On the Importance of Anger
Nobody Wants To Talk About The Plague
Hi Friends, we’re finally publishing the blogs I wrote during the active phases of the pandemic.
Too soon? Perhaps.
I feel some pressure to get these up on the site. Not just as a teeny tiny foot stuck directly into the path of our collective and stampeding denial, but more as a reminder of the powerful transformations that occurred in the hearts of so many.
In these pieces, I’m adding to the record. Our stories and reflections show how the global pandemic was as true an experience of vulnerability as one could possibly have in this life. It has that in common with a host of other potential experiences that we may have individually, but its uniqueness is born out of it being a civilization-wide event.
It happened to all of us, all at once. You either experienced it as a patient, a grieving loved one, or someone with long covid. Or all three. Plenty of us are still dealing with the infamous gate crasher that SARS-CoV-2 is and was. We are still learning about it, and still learning about who we are with it.
And it’s still happening. Recently I lost my mother and have another dear friend fighting a serious cancer metastasis. Neither of them had Covid. But both avoided critical routine care during the first year when we all were afraid to go anywhere or see anyone.
When we didn’t have vaccines and didn’t know masks work.
When we were terrified all the time.
I think it’s important to look at the impact of our fear and anger. And the choices we made to either listen to our intuition, or not.
Because from where I stand, after spending the last three years assisting you as you tried to make sense of suddenly incomprehensible lives, as well as teaching you how to build a relationship with your intuition (which suddenly awoke in so many of you for the first time, loudly) you cannot tell me that the impact is waning.
Spring, 2020. Currently anger is potent, palpable, and everywhere in our interactions.
Back in March when our lockdown started, I thought it would be a propitious time for my younger son, who had just begun learning to drive, to take advantage of the fact that the streets were virtually empty most of the time. I suggested we practice-drive as much as possible. Then I realized there is no such thing as practice-driving. Practicing driving is just driving. Unless it’s Mario Kart?
There were fewer cars on the road, however the percentage of angry and aggressive people on them had gone way up. It was very confusing for my son, because he had started out strong, a good driver in the making, with good instincts. It was jarring for him to be honked at, flipped off, and yelled at by drivers we couldn’t actually hear but whose faces were contorted with rage when they didn’t get to do what they wanted.
We had to stop for a while because he was getting jumpy every time we went out and so was I. Plus I am already temperamentally not a good person to ride along with my baby while he learns how to operate a death machine.
The road rage is everywhere. Almost every time I go out I see something that shocks me~the worst being a few weeks ago when I was cut off and shoved out of my lane by a gigantic SUV (I drive a Prius), and my frantic honking failed to get the driver’s attention. A boy in the back seat must have noticed though, because he put his arm all the way out his window, to flip me off.
I wonder if it would have happened if my horn didn’t sound so much like it belonged to a clown car. This is the third time, the two before were scarier because they happened on the highway. I mean it’s pretty pathetic to expect much facing a behemoth when your car is the equivalent of a circus event. A very fuel efficient circus event, but light entertainment nonetheless. Clowns don’t really make their points by throwing tantrums anyway.
At a certain point, we all have a decision to make about how angry we’re going to get about the things we cannot change. Anger is a patterned response that protects some of us from our fear and our shame, often when we’re feeling either of those things it’s the path of least resistance to choose rage and shamelessness rather than admit our humanity, our vulnerability, or to choose to channel our energy for comity.
“I don’t know how to explain to you that you should care about other people” said Dr. Fauci, and with that public entreaty, (and his iconic facepalm, I actually have a tshirt of him in that pose) he became one of my heroes.
By the way, anger as a feeling (not an action) serves a purpose. It is a neutral energy that lets us know when our boundaries are being violated. How we handle setting them after that is important.
Using our anger as a weapon to shut other people down rarely does what you want it to. It keeps things escalating and keeps anger moving around and around and around endlessly.
There is one exception to this, of course. You need your outrage when it comes to fighting racial injustice, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and anti-semitism. Feeling the anger that is caused by these human decency violations will give you the energy you need to choose to fight. But just remember what Yoda says, “Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger… anger leads to hate… hate leads to suffering.”
Yoda is reminding us not to pay the toll on someone else’s mistake.
Feel your fear, your pain, and your anger. Then act in a way that honors the same in others.
The world’s still really angry, Friends. And guess what? You may be angry too.
It’s absolutely ok to feel angry. You need your anger to inspire you toward action, to set boundaries, and to clarify your value system.
However, acting out of that anger is where we get tripped up. Anger can easily turn into resentment and bitterness. It accelerates the conflicts within us and with others. It creates a safe haven to disguise the expression of our vulnerability when it spurs us to control and manipulate others.
And it covers up our fear, hiding it away from us.
So feel every inch of your anger. Pound pillows. Scream into them. Go for a run or a walk. But do nothing about it right away. Let your anger burn up and off you, and then choose the way before you. That is the strength born of anger.
Then, feel your fear. Speak it. Write it down. See it for what it is: an assumption. The fact is, what we are afraid of cannot be changed by obsession.
Anytime we act out of our feelings~whether it is fury, panic, or grief, we’re missing a more grounded opportunity to connect with our intuition. Your feelings may be so strong they demand instant gratification, but your intuition will actually guide you to the highest good for the greatest number. It’s worth waiting for.
Back to all posts