When I think about the word “renewal”, I picture a flaming-red phoenix rising from its own ashes, wings lifting upward, the ruby plumage glistening while the golden gleam of rebirth courses all over its body. Its old body is destroyed, forgotten, abandoned, and so are the things that body suffered through – the days of hunger, of injury, of loneliness – all of that is left lying in a pile of ashes while the phoenix begins another life in its new, strong, youthful body.
I think this journey that the phoenix takes is one we should all take in our lives. We should remember that every day we make choices about what kind of person we want to be and show this in our actions. What are your actions saying about you? Think about what you did today. Have you said any kind words? Have you done something good for someone? Have you been pleasant and polite? Have you done something that you can be proud of today? The goal in this thought experiment is not to make you feel bad for the things you didn’t do, but to help you be more mindful of the things you can do, the small good actions you can make every day. The goal is never to be perfect because that is not realistic – we all have bad days and go through hard times which can cause us to act in negative ways towards ourselves and those around us. The goal is to make a concentrated effort to create a bit of goodness in the world as often as possible. To make sure to thank those who provide services for you, to congratulate friends on their successes, to remember to tell someone you love how much you appreciate them and the things they do for you, to make an effort to gossip less and complain less, to help those in need, and so on.
Every day, we can choose to leave the things we don’t like about ourselves, the negative things, in the ashes, and let the good rise up and fill our bodies and minds and spread to others through our actions. Every day is a fresh start, a renewal.