"I am the morning song" // Melissa Fernandez: Brave First Steps

Happy birthday to beloved staff creative and inspiratrice Melissa Fernandez.

She welcomed a new decade of "life riddles and wild adventures" with us in her photo essay, "My Forty," in The Phoenix Soul: Brave First Steps.

December came with great ache and frustration, as Melissa was caught in a web of shoulds and must-dos to make her "a worthy woman":

December brought me to the light, delivered me
into sheer brightness and clarity. The strength of despair also guided me. With her dark ways, she unveiled the piercing truth.
— Melissa Fernandez, TPS: Brave First Steps

Melissa remembered that her forty is a trickster and a teacher:

This is one woman’s story. This is my forty. All my many escapades of living. [...] All the new ways that surfaced when surrender was the next best ending. All my heart-wrenching stories of a human trying to make it through. This is all we’re ever doing.
— Melissa Fernandez, TPS: Brave First Steps

She then rises triumphantly:

This is my experience of life riddles and wild adventures. Of heartache and pain. Of reaching and rising. Of getting up once again as a new morning welcomes me back. Of a dark night when my soul sings, erupts truth, and invites gentle first steps.
— Melissa Fernandez, TPS: Brave First Steps

Welcome to forty, Melissa. Thank you for inviting us to journey with you as you brave-step into a new decade.

Love & respect,
Amanda
(your fellow phoenix)