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.
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.
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.
Shedding Some Light on Just How Damn Annoying Life Can Be
Working with The Monsters in Our Mind & NOT Becoming a Fugitive To Our Fears
On a more pleasant note. . .
When we Don’t Grow Emotionally
For Example . . .
Leaping Before You Look
Becoming More Discerning
What’s this About The Importance of Self-Value?
And More about Self-Love
Decreasing the Pain in the World
People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.
- where we are
- what we have to work with
- who is within our company (including our crappy-ass selves)
Stay awake, aware, alert and alive. Always.
I agree with Teal Swan, the reality is that for the most part people are not emotionally safe to be in relationship with. That includes me right now. For the moment, I should wear a warning sign for although I may be smiling on the outside, on the inside, I am a grieving ball of swirling pain and confusion. WARNING: Imminent Danger. Wounded. Hold Space. Step Back. Let Be.
I wonder how many other people are walking around like this today.
Right now, I have placed myself in stealth healing mode. I am recalibrating, retreating and reflecting and yes, I want limited contact with the outside world.
We all have our painful struggles. I just really want to learn, grow and take responsibility for my part. To grow stronger while strengthening my very own locus of control. This will enable me to go forward in life choosing people, places and things that are better for me. Better decisions come from a stronger mind. Forgive and let go.
The Deep Dive
On Suffering. To Be a Warrior Against What Is.
I am a huge believer in disrupting and innovating to repair what doesn’t work in society, especially when it comes to the use of technology. As for matters of the heart, there is a different type of disruption that must start with acceptance and approval of whatever situation you are in right now. That’s right. Find the good in the bad. The opportunity in the obstacle.
Spending all of our mental energy bargaining with the universe for what should be, how it could be, when the fact is, sometimes you have to give up the resistance to what is.
This is the problem I have with trying to pray away the pain. Praying is beautiful, but it doesn’t change what is. True change begins when we accept what is and when we are ready, we take action in a new direction.
Note to self: you can’t and don’t control everything. When we suffer, we spend all of our energy fighting what has happened. Wondering how we could have prevented it from happening. The healing begins when you realize you cannot change the outcome of what has already happened. You don’t have to like what is occuring right now, but when you can find the reasons why it might actually be good for you you begin to accept and realize that the remedy has begun. From Teal Swan.
Better Things To Ponder
A better life begins with better thoughts. If you can open up to realize that your thoughts may actually be crappy ones, then you can begin to think more clearly. Yeah that’s right, from crappy to clear.
From “101 things more worth thinking about than whatever is consuming you right now. “From Essays That Will Change the Way You Think book by Brianna Wiest.
So, if you don’t like where you are in life, stopping complaining and start creating.
The way it will feel to have the life you want. The place you’ll live, the clothes you will wear, what you will buy at the supermarket, how much money you will save, what work you’ll most be proud to have done. What you’ll do with your weekends, what color your sheets will be, what you’ll take photos of.
A Magical Medicine Bag
Over the past few weeks, in an attempt to heal myself, I thought about the idea of a Medicine Bag. I have made one myself, that I have been carrying around and using each morning to reflect on the parts of me that need healing.
A Medicine Bag was a special, sacred container for various objects, or amulets, of supernatural power used, or provided by, a MedicineMan or Shaman, to carry ‘medicine‘, or symbols, of animal spirits good luck, protection and strength in battle. The Medicine Bag contains both symbolic and ritual items.
Now, if I had a magical medicine bag, it might contain . . .
- A pair of glasses to see the world and all of humanity with radical loving kindness.
- Soft, beautiful, expanding wings to strap on your shoulders. Magically, they allow you to soar above this world for a new perspective, to glide and to guide.
- Detoxing tea to help remove the sticky, stuck pain cells of the body. The bitter cells that hold anger and resentment. Those cells that may grow up to become cancer, should they not be softened and removed, eliminated from the body. Drink a small cup a day to keep the crazy rage and illness away.
- A softening salve for the heart. When applied, a hardened heart becomes mysteriously able to renew itself. This curative balm begins to mend the heart, putting back all the pieces so it may pump and flow again, while helping the love juice of life flow to every healthy cell in the body.
- A wondrous cape of self confidence that makes one feel resilient, competent, relevant and real. Ready to take on the world with love and enthusiasm. When worn, you know you cannot and will not fail.
- The compass to help you find your true north.
- A pill to help you process past issues. Not a numbing pill, but an enlightening pill.
- The death clock, a countdown tool to remind you that your days are numbered here on this earth with a daily alarm to help you remember to live each day to it’s fullest, doing all the good you can do. Touching everyone that comes your way with heartfelt love and acceptance.
- A super powerful magnet to attract the people into your life who will play and work and love and live with you on this journey. Your like-minded citizens of the world. Your tribe.
- A prescription of forgiveness serum to help heal past relationships, to let go of old pain and to open your mind and heart to the healing of this mystical moment.
