Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm Angry

"Our feelings control us when we subvert them and are no longer aware they exist." ~Theodore Isaac Rubin, MD

I'm Angry. Yep, really angry. Seething; furious; upset; frustrated. I'm filled with disgust and disdain. These are feelings I'm not used to; nor comfortable with. Most of you know me as Little Miss Sunshine, Happy-go-lucky and Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm.

Anger scares me. I feel as though I'm ill equipped to cope with this emotion. I'm afraid it will take me over in some way. Yet, I'm not going to deny it or ignore it or push it away this time. I feel like a foreigner in new country experiencing strange customs and bizarre encounters. And I'm uncomfortable and somewhat exhilarated to see who I will be and what I will experience on this new journey.

Anger is a part of being human - one thread in the tapestry of the human experience. Of course I've known this intellectually for a long time. But have I let myself embrace my anger? No. Thanks to my own work with my coach, I'm intentionally creating a space in my life for my anger. It is taking some effort because it's so new for me to stay with it not ignore nor deny it. I'm also up against centuries' of cultural conditioning that has labeled anger; wrong, bad even evil. For women especially to feel anger not to mention express it - is still taboo.

Anger Insight #1
You don't have to actually DO anything about your anger.
Oh you may, of course:
*Take a knife to a huge watermelon
*Scream into your pillow every curse word you know
*Throw plates into your fireplace
*Listen to loud head banging music
*Dance/Thrash/Exercise it consciously through your body
*Journal with a red pen
*Watch Clint Eastwood movies

But creating a space for you to be with your anger doesn't mean you have to tell your boss off, curse out a relative or tell your lover to go to hell. All you need to do is feeeeel it and not rush past it. It won't be pleasant and that's okay, you'll survive.

That belief was one of the reasons I've kept mine at bay. I thought you had to act when you felt anger. That it required an external response in some way, a sort of "announcement." This is a misnomer. On occasion we will be called to act and express it, you betcha! And yet most times our anger will ask of us to simply give it room and time to process. So let it. Let it breath, seethe, flare and flame. Acknowledging it, allowing it and accepting it will do you a world of good. And like a storm at sea it will pass. No emotion lasts forever.

How do you do with your anger? Do you make it wrong or feel guilty or bad when it shows up? It's the bastard child, we've all been taught to disown and abandon. We shut it up and out with overeating; drinking; drugs; TV; sex and overworking. And we wonder why we have violence in our streets and our homes. To deny it causes either a slow toxicity within creating disease or an explosion of verbal or physical hostility.

In this angry mood today I rode the subway and met Deidre. We both shared our anger about the subway system and the impending fare hike; we complained about our politician's in Albany. We ranted and moaned. If I had over-heard this conversation in the past I'd have judged it as "negative" or made it wrong in some way. Meanwhile it helped us to both "clear." Feeling our feelings, and expressing them enables us all to both move forward with our day not to mention our life.

Anger awakens us. You feel alive after you've fully experienced it. And what's so amazing is that no one need know. It's yours and yours alone. Just like being in love. Or experiencing grief. Or joy. Or relief. Taste your feelings even the ones that you've denied....let them sit on your tongue and savor each one. This is what it means to be alive. What it means to be human. There's bitter and there's sweet. And they all have a place on the palate of our life.

In The Angry Book by Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin he opens with this quote from Joseph Conrad; "There is no rest for a messenger 'til the message is delivered." Allow the messages your Being needs to deliver to yourself to finally arrive. Bar none. And finally you will rest easy.

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