In 2011, I began a blog called The Phoenix Mind to explore the neuroscience of empowerment and capability. I saw human potential as a spark within, that could ignite into a phoenix.
The URL has since lapsed, and although I re-purposed and updated many of the foundational posts here, I’ve not tried too hard to carry over the old pages to this new space.
Why? Because a lot changes in seven years.
At the time, I was studying for my masters in Cognitive Neuroscience. I worked two casual-hours jobs on campus, and volunteered in three separate mental health placements. Alongside my degrees, I ran a meditation society. In between classes and campus jobs, I taught Shivanata locally and over Skype.
I was thriving, switching up my days with different environments, responsibilities and expressions. In one, I was a youth worker, drawing on flip chart paper. In another I organised a room at the local hospital.
I became creative in my thinking, my time-keeping and in my very being. Although I didn’t paint, I was an artist of this work which lit up my soul.
Now, I have another few qualifications under my belt, and seven more years of human experience to meld into this being. But again, that little ember of possibility, that spark of “more to this” have driven me forward.
Each time I veered off the path for a bit, something tweaked my compass a little, and here I am.
The Common Thread: Human Potential
But along this journey, working for social care and as a mental health practitioner and campaigner, running two spiritual societies and writing novels… I keep coming back to the same, key pull. A drive, desire. Something I still can’t quite explain.
I am here to understand redefinition, to explore potential and to share the lessons I am learning.
And when I ignore the pull? Put simply, I might as well be ill. I don’t create. I don’t feel good. I sleep on the sofa in the middle of the day. I end up watching re-runs of Grand Designs I’ve seen ten times before.
That Spark Fuels Us
I *need* to fuel this fire, because it’s what keeps me going. My little spark has simmered since I was 6, determined to climb the tree with the boys who dared me I couldn’t. (Let’s gloss over me falling out of that particular tree, okay?)
Some people are driven to nurture, to heal and listen, to comfort and support. Others are pulled to fight, to be fierce and to speak out for those who can’t, or to teach those people how to find their voice.
I’m a cheerleader and teacher, fuelled by a fire I can sense in others, able to bridge the gap between those dreams of our true potential with the practical, evidence-based tools of action.
Identifying Your Embers
(If you’re new here, my cat is called Ember. She is fierce, and only attacked me once in self-defence while we tried to bathe her in deflea shampoo.)
So I knew that my pull, my drive, came from a raging fire of inner strength: fed by novels of warrior women and the resilience of people I knew. The sense of injustice only fuels it, and I find my voice shouting above the chaos that I can see the bridge out of this muddle.
I didn’t know what my future would look like, but I knew that strength, our own power to define our life, and a key understanding of melding various tools to craft a system which works for you, was the key puzzle piece.
If you’re struggling to find your little embers to spark, start with a reflection of the recurring phoenix in your life.
– Think about what has consistently lit you up throughout your life; the one hobby that you keep returning to?
– Ask yourself what actions or behaviours refill your well?
– What makes you feel alive, and why does that matter to you?
Answer those questions, and although you may still feel lost in the brambles, you’ll be looking in the right direction. Then you will be ready to take a step forward.