Have you ever been “red in the face” or “blinded by anger”?
I have. I’ve been so angry that the only thing I knew to do at that moment was to literally walk away from the person I was wanting to yell at. And I can tell you, it was a smart thing to do at that moment.
How do we navigate these big emotions?
One way is to take time to be with them, away from what activates us. And to feel what happens. Most often, when we do this, the emotions shift, some disperse, and others soften into yet other emotions. Sometimes we realize we need something, or we are missing something in our lives. Oftentimes we find we are angry because we care about something, someone, or ourselves.
When we can hold space for ourselves, or even better, have a supportive facilitator help us, such as a therapist or a healer, we can get beneath it all and truly discover our heart. Our caring heart.
How do we deal with those big emotions in the moment? I might address that in a different blog. What I want to take a look at in this blog is what happens when we do take the time to see what is beneath the rage when we are grounded and resourced; feeling that we are capable of being with the powerful emotions.
James Baldwin said,
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
Offering compassionate attention to the rage.
Offering compassionate attention to the rage hate/ rage/ anger/ frustration / resentment softens and disperses its edges and energy. It opens us up to what lies beneath it. It opens us up to recognizing what is most often found: The sadness, pain, hurt, and/or grief.
*This might sound like a big leap; going from anger to grief, so I implore you to take time. It’s not fast.
Jamie Anderson writes,
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
There is a through line and connection between these two quotes and it has everything to do with love. And, I feel these quotes point us to some questions:
What do you love?
What do you honor?
What do you hold sacred?
What do you cherish?
What is most dear to you?
What I’ve experienced my ‘A.L.I.G.N.’ clients:
I’ve experienced this with my ‘A.L.I.G.N.’ clients: That when an emotion such as anger, frustration, or resentment become present and experienced in the body, heart, and mind, it can be debilitating. And these are the moments where I will sometimes invite them just to be here, to be present to what their experience is.
Together, we stay in the energy of the emotion; noticing the body, and observing the feeling of the emotion, the thoughts that come up, the stories that come out, and what the body is holding.
What we are doing is holding space for their heart. We continue to observe, with compassion and without judgment, these heightened emotions. As we stay with them, I reflect back to my client and stay curious with them, ‘what’s happening now’? ‘And now?’
Sometimes the energy of the emotion lessens, sometimes a new emotion arises. Sometimes the body softens and I hear a deep breath from the client and I’ll reflect that breath back to them. Sometimes I see shoulders drop. Sometimes tears arrive.
It’s all welcomed in this space. And it’s that space in which these emotions can expand out into, causing them to feel less heavy. It’s a compassionate space.
Lama Rod Owens writes in his book, “Love and Rage: the path of liberation through anger,”:
“When I am rooted in love, anger reveals itself as trying to point us to our hurt; and when I am taking care of my hurt and loving at the same time, the energy of anger becomes an energy that helps me to cut through distractions and focus on the work that needs to be done.”
Whether that work is forgiveness, reconciliation, or repairing a relationship (to self or with another); or whether that work is self-love, self-care and self- support, the question can become,
“What is my anger pointing me towards in myself that is hurt?” And a follow-up question might then be, “what does this hurt in me need?” And asking these questions from a place rooted in love.
Our rage open doors to self-enquiry
Sometimes that hurt place is going to wish that the deceased could come back alive. Sometimes that hurt place is going to wish that certain parts of their childhood had been different. Sometimes that hurt place is going to need a hug.
Sometimes that hurt place is going to need to know that they are loved. That hurt place is going to need to know that it’s cared for when it seems as if nobody cares. Sometimes that hurt place is going to need to know that there are people in the world who care and who are deeply loving.
Sometimes that hurt place is just going to need a lot of love and reassurance.
It’s here we have met the pain/sadness/grief.
It’s here we can see what we love.
“I get so angry and upset when…..you fill in the blank with yours.”
I get so angry and upset when people run red lights. I really do. It might sound trivial, but bear with me in this example…
A personal story of rage
One time I even wanted to jump on top of the cars hood to prove a point, but I didn’t. Nope, I just slowed down my walking across the street to make the car slow down and nearly stop as they were running a red light! Yeah, I was passive aggressive there. Grrrrrr! I was so mad!
AND, I made it to the other side of the street. I breathed; heavily, but I was breathing, lol. I walked it off. I shook it off. I couldn’t give the driver a ticket. If I (my mind) stayed back there at the crosswalk, the driver would win. I didn’t want to carry the anger with me all day.
I breathed some more, walked some more, and thought of all the kids who they might have hurt or worse. I thought of all the innocent people who might be bystanders to that driver’s recklessness.
That’s where I saw my heart. I care about people. I care and don’t want people to run redlights because I want all people to live. I want all people to experience a healthy, peaceful, loving life.
I care for myself! I want to live. I want to experience life with ease and peace.
And, yes, that means I want that for the driver too. Forgiveness. (And praying they don’t do it again!)
And now I am free. And my heart is free and loving.
This is one example. What is yours? Start with something small as a practice; work your way up to the more difficult scenarios and circumstances in your life.
Create the space and create the time to feel.
One such time and place is with me and my dear friend, Rev. Yokasta Tineo, November 19th, from 12-5pm.
Join us for:
“Loving ourselves as we honor our sacred rage”!
Click HERE to learn more.
And if you are needing some deeper support, reply to this email. I am here for you. We can navigate the emotions together. Check out my ‘A.L.I.G.N.’ (Alive, Loving, Imagined, Guided, Nurtured) sessions HERE.
In love and anger,
Breathe and Believe.