Relentless: The Blog
This natural human emotion has been given a bad rap. Each and everyone of us has felt the vast expanse of this feeling, from annoyance to rage, yet for many there is a judgment that surrounds admitting our moments of anger.
Somewhere in the vast history of humanity anger has become synonymous with those possessing maniacal tendencies or a mental weakness. In the new wave of spiritual wisdom it seems to have fallen under the category of a troubled soul who should simply release the negativity and embrace the love. Yet here we stand, all of us at one time or another in the throws of this powerful emotion, with neither school of thought providing us with any way out as we sit in personal scrutiny and shame.
Where do we begin? Well, for starters accept that anger truly is a normal emotion that every human has experienced; it's as natural as breathing. It's okay to feel angry at times. Anger is a personal internal alarm that lets us know that we feel threatened or attacked in some way. Anger is not a tool to measure how kind or loving you are as an individual. It's simply an energetic alert that is saying, "Hey, somethings not right here."
Still I see you hang your head with an air of humiliation thinking, "If only she knew." If only I knew what you thought in those moments that you were immersed in outrage and resentment. Guess what? I do know some of the vicious and hurtful thoughts that you might have had because, like each one of us walking this Earth, I've had them too. Yes, I've had vile and malicious ideas and rantings banter about in my mind; some in relation to those I love most. But here's the thing, they are thoughts. Thoughts are just that, a pattern of words that has entered your awareness; a tool that is used to literally give voice to our displeasure. Thoughts do not define who you are or your worth, just like earwax on the end of your q-tip isn't an accurate representation of the miracle that is your body as a whole. Now you know, you are part of the same mean spirited club we've all visited on numerous occasions throughout our life.
But here's the thing, it's a club and not meant to be a place of residence any more than a dance club is meant to be where we live out our existence. It's not our home. What's the quickest way to ensure we never exit the doors of the fight club? Deny it, the feeling and the thoughts. "Isn't the expression of anger hurtful and destructive?" you ask. Yes, it can be for two distinct reasons.
1) Many of us will swallow our outrage. When never given an outlet the resentment simply builds and festers. Like any other energy, it needs an outlet and it needs to be owned or else it will reek havoc in our bodies and our lives. It's containment assures a future explosion. Denial only causes us to cling more tightly as we seek validation. When we give authentic expression to the anger we can then move forward into clarity and understanding, which ultimately allows us to step out of the hostility.
2) It is exactly how we choose to express that anger that is key to its healing potential. Those unloving and racing mental tirades are not meant to be an assault weapon towards those we feel have crossed some invisible line. Get them out, yes. Shout them loudly in your car or into a pillow. Call a trusted friend and ask them to simply hold the space to let you set your mental ramblings free. Journal. Punch the bed as you spew your thoughts. Own it, feel it, say it and then explore what might be the belief or pattern that is underlying the anger.
This step is where many of us get stuck. In contradiction to the shame and self judgment there is another part of us that enjoys feeling angry. We feel immensely powerful when we have any form of anger, bigger in our energies and our physicality. Momentary hatred permits us to feel safe, not exposed, as we keep others at a distance. Most times our animosity is a cover for a more vulnerable emotion. Perhaps it's feelings of rejection, disrespect or being unsupported. Exasperation and impatience can be the smoke and mirrors for a deeper truth that we are dodging or denying. Are you feeling unappreciated or not taking the time to care for your needs? Anger is an invitation to explore.
It is with the newfound insight that we can then convey what it is we wish to share with assertiveness and not aggression. "I feel (one word) and I need...." versus "You did.." and, "You are.." and, "You always.." Assertion is a respectful means of honestly sharing without demeaning ourselves or another.
There's a myriad of growth lying within the anger as well as below it. Invite its company so that you might better understand yourself and your needs, the intention always being insight and understanding, not entanglement and eternal embodiment. I promise you, the sooner you embrace and accept the feeling the more quickly and deeply you can and will connect to love and yourself.
Be well and happy.
