Most people – “the good vibes only” people in particular – tend to shy away from and may even passive-aggresively shame people who come to the party of life angry. No drama here. No conflict. No, no, no. . .they will have none of it. Confrontation just freaks them out.
I’ve come to know anger on a very intimate level. We’re like BFF’s and believe me you, more recently in my life, my anger has served me well. It has acted like a guiding light, helping free myself from the pain, guilt and shame I’ve been lugging around for years.
One of my first really angry memories involved being bitten bloody on the arm by my raging cousin Ralph. Oh what a misfit he was. A terror. It hurt like hell. A big imprint of his huge buck teeth piercing the broken skin on my upper arm. It was a typical Sunday dinner at nanny’s house. Steaming plates of pasta and a big loud Italian family, all talking on top of one another, no one listening, ignoring the children, the women complaining and the men, oh the bravado and machismo. A scene out of . . .
I was so enraged that I ran up to the dining room table and decided to let all of the adults at the table about what happened. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “YOUR SON JUST TOOK A BITE OUT OF MY ARM, HE IS AN ANIMAL.” And in less than a split second everyone at the table began to laugh out loud at me. The table was rolling with laughter. I was astonished.
Ignoring anger, any type of anger, whether it is yours or someone else’s, is not a strategy, period.
Pretending your not angry, “working out” your rage at the gym, downward dogging that dreaded pain and/or massaging your mind with positive affirmations will only create a deeper harbor for anger to anchor itself in your subconscious, and those are some deep and dark waters my friend.
I have been accused of being angry most of my life. I have damaged friendships, relationships and have gotten shunned by almost every member of my family for being angry. We are all good now, but it took a lot of deep digging to find out why I was a rage-full mad woman.
I have come to learn that anger needs some proper investigation on a regular basis because it is a sure sign that something in your life is out of alignment with what you value and an indication that you are in need of some loving care.
It’s a red flag that your needs are not being met. And damn we have to meet those needs. Anger actually is a powerful emotion that protects us from feeling hurt and hopeless. Maybe even powerless. Feeling powerless is about as low as you can go.
Anger can be a very necessary emotion which will let you know without a doubt when you are feeling threatened and vulnerable. When we approach anger with curiosity, when we ask ourselves “why the hell is this making me so angry?” when we take a peak at what is behind the anger curtain, the root of the problem, we find that we may be feeling hurt, betrayed, disappointed and disillusioned.
It is to this place we must go, to the pain behind anger, with open arms, where we feel ourselves turned inside out, where we feel raw, bloody and wounded- that is what is underneath the anger. If you really want to become less angry, this is the bleeding wound that must be healed. And you can’t rely on others to rub in the ointment and wrap the bandages. Oh no, this is an inside job.
So if you struggle with a low tolerance for frustration or someone tells you that you need anger management therapy, try a bit of self-care. Investigate that anger. Get up close and personal with the pain.
We might explore this possibility by asking ourselves about where our anger really comes from. What is the other side of anger? Fear. We can’t free ourselves until we work through both our anger and our fear. And what is the cause of fear? Ultimately, it is the fear of nonexistence, death, the fear of losing ourselves and being forgotten. But a fear of death translates into a fear of living, because impermanence is itself a fundamental condition of our lives. In this fear lie the seeds of anger.
So now, how do I deal with angry people? I realize that hurt people hurt. I approach them with curiosity. What is behind that big, bad bark?
For myself, now when I get angry, I know how to soothe myself (a very good thing to learn how to do by the way). I take to the waters and I meditate.
Now I know. . .
I am 1,000 % absofuckinglutely certain that I should be recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the biggest idiot on the planet for repeating the same damn mistakes over and over again for most of my adult life. Life on repeat can be brutal.
Why am I so susceptible to making the same mistakes over and over again? Whether it’s ruining a diet with three glasses of wine, running credit card debt on a bunch of useless stuff I never needed in the first place, trusting a friend who was way less than honest or sacking up with an ex. What possesses me/us to continue to do things that get in the way of what we truly want? Is it fear of the unknown? Fear of what life would be if we didn’t do the things we did on repeat? Maybe. Perhaps it’s a matter of finding the holes. The holes we keep falling into. The mind-numbing, soothing and relaxing way our brain feels after a glass or two or three of wine. Or the familiar, comfortable and easy way it feels to slip right back into the arms of the one you once loved. I need to look at the benefits of my biggest mistakes.
