The need to be right, to blame, to shout, to scream,
To bitch about the unfairness of it all.
Tightness in my chest, my belly, my throat, my jaw,
My hands curling into fists.
Underneath it all, a little girl curled into herself,
Crying silently, feeling vulnerable and scared.
Clutching her heart,
Feeling it break and shatter.
Wondering when this too shall pass…
And it will… I remember being at my first yoga teacher training immersion and my teacher, Baron Baptiste saying those four words to me as I stood, microphone in hand, tears streaming down my face in front of a hundred fellow trainees, stuck in a story of unworthiness. In that moment I told myself I hated him; I hated what he had reduced me to. In retrospect I hated the barriers I had erected around myself, that he had helped me identify, and I really didn’t know who I was without them. As my teacher challenged me, they began to crumble and with it I crumbled. Who am I without those barriers?
Over recent weeks things came to light in my life, which sent me spiraling into anger. The rage I felt physically in my body, and with my emotions was so strong I couldn’t see straight. At first I covered it up with sharing the story and laughing it off. When that didn’t work I told the story with disdain, in a bitchy, you know I AM RIGHT! kind of way. I was trying to justify my place in the situation and make myself feel better about it all. I was trying to feel less rejected. And then I was called on it, lovingly, gently and with compassion; “I feel overwhelmed with this, can I suggest we walk in silence and ground ourselves…and then revisit it...”
In the silence, the tears came. Behind the anger there was hurt, betrayal, heartbreak, fear, loss and rejection. I also saw that in wanting to be the bigger person, I felt that I wasn’t standing up for myself and my experience of what had happened. I was reduced to being aged four again, feeling scared and in trouble and in that moment I made a choice to stay quiet, to numb myself to the feelings of fear, of frustration, of hurt and to switch it all off so it wouldn’t affect me. This is my pattern. Switch it off and I won’t be affected by it. I won't feel it, whatever IT is.
What happens when I numb out? It intensifies inside and so when something triggers me it comes out the exact way I didn’t want it to. It comes out as a story full of venom. To release the tension I then try to brush it away nervously, knowing that I haven’t allowed myself to feel the hurt underneath it all. It’s too hard. It’s like my heart cracking open again and again until there is nothing left but emptiness.
There is also the sense of failure. I should know all these things. I coach clients’ everyday on how to move through anger, hurt, fear, and loss. So I should just take my own advice right?! This is why I believe we need to be in the work with our own healer. Just because we work in healing doesn’t mean we don’t feel hurt, we don’t have anger, we don’t feel fear, and in fact as one of my lovely friends said the other day, often we actually judge it and ourselves more. Why? Awareness! We see it and we watch ourselves as we spiral out of control and grip tightly to keep it all in check. What if people see that I don’t have it all figured out, that I am not fixed?
“Stop trying to ‘fix’ yourself; you’re not broken! You are perfectly imperfect and powerful beyond measure.”
I struggled to write this. Part of me didn’t want to admit to the emotions within myself to the outside world even though people close to me could already see it. And then somewhere deep inside I heard a voice;
“Honesty is one of your values. Who better than to be honest with than yourself? You are not infallible. You fail and you learn so you grow. Be honest. Share it.”
In my experience the path to healing is love. It begins with self-care and self-love. Self-love means embracing who we are, warts and all. It's feeling the anger and the hurt, acknowledging it's there, that it exists. It’s full acceptance. It’s forgiveness. And this comes when we make a choice. I can choose to be a victim, to stay in the anger and feel more and more frustrated and bitter as the days go on or I can choose to accept and take responsibility. Everytime I feel the anger rise I can step into my yoga practice, my daily devotion and gratitude. I can choose to dance to my favourite song and shake it off, to look up and smile at the sun, to connect and laugh with friends and family.
It also means surrendering. I can surrender my need to be right. (Yes I have said this before and no doubt I will say it many more times)
As these tools begin to shift the anger, I begin to move into forgiveness towards the situation and myself. It is then there is closure in sight. I identify all that the anger has shown me and move into healing and ultimately freedom.
“Pain, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, need not be a constant in your life. You can always choose to develop a different relationship to it, so if you cannot walk free of it completely, you can liberate yourself from the suffering you’ve attached to it. That is a walk of freedom.”
If you have tools to move through anger, frustration and fear, share them!
And as a side note as we come towards St Valentine’s Day and celebrating love, this year make it about celebrating all you love about you, even the things you mightn’t see as lovable.
Be perfectly imperfect and embrace all you are!
Walk in Beauty x
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