When Ruth King awoke from open-heart surgery in 1976, she had no idea she was embarking on a profound spiritual journey that would open her to the power of unconditional love and healing.
During her lengthy recovery, King, a high-powered professional who had worked with Fortune 500 companies, reflected on her chaotic and abusive childhood in south central Los Angeles.
A teenage mom from a working poor family, King set her sights on making a better life for herself.
She eventually received a master's degree in clinical psychology and was at the pinnacle of her career.
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But her surgery forced her to recognize that while she had physically walked away from the traumas of her childhood, she still carried them in the form of rage.
"I was awakened not only to how I had been harmed, but how I had harmed many people, including myself, and especially those I loved," said King, 63, who lives in the McAlpine Forest neighborhood of south Charlotte with her life partner, Dr. Barbara Riley, and cat, Mr. Socks.
Today, King is considered a leading authority on emotional wisdom and travels the U.S. as a speaker, coach and consultant. She weaves psychology, mindfulness principles, neurobiology and genealogy to enhance self-awareness and social skills. The goal is to foster a wholesome mind, intellectual confidence, moral consciousness, humility and ambition that leaves a good legacy.
King, who moved to Charlotte 2 1/2years ago from Berkeley, Calif., has been practicing Buddhism since 1992.
She currently is completing a 2 1/2 -year Dedicated Practitioner Program designed for practitioners of Insight Meditation, a method that offers guidance on how to see into the nature of the mind for the benefit of all beings.
In Charlotte, King provides a life-coaching practice and teaches mindfulness meditation at Insight Meditation Charlotte.
King is also the author of "The Emotional Wisdom Cards," a 50-card reflection deck for individuals, groups and families to build intimacy and compassion; and the 2007 book "Healing Rage - Women Making Inner Peace Possible," in which she reveals her love of humanity with insights about the trajectory of rage as a healing force. A sampling of her wisdom became an O, The Oprah Magazine nugget in the July 2007 issue, and Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Color Purple," called it "a classic self-help book filled with passion, earthiness and wisdom. ... Ruth King's desire for our wellness and freedom radiates throughout. This is a book that can change your life."
For more than 16 years, King has led Generational Healing and Celebration of Rage retreats that empower participants to heal emotional distress; understand the relationship between mind, heart, brain and body; honor ancestors; and create wholesome intentions and legacies. The common thread through her work is the importance of emotional wisdom.
"Emotional wisdom is the mental development of heart and mind," said King. "It's a quality of awareness, a presence that allows us to reflect on our lives lovingly and leverage this knowledge to connect in ways that touch, shape and heal the global human heart."