New-agey communities have a mouthful of wisdom, forever ready, when it comes to the topic of anger.
It is not something to be tamed or overcome. Anger is a gift, an incredibly sharp and delightfully effective gift. Do not drown it.
Agni (one’s fire), in Ayurveda, is something I have been keenly aware of ever since I swung a red head around by her ample ponytail over the foursquare grid in the fifth grade for saying something bitchy about my weight.
Psychoanalysts posit that depression is just anger turned inward. In this regard, I hold my rage to be a protective device I use to prevent suicide. If my anger were to be turned inward, I would surely succumb to a soul fever so incendiary that not only my kidney, but those of everyone in a quarter mile radius would combust.
I am angry. I am so angry about so many things. When I am not angry, I am fine. When I am not fine, I am sad. If my mental math serves me correctly, then perhaps there may be a connection betwixt sadness and anger. If so, if anger is in fact just the larger louder brother of sadness, then I have come to honor the efforts of this often misunderstood, frequently dismissed and vilified guardian.
Making your fire place.
Setting a fire in your house is ill advised. Setting a fire in a fire place is nurturing. It brings heat and light and it nourishes. So, how do we create the equivalent of a fire place internally so that our gorgeous and powerful anger can burn in a productive and contained space, bringing heat, energy and utility to infuriating situations? Here are a few ideas:
Let it safely burn with asana.
Easy. Billow the flames with your breath. Somatically translate the rage into something you can move with, move through and move past.
Metabolize with writing.
Write it down and give it shape. Name it—free form or essay, poetry or hate mail never sent. Your words are water to carry away, cool, and transform rivers of lava. To honor this pitta (heat), give yourself permission to create and destroy. Write crap. Don’t edit yourself; do not censor. Simply produce. Generating words, in any particular order, is an action of release and release gives way to relief. Take off your filter, open up a notebook or word processor and get weird.
Heat it up.
Use this energy to enhance your passion. Turn to your hobbies, your “heart lobby.” Cook it, clean it, grow it, draw it, color it, put it down, get it out. Anger is energy; change its currency. Make a mess. Really, you can clean up afterward if you must, but there is nothing that cannot be un-“saucha‘d” (un-purified). Allow the fire to roar and spread. It is cleansing in a different iteration.
Comfort the cinders.
Allow for ease with a steady slow steam valve. Talk to someone. Talk. Sit in mediation. If you already have a practice, this is not the time to neglect it. Shamatha mediation, in particular, is accessible and will allow you to gradually learn to sit and observe, with equanimity, the state of the burning as it is—simply a fire that is impermanent. Return to the breath.
Do not be afraid of anger; it is a gift. It is energy. It is not the soul provenance of the yang (women look good enraged, too). Even the moon glows steady. Let the light flatter you and all that you hold dear. Let it move you, fuel you. Let it heat you.
Let it forge you into that weird peaceful warrior you are meant to be.
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Assistant Ed: Steph Richard/Ed: Brianna Bemel