Anger. So often we're told that there isn't any place for it in our spiritual practice.
As if admitting or expressing deeply felt rage and grief surely dooms us to a never-ending spiral of negative thinking, trapping us in the past, preventing us from fully owning our power as conscious creators.
Turning towards our anger means stunting our growth, keeping us small, blocking our expansion. And yet... what if it actually means the opposite?
Sure, if we allow ourselves to stew in anger forever chances are we're going to feel pretty shitty.
And if we attack others - or ourselves - with our anger, it has the potential to do more harm than good.
But if we can gift ourselves sacred space within which to express our rage and regrets, our shame and our disappointment, our fragility - we might just find ourselves liberated from past grievances and upsets, better able to fully step into and embrace the potential of the present moment.
This seems to be especially meaningful, I've found, if the person we're angry with happens to be ourselves.
Repressed anger, continually swallowed and pushed away, soon becomes toxic; seeping into our self-belief, our interactions, our manifestations.
Calling the shots unconsciously, shaping and claiming our pathway from the shadows.
It's so very vital we crack our anger wide open and bring it to light, gifting ourselves permission to unleash and express our rage fully and ferociously.
Finding ways to love and support ourselves both during and after soul expanding aggressive expression.
Creating a safe space and diving in at our own pace.
Having a friend nearby to hold space for us if needed, treating ourselves tenderly and gently as we unfold.
Expressing but not attacking.
To shout and rage and stamp our feet, to express regret and shame and frustration and judgement is something extraordinarily powerful and transformative when carried out in a safe, supportive, compassionate environment.
Whether righteous, justified, misdirected or on target, giving voice to our rage helps us figure out its place, it's value, it's teachings.
The only way to understand and integrate such anger is to bring it to light, soul-FULLY.
I realised recently that I've been harbouring a boatload of anger towards my late teens to early twenties self, and it was in desperate need of a creative outlet.
Keeping it hidden was making me sick.
Panic attacks, bouts of crying, feeling disconnected and floaty - as if stepping out of my body in search of another time and place.
Hence the following letter to younger me.
And as angry and resentful and gut wrenching as it is, such a release of emotion is also undoubtedly clearing space within which to pour forth patience and compassionate understanding.
Within which to hold myself, younger and present, in love and trust.
Oh, the relief!
To feel it ALL, simultaneously; raging grief and dazzling love.
Anger, then, can sometimes be the very pathway to compassionate re-connection to self.
The very medicine needed in order to come back to love, to suddenly see ourselves in a new light - our cracks and our vulnerabilities, our fragility and our strength - and to realise that beneath such rage lies infinite potential for acceptance and trust.
Beneath such rage lies the truth of it all - that younger me was doing her very best, and in order for me to envelop her with love I've got to finally release the anger I've carried around for so long, anger yet to meet everything I've learned about compassionate acceptance and the beauty of non-conformity.
I'm angry but I'm loving, and now there is room for such love to flourish and soothe the hurts finally being witnessed.
Sweet friend, if you've got something to get off your chest, please do.
Reclaim your right to rage, embracing anger as sacred fuel for much needed and longed for change.
Now that the forest fire has burned itself out, the last few wisps of smoke lingering in the air, I have fresh, fertile land to work with.
I am able to meet myself there, calmer and clearer, such love surrounding me as I travel.
May it be the same for you, dear friend.
Dear younger me,
I am angry at you.
I am angry that you didn't make certain choices when you had the chance.
That you let opportunities slip through your fingers because you assumed you had time.
That you couldn't find it within yourself to go beyond fear and into love.
I am angry that you chose to retreat and cut yourself off rather than dive in and contribute.
That you pussyfooted around and quit so many things - why did you quit so many things?
I am angry that you didn't graduate.
I am angry that you didn't embrace your first proper job with long-term vision. It paid well. You were good at it. You worked with nice people.
I am angry at how shortsighted you are.
I am angry that you spent so much time panicking and crying and feeling lost.
I am angry that you ran away from so many jobs rather than sitting down and talking about the pain you were feeling.
That you gave up so often - why did you give up so often?
I am angry that you didn't build a stable career or find a way into something heartfelt at an earlier age.
That you lost yourself over and over in feeling lost.
I am angry that you've always been so insistent on walking a different path to those around you.
I am angry that you couldn't earn enough money to move out and create a home as a young adult.
That you relied on hand outs from loved ones when unwell, that you fell so deeply into your sadness that other people's needs and emotions and thoughts didn't get a look in.
I am angry that you have endometriosis and don't know it yet.
I am angry that you want children so desperately and yet you aren't taking steps to create a stable environment for me to birth them now.
I am angry that you are young and I am older.
I am angry that you cling to me like a helpless child, tear stained cheeks and snotty nosed, the scent of your terror repulsive in its insistence.
I am angry that I couldn't love you then and that I'm still struggling to love you now.
I am angry that compassion catches so tightly in my throat. I want to love you enough to let you go but I am tied to you, it seems. We cannot be separated.
I am angry that we cannot be separated.
I am angry that I'm finding it so hard to bring us together.
I am angry that you are hurting because it means I am hurting, we are hurting, and I'm afraid such hurting will never end.
I am angry that you waited, waited, waited.
I am angry that I can't time travel and tell you everything I know now and have it make a tangible difference.
I am angry that you wasted your potential at times.
I am angry at how small you seem.
I am angry and yet somehow I am also fiercely committed to holding you as you cry.
Even though it makes my stomach turn to do so.
Even though I am afraid you are ashamed of me.
Even though I am afraid you will be horrified by me.
I am angry because I love you, a love in desperate need of untangling, smoothing, reading, knowing.
This is the first post in a short series on embracing, exploring and working with anger as sacred fuel for change. Keep your peepers peeled for future instalments! <3