July 15

Anger: An Exorcism

Five years ago I started working on my fantasy fiction series, the Equal Night Trilogy, combining concepts I learned about mysticism, women’s history and the power of the human spirit. At the time I started researching, I was turning forty and had never studied women’s history except the watered down version we’re taught in public school. Like the majority of kids, I learned about the suffragettes and the fight for voting rights and that was pretty much it.

Whether it’s a judgment on my character or a function of just being a kid, I never thought to ask why were women considered less than before then? Being raised in western culture we take what it means to be a woman at face value until a point in our lives when something comes across our path that ignites a fire. For me, it was the research I did for my books. When I started to dive deep into the topic of the systematic extermination of women as early as 4000 B.C. by Indo-European conquerors and as late as the Witch Trials in the 16th Century, I was horrified, saddened and angry.

That’s ancient history, you say? Yes. But what’s buried isn’t lost. I had uncovered a manhole that led to a vast infrastructure that the very existence of our society rests upon. The explosion of anger in our country that started with the Trump election, and continued with the Weinstein breakup of Hollywood, and the #MeToo movement, were all opportunities to shine a spotlight on our warped culture that allowed such behavior until a tipping point resembling a nuclear bomb. My research only highlighted a history that explained the catalyst of the last three years as the pendulum now ready to swing the other way.

Looking back, I moved through the anger a bit too slowly. Along the way, I realized if I stayed too long, anger could become a habit and morph into victim mentality. No matter the injustice – the plight of women, your passive-aggressive mother-in-law, or the impatient jerk that blew his horn the second the light turned green, lingering in anger is a trap that depletes your energy. The secret is to allow the anger to have a voice but not stay so long it makes a home.

I’ve honed the process now to a point where I can move through the emotion in a matter of minutes, if the trigger affects me at all. Of course, when it comes to the transgression…size matters.

The following are 9 tips I’ve mastered to move through anger to reclaim your energy and return to living that fabulous life of yours:

Acknowledge It-we’re getting better as a society at accepting fault, not as a character flaw, but as being human, so the first step is simple acknowledgement. The knee-jerk reactions of “I’m ok” or “nothing” are no longer acceptable answers when we’ve been done wrong. Stepping away from the situation to acknowledge and sort out your emotions is always helpful before blurting out word warfare.

Witness It-Anger wants an audience. When dealing with the bigger traumas in life, i.e., childhood wounds, divorce, betrayals, etc., support from others is vital. Vent to friends. Better yet, vent to strangers, which is often easier. Workshops that help you move through anger inducing experiences are enormously therapeutic. This type of sharing releases large pockets of trapped energy within the body. And sharing your pain with those that are going through similar experiences lessens its grip on your life.

Channel It-Are you a writer? Painter? Can you be for a little while? Channeled anger is great fuel for passionate work. Like an explosion, it doesn’t last long but if you can catch it by the tail and put it into a project, it will enliven your creative work. Note, if it’s personal writing, lock it down or burn it. No one’s going to understand why you ripped them a new one with your rage, and they don’t need to. This is an exercise for you.

Express It-After your “acknowledge it” phase, there is a window to take action. If it’s a collective trauma, take steps to see the change you want for our world, our daughters. A record number of women are running for office now. If it’s personal trauma, heartfelt communication isn’t always easy but an important skill to master for long-term relationships. If it’s the jerk at the stoplight, send him a karmic ticket and let it go.

Resist It-I have to say I didn’t understand the Resist Movement. One of the first tenants from Buddhism 101 is “what you resist persists.” But then, I had the a-ha of relating it to exercise. Resistance via weights during a workout makes your muscles grow and makes you stronger. So many women are starting from a point where they need to gain strength before moving on. The resistance movement helps here- to gain strength from the support of like-minded peers. This lesson is about practicing non-judgment. We are all at different points in the race.

Forgive It – over and over and over again. At some point you gotta get sick of hearing yourself complain! Only in the last few years have I found my voice to properly vent to those that have done me wrong. That means I can no longer harbor anger and revenge fantasies on those wrongs from 5+ years ago. I didn’t have the voice then. So my forgiveness is twofold, to forgive those that hurt me and forgive myself for not expressing it, then or now, because frankly now is way too late! This is where a solid spiritual practice comes in handy to help with our next tip…

Cut It-You are an energetic being and so is every other person on the planet. When there’s anger between two people it generates negative energy, and negative energetic cords. The word discord is appropriate here. The definition of discord is: lack of harmony between two persons. And what we’re doing to rectify this is cutting these energetic cords. You can do this practice as many times as needed. Google this (energetic cord cutting) it works.

Break It- Another spiritual practice that helps release energy stuck in your system to free you to move forward is breaking the contract. This is for when, no matter how hard you try, you can’t let it go. I’ve been there-it usually involves close family. If that’s the case and you still harbor anger you’re tired of carrying, you can do the following as many times as needed until you feel a shift. It will come.

In a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed close your eyes and take five slow deep breaths. Picture the person in your mind, with the firm intention that you are connecting to them on a soul level. Repeat the following out loud:

{name of person} I’m sorry we can’t make our relationship work. We had a contract to help each other grow that I no longer want to continue. I officially break the soul contract between us. It is null and void. I send you love and forgive you and myself.

Try that as many times as you need and pay attention to your energy. Don’t expect perfection the first time but you will feel a shift, a lightness.

Laugh at it-We have gotten so tightly wound around our anger in this country we’ve forgotten how to take a joke. Laughter is built into our biology as a coping mechanism that is vastly underutilized. Let’s resurrect it with what we ingest through our senses-turn off the violent dramas and turn on the comedies. Watch funny cat videos, create your own.

How you tackle anger is a choice only you can make. The power is yours. Most people work from an old set of tools when confronted with discord. They either lash out or stuff the feelings down to ooze out later at the most inappropriate time. But now, not you! Now you have a fresh set of tools the next time you experience discord. But if by some chance you forget these tools and give the guy at the stoplight the finger, go back to tip #6 or 7 or better yet 9! Remember it’s all a game of life and you decide how you want to play it.