In my last blog post I wrote about losing my temper, a little about my health, a little about how upset I am with Trump and how all of this is affecting me in a profound way. People had a lot of different take-a ways from this post. I had people concerned for my well-being, I had people give me their thoughts on anger, I had people talk about Trump and their thoughts on why that whole mess was happening right now.
When I feel a strong emotion I tend to write about it. That’s how I get through to the other side. I always have, I’m just somewhat public about it now. I’m public not because I want people’s sympathy, but because I’m guessing a lot of people feel similarly and may even feel like they’re crazy. I’m partly here to say we all go through this human experience and we all deal in different ways – here’s how I do it. I’m also here on this blog because I think it’s important to spread loving-kindness into the world in whatever small way we can. This is my way. When I learn I share. I try to put into words what I think about, what I believe.
What interested me from this last post was the various responses I had to losing my temper. I was offered a consultation with someone who said: “there is something underneath the anger… some kind of wounding or belief… that is calling for healing”. I felt that this person mistook my loss of temper on one occasion as a sign that I was walking around in anger all the time and then that anger spewed out of me all of a sudden. Not so. I’m pretty even keeled most of the time.
Another person wrote: “There is …a strong underground murmur in my feminist circles about giving space for our anger – that being nice and being well-behaved and, above all, not disruptive are patriarchal burdens placed on us and needlessly so”. This one I found very interesting and wise. My mother has often quoted the below, but replaced negro with woman.
To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time. So that the first problem is how to control that rage so that it won’t destroy you.
~ James Baldwin from The Negro in American Culture, 1961
I tend to agree. On both counts. However, I only experience being a woman, not black. Women are often silenced, even by other women – which is what frustrated me and led to my angry outburst at work last week. I’m not a woman to go ‘silently into that dark night’. When I feel dismissed, when I feel I’m not being allowed to speak, when I feel that someone is trying to put me in my place I rage! Is this a problem? Maybe, but maybe it’s what’s needed for change to take place. Maybe we women need to let our rage out and stop being polite, and well-behaved once in a while to remind others that we, too, are forces to be reckoned with.
I don’t like losing my temper. Not because I think I shouldn’t, but because it feels like a loss of control. I’m a yogi and control is kind of a big theme in my life. I aim control my breath, my thoughts, my body, in an effort to get closer to union of body and mind. But I never forget that I’m a human being first and foremost and human beings are flawed, they are emotional, they are inherently a little out of control. Having this human experience entails so much learning, so much depth, at times despair. And through it all we continually find our way back to equilibrium, to balance, to peace. Sometimes we need help along the way, sometimes professional help. Sometimes we need to find our way through on our own. Some will never find that balance in their lives and there’s likely a reason for that. We’re all on our own paths and we’re all doing the best we can. And sometimes that means we get angry. And that’s okay.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
~ From the poem by Dylan Thomas