Anger is a powerful energy. It feels good in my body: clean, pure, and focused. Anger teaches me to care well for myself, protect what I value, and act aligned with my deepest desires.
Thirty years ago, I wrote an article for a recovery journal entitled, “I’m Not Hungry, I’m Angry!” It described the exact moment that I understood with embodiment that I used food to avoid feelings, especially anger. Intellectual understanding came first. Now, I felt it throughout my body’s cells.
If I felt my anger, I would feel my grief, fear, and shame. It was a pool of emotions I’d been avoiding for years. As I stood in front of the refrigerator after being hung up on by an old friend when I confronted her, it dawned on me like my first ray of light. I slammed the refrigerator door closed and spoke out loud to myself to be sure I fully ingested my awareness,
“I’m not hungry. I’m angry!”
In that instant, I knew I had a right to live and to take space in the world.
I also knew I had a right to my own thoughts, feelings, and desires. and no longer a doormat, I knew that I could and would take care of myself.
Breathing deeply, I did my part to anchor this wisdom and awareness in my bones.
Since that spiritual awakening, I have learned much about anger. I know it can be used as a weapon. Not to protect when under attack, as is one of its purposes and gifts, but to attack first and to injure others for the secondary purpose of pain. We think that averting eyes, creating a diversion will enable us to order to avoid the layer of emotional trauma underneath.
When anger is not held with the reverence it deserves, it can be sprayed out indiscriminately like a fire hose to keep people away, far away, far from the ability or possibility to touch the sorrow bubbling under our veneer.
Anger, intelligent, focused, righteous anger is a powerful force and gift for strength. The deep grief, fear, and shame right below also have gifts for us that seek our tender attention.
May we find our way to using it first for the protection, care, and healing of our soul, and then in service of the world’s healing.
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