For the past 2 days I have been in a deep state of anger and rage. It wasn’t directed at anyone nor was it directed at myself. I don’t quite know why it was there but it was intense. I found myself seething throughout the days. The littlest things would set me off. I didn’t want to talk to anyone nor did I want to do the things I normally I enjoyed. I didn’t know what I was wanting or needing, all I knew was that I was angry and that I didn’t like it.
As the anger persisted, I knew I had to eventually face it. This past year I have been on a journey of exploring my emotions. I have been allowing myself to feel my emotions more fully and not repress or ignore them. I have been committed to the approach of “If I feel it, I face it.” It has been both painful and incredibly healing, and is ultimately leading me towards the way I want to be in the world.
Anger is not an emotion I often experience, I am more prone to frustration, shame, guilt, or sadness. But here anger was, staring me in the face. Even though I didn’t face it right away, as my pain and confusion made it difficult to approach, it became so unbearable I needed to do something about it.
There are two approaches to facing painful emotions I have been exploring lately.
The first approach is to allow myself to fully experience the emotion, accept it wholeheartedly without judgment, and then focus on the beauty and joy of what I am longing for as I have it in the moment. The idea is that by focusing on the beauty and joy in the present moment you shift your energy level into a state of love. This transforms the pain into momentum to move you towards that which you love and as some would say, it draws more love towards you.
The other approach is similar but different in a significant respect. I allow myself to fully experience the emotion, accept it wholeheartedly without judgment, and continue to be with the emotion, or mourn, until it passes through me. I maintain full connection with the emotion and unmet need/desire until I feel it released. I then become a clear channel. When the painful emotion releases, love, creativity, and joy naturally flow through me without needing to intentionally focus my attention on it.
As I have experimented with both, I find myself continually drawn to the latter. I find that if I focus on the beauty, as with the first approach, while still in the midst of pain, it only temporarily covers the pain. I may experience the beauty in the moment and my energy is temporarily shifted, but the pain-energy is still underneath just waiting to erupt again. It also feels a little uncomfortable and stressful because I start telling myself, “I should be connecting with a higher energy rather than feeling so shitty.”
In this anger situation I was facing, I followed some advice from a wise friend, and took time out to be with the anger. I was finding it so difficult to work as well as do the things I enjoy. I went into my room when nobody else was in the house, I sat on my bed, put my face to my pillow, and started cursing and yelling and raging as fully and intensely as possible. I pounded on my bed with my fists in my full rage until I ran out of energy – which actually only took less than a minute.
The anger naturally gave way to sadness. I felt the sadness of my having been angry for two days, the sadness of my own career challenges, the sorrow of having felt so alone in my anger, the sadness of not having had the flow I was wanting, and the fear of the unknown future.
The sadness was gentle and comforting. There was a certain sweetness to just being okay with how I was feeling, as opposed to the resentment I had been harboring towards my anger.
As I laid there on my bed feeling vulnerable and uncertain of what to do next, a sudden impression entered my mind and body: “I want to write about this.” I didn’t need to motivate myself to write, I didn’t need to tell myself I “should” be writing, nor did I need have a good reason to write, I just felt this natural pull to write. I felt like I was being led to my creativity and passion.
Once I started writing, I was even graciously provided with an opportunity to test if my anger was still present. The first draft of this article was completely erased when my word processor unexpectedly shut down. Instead of getting furious, which would have most certainly been the case before my mourning process, I was able to just accept it with very little emotional impact and start rewriting.
I like that I am writing this. I like that I am sharing my experience. I like that I am being open and honest about my emotions with the hope it will inspire others to be more connected to their emotions and be encouraged to share them with others. I like that I am healing through anger and finding other ways to transform my pain into aliveness. Though I still feel a certain vulnerable softness to my being, I also feel a new acceptance of what is and the hope to move forward with whatever arises.
My vision is that we create communities of people that learn how to honestly encounter their emotions, express them to one another in full authenticity, and support each other in fully experiencing and healing them. The more I go through this healing process of fully being with my emotions, the more open I become an empty vessel ready to be filled with love, aliveness, creativity, and flow.