- Golden keys to unlock yourself out of imprisoning stories, stories that make you smaller and hurtful.
- Some type of delicious crystalized candy to expand your mind with the metacognition for awakened awareness of what is truly important.
Metacognition – awareness and understanding of one’s own thought process.
Our suffering arises from fear-based stories that are often outside our awareness. These include stories of our deficiency or importance, of being a victim, of being unseen or unloved, of facing failure or rejection. This is true collectively too. We have shared stories of bad “others” that fuel wars, shared stories of the value of continued growth in consumption and production that destroy our earth, shared stories of our human right to enslave and violate other animals. We have the capacity to bring the stories that separate and imprison us into the light of awareness, and with great compassion, loosen their grip. These two talks look at the ways fear-based stories create suffering, and how awakening from them reveals the freedom of our true, and universal, belonging. A meditation from Tara Brach.
Prepared & Active
“Let Fate find us prepared and active. Here is the great soul – the one who surrenders to Fate. The opposite is the weak and desperate one, who struggles with and has a poor regard for the order of the world and seeks to correct the faults of the gods, rather than their own.” Seneca, Moral Letters 107.12
Whatever happens today, let it find us prepared and active: ready for problems, ready for difficulties, ready for people to behave in disappointing or confusing ways, ready to accept and make it work for us. Let’s not wish we could turn back time or remake the universe according to our preference. Not when it would be far better and far easier to remake ourselves. – The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
Observing what happens around us without filters or prejudice. Now that’s something to soak up. A life skill worth practicing. Try rewiring that into your brain. How often we get frustrated because life is not suppose to be this way or that way? As if it was always our call.
It’s so easy to get mad when things don’t go our way. It’s even easier to sleep walk through our days. On autopilot, we just cruise through the hours without even taking notice of the small things that need real care. The tiny pain points that pop up, that if we just focused on now, would never get out of hand. The things that really matter. Perhaps this is how bigger events and problems suddenly catch us by “surprise”. When we avoid the smaller, seemingly “meaningless” things in life. We shrug them off. “It is what it is.” “She’s just like that.” “I’ve been meaning to take care of that.”
An important skill to learn is to know how to sniff out the unexpected before it scares the hell out of you. It starts with paying attention to your life.
I am sure you realize that more often than not, there are usually many warning signals before something goes surprisingly wrong. It’s just that we were so distracted at the time.
To detect early warning signals, you need to build up your curiosity. Paying attention involves asking many questions and developing a wide network of friends and family willing to tell you the truth, even when it is spiked with anxiety and panic.
Collect all the rumors and paranoia that blow around you and your life and then separate the signal from the noise. Now, that’s paying attention.
Paying attention also asks that we ask the important question –
“What can you do today that will make a difference, not only in your life but in others?”
Becoming a More Attentive & Thoughtful Human
Encourage yourself to grow with quick and easy learning (YouTube), and create a personal mindset that allows you to make well-intentioned mistakes while paying attention. Taking notice, trying new ways of problem solving and staying awake at the wheel of life – it’s all a skill.
Don’t let your mind turn into a black hole where bright ideas go in but nothing useful ever comes out. Be an idea-driven human that values fresh thinking and doing.
Understand your strengths and weakness which will show you where your vigilance is strong and where you are vulnerable. That’s paying attention to yourself.
Minding What Matters
‘What actions can I take that will benefit not just myself, not just my family, not just my community, not just my work, but all it’ – that’s when you start to see possibilities for greater freedom.” That’s when you start paying attention to what matters. Inspired by “Leading the Life You Want“.
Happy and successful people focus on what really matters and who really matters to them. And then they take actions that are consciously and deliberately designed to make things better for them and the people around them.
Find meaning in mundane tasks while playing on your strengths. Apply skills you have in one area of your life to another.
Act with creativity and courage—and continually experiment with new ways of getting things done. An exercise for enhancing your skill in being innovative is called Scenarios. Identify a goal in any part of your life, and describe the results you want to achieve. Be as specific as you can. Then identify three alternative courses of action that would achieve the same results. For each potential path, list the resources you will need, the people whose help you’ll draw on, and how much of a stretch beyond your comfort zone this would be for you. By taking time to think through different options, you increase the flexibility of your thinking. Brainstorming about creative possibilities puts your focus on the goal, or results, rather than on one way to get there.
There is only one thing I know for sure. I’m not getting this moment back. Nope. I am talking about this very single moment RIGHT NOW, this ONE. Yeah, it’s YOUR moment too. Nope it’s gone. . . forever, unless by chance I read it again or you read it again – and if we do, it’s just a memory.
All this angst about leaving a legacy. Creating a more purposeful life. Finding your so-called passion. Those are such big, big thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, it starts with adding more meaning to your little moments.
and becoming a little more self-aware with each one of these significant moments.