I was so angry it scared me. Fury. Rage. Seething for hours. Sitting down and getting immediately up again to pace. Angry thoughts and memories flooding through my head. Replaying the inciting words and events over and over again. What could I do to punish her for what she did to me? How dare she? The smug, ignorant, spiteful, inept power monger. The Anger had completely taken over my body, like an evil spirit. Hands rubbing together, plotting the demise in word or deed, of the cruel attacker.
Underneath the boiling surface of my body, a saner voice drifted up through the vents. The Anger locked her away to protect her and all the other more vulnerable emotions from the emergency warning system that launched when all else had apparently failed.
Please. This isn’t the way. I’m just sad and scared. I’ll be okay. Really.
I wrote out all my ANGRY thoughts and feelings about the person and situation that incited my fury. After writing hard for ten minutes, The Anger softened and slumped back into cellar to rest. Uncomfortable with the wild energy that burned through me, I wondered what it all meant? Why did I get so angry over something my mind could clearly analyze objectively and even dismiss?
When I did the Medicine Wheel last year, I learned that anger was a theme and had protected me many times. When I encountered feelings or ideas that I was flawed, unworthy or unlovable, The Anger arrived to cloak me in it’s armor so I wouldn’t get too close to those ideas and how awful they felt. Anger kept me moving. But The Anger also kept me separate from my Self, the truth of my powerful Dreamer, to face these fears, grievances, anxieties and shames with the healing force of Love and Light. Before I was awake, The Anger kept me safe. Too safe. And now The Anger was kicking in out of habit and I didn’t like the effects on my body or mind.
I’ve learned that Anger is a messenger. It operates on a subconscious, instinctive level (lizard brain) to protect us from harm, whether the harm is real (mugger trying to steal your baby) or imagined (old wounds dancing in shadows of present moment experiences). Anger asks us to take action (make a change) or to heal an old wound. Anger signals an imbalance within US that is now reflected outside of US in a person or event. Anger invites us to do something to create change, most immediately within ourselves.
So, how do you handle The Anger when it arrives in your Life? Here are a couple of ideas that work:
1. In the heat of the moment, ACKNOWLEDGE how you feel, if only to yourself. Don’t push it away or deny it. Stuffing a powerful emotion like Anger can have all kinds of unintended consequences from passive aggressive self and other sabotage to terminal illness. Naming it is the first step to healing what may need to be healed or change what may need to change.
2. Draw The Anger down into the Earth, the ultimate mulcher of all wild energies. You can use your eyes to direct the heat and fire of The Anger. Imagine it draining out of your body and into the soil. Avoid eye contact if you are facing the person inciting The Anger. Eye contact can magnify the energies of Anger and other powerful emotions.
Another option: Write a letter. Write a letter to the person or about the event and let ‘er rip. Say everything you want to say. Cuss and draw blood. Then, after you catch your breath or go for a hard run, burn it.
I do not recommend ever mailing or speaking angry words. At least not the first draft. The first draft is to help you clear it out of your system and wait for the smoke to clear before you do or say anything to anyone. If you can’t burn your letter, flush it down the toilet or bury it in the ground. While Anger is a catalyst to change, much of what Anger says and thinks about is garbage and won’t really help you. And it will probably just make things worse.
4. Try to remember that The Anger responds primarily to The Story. Yours, theirs and ours. The Story is not who you really are. It’s individual and collectively imagined, replicated and transmitted constantly. Our attachment to these fictional “realities” traps us in dramas. The past is the past. As you wake up, you get to leave it behind and move forward in any way you wish. If The Anger is responding to a reality someone else has, leave it with them and move on. Do not accept any Story you do not wish to accept. You get to rewrite it all.
5. Anger is a known mask for fear, grief, guilt, and shame. When the fire and smoke clear, look at the embers of The Anger to see what vulnerabilities it was trying to protect. Look to see what was underneath The Anger. Is it something you’ve experienced before? Where else in your life do you have this fear or shame? Is this fear or shame true? If not, would you be willing to let it go? Can you replace it with a more empowering idea?
For me, The Anger showed up when I believed that my son was being mistreated and judged unfairly. My warrior mama came out to slay those dragons. When I sat with the fears I had for my son’s future and biases he would have to contend with, I chose to reject that version of reality and reframe his future. For me, but more importantly, for him.
My son is an amazing, smart, kind, charming boy. He will have many friends. Adults will recognize and appreciate his talents and gifts. He will receive the love and support he needs to develop into a wonderful human.
And guess what, this is the reality that is being born now. And I no longer have any feelings of anger towards the individuals I once perceived as hexing him with their ignorance.
6. Sit in your heart center and just breathe. Sometimes the Anger and the emotions it protects need time and space to just rumble through. Let ’em roll like waves.
7. Be grateful for this opportunity to grow. The Anger is showing you something so valuable in your life, in your experience, in your heart. Your soul is there with arms wide open, waiting for you to grab a hold of this huge rock and chip away to find the gold. It’s there. And one way or another, it’s yours to find.
8. Send LOVE to your Self, to your aching Heart and the wounds you discover under the thundering angry storm. When I saw that my intense anger was because I was so traumatized and scared for my child and just wanted him safe and happy, I hugged him AND myself. I went and got a massage. I cried. I slept. And I healed.
9. If change is needed, then do it. Wait for the Anger storm to pass so that you can act with a clear mind and heart. Make the call, write the letter, have the meeting, start the planning.
Freedom from The Story is sweet. I am grateful for messages from The Anger that help me heal and change so that I can flow with the Power of Life.
Here’s a great song about “fire” and using it to transform: FIRE by Barns Courtney
PS: If you know anyone who would enjoy these Sparklers or following along on my Hero’s Journey this year, please share this blog! Thank you! ====>