Anger – friend or foe?

This is a quick little post about anger – friend or foe?. Basically, this is me sharing my process to explore anger – well, my anger, just for today. To understand a little more about anger – friend or foe?

Do I know everything about anger – no I certainly do not!

Can I give a definitive and absolute answer about what anger is? I would say it is a feeling, an emotion, or a potential energy in motion (e-motion) and also a life force.

Am I an authority on anger? No, not at all! I have a sense of my anger – the sensations in my body. I can also generally sense when others are angry.

In  response to anger -friend or foe? I am inclined to think there is potential for both. Like with other emotions, how we understand, handle and express them is perhaps the key.

Now, what I want to add here is that there is part of me that is a real scaredy cat, so contemplating the question anger – friend or foe? can feel scary and frightening to me. There is also another part of me that perks her wild cat ears up and comes alive when a little anger is in the mix.

Source: Born free

So this was my process for today………..Relight my fire!

As I start write this, I have no idea of the direction it this process will take. I am writing from my heart space, the passion space, the holding the world space and all that space!

Now, I haven’t got this all sorted, and by this, I mean anger, or my anger, but I have more than a small awareness. There was just this strongly felt desire to write and process and share!

What I am sharing is my process today. I have visited this theme before in various ways, this is today’s process.

My aim was to spend some time with my process and become a little bit more familiar with my anger.

Word soup

Word soup is where I just write words – not sentences, not using correct grammar, not punctuating, not worrying about spelling, I just write words.

This wasn’t actually the start of my process. I chose to start here (in this post) by word souping my sense of my anger. The words that arise are:

  • Passion, fury, fire, rage, aliveness, energy.
  • Destruction, darkness, light, rising, burning.
  • Creeping, crawling, lifting, feeling, stirring, moving.
  • Forward, direction, decision making, ecstasy, bliss.
  • Upwards, souring, energising, arising, inferno, volcano, eruption, scalding, burning.
  • Smoldering, warming, heating, creating, life giving, phoenix, empowering.
  • Joy, love, shame, fear, grief, sadness, untangling, rage, freedom, dancing.
  • Flames, fast, furious, speed, channeling, ecstatic, biting, scratching.
  • Tearing, ripping, demonising, laughing, cackling, standing, strong, unmovable.
  • Indestructible, heart, heart centre, feeling, allowing, flowing.
  • She burns, she rises, she fights, she.
  • The darkness and the light, the shadow, not just the shadow.
  • The muse, the mover, the holder, the life giver, the reaper, the sower, the flame, the tame and the untamed.
  • All in one, all one, whole, complete, full, brimming, bursting, alive, living, breathing, unstoppable.
  • Boundaries, form, shape, transmutation, NO, YES, smiling, charged, CHARGED!
  • Charged, fcuk off! charge, mine, MINE! holding, shaping, dynamic, firm, steady, connecting, more than.
  • Enough, ENOUGH, sounding, howling, wailing, roaring, growling, stalking, predatory, pouncing, wild cat, lioness.
  • Protective, fierce, warrior
  • Kali, Pele, Dragon, Dragon’ breath, wrath, the fury’s, the she devils.
  • The yang, the masculine in the feminine, the dark in the light and/or the light in the dark.
  • The wake, the funeral pyre, the settling of the ashes, hot coals, smouldering, aflame, alight.
  • A light, a torch, a beacon, the Olympic flame, torch bearer…………..

Time to back track….

Now, prior to writing this, a few things happened…

  1. A few days ago, someone told me of their struggles with feeling their anger. Wanting to be helpful me suggested a couple of tasks they could do to get to know their anger, including writing a letter to express anger (not posting) and drawing a 1 to 10 scale to explore the ranges and levels of own anger (e.g., a bit miffed to a full-blown explosion), with the aim of them perhaps getting to know their anger a little more and even maybe befriending their anger.
  2. The following evening, I had a dream of death or dying in my dream but being alive in the dream death.
  3. A day later I had a dream of a situation in which my anger was stirred which spurred me to write a list of all the things that make me angry, and it happened that while writing this list I noticed some other feelings (fear, shame, hurt and pain and love arising amongst other things like my ego).
  4. And within a few minutes of writing my list, I received a series of messages from a friend who has a fire and passion inside.
  5. I felt charged but it felt good!

This spurred me to write the blog and the word soup!

I reflected to the first bullet here and wondered why I didn’t suggest writing a list of all the things that made them angry. Which on hindsight may have been a better option one, but also maybe not!

Back in the here and now….

I go practice yoga for a while and I return and write some more.

The elements

A thought process arises that links to the elements (fire, water, earth, water etc).

  • fire boils water, it warms air and burns wood
  • earth puts out fire
  • water puts out fire
  • air combusts fire and can spread the flames and it can put out fire (e.g. blowing out a candle)
  • wood helps fire to burn

and so it is seeming to me, that maybe it is all about connecting with and balancing the elements…..inside and outside.

  • Inside elements – the bones/muscles and solids (earth), the blood, plasma and lymph (water), oxygen and carbon dioxide (the gases), energy production in the mitochondria cells (fire).
  • Outside elements – the mountains and mud (earth), the rivers, seas, lakes, rainfall and oceans (water), the sun (fire), the wind and atmospheric gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide (air)

As part of the process Maya Angelou’s poem ‘I Rise’ pops to mind. Poetry and writing are beautiful ways to express, so too are painting and dancing.

I then go and practice/teach qigong.

Then I share my process with some ‘soul sisters’, who can sit with the fire and the not run away. As I finish sharing, I hold my right hand open and say ‘I have always seen anger as shadowy and dark and something to be feared, destruction, but I now see (and I hold my left hand open too, so both hands are in balance) that anger is not just this, the fire is necessary’ but I struggle to name what I am holding in my left hand and a soul sister says ‘creation’, and ‘YES’, that just fits perfectly!

Destruction and creation.

So, I notice within all this and especially the word soup and my soul sister sharing, that my anger is not all dark and shadow, there is light, so while I may keep or have kept my anger in the shadows (she won’t stay there and she doesn’t need to be in the shadows), there is life and light in her, she is necessary, essential. She is both destruction and creation. I call her she.

I then go walking.

While walking, I discuss all the above with my partner and he asks me ‘so how do you tame fire to create balance?’ and I’m not sure, so I discuss the elements theme (as described above).

And he asks me ‘How does nature maintain balance’ and I reply, ‘I don’t think she (nature) always does; there are floods, volcanos erupt, hurricanes, landslides, nature cycles, she doesn’t have to be controlled, nature just is’.

‘So, it’s all about cycles?’ he says. I nod, I think so.

We are silent for a while.

We chat about other things.

I then say there is plenty of stuff in life to potentially get angry about (e.g., injustice, etc). I mention situations when anger can get out of hand, like smacking children or shouting at children which I don’t agree with! He says, ‘If you need to strike out or shout you’ve lost control’. I agree.

I reflect on my ‘control’ (I am not sure control is the right word, i think on hindsight the words manage or handle are a better fit). There have been times in my life I have lashed out (not too wildly and never to people smaller than myself, e.g. children), times I haven’t and times when in ‘controlled situations’ (like therapy) I have tested the water of the more ‘out of control’ edges of my anger.

My partner names breathing as a strategy, e.g., when feeling anger or fire we can take deep breaths (like a cool breeze cools the external heat, an inner breeze cools the inner heat) and when we sigh, that is a way of cooling (I sign a lot, so I am going to pay attention a little more now to the sighs – of relief and release).

For now, that’s all I have to say about this (and Forrest Gump pops to mind).