Lessons from a Hurricane (5) Uncovering Anger

Lessons from a Hurricane (5)

Uncovering Anger

empty ice creamAfter I cleaned up the mess of ice cream containers that surrounded me …… It doesn’t take and Adult Anne long to realize that ice cream simply doesn’t solve any problems or clean up any hurricane-like mess! Under the hurricane mess and under the mess of ice cream I found anger.

I was amazed by the size and depth of the anger that was within me. How could this be? I’ve been a ‘conscious’ Christian for over forty years. I’ve done years of internal work and hours upon hours of reflective healing prayer. How could there possibly be so much anger still within me? At times it felt like there was an underground river of anger that was feeding my soul. It was the ugly, painful, sleep disruptive kind of anger. Do you know that kind?anger

The anger felt like an invader. I did the work that I know to do when I encounter a persistent intrusion like that. I meditated, prayed, journalled, sought a therapist, saw my spiritual director, drew pictures, took lots of deep breaths, found a friend – all the things that I imagine many of you know to do. This anger was persistent. It would disappear some days and I’d think I’d licked it only to have it appear again and again. I was hounded by it for months.

I learnt that I’m loved by God, even with the anger. I learnt to live with anger, not ruled by it but acknowledging it’s presence, not overwhelmed by it but recognizing that because of my history,  because of my temperament, anger is a companion. And, it’s worth repeating, I’m loved by God. I’m loved in my unfinished state. This persistent anger was humbling. It drew me closer to God. My need for God’s presence, my need for tenderness and compassion, deepened. My wonder at God’s willingness to be close to me when I didn’t want to be close to myself quite took my breath away. How spectacular, how stunning is the Holy One.

The hurricane humbled me. At least it humbled me a little bit, enough to know there is more humbling ahead.

Amazing what a wind storm can reveal. Amazing what a wind storm can heal. When has revealing and healing happened in your world?

With love and prayers

Anne

Community Leader (Canada)

Advertisements

Lessons from a Hurricane (4)

Lessons from a Hurricane (4)

First Responses

 On my way home after the ‘hurricane’ first blew through my life, I found myself wanting a stiff drink! Now, that is not my usual way of dealing with tough times!I went home and ate ice cream instead!

ice cream and spoon

 

 

 

In a perfect world I would have recognized that reaction right away as an early warning sign that the hurricane had been substantial. I was retreating to old childhood patterns of coping in difficult circumstances. I didn’t drink whiskey as a child but I sure ate a lot of ice cream, cake, cookies and popcorn! Clearly something had been touched inside me at a very deep level.empty ice cream

Do you know your childhood responses in difficult circumstances? It is really helpful to become knowledgeable about them. Simply name them, not judging, usually with compassion for your little child who was hurting. Get to know them so you can see when you’re being reactive like a 5 or 10 year old.

Some of our common childhood responses:

  • Eating
  • Pouting
  • Going silent
  • Hiding
  • Shouting

And what they might look like as we’ve refined them in our adulthood……

  • Eating
    • We may still eat, or not eat, as well as drink to excess or any other selection of drugs/stimulants/depressants. We can be quite creative.
    • We can also overwork, over exercise, over shop, over play, over-a-whole host of things.
  • Pouting
    • An adult pout can appear as soft or very strong passive/aggressive behaviour: ‘Oh—did I forget to…..’ or a very strong controlling action to stop someone else.
  • Going silent
    • We’re capable of being silent for long periods of time. It may be verbal silence but can also be emotional silence or withdrawal.
  • Hiding
    • We may not slip off to a bedroom closet to hide but we can find our caves, our offices, our gyms, our work, our long walks, our games and TV shows to disappear into. Again we can also hide our emotions and not allow them to be available. We can become unwilling to be ‘found’ in the game of hide and seek.
  • Shouting
    • Sometimes we still shout! Sometimes in a private place that feels very good, but in company, letting our anger loose on someone isn’t helpful. We need to do repair work when that happens.

These are some of childhood reactions that I know. Do you have some to add?

May we all be more aware of them and kinder to ourselves when they are triggered. Take it as an opportunity to find someone who is safe, who can hear your wounds and help heal them.

Anne

Community Leader (Canada) Contemplative Fire