There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the centre of her forehead. When she was good, she was very good indeed. But when she was bad, she was horrid.
My best friend growing up used to call me the Queen of Bad Moods. “I AM NOT,” I’d retort and stalk away darkly. I’d fume and fester and eventually have to admit to myself (but never to her) that I felt like a mouldering, toxic pile of refuse... much of the time.
My limited ability to deal with this dark, unacceptable side of myself included unhelpful encouragement like, “pull up your socks”, “chin up girl”, “pull it together”, “keep it together”, “stop it”, “snap out of it”, “let it go”, “get on with it” ...all of them designed to cajole my mood from unhappy, back to the bright sunny side that everyone, including myself, seemed to like better.
The result of this approach? ...a burning and violent fire of anger. I'd feel intensely pissed off!
I’d eventually contain and douse the flames and then feel ashamed for not being strong enough to control my angry, fearful, sad, bad feelings; ashamed because I not only felt miserable, but had probably also behaved badly and lashed out, stomped, scowled, howled, been rude and out of control during my tempest...all of which were "unbecoming" and opposite the image of the loveable, well-behaved child I wanted to maintain. And then I'd feel guilty that I had disappointed everyone and reprimand myself. “You really think you deserve to feel good? You hateful, ugly girl“.
...and the cycle would continue.
I eventually fully embodied the truth I’d learned. There were good parts of me and bad parts of me and the latter needed to be eradicated, annihilated, starved, blamed, shamed and punished out of me. A full blown eating disorder ensued. As I had experienced and had reinforced in almost every conflict I witnessed around me, I too believed that if you rewarded the good and punished the bad, goodness and happiness would prevail. So every time I felt some uncomfortable (bad) feelings, I would follow the now ingrained standard protocol and just apply more abuse. Like a cancer growing in my body, the bad part that nobody liked needed to be killed off so that I could just feel good.
But my pain just grew and twisted.
I eventually found myself completely imprisoned by the blackness of my own castigating mind. Cycles of anger, self-abuse, depression and mind-numbing indifference became my new normal. I had no fight left in me. At 18 years of age, I felt out of options and decided to kill myself to release myself from this relentless, persecuting agony.
It turns out it wasn't time yet. Death wasn't the solution to my life. Life had another plan for me.
Anger is the first and healthiest response to an old (sometimes really old) way of thinking. When the expansiveness of the human spirit feels limited by rigidity in the mind, the friction created by the containment of this big energy, (like that of a surging river forcing open its bank), generates the heat of anger. Something is trying to open up. A new and creative thought, path, direction, idea or perspective wants to be born.
This healing emotional frequency, corresponding to the Chinese Medicine element of wood, is a powerful creative/destructive energy that pushes sap upward in trees in the spring. It bursts open the new leaves and drives the dance of the birds and the bees. It is the wild, roaring wind that shakes down and clears out all the old, dead branches and makes way for new growth.
It clears the cobwebs from our mind. It stimulates sexual and sensual creative energy to clear out old patterns and blockages... to open our hearts. This is why the make-up sex after a great fight feels so good.
Your anger is trying to break through something in YOUR mind.
But most of us are terrified of anger so we distort it through our judgment of it, project it through blame, and lock it down through shame and guilt. So it cannot break through the old, limited view of life it is trying to expand. It folds inward on itself instead and perpetuates the cycle of abuse.
So perhaps you can see why our culture’s fearful judgements about anger and the resulting focus on behaviour might perpetuate the divide between our bodies and minds. Suppressing anger separates our wholeness into "good" parts and "bad" parts, and pits them against each other.
This conflict is within our self.
We play this conflict out within our closest relationships, with our colleagues and neighbors, communities and at the global level too. It is safe to say that more military spending, stronger corrective measures, and further punitive legislation, while potentially giving us a temporary release of vindication, a rush of victory and experience of safety, have never and will never result in more love, empathy and compassion. This fearful thinking results in greater defenses, deeper divides, retaliation, hatred and suffering. It ends up looking like wars against terror, fights against cancer and anti-bullying campaigns. This truly is crazy.
Anything "against" something else is a projection and reflection of this split in our own psyche and an attempt to annihilate and defeat the "bad" people, person, or part of someone... and our self.
War is driven by fear. If you take the position of being "anti-war", just feel into that one for a moment.
But how do we reconcile this split? Which side will lay their guns down first?
In truth, neither.
The shift comes from a third perspective that is not available to the victim/bully, fear-based, warring, fighting, duality, thinking part of our brains. In fact, it doesn’t come from our thinking brains at all. It comes from our feeling hearts.
When unrestricted, our emotions and moods parallel the rhythm of the cosmos. They swing up and down...like the pattern of heartbeats displayed on an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine. The ups balance the downs...and from this perspective, all of them are good. And healthy. I sometimes hear clients express that they are searching for balance in their lives, and by this they mean nothing too high and nothing too low. I can empathize. But a flat line isn’t the sign of a healthy heart...
How do we reach our hearts? How do we remember to love? How do we remember that we are love?
Giving ourselves and each other permission to feel...everything...is the gateway...
And we need to be mentored by love, openness and expansion, by someone who is already living more often from their hearts (which doesn't mean someone who is always peaceful...that's a flat line), mentored through a practice of opening our minds ...like yoga and meditation, mentored by intelligent and dynamic systems like BodyTalk and BreakThrough, through books, music, dance, art, literature, play, workshops, therapy, conversation, moving our bodies, connection with nature, connection with each other, and by grace.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not the other way around. We are powerful, creative, sexual, spiritual beings guided by the laws of nature, not limited by the fearful rules of our descendants. To open our hearts, we need to be able to feel ...and connect personally and directly with the divine laws of the universe so we can remember our truth...who we REALLY are.
I AM the Queen of bad moods. And I’m the King of good moods. These are the two essential sides of my mind that used to battle each other over who would rule. Now they are both in service to my heart. They are a dynamic duo with healthy doses of ups and downs, including outrageous failures, terrifying depths, and wild histrionics, but always followed by buckets full of forgiveness, love and compassion.
Where once there was a war, there now is a dance.