Three years ago I was a high school substitute teacher. On the quiet days when the students decided to get to the business at hand, I would pull out my favorite book de jour, Steering By Starlight by Martha Beck and do a little self help work. A long time fan, I love her direct and comical style….and she gives me ah ha moments. I remember I was struck by how she explained how she and so many of her clients had to go through the “ring of fire” in order to experience large amounts of personal growth. First you have to deny the Lizard Brain (the scared ego), then painfully sit in your fire pit of growth, and finally open your eyes to the miracles that will showing up in your life. Really, Martha? Not wanting to seem skeptical, I took notes, figured that this surely was speaking to me because I looking for the perfect career and that sitting with a bunch of fresh 16 year-olds surely was “ring of fire” worthy. All that was left was to wait on the miracles.
Ironically enough, fast forward to present day and I am assaulted with this very same message. It’s everywhere I turn. Just like in Steering, these little signs are dropping like manna in front of my feet. Signs that shout that the fire and all that comes with it, has arrived…..
Last year during an extremely painful personal crisis, I was given a Al-Anon book, not because my spouse is an alcoholic, but because I identify with the process. My early childhood was shaped by alcoholism and because I shared that history with a friend, the gift of Al-Anon gives back to me over 30 years later. It teaches to manage my own issues everyday, to stay focused on improving my own behaviors and have ‘death to self’ when it comes to surrendering to a power higher than ourselves. Surrender.
Last month a friend of mine accepted an offer to go to a book signing and loved the author so much she let me borrow it and read it first. The big take away of the book by Laura Munson? Suffering is placing your personal happiness on things beyond your control and freedom is choosing to put an end to your suffering. Surrender.
Two weeks ago I was given a book by a friend because the cover looked pretty cool. Inside, I am reading about…..of course, a Phoenix Process in which a transformational journey begins when we allow a death of self to occur and through the pain, a rebirth begins. Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser guides people through short stories of those that have surrendered during a time of great difficulty in order to find that stronger self on the other side. Surrender.
Last Sunday, message at church about….do I even have to say it? Death to self in your marriage. In order to bridge the gap of a relationship, God asks us to love each other as he loves us and of course…..Surrender.
First….Pain. Suffering. Fire. Death to Ego. Then…Surrender. No, Really Surrender. Do it again. And again. Next….Courage. Love. Peace. New. Miracles.