“How could she” my head raged, I could feel tears stinging in my eyes. Blown off completely and the journey hadn’t even gotten underway. “It’s not good enough” I murmured to myself walking past the parked cars. My head was spinning, had that conversation even taken place?
As I got in the car, the anger welled up inside me. Driving home an email was already being scripted in my head, tears flowing alternately with more words of anger. By some grace, somewhere inside I knew I had catapulted out of the present moment and into a vortex of destruction.
But the pull to write the email was too strong. I knew it should wait, but I started typing. Each word crafted to convey the indignance I was feeling. In the moment of feeling powerless, this felt better, I was taking back power and climbing the emotional scale at least.
Then, the voice inside cut through, the recipient’s name got deleted. No use sending it right now anyway, she wouldn’t pick it up for hours. I would only stew, no doubt regretting things I had missed or wanted to say differently. Resolved to send it later, I saved it as a draft.
Finally, I put the DVD in the player and began my weekly yoga session. With Kim Eng lulling me into the present moment, the pull of the anger began to dissipate. By the end of the first posture I felt more clarity.
“Of course she is pushing me away”, I thought, “She must also be overwhelmed; almost 30 new children to look after and they are all out in the bush each day.” The bush, the fresh air making them tired. Then I see it more clearly; it’s not the bush.
Immediately a whole other draft starts to form in my mind, giving context to the anxieties playing out at home for these young children. Tuckman’s model of group development came to mind: forming, storming, norming, performing. My daughter’s words ring in my head “Everyone is bossing me”, classic storming.
A helpful guide for anxious parents like me. Would it be helpful? I wondered, or am I teaching them to suck eggs? Then back to the present moment, breathing, more yoga postures.
Only recently I realised what a gift I had for words, and a gift for weaving together the threads often unseen all around. When a question arises, I withdraw inwards, find my inner peace and the answer often emerges.
More yoga postures follow, an anticipation starting to build about the writing that is about to flow. Soon afterwards, the ‘helpful’ guide for parents is dispatched and the original draft email deleted. A win, I feel elated. Anger still comes, it even had a lot of momentum this time, yet I rode the wave and tore myself away.
Yet if I’m honest, my ‘helpful’ guide still had conditions attached, I still wanted an outcome from it, albeit a softer one. I was seeking validation and input. The email I got in reply was one of outward gratitude, yet reflected my own underlying energy, not quite firing on all cylinders.
Then it struck me that the things that rile me the most arise out of the expectations I put on people. Expectations that are born out of things that seem natural to me, like good communication, giving people context and taking them on a journey. Our gifts are often so obvious we miss them.
A discussion with the principal of my daughter’s school recently had left me feeling out of sorts. When I pointed out a lot of parental anxiety could be avoided just by tweaking the language that was being used about a particular topic, I felt quite patronized when she enthusiastically remarked how good my suggested phrase sounded as an alternative.
But I quickly came to realise, through the conversations that have taken place since, she was not patronizing me at all; the alternative phrase hadn’t ever crossed their mind. So a helpful parental handout was born; that one unconditional, I had no attachment to an outcome and was seeking nothing in return.
Then as I wrote this article, and the words started to flow, I finally came into full alignment with myself; mind, heart and spirit all flowing together. Afterwards I wrote a follow up email to the response I got, this time from an unconditional place. Next time (for I am sure there will be one) I shall wait longer, until I know I am firing on all cylinders, to press send.
There is still a voice in me that says “Who do you think you are?” but I now also hear another voice, one that knows who I am. I like the version of me who can give from an unconditional place much better, that version inspires and uplifts.
If you can become aware of the things that make you angry, over time that awareness will drive you to new, more healthy and productive behaviours. More than that, it will give you a gift; it will teach you more about who you are, your natural talents revealed.
I have to write now, or to speak the things I sense so strongly. The need is as strong as the need to breathe. When I can’t express myself from a point of alignment, I feel suffocated.
Perhaps in a moment of anger you will ask what it is teaching you about who you really are. You were born with talents and traits that are so uniquely you, can you imagine what your world would be like if you were fully expressing them? Use your anger to point you to your gifts, the momentum of your life will change as your reason for being begins to emerge.
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