Read: How to be honest with yourself and get more done, for some decent advice on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Harmful Habits & Slipping into Default Mode
When we do something right, a pathway is created in our brain. Unfortunately, a pathway is also created when we something wrong. We basically build habits this way, both good and bad. So the reason we keep making the same mistakes is that we slip by default back into existing neural pathways.
Achieving Ego Free States
Sometimes I feel like I need a complete rewiring of the brain.
Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.
It seems that individuals under “treatment” transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance. Read more in The New Yorker: The Trip Treatment
If you have ever been accused of “overreacting” and you think something is wrong with you because someone told you so, then this 10-minute watch is critical for your growth. Bottom line: Reactions are NATURAL. Overreacting is a warning sign that you have been hurt badly. You have to HEAL that, not shame it away.
When Our Minds Run in Circles
Reading, learning and practicing how to meditate to calm my mind, I am focusing on what Buddhists call “maitri”
Maitri – practicing loving kindness and awareness to all your thoughts. Read: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. The purpose of meditation is not to find your bliss, but to befriend and let go of all thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly. To accept them all with loving-kindness, with maitri.
The Benefits of Being Socially Selective
I just don’t have the bandwidth, headspace or patience for anyone right now. That is quite alright in my book. Sometimes we need a little solitude to sort things out. I just wish more people were fluid in silence.
Comment below if you agree and have a great Monday.
“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
But How do You Develop Your Values?
A Beginner’s List of Values
- Authenticity – to be genuinely yourself at all times. If you value your authenticity and you are in a position where you feel like you have to be someone you are not, you may become very frustrated and upset, because you are living against your core value of being 100% completely you. The same goes for if you are feeling unaccepted for who you are and what you stand for. If your friends or aquaintances disapprove of you, then you may be inclined to feel disappointed. To live an unapologetically authentic life while surrounding yourself around people who appreciate your uniqueness is extremely fulfilling. Find them.
- Being the best
- Care – if showing genuine care and consideration in your relationships is something you believe to be very important than you will be hard pressed to find compatibility with someone who doesn’t demonstrate a warm, affectionate, tender and kind reciprocation back towards you.
- Challenge – when one of your core values is to be continually challenged by a life of learning, growing and expanding your consciousness, it is difficult to associate with people who are content with staying the same.
- Financial independence
- Making a difference
- Resilience – to get back in the saddle, to bounce back from a bad moment, to keep on going. If resilience is what you value, you may become very short-tempered with people who give up quickly or enjoy a good pity party.
- Thoughtfulness – the act of being thoughtful means to pay attention to the details, to think things through before doing them, to plan with more discernment. If thoughtfulness is an important value to you then you may be very frustrated going to places and experiencing things that are rushed, unmannerly or discourteous.
- Truth – If you value the truth, you expect people to be honest with you and you earn and build their trust by being 100% real with them. When and if someone lies to you, you will suffer, because you value honesty in a relationship, whether it be a professional or personal one.
Could it be that our modern life is not good for our mental health?
There is an alarming global epidemic of anxiety and depression on the rise. According to the World Health Organization, close to 800,000 people are committing suicide every year (incredibly, this is one person every 40 seconds) and many more are attempting suicide. Sure, life can be pretty damn difficult, but suicide? Wow. I hope you agree that this is some kind of world-wide cry for help, something must be done and this is an incredibly frightening sign that there is a real need for an awakening, a shift in our cosmic consciousness.
Mysterium tremendum et fascinans
Venezuelan/American, filmmaker Jason Silva, described by The Atlantic as a Timothy Leary of the viral video age begs the question, in an age of tremendous technological innovation and scientific advancements and with so many people moving away from traditional religious affiliations, how do we connect ourselves to a bigger meaning? How do we commune with something more real than the doldrums of every day reality? Something grand and awe-inspiring that fills our soul.
You see, as a child, I thought it was “church”, a place to at least attempt a holy communion with something bigger than myself. Now, as I am older, it is nature, meditation, dance and cherished moments with people I love. For some it is grandmother’s medicine, magic mushrooms and perhaps a heroic dose of LSD.
Perhaps all of those poor souls fed up with their human condition, need more numinous moments in their lives. Maybe they need more shots of awe.
To Render a Holy Moment with Me
I, personally, haven’t had that many moments of psilocybin-induced cosmic communion – glimpses of ecstatic illumination – but I do find myself feeling more & more connected after meditation and doing things like yoga. Jason Silva on the other hand takes the question one step further as ask just how might we turn our passing illuminations into abiding light, rendering ourselves holy. Whoa.
In his video “Beyond Anxiety & Depression” Jason believes that perhaps we, as a society, need a replacement to what religion once provided us. We need a cognitive reframing or possibly a psychic transformation. Oh to commune with the cosmos in order to impregnate our lives with meaning & signification.
