Rising from the Ashes

Had the writer, Eudora Welty never portrayed the way she has, the character of Phoenix Jackson as in the short story, ‘A worn path’ (Magic of Words-Grade 11), I’d have barely understood the mythological bird – ‘Phoenix’. Had it not been for ‘Phoenix’- the bird, I would have never believed in second life or anything similar. Associated with fire and the sun, a ‘Phoenix’ obtains a new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. When it feels its end approaching, it builds a nest with the finest aromatic woods, sets it on fire, and is consumed by the flames. Some legends say it dies in a show of flames and combustion, others that it simply dies and decomposes before being born again as a young and powerful fledgling phoenix. And the cycle continues.

The more I think about the phoenix bird, it reminds me about how the phoenix is a metaphor used for life struggles more than it is of some mythological bird that we don’t know if it exists in real. And how we are born again, and how lively it feels after certain life situations we are once in, are finally solved out. Wherever there’s a challenge, there’s an opportunity, an opportunity to be born again as stronger than ever, or at least with a change that’s necessary. And where there’s an opportunity, there’s a challenge.

Meanwhile, the sudden outburst of COVID-19 has changed everyone’s daily life in impactful but mundane ways. What would have been the ‘normal’ if there was never the outburst of the COVID-19 that shut us down inside our homes for months and still is limiting our activities to a certain extent? Let’s think about it for a while. Our country, Nepal probably would have been completely occupied with the estimated no of tourists we wanted to invite in or somehow near in every hooks and corners by this time but we had to even postpone ‘VISIT NEPAL 2020’. And what about our old normal? We’d have never thought of doing everything possible sitting inside our homes in our cosy places like we’ve been for months now since the pandemic started. So, what’s the new normal today? ‘KN-95 masks’, ‘Sanitizers’ and ‘PPEs’. No handshakes. The new normal is ‘WORK FROM HOME’, ‘Study from home’ and ‘Do almost everything possible from home’.  From studies, work meetings, seminars to even the university graduation are being conducted through virtual platforms – ZOOM, even when the lockdown has been over now. A return to how life was at the start of 2020 is some way off. Still, the fear of the virus infection remains.

With crisis, there comes two things; danger and opportunities. An opportunity to rise from the ashes. Crises are generally viewed as dangerous, expensive, and detracting from other agendas and priorities. As Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and often a crisis acts as the forcing mechanism to compel expeditious innovation, leading to rapid advances in technology, policy, and procedures. A look back in history quickly reveals numerous ways that crises have offered unexpected benefits for societies, countries and humanity. The devastation of World War II paved the way for the birth of the United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions, and the 2008 global financial crisis led the major economies to come together to form the G-20. Out of crises can emerge new and incredible opportunities, particularly if traditional approaches and paradigms are questioned and challenged. During a crisis, incentives and motivations change, potentially leading to new cooperative behaviours and even to the creation of new systems or structures. Crises can get the collective adrenaline flowing, focusing minds to solve the problem at hand. This justifies the maxim, “Crisis often comes up with opportunities.” And it has also made countries to think and re-think on opportunities this crisis presents. We just need to gear up, be known to our potential strengths and improve our weaknesses, be ready for the threats and thrive for change. Adaption to the new normal is necessary and those who can fit to the new world can only rise from the ashes. And those who rise from the ashes are the strongest ones we know. We have survived the Earthquake-2015. Most importantly, we have even survived our inner demons inside our heads, alone. And Of course! As Homo Sapiens, we will rise from the ashes, Again. We will, for sure.




Sofiya Shrestha, sofiya@suvodassociates.com.np
UHY Suvod Associates


The views expressed in this piece are of the Author solely. UHY Suvod Associates does not guarantee the accuracy of the technical content or material provided on the information if any.