Why would you want to walk through the Ring of Fire?

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I have had quite a few new visitors lately, so for those that aren’t familiar with this standing feature, I do a guest post once every two weeks on Martha Beck‘s blog. She is my mentor, and the person who taught me the life coaching skills that I use every day on my clients, my family, friends and myself, or anyone else who will listen.  While a bit more purely "personal development" oriented, I feel the topics mix quite well on Escape from Cubicle Nation, because we all know that navigating fear and staying strong and confident are key components of surviving the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

Here is an excerpt from today’s post:  Why would you walk thorough the Ring of Fire?


It may seem a bit strange to brag about coming from a proud lineage of divorced relatives. But proud I am:  my parents and every single aunt and uncle in my family got divorced and remarried. 

"That explains it!  I always knew something was a little ‘off’ about that Pam Slim," you say.  "Coming from a broken family like that."

Fascinating interpretation.  And dead wrong.

What I gained by watching my parents and relatives go through painful, gut-wrenching, excruciating divorces was the realization that by walking through hell with an open mind and willing heart, you come out a freer, happier and more whole person.

Martha calls this hell the "Ring of Fire" in her forthcoming book Steering by Starlight.

What is the Ring of Fire?

The Ring of Fire is part of a bigger picture shown here:


Martha describes each component:

The Shallows (Material Reality):

"The exterior shell of our life is what I call the "Shallows."  You might also call it the world of form, of physical objects and the thoughts that cluster around them.

When your consciousness is fully attached to this realm, you are a material girl or boy.  You’re mentally trapped in your concept of yourself as isolated, limited and separate from all other things.  Your socialized beliefs and your lizard-fears direct your actions, which consist of running from things you dread and grasping at things you desire.  Maddeningly, no matter what you do, danger is never fully averted and desire is never permanently fulfilled.  Life is a bitch, and then you die."

The Core of Peace (The Stargazer):

"At our very cores, unperturbed by the disturbances of the shallows, lies that Stargazer self.  No untruth can exist at this level of awareness: no apparent separation from the fabric of the universe, no pain, no fear, no death.  The real reason we feel so starved in the shallows is that we aren’t made to be satisfied with material possessions, or with concepts of ourselves as famous, noble, smart, handsome, righteous, influential, blah blah blah.  What we really want is the peace of the Stargazer.  The irony is that this is already present in every single one of us, though it’s obscured by the dense matter of our lives at the shallowest."

The Ring of Fire:

"The Ring of Fire is the emotional process we must go through to reach the Core of Peace.  There are only two ways to accomplish this.  We can disbelieve any false ideas that are causing unnecessary pain.  Any unavoidable pain — loss of health or a loved one for example — we must grieve."

My family’s Ring of Fire ignited around our
kitchen table in 1971.  I was five years old.  I can still vividly recall every detail of the moment: the red and white checkered table cloth, the feel of my Mom’s lap and the look on the faces of my siblings as my Mom and Dad told us they were getting a divorce.
Although they said a lot of things, only one phrase from that
conversation stuck with me for decades afterward:  "We love each other,
we just cannot live together," they said.

My stomach dropped and I felt a heaviness in my chest.  My safe, ideal, neat, organized world was blown apart.

Read the rest here.

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