To serve and savor the world.
I am fascinated with the idea of finding ways in which we can achieve those moments of awe-inspiring, mind-blowing moments of altered conscious states without drugs. A healthier way to reach new heights of clarity. Call them Eureka moments, a-ha moments, epiphanies, whatever — where everything seems to come together. When inspiration strikes and changes everything. The belief-
“If you can look at reality differently — shed your preconceptions and filters — you can change your life, you can invent something, you can make new observations, you can do things you were afraid or unable to do before. You have better access to the full spectrum of what exists.” Read more about Holotropic Breathwork here.
A More Painful Catalyst of Awakening
There are plenty of ways to wake up from the dreadful daze of an unfulfilled reality. Heartbreak can really shake you into a new more painful state of consciousness. On my quest to mend my broken heart, I’ve been reading a lot about love. All the different types of love and more specifically unconditional love.
Unconditional Love: How to Give It and How to Know When It’s Real
I may read back on this years from now and find I have a different point of view, but for the time being, I think this whole idea of unconditional love is nearly impossible for mortal beings. Even the grandest of caring mothers.
The truth is you can only love people as much as they are willing to be loved.
I really dig the way Teal Swan explains why unconditional love is so damn difficult. Her challenge, to try to give love for a day to something, anyone, a child, a pet, a plant for just one day is incredibly hard. A worthwhile listen right here . . .
I am re-reading When Things Fall Apart from Pema Chodron’s because I want to make sure it all sinks in deep. I need this wisdom.
The wonderful illustrations in this post from the talented Chiara B.
“When you understand yourself, you’re able to navigate the world,”
– Gary Vaynerchuk
Oh but where to begin. One idea. How about getting a bit curious about you. Instead of wondering why others aren’t liking your most recent Instagram post, spend just a little time learning more about what’s going on inside your head.
- What am I good at?
- What am I so-so at?
- What am I bad at?
- What makes me tired?
- What is the most important thing in my life?
- Who are the most important people in my life?
- How much sleep do I need?
- What stresses me out?
- What relaxes me?
- What’s my definition of success?
- What type of worker am I?
- How do I want others to see me?
- What makes me sad?
- What makes me happy?
- What makes me angry?
- What type of person do I want to be?
- What type of friend do I want to be?
- What do I think about myself?
- What things do I value in life?
- What makes me afraid?
These questions remind me of The Proust Questionnaire. The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.
So, what helps in the process of opening yourself up to yourself? How about getting out there and interacting with the world. However, one must proceed with caution. First we must remove all the emotional blocks and drop all the baggage. The grudges, the resentment and the anger that holds us back from really connecting. It begins with forgiving those that have hurt us.
Forgiveness is like a breath of fresh air, a lighting of the load you’ve been carrying, a softening of the heart, a soothing of the mind and a releasing of the soul. Compassion follows forgiveness because you have genuinely felt your own pain and getting close to your pain is an excruciatingly freeing experience. This is how we grow to understand ourselves and appreciate others. This is how we begin to truly build relationships.
We connect through truly understanding the human condition. With forgiveness and compassion we have the capacity to feel each others pain and with the right intentions and words, we can help each other release that pain and open up our hearts.
I truly believe we are here together for a reason – I mean we work together, we live together, we suffer together, we smile together and we experience each and every moment together. How could we possibly be so in our own heads?
Our growth expands the closer we get, the great and kinder the connections we make as we move away from the false and painful fantasy of isolation. We are not meant to be alone all the time.
Feeling for our fellow, showing care and concern, warmth, love and tenderness. To be sympathetically conscious of each other. To hold space for one and another.
The emotional ability to picture ourselves with the same problems in a non-blaming, non-shaming manner. Reading: Pema Chodron “When Things Fall Apart”
On a side note: I am on my seventh day of receiving motivational text messages from a chat bot on Shine Text. It’s a fun way to start the day. Kind of motivating. Check it out – daily shine.
A spiritual warrior in the context of human bravery – living a life of fearlessness while helping others.
To be a spiritual warrior, one must have a broken heart; without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability that is in one’s self and all others, your warriorship is untrustworthy.
In her book Heart Advice for When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron explains the importance of becoming incredibly intimate with our deepest, darkest fears, this is the way of the spiritual warrior.
Yes, instead of running away from the pain that has broken our heart and our spirit – the secret is to become very curious and intimate with what irritates us, disgusts us, makes us angry, dissapointed and full of rage.
