Be The Goddamn Phoenix

March 14, 2016 by Chris Grosso

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There may be no greater understatement than that of “life is hard,” and yet, it might be the one undeniable universal truth that we all share. Life is hard; it’s so goddamn hard. It demands everything of us, but what happens when we’re not ready, or able, to show up and offer life our entire everything? Speaking from my own personal experience, it breaks the heart. For some, this break may be a little, while for others, it may be a lot. For most of us, we’re not even aware the break is happening. And this is very understandable as we’re caught up in the business that is life, which makes perfect sense because it’s what we’ve known our entire lives. That is, until it doesn’t make sense anymore.

I believe there are times in every single one of our lives where we have “moments of clarity”. For some, it may be while staring down the barrel of a gun, while for others it might be while listening to a particular song, or teaching, hiking in nature, making love or any other number of things. Whatever the cause, life is full of moments of clarity, or “awakening”. And it’s thanks to those brief moments of clarity and awakening that guide us to cultivating greater compassion, loving-kindness, and connection with ourselves, with others, and with life as a whole. 

There’s a place within each of us, a place that for many seems hidden and mysterious, but it’s there. This is the place where, when we experience those brief moments of clarity and awakening, life, in it’s most abstract and curious ways, makes perfect sense. It’s as if in those fleeting moments we’re able to see… no, feel… no, be, yes, be one with the Ultimate greatness that we call life. And when I say great, I mean great. It’s HUGE! So huge in fact, that it contains the entire essence of you, and me, and quite literally, everything under, above, and around the sun. That’s right: every. single. thing. It’s so grand that it’s incomprehensible by the rational mind. It completely defies it. Even as I sit here writing these words, it’s still incomprehensible to me as well. Yet, it’s something that I’ve experienced time and again, in various ways, which has allowed me to know this complete and utter perfection of truth. But even that isn’t a fair description as “various” is a word implying multiplicity, whereas this experience is a singular. It’s a singular that again, includes the sum total of all things, both seen and unseen.

There is a longing within each of us. It plays out in different ways for individuals, but it’s there. For many of us, it may result in turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling, or any of the other myriad ways human beings can distract themselves. And we turn to these things in a futile attempt to avoid our feelings of longing and the emptiness inside.

For others, they may turn to violence, gang affiliation, or again, any of the myriad ways that can make an individual feel as if they’re in control of something. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? Because we fear not being in control, and we fear being alone, and possibly worst of all, we fear feeling vulnerable, and these are awful fears. Who wants to feel beaten down or broken by life (regardless of the cause) in such a way that leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed? Yet, it’s in these places of vulnerability that lays the greatest opportunity for personal growth. The reason is because it’s in this place that we have little to no fight left, which makes it that much easier for us to begin laying aside our hearts armor. Once we’re able to do that, our raw and vulnerable hearts are now exposed in way that true growth and healing can begin. And from this place of internal growth and healing we can then begin to offer our best selves to the world, a self that can also be of tremendous service to others, rather than only looking out for our own best interest.

Embrace the mess. Live it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Help others because of it. Be the goddamn Phoenix. Revolution is your name.

— CG

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Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict, spiritual director, and author of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality (Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster) and Everything Mind: What I've Learned About Hard Knocks, Spiritual Awakening and the Mind-Blowing Truth of it All (Sounds True). He writes for ORIGIN Magazine, Huffington Post, and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, and has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, Celebrate Your Life and more. Chris is passionate about his work with people who are in the process of healing or struggling with addictions of all kinds. He speaks and leads groups in detoxes, yoga studios, rehabs, youth centers, 12-step meetings, hospitals, conferences, and festivals worldwide. He is a member of the advisory board for Drugs over Dinner.
  1. Peggy Power says:

    Chris you’re amazing!! Just listened to your interview on Hay House Radio with Lisa Garr 🙂 You are many things and I appreciate
    your candor, your gentleness and how articulate you are. This World is very fortunate to have you here. When you were speaking
    with Lisa about how others didn’t make it and wondering how you did, it was clear to me that you are here to serve and that we
    needed you to make it! You have a lot of lives to touch and help. You listened to your heart and from where I sit you’re on the right
    path. So glad to have the pleasure of listening to you and will defenitly be passing your website onto my girls and their guys. I’m
    in my sixties and they are late twenties, thirties and forties.
    Many Blessings to you and your Family.
    Peggy Power (a new fan and follower)