Before we can rise like the Phoenix from the ashes, we first have to burn.
Before we can rise to the summit, we must first climb the mountain.
When we are meant to walk the pilgrim’s path, it rises up to meet us. Once we take the first step, there is no turning back, and the journey we take changes us forever. Our own shadows take form, writ large across the path, and we are unable to pass until we face them. Fear, illusion, our own weaknesses and shortcomings, all take shape and demand we look at them. They confront us, and there is no choice but to do the inner work. It is only through healing that they dissipate, allowing us safe passage.
This journey may take place once in a lifetime, and it only happens for some. At the end of it, we stand looking at ourselves as we were when we first began, and find we are hardly recognizable. The person at the start of the journey was mere clay, unshaped, formless. The journey itself is what moulds us.