Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Anger As Healing Tool

Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into a power which can move the whole world. William Shenstone

Anger is a complex critter. It can kill you or it can save your life, depending upon how you use it. When it's projected outward it becomes destructive. Society tells us not to get angry, and if we do, we're supposed to suck it up. As if stuffing it down somewhere inside is going to dissolve it. When turned inward it causes ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks, also destructive. So what causes it?

Anger is often our response to a thought, idea or belief that we're being threatened by someone or something--look what they did to me--or that we've fallen short of our own standards--I'm so stupid. I should have done better. This perceived threat may be associated with self-esteem issues, our need to feel secure and safe, loss of something tangible in our life, personal exposure, our own imperfection, or something as simple as a need to be right. For some, being wrong means invalidation of self, but being right provides a false sense of power. Have you ever known someone who couldn't stand to be wrong?

Anger seems like a no-win situation, but there's another side to this phenomenon. Anger is painful, and pain is useful. It tells us there's something inside that needs our attention. You can't make others be what you want them to be, and you can't make yourself perfect, but you can change your responses with inner work.

While you're working on inside changes, you need a way to stop anger from taking over in the first place. You know how it first grabs you in the pit of your stomach. That's when you say stop and re-focus your attention with affirming statements. I don't need to be right all the time; I'm fine just like I am; this can be fixed; that other person is just a big bag of wind. Use whatever fits to stop the feeling before it becomes full blown.

Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear. Zora Neale Hurston

Allow anger to tell you what there is in you that needs attention. Then begin your search for answers. The better you know and understand yourself, the better you're able to deal with destructive anger.
1. Spend some quiet time writing letters to yourself with questions: What am I afraid of? What in me feels threatened? What in me needs changing?
2. Write down whatever answers you get.
3. Now write a new scenario confronting each answer with positive descriptions of your true self. Emphasize peace, strength, wisdom, power etc.
4. Release the fear and create a positive you.

Anger is pure energy, and you can use it to your advantage. (I do my best house-cleaning when I'm angry) Use it wisely, and it will serve you well. Allow it to heal your fears and help you grow in truth.

I wish you peaceful encounters.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Open The Package

You don't know what's in the package until you open it. Unknown

When you receive a package do you spend time examining it, shaking it, and guessing what's inside? Do you assume what the package might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about the contents? Well, this is what we sometimes do with life situations, and then we miss something wonderful because the situation doesn't come wrapped in a pretty package. We quickly judge something and assume it's not worthwhile, not what we want, so we discard it without looking past appearances. It might be wise to take a deeper look.

Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by. John Sales

Many years ago, I was searching for a job in my field, but the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail--definitely not what I had in mind. But I took the job until I could find something I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my assumptions and left for something else.

Another time I had a supervisor who seemed to push my buttons every time we encountered each other. This package was certainly not wrapped in pretty paper. But I took the time to examine my own attitude and look beyond our differences. I was quite surprised to find we had a lot in common, much upon which to build a good relationship. As time passed, we became friends, and I remember her with a warm heart instead of with my initial assumption.

There are many times in life when the people, places and situations we encounter are quite different from our first impression. Things aren't always what they seem. It's often worth our time and effort to look past the wrapping, open the package without judgment and find what's really there. At least we won't have to look back and wonder what might have been.

I wish you happy surprises.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Take The Time

Last night I made a big pot of vegetable beef soup, because my body said the time for potato salad and cold cuts has passed, a reminder that a new cycle is beginning. The fall season is a time when nature seems to pull back, a time of replenishing to meet the next growing season in the spring. Days are growing shorter, bears are readying for hibernation, birds think about flying south, animals are growing their winter coats, leaves are turning to yellow and orange, and we humans are being told to slow down. Nature knows what to do, but we don't seem to hear our inner wisdom.

I live in Florida, so I would think the rules for seasonal changes wouldn't apply to me. But our bodies have an inside clock that thrives on rhythm, and although that rhythm may vary in different climates, we are a part of that universal cycle affecting all of life. Everything is made of energy, and when energy is spent, we need reminders to take our attention from summer's busy activities to the quiet within where we can take a slower pace while still fulfilling what is ours to do each day. Nature is a beautiful reminder of this transition, like my craving hot soup.

During the summer's longer days, our attention is more focused on the outer. But now is the time for some quiet inside reflection on where we've been and where we want to go. Insight we gain during quiet times leads to a better understanding of our inner self and promotes changes for a more positive future.

It's so easy to spin the same wheels in the same manner, and find we're just treading water. We need these periods of reflection to grow into more of what we want to be. Take some time to slow down and allow each cycle of life to unfold a more clear and meaningful direction.

I wish you time to be.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hanging On To Stuff

Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own. Bruce Lee

I just finished helping a friend pack everything she owned to move to another city. She's alone, but the 26 foot truck was packed full, with left-overs packed solid in her car. And this was after her moving sale. Wow! The experience was so enlightening, I'm now ready to back up and take a look at my own life. I was reminded of how attached we become to stuff we no longer need or use, and how reluctant we are to part with any of it.

I think of Grandma's favorite tea set, Uncle Joe's old baseball cap, a lamp I bought at a garage sale that didn't match anything, the skirt I wore when I had a 23 inch waist, and mounds of stuff that's entirely useless to anyone, especially me. Even my file cabinets are overflowing with receipts 10 years old. So why do some of us hang on? (God bless those who don't)

It comes down to attachment, and we delude ourselves into thinking we can't live without it. Maybe someday I'll need it? Memories of loved ones are related to it? I get a strange sense of security from having stuff? My identity is tied up in it? Who know for sure? What I know now is that most of it has to go. I'm still reluctant though, because I remember a time when there was some unclaimed property coming to me from the state if I could prove that I lived at a certain address many years previously. Well, wouldn't you know. I happened to have a tax return from when I lived at that very address, and I received some money. See why I don't want to throw anything away? Hey. What if I need it.

Lame excuses. Life is not about things. It's about making memories that warm our hearts in the cold times. It's about discovering who and what we are and learning and growing into more of what we want to be. It's about finding love, peace and meaning within and sharing it with others and our world. We are beautiful creations living in a world that needs our daily love and attention. Life is what matters--an adventure to be lived. Attachment to things takes needed energy and space, so don't be afraid to let go. Cleaning out what you no longer need makes room for the Universe to bless you with all that you do need. And that's a pretty good trade off.

I wish you space in your life to grow.