In The Ramayana, Sita sees a golden deer and she desires it more than she's ever desired anything. She turns to her husband Ram and asks him to capture it for her.
Ram, ever cautious, ever prudent, tells Sita that it could be a trap set by a demon.
"I'm spending the next fourteen years of my life with you in this damn forest because I love you," replies Sita. "And you're kicking up a fuss about one measly golden deer?"
So Ram sighs a sigh, probably wishes he'd left Sita back in the palace and sets off in search of the golden deer. After a while, Sita hears him call for help.
"Laxman," she calls and Ram's dutiful younger brother trots up. "Laxman, Ram's in trouble. I can hear him shouting,"
"Ram's a great warrior," is the reply. "We must be careful because it could be a trap. This forest is full of demons you know,"
"I know, and one of them is probably killing my husband. Will you save him or not?"
Laxman sighs a sigh, probably wishes Ram had left Sita back in the palace and sets off. But before he does, he draws a circle, a magic circle, and tells Sita to stay inside it. As long as she does, she'll be safe.
But Ravana comes along a while later, disguised as a beggar, and tricks Sita into stepping outside the circle. One step which leads to thirteen years of despair and desperate search and war.
We all have our magic circles. And no one knows who drew them for us. But we know why they're there- as long as we stay inside, we're safe. Untouched by evil. To step out- even one tiny little step- would be to throw ourselves into all the misery and despair and hopelessness that's waiting, waiting, waiting, with black tendrils ready to curl around us and hold us, perhaps forever.
But what The Ramayana doesn't tell us is that wonderful things lie beyond the circle too. New friendships and new adventures and new reasons to laugh everyday.
After all, if Sita hadn't stepped outside that circle, there wouldn't have been a story in the first place.