Endigar 486 ~ Anger

I have one more post by Alanis Morissette that I need to include, because it is the first good response to the turmoil in my own soul concerning gender-based violence.  I also think the discussion of processing our emotions is very relevant for the alcoholic/addict.

She was asked “What do you think we can do to address gender based violence in our culture?  How do we get to the root of healing this violence in our society?”

This was her answer;

I love your question. I believe that violence, toward both genders, is something that lies at the heart of all things that break our hearts as a nation and as a world. This violence is NOT just what we see on television, in movies, in dramatic plays etc. This is a violence of ALL forms. and it starts with how we view our very selves. How we treat ourselves. This violence we “see” in the world is an extension of the violence we feel toward our own selves. I see two forms of actings-out in the world: the one born from the acting-out of our own self-hatred on Others; and the other the acting-out of sublimated rage (whether it be because we have collapsed and want to “rise up”, feel an empowerment, albeit a short-lived one that often comes with great destruction and consequence when it is a violent acting out). The latter is when someone “snaps” for having tolerated too much incoming violence. We are subject, at any given time to any of these, with how human we are. when this violence (or, as i call it, this “current of intense energy”) is acted out in “healthy” environments (therapy, art, with safe and non-judgmental others)…the current can move in a way that it needs to, and it can soften our hearts from this healthy expression. When it is acted out in chaotic and violent ways that are destructive, so much War begins. and the fall-out of that war, that power struggle.

So if there are ways we can invite each other to be responsible with our anger, I would encourage that. if we can see how stunning and powerful and important anger is….and how HUMAN it is, perhaps we can come up with ways to move it that won’t harm others, or ourselves. When we resist this stunning force of anger…it shows up in our reactivity, our acting out of revenge, our physical health declining, and our emotional health being compromised. All of these disconnections from god, others and ourselves leaves us feeling lonelier, angrier, more helpless and more disempowered. it simply doesn’t work. and often starts the irreparable war that we can loop through for years, at our own peril.

Often people feel as though they are “innately BAD” if they express or feel anger. This often came from us being taught that we WERE our behavior. We coupled those two together: if we did a behavior that was deemed “bad” then somehow WE were “bad”. as opposed to being innately good (i think our innate goodness is the ONE thing not subject to duality in this world, in that this does not mean that “if we are good, then therefore we must embrace its opposite and claim our “badness”…) and the behavior not working in any given context (example: hurling paint at someone at a paintball place is hilarious, hurling paint at a passerby in new york while you are painting a building is, well, not a cool behavior.—so if context is everything…then it would be safe to say that any given behavior in and of itself is SUBJECT to that context….and can’t inherently be good or bad. but rather a behavior that WORKS (given the context) or DOESN’T work. We can un-couple behavior from the person’s beingness.

–How this relates to anger is that anger is a feeling, a current of energy….it is wanting our attention…for us to see what need has not been met, what value system is being questioned or lived outside of, where have we repressed our view of how life is best lived….anger is attempting to get our attention. so to sublimate it is dangerous. T think a lot of people sublimate anger because of how we have seen it ACT OUT destructively. not because of the feeling itself.

A few ways to have anger be our friend:

1) find out what it is asking of you….
2) what way can i “move” this energy that won’t hurt others or myself?
3) what have i been sublimating or ignoring or resisting…the realization of which could liberate me toward making more empowered choices for myself and my loved ones, in areas i can control.
4) sometimes anger is also an invitation into seeing where we have control or where we don’t. which can beg for us to embrace our powerlessness and helplessness (tough ones!) in any given situation outside of our control. interestingly, surrendering often ushers us to a new perspective of what we CAN proactively do…what we can address that IS within our control. this rat in a cage feeling of rage born from helplessness is something we are often taught early in our lives. some people’s survival strategy is to barrel through and attempt to control the uncontrollable. others of us have the survival strategy that has us buckle and collapse at the first sign of challenge… BOTH of these strategies set us up for a lifetime of perpetual anger…

All this to say, that this violence we’re looking at is how we deal with this current of anger in our lives. and reactions to fear (whether appropriately interpreted or not).

If we can be responsible for these feelings (anger…and frankly ALL feelings…disappointment, terror etc) then we are in a better position to come up with how to channel them. Move them. So we can come out on the other side more awake, more loving, more conscious….more allowing of our precious human-ness.  This is what I think when I hear the word “responsible”. to me, it’s the capacity and willingness and ability I have to feel all my feelings all the way through…so that they don’t take control of me and my life, but rather, that i am their sponsor….their director….their guider. What a world we would live in if we all took how we were feeling, felt it…and came out on the other side with a mission or an action to take that was merciful and empowered and clear…rather than destructive, combative and separatist (which is truly the nightmare we all say we don’t want.)

[http://alanis.com/ask_alanis ]

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