We are instructed to question everything, our righteous indignation, the center of our hopelessness and our blaming and disparagement of ourselves and others.
With tender-hearted bravery we begin to gently open our minds to everything, we crack open our hearts to reach the softness part inside. It is with this mindset that we may experience both the sacred, secure and goodness that happens in our lives as well as the painful, frightening and horribly uncomfortable. So much so, that we reach the point where we are shaking with vulnerability.
Thinking about today’s teaching, I realized, I don’t have a single reference point for tenderness. I am just not a tender girl. I wasn’t raised to be tender. I was raised to be tough. I truly am a gritty girl. Spirited, independent and resolute. A girl with fortitude and moxie who is overly-determined to get her way.
Tender = soft and easily injured? Now that hits the spot. That really resonates. That explains a lot of the guardedness about me. The “cold” parts. Who they hell wants to invite injury to the party? Who wants to be vulnerable to getting hurt even more? Not on the guest list.
This week and next, I am going to experiment with what it means to be tender for me. To be more sympathetic, caring, soft, warm and affectionate. Considerate, friendly and more loving towards others. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.
Until tomorrow – MJ
Distraction is the main problem for us all – what the Buddha called the monkey mind. We need to tame this little monkey mind. Tenzin Palmo
As entertaining as it can be, please don’t feed the monkey mind.
I strongly believe it is everyone’s responsibility to create a firm daily devotion to committing oneself to life long learning and the continual development of waking up with honest self-awareness.
“Our emotional selves are children. And they never grow up. We just learn how to parent our emotional selves better.”
Yes my parents gave me good guidance, but they couldn’t possibly have told me everything. Here are a few lessons I am learning along the way . . .
- This moment, right here, right now is the only one you have. Feel it, see it, taste it, hear it and take it all in. Be here now. The book by Ram Dass
- Hold sacred an unconditional, nonjudgmental relationship with reality as it is right now.
- omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis All things change, and we change with them. Adapt every day.
- Trust your basic wisdom.
- Everything takes time. It’s okay to live life on your time. You don’t have to run with the herd.
- Watch how you talk to yourself. Realize when you are too self-critical. Stop the pattern. Break the loop.
- Do not worry about how others look at you, what they are thinking or whether you fit in. Being “normal” will get you nowhere.
- When all else fails, be kind.
- Again, try to be gentle and soft with yourself and with others.
- Stop pressuring yourself. Rushing anything simply ruins it. Slooooooowwwww down.
- There is rarely ever anything to be nervous about. Face what you think makes you weary. Get curious about that.
- Remember you are a miracle. Nothing short of a miracle.
- Time is precious. There is none to waste.
- You have what it takes to try anything you want. There are many options, choices and directions you can go. Experiment with your life.
- You are dying with every single breath. Appreciate every single moment. Even the most annoying ones.
- At any given moment, everything is always as it should be. Acceptance brings serenity.
- You can not control everything.
- You must control the way you respond to others.
- Get to know what triggers your strongest emotions. There’s the work that needs to be done.
- At any given moment, you will know the right thing to do.
- Be thoughtful about everything, even if others are not.
- You don’t have to be larger than life, famous or popular. You simply have to play your part in this wonderful life to the best of your ability, every day.
- Do something ridiculously fun every single day.
- Whatever action you take, whatever word you say, make sure it decreases pain in the world.
- People may disappoint you if they aren’t working on themselves. Forgive yourself for being impatient with them. For they no not what they do.
- Anger and resentment are poison and will manifest into physical ailments. Let go everyday. If you feel yourself getting overly heated and enraged, step away for awhile. Retreat, think, respond.
- Your emotions are important for they tell you what to do. Yes, some of them are signals, but they are here to guide you, not take over your day and life.
- Some emotions are false, yes they are you, trying to protect you, but don’t fall prey to every single one, over reacting to situations is usually related to an over sensitivity to past trauma. The problem arises when you start to react in a bigger way than justified. Read: How to Stop Overreacting.
- Stop making up doom and gloom stories about what might happen in the future. Not everything is going to be a disaster.
- When in doubt about what to do, do something good. Good for you, good for others.
- Open up your heart, be real, be vulnerable. Life is not meant to be lived in the safe zone.
- The painful moments are the lessons. Move through your problems by facing them for they will tell you a lot about yourself. What haunts you must be addressed. Release your tendency to run away, to seek pleasure before pain.
- Have an unconditional, loving relationship with the world. There is no escape, no exit. There are lessons to be learned every day. Everyone you encounter is your teacher. Pay attention. Pema Chodron.
I would love to know what lessons you learned on your own. Share below in the comments.