Monday, February 21, 2011

Phoenix Process


'Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the Phoenix.'
~ Christina Baldwin

Meditation group last Wednesday was a very different experience for me. Firstly, it was held in a new venue, a beautiful, peaceful Zen studio in a fashionable suburb on a tree-lined street. Secondly, we had the privilege of welcoming three new meditators and their energies into the meditation circle. Thirdly, I am feeling a shift, processing some profound healing which effects body and soul ~ all these brought newness to the experience. I had an unexpected breakthrough during this meditation, something about it's theme, content, imagery and message touched something deep within me and I had a profound reaction ~ tears!

The theme was REBIRTH, focusing on the process of transformation. We became the mythical Phoenix bird who remains awake through the fires of change, rises from the ashes of death and is reborn into a most vibrant and enlightened Self. We simultaneously let go of what no longer serves our highest good and rebirth ourselves to the mystery of the More.

Lisa starts the session with our usual body relaxation meditation and chakra balancing. As early as this, I hear the word: 'LISTEN'. I notice this as I do all the sounds, thoughts and sensations that come up during the meditation, allowing them to pass across my mind like clouds across the sky.

Then counting backwards slowly from three to one, Lisa invites us to find ourselves in a safe place in nature, somewhere we've been before or are creating in our minds. I found myself in a new place, a beautiful, lush rose garden ~ a low stone wall to sit on, surrounded by thousands of dewy roses, buds and open ones, roses of all colours, tangled thorny branches, growing wild, a overpowering heady fragrance of flowers and damp earth. We notice a pink shimmer on the horizon and forge a pathway towards it. We arrive in an enchanted forest, notice a clearing, a sacred circle of stones so beautiful, they look like crystals. We see a strong fire in the centre of the circle, a bonfire with flames that lick the sky.

We enter the circle. We sense our guardian angel or spirit guide nearby to assist us in this process. We know there needs to be a death, a cleanse to make way for a rebirth. I can feel the heat of the fire but I am not afraid, I am accepting of what comes next. We notice that our bodies have revealed themselves as that of a bird. Lisa asks us to examine our bird-bodies and feel what this bird-body feels like, what colour are our feathers, what is our wingspan? What kind of bird are we? I see a large, powerful eagle-like bird, my feathers are the colour of fire, red, orange, yellow. I am defensive and sharp, I can be vicious. I am strong and masculine-energy dominant. Lisa asks us to step into the flames, knowing that this is a cleansing process for our souls. We ask ourselves what it is about our Beings that no longer serves us, what are we symbolically purging to the flames? What are we burning? I am making an offering of my negative body image and self-doubt, banishing limiting beliefs about my lack of desirability. I am burning my need for keeping myself isolated, the loneliness I feel, the depression, the way my self-imposed isolation has protected me from having to share myself and risking rejection. We peacefully burn this aspect of ourselves, until the fire has died down and we are just a pile of ashes on the ground. Our guide is always present with us. My guide shows itself to me as only a pair of eyes, kind, loving eyes, a nurturing presence that feels so familiar. Our guides draw our attention to an egg on the ground. I see pale blue, fragile speckled little egg. We witness a miracle. The egg cracks and our new Being emerges, the enlightened Self, the cleansed Self. We are imagining our rebirth. We are hatching and are ready to face this world! Lisa asks us to experience our new bird-bodies, what do we look and feel like? I see that my feathers are made of pale blue shimmering light. My feathers are downy and soft, so soft. I am a nurturing, feminine angel bird. I am beautiful. I exude gentleness, calm and feminine energy. This is the grand ceremony of the emergence of my femininity. Lisa asks that we let go and launch into flight, revel in our new freedom. I soar high above the scene of the sacred circle, the black fire pit, my guide energy, the forest below. It is such a rare, precious moment ~ so uplifting, reassuring and freeing. I feel so feminine and so powerful, a new strength. I feel the presence of my Mom and recall her message to me during Lisa's crossover work a few weeks ago: 'Fly, my child, just fly.' This meditation fits so beautifully into that analogy of my healing journey and the message of my Mom's love and support from the other side. I am brought to tears at this point, overcome with emotion. I feel the tears welling up from within and I don't deny them, I go with it. Gentle tears well up under closed eyelids and fall silently down my cheeks. This is not crying as I know it, it almost doesn't hurt ~ these tears are calm and cleansing, these are healing tears. I hear the clearly spoken word: 'LISTEN'.

I see a strong parallel in this imagery and my healing journey. A major part of my healing is about addressing and balancing my masculine and feminine energies, correcting the imbalance of masculine-dominance and suppression of my feminine and resultant manifestation of my dis-ease. I have experienced a profound emergence of my feminine energy, all the while learning to accept and value my masculine energy. I am learning to appreciate how my masculine-dominance has served me in my past, there are no rights and wrongs, there just IS. The 'death' of the sharp and strong masculine eagle-like bird and the rebirth of the angelic feminine bird that exhibits her strength through her softness is truly symbolic for me. Soft is strong! I am making space now to hold both energies equally and live with this fragile equilibrium. An easy, graceful motion of filling and emptying, a conversation between them is emerging, each making themselves available as I need them, a balancing of yin/yang and hard and soft.

This experience is so reminiscent for me of one of the many influential books I've devoured on this journey: 'Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow' by Elizabeth Lesser, the co-founder and senior advisor of the Omega Institute. She talks in this book about what she calls the 'Phoenix Process' ~ how spiritual awakenings and transformations can come from pain, suffering and loss. Here is a quote from her:

'I am fascinated by what it takes to stay awake in difficult times. I marvel at what we do in times of transition ~ how we resist, how we surrender, how we stay stuck and how we grow. Since my first major broken-open experience - my divorce - I have been an observer and a confidante of others as they engage with the forces of their own suffering. I have made note of how fiasco and failure visit each one of us, as if they were written into the job description of being human. I have seen people crumble in times of trouble, lose their spirit and never fully recover. I have seen others protect themselves fiercely from any kind of change, until they are living a half lie, safe yet stunted. I've tried both ways: I have gone back to sleep in order to resist the forces of change. And I have stayed awake and been broken open.'

So synchronistic to mine and many other journeys!

The angel card I selected after the meditation comes to a close is: ADRIANA ~ ' I am leading you toward the answer to your prayers. Please LISTEN to and follow the steps I am communicating through your intuition, thoughts and dreams.' I am listening deeply... it took a few days to process what was broken open here, to mourn what was purged and celebrate what was reborn.

I was still very emotional when it came time to share our experience of the meditation with the group. Lisa said she is seeing an allowing, a trusting and an openness, a willingness to show my vulnerability and share my truth. Growth indeed! Thank you to Lisa and to our growing group of meditators, may we stay fully awake while we heal ourselves and may our souls soar to new heights!

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