I just got home from a yoga and meditation class. It’s one that I try to go to every Sunday night. It’s a “restorative yoga class” or “yin yoga” meaning the poses are long, slow and supported. And indeed the entire class is supportive. It’s done by candlelight and I find it to be the perfect way to prepare for the week ahead and detangle the week just past. Every class for me is profound, it challenges my ego, my mind and sense of self as it gently allows my body to open.
This week was especially powerful for me. The focus for the meditative part of the class, thoughts to ponder as you hold the long poses, was “Anger and Fear”. Anger is not an emotion that I’m especially comfortable with; I try to reason and rationalize my feelings away when anger pops up, but as the saying goes “what you can’t be with won’t let you be” and this past week I was sitting fully engulfed in anger and fear, having a huge blow up with someone really close to me. I knew that I was angry, and felt very justified, blaming the other person’s behavior, but what I hadn’t allowed my self to acknowledge was the fear that went with it.
The instructor, a wonderful and deeply spiritual woman, brought up several aspects of dealing with anger:
What happens when we internalize it?
What happens when we let it out on someone else?
And how do we process it more effectively?
This past week I had let my anger out on someone else. I hadn’t taken ownership of it and therefore wasn’t able to process it. As I lay on the mat I could see clearly why the event in question had provoked an angry response, but letting my anger out on the other person was really because I didn’t want to be alone in the situation or alone with my feelings. And it worked! Now I wasn’t! There were two people who were angry and that really didn’t improve anything.
Taking an honest look at my life, I realized that the last three months had been dominated by anger and fear. I thought about the difficult situations and intransigent people I was dealing with and the phrase came to me “I’ve been wrestling with anger and fear for a few months now.”And that was it exactly. I could see myself, like a wrestler on a mat, in a wrestling hold with another person – both of us pushing, both determined, both of us exerting a tremendous amount of energy and force and neither one of us going anywhere.
Earlier in the week, at the height of my pain and suffering, I said a prayer to the universe committing to let go of all of my negative attachments I had with several people and situations in my life. I put it out to the universe, not knowing how, or what it would look like or when it would happen. And really not 100% convinced it was possible and still a little bit pissed that “I had to be the bigger person”. But there was enough commitment in that prayer and enough desire in my soul and the miracle unfolded. Life presented me with a way to crack open the shell around my heart, drop my defenses, sit with my own feelings and breathe through them until they were processed. It’s like digesting food; allow your body to do what it knows how to and suddenly the things that you’ve swallowed changes form, are assimilate and are converted to another form of energy.
When we suppress our anger and our fear it gets locked in our bodies. We begin to experience discomfort, dis-ease and physical pain.
When we let our anger out on someone else (emotionally vomit) it really is like covering the other person with it. We can no longer process it, now they’re really mad and it just stinks.
When we sit with it and breathe through it, we have the power to clear it, to transmute the energies into something more positive and free ourselves from it’s grip.
Thank you to the lovely Sarah Isenberg for sharing her wisdom and holding the space for me to sit with my own difficult and scary emotions. The pain that had crept into every inch of my body this week is dissipating. My tight and inflexible joints and muscles (and mind) have loosened again and I can find more space and ease. And as I digested the emotions, my physical digestive system came back to life and I started craving food again for the first time in a week.
See if you can sit with your own anger and fear in one area of your life. Allow yourself to fully experience and process it and notice if you can let just a little bit go.
As always, I welcome your questions and comments below.