“Through the Fire”
(Sure enough, the more high-risk the situation, the less anxiety the brain produces)
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
In early December 2012, I agreed to lead a life coaching workshop session where I assisted the audience in moving away from paying so much attention to the fear in their heads which we called their “inner lizard” and facilitated each participant in responding to the call of their more powerful inner-self which we referred to as their “inner wizard”. The workshop went swimmingly even though only one of my official team members could attend the session. Apparently, the Universe knew that I didn’t need the extra help. Albeit was my full intention to have my whole team with me, Providence knew better. This is par for the course for the wisdom of the Universe.
Erringly, I tended to get my knickers in a bunch when things didn’t happen the way that I dreamed them up in my head. However, I am thankful to report that I no longer feel this way because I have learned that my disillusioned thoughts which create anxiety don’t serve me in obtaining my best life. You might ask me how did it hinder my progression to a bountiful future in the first place, and I would tell you that mentally, it didn’t allow me to reach and go through the “Ring of Fire” that we all need to traverse if we are going to find ourselves in the position of our Core of Peace.
To date, when the going gets tough, my approach for doing laps in the currents of my shifting life has become more of a conscious “dive-in” mentality. By that I mean this: I neither fondle the stories of my past, nor do I flee my future happiness by setting lofty goals that don’t assist me in getting through the grieving process of shedding my previous, tired beliefs which reified my old, worn-out self.
You know that self. The one that denies that anything you did put you in uncomfortable circumstances in the first place or keeps you stuck in the rough waters of inner-turmoil by over-reacting. No matter how beautiful your mind which allows you to fully appreciate your imperfections and gives you the courage to address them perfectly, improper strokes of genius get you nowhere near your best life. So in this workshop, I encouraged my newfound fellow team mates to get clear on what constitutes their old tired beliefs in the first place: avoiding the Ring of Fire.
Workshop participants heard me discuss living our lives from the Stargazer perspective, a la Martha Beck, where we transmuted past unhappiness into treasured memories because it’s important not to just map our lives towards our best destinies, but in emotional terms, we need to understand that everything is made from its opposite. The raw material for joy is sorrow; the make-up element for compassion is anger; and, the igneous for courage is fear. In other words, our worst personal narratives, in the Stargazer world, really are our greatest opportunities. For the Stargazer, forgiveness isn’t even an issue because there actually is no need to forgive anyone or situation that has handed you your best life on a silver platter.
In addition, the transmutation of our bad experiences to good ones, emotional lead to gold, doesn’t happen by osmosis. It requires somewhat powerful magic that is utterly dramatic. “This process is even more counterintuitive than disproving all your own concepts because it happens only in a psychological place most of us spend our whole lives avoiding.” Martha Beck calls this place “the ring of fire”. This is important for my blog discussion today because it ties into an experience of one of my most wonderfully powerful clients to date. I am sharing this with you because I will be sharing it with him. Also, I want to create a kind of “Jedi Council” to dissuade people from following the dark side of the Force if you will, and there is no better place to start than the here and now. Consider the metaphor of your “Three-Ring Life” where the ring exists as concentric psychological circles: (1) the Shallows (or Materiality), (2) the Ring of Fire (personal awakening and a healthy psychological grieving process), and (3) the Core of Peace (or the Stargazer-self).
It’s pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean its easy going even when you know what to look for. For some, the difficulty comes because you have to commit psychological suicide. And, you have to do so often and always. So, for that reason, I want to caution you. There are two common ways that we avoid the Ring of Fire: story fondling and fire fleeing.
Both of these problematic methodologies actually can be beneficial in the short term. However, both of these tricksters have the added result of eliciting pity responses from others while creating false emotional value which prevents us from reaching the legitimate grieving process (the Ring of Fire) that provides a richer existence.
Story fondling is dangerous and immobilizes you from acting on the grief that your inadequate past life causes you. It leaves you in the doldrums of blaming others for your present unhappy state. It’s a great way to convince us not to take any action that frightens us in the present. And obsessing over the future (fire fleeing) causes you to over-react forcing you to avoid the stages of grief that epitomize healing which is the whole reason to go into the Ring of Fire in the first place. Beware; avoiding the Ring of Fire and preventing going through it causes the same results: a messy life, unhappiness, paralysis, defeated living and a loss of everything you hold dear—in short, a hot mess!
In order to read the stars in your future best life you need to act when you find yourself “story fondling”, but when you find yourself “fire fleeing” you need to stop acting and start talking. Act when you get stuck in the past and do anything that helps you avoid talking about what got you stuck. If you hate your job, then quit. If you don’t want to let your mooching friends borrow anymore money, then say, “No”. If you are unhappy in your marriage, then get a divorce. But if you find yourself fleeing the Ring of Fire, then stop doing and start talking.
When you find yourself fire fleeing, then there are also subtle moves to make, and they all involve your mouth unguarded by your teeth. “Fire fleeing” means that you are avoiding feeling the pain of your present situation; so, then find a therapist and blab your guts out. Find a life coach and talk about how you feel. Discover that office mate who is non-judgmental and a compassionate ear and if they don’t mind then, talk their ear off. But whatever you do, don’t make any grand moves or life-changing plans. And if you have already—talk about how you feel about your move. But whatever you do, don’t deny how you feel at any time and don’t stop talking.