evolve, and transformation is a certainty, so how do we welcome the Phoenix space where things dissolve into ashes and are born anew?
For me, one step is to acknowledge that change is here and to deeply and completely allow myself to think whatever thoughts arise, feel whatever emotions emerge, and give my body permission to follow its innate wisdom. There is a bittersweet quality to change, and both the bitter and the sweet deserve our attention. As my children were growing up, I had to let go of holding the dear baby in my arms to be able to welcome the toddler exploring the world. Accepting the ambiguity of loss intertwined with gain is part of being totally immersed in our lives and the human condition. The Buddhists refer to this as the 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows of existence.
I am also always guided to be gentle with myself and with others as the process of transformation unfolds. The unknown has a way of pulling us back into old ways of functioning that may no longer serve us. For me personally, years of scientific study and assessment mean that my default mode is thinking and rethinking and over-thinking. And the joy and blessing of my spiritual family has been for me to awaken and enlarge the space of heart and service that knows to welcome the wisdom of thought and to enrich it with the wisdom of the heart, the body, and more. So in this time of transition, I know to hold myself gently as the old ways and the new ways dance together and honor each other.
So how do you welcome the Phoenix? What do you do when the winds of change begin stirring around your doorstep as they are for so many of us right now? How do you hold dissolution and ashes in one hand and creation and renewal in the other? I welcome your wisdom. There is no right or wrong; there is just the way we each do it. Sometimes I am able to make changes with grace and other times I stumble as if blindfolded into the next stage of my life. And Life doesn’t care, it is a river that moves us ever onward. It is a flower that unfolds each petal beautifully because it has no other choice.
I sit in wonder, curiosity, and love welcoming the future unfolding before my eyes.
Ellen Anderson, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Center for Soulful Living (CSL), a worldwide community of persons dedicated to living every aspect of the human experience – spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical – in soul-centered and grace-filled ways. Ellen is dedicated to soulful leadership, loving service, and empowering people as they take their Light into the world.
Formerly with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ellen used her physical-chemistry training to assess the science and establish policies for nutrition labeling of foods and dietary supplements, and she and her staff developed education, training, and professional development initiatives to ensure that FDA scientists had the skills and knowledge to help keep the food supply safe from accidental and intentional contamination. Ellen can be reached at Ellen@aboutCSL.com.