“Next time you feel angry, go and run around the house seven times. After, sit under a tree and watch where the anger has gone. You have not repressed it, controlled it, nor thrown it on somebody else.” ~ Osho
Anger is an emotion I have been very comfortable with expressing my entire life, but not always with dignity.
When I look back on some of my red-faced reactions, moments when I have kept them inside are a rarity. As a growing girl, I remember throwing a pillow around my room with a clenched jaw. My seething rage would be released by screaming into that poor little pillow.
Emotions move through us like the weather moves through the land.
Sometimes, we can distract ourselves from accepting them, or choose to overlook their natural pull to feel what is there, awaiting our simple presence. It’s no wonder many of us want to avoid these emotions; they can be uncomfortable, painful and, at times, even excruciating.
It’s not always a pretty situation we’ve got here with these feelings. We can’t always “positive think ourselves” out of emotions that need to be felt. Beyond the endless methods we employ to avoid facing those inevitable feelings, they make binge-watching Netflix very enticing! Thank goodness we have yoga to help move emotion through our bodies for processing.
Anger is powerful. From the Chinese Five Element perspective, spring relates to the sound of
shouting and to the wood season, where anger naturally rises from our watery winter hibernation to sprout us into a new season of growth. Governed by the liver, anger reflects motivation, inspiration and action. Wood also feeds the fires of Summer, of our hearts and of life’s passions. But things can get a little too overheated sometimes.
Consider PMS. You’ve most likely experienced it yourself, or have, in some way, been affected by the power of this liver-inspired element of a woman’s cycle. Each month, I utter a single, full-blown, unfettered scream, when nobody else is around. Frustration builds so fiercely that it bursts right through me. These outbursts usually happen while driving, spontaneously rearranging the furniture or immersed in a cleaning frenzy. I’m still working on cooling my little liver, on simplifying my life and on healing the many layers of cultural and collective baggage that breeds anger within us all. Politics and the environment, anyone?
Toddlers offer a brilliant example of how emotions move through the whole body in order to
process. They can have a tantrum, let it out, shout…then suddenly, they are completely over it. We can learn from these instincts. Like all emotions, anger is processed not by the mind, but by the entire body.
When anger arises, get moving.
Yell into a pillow, or do whatever it takes to move the energy in a way that leaves you, and others, feeling safe and empowered.
Find a space to let it out.
Get on your yoga mat, dance your butt off, breathe, play sports and move. This emotion needs motion, lest it evolve into chronic resentment, frustration or illness.
Gentle, calming, cooling yoga, and bitter spring green tonics with veggies, nettle, dandelion leaf, and cleaver juice will nourish the liver, support emotional health and prepare us for the yang (more outward) phase of the year.
If nurtured by exquisite presence, anger can be a potent fuel for transformation. When released, anger often reveals the underlying grief it has been guarding. When tears flow, we let go and create space for the new. Just yesterday, I had a good cry after a period of feeling very guarded. It set me free, and I was able to soften my heart again.
May you be gentle with yourself in this endless learning journey. You are a miracle in progress.
Author: Christy Greenwood
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Author’s own: Devon Gillott