I’ve always been fascinated by nature’s process of destruction giving way to rebirth. Our earth and the life of every living thing depend upon it. Take the high mountains, for instance. Forest fires, when caused by natural forces, are crucial to the integrity of this ecosystem, and promote renewal and healthy growth. Too much prevention of these fires can actually increase the harm done when a blaze finally does come about.

In ancient mythology, the phoenix exemplifies this idea. This sacred firebird, having reached the end of its 500-1000 year life cycle, builds a nest of twigs and sets itself on fire. And, in legend that spans across centuries and civilizations, the bird rises from the ashes to live again, the ultimate symbol of rebirth.

The phoenix has become my personal symbol of renewal.

In my experience, fire doesn’t destroy anything that doesn’t need burning. I have set ablaze relationships, personal beliefs and habits, sometimes to my detriment, other times to realize utter peace of mind. But the process has always, ALWAYS made me stronger.

In the past, and as it relates to relationships, I’ve referred to this process as a “Friend Audit.” But these days, it needs a new name. Because sometimes it’s no longer enough to simply inspect your accounts in search of inconsistencies. Because sometimes holding on to the currency of a friendship is more costly than it would be to just burn it and start over. Sometimes, simply, you can no longer afford to keep certain people in your life.

Sometimes, it is time to set fire to a relationship and let it burn, then find the pieces in the dust and begin again.

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