April 27, 2015
The Blame Game
"They did the best they could." If I hear that phrase one more time I think my brain might spontaneously hemorrhage. I understand the intention and the face value of the saying, at any given point in time we are all making our way through life by using what we have at hand. We all have a personal battle and none of us is perfect- yada, yada,yada. Absolutely, amen and I couldn't agree more. While the saying is meant to offer a level of compassion and understanding for our fellow man, what it has instead become is society's form of denial- denial of self and our truth.
Almost every client that I've had the honor of supporting has come back to this phrase time and time again as they wrestle with the origins of their pain. It is my observation that people are using the well intended thought to deflect responsibility from those that hold the source of some of their struggle. In moments of vulnerability others will share their hurt, explore the whos, hows and whys of how it came to be, only to end it with the cliche- "But they did the best they could." Bam, the door slams shut and the person continues to sit mired in their wound. How so? Because by utilizing that phrase in that context they are refusing to validate themselves and their feelings. They might as well say, "But I don't have the right to feel that way. My feelings don't matter."
Au contraire. Feelings are our avenue for personal insight and it is when we honor them that we honor ourselves. It is precisely through the acknowledgement of our emotions and pain that we are actually able to begin the process of releasing them. Denial of these powerful teachers, and the individual that brought them to the forefront of our experience, only causes us to cling tighter to them. Identifying the person and original source of our trouble isn't about blaming another, but is instead holding them accountable for their role in the dynamic.
Blame seems to imply that we point a finger at another and contemptuously hold them hostage for the wrongs we feel they committed, as we remain imprisoned by that pain. Responsibility implies an understanding, it gives us information as to when it all began and helps us to get a grasp on the dynamics. It is with that insight that we can begin to heal, no longer confined and enmeshed in the trauma. Responsibility says, "Yes, this person and situation put this painful energy in motion and now that I know this I can begin to untangle and release myself."
Inevitably, a person will sit across from me and begin to defend the person that might have wounded them, most especially if it is a parent. They will say such things as, "It wasn't a horrible childhood" or, "It's not like they were a monster." This is black or white thinking, it is as if the person and the relationship we had with them can only be "good" or "bad". That train of thought denies that fact that all human encounters entail a wide variety of events, some great and some pretty crappy. Calling out the difficulties doesn't negate the instances of joy. It's okay to feel gratitude for the love and joy that may have been shared, and it's also authentic to look at the flip side of the coin. It is not unkind or ungrateful to own the whole picture; what it is, is honest. And it is with that honesty that we shall be lead to the integrated wholeness that each of us seeks to create.
Be well and happy.
April 20, 2015
The Forgotten Forgiveness
It suddenly occurred to me this week that so much focus and attention is given to the forgiveness of others but very little is directed to the self. I even made a posting on my FB page as the awareness popped into my mind. I'd venture to say that most of the "shoulds" surrounding forgiveness involve relinquishing the chains with which we bind others to the hurt and pain we believe they caused, almost never is there a mention of the importance of forgiving ourselves in turn. Surely we deserve the same consideration, no?
If we forgive another for ourselves, not solely for their comfort and relief, it would seem to that forgiveness of self is a delightful means of double dipping: In forgiving another you release them and yourself from the animosity and hurt. In forgiving yourself you now release the same emotions and because there is no "them", only yourself, you've set that aspect of your being free as well. Double the pleasure, that's how I see it. But how do we pull that one off?
Well friends, we travel to a place few like to go, our wounds. Yes, I hear your screams simply at the mention of the word. Wounds have become synonymous with the internal sewage best left buried in the deepest, darkest recesses of ourselves lest they create an unpleasant stench in our present day. I've got news for you, unless you've shown a light into the depths of your personal septic tank and have begun pumping out some of the shit (Yeah, I said it.), then your life today is overflowing with the past's remnants. Eventually folks, the tank will reach its limits and can hold no more, and that's where our lives become messy as we wade through the muck that lay at our feet. (Hang in there with me. I had no plan to discuss excrement, I am only going where I'm being lead.)
What does all this talk of waste have to do with self forgiveness? That's a valid question. Often times it's that icky goo that holds the key to two different parts of the forgiveness equation. First and foremost, if we dig deep enough we can find the emotion or belief that fueled our misdeeds. We can say, "Oh, so you're the little bugger that tripped me up," and with that knowledge we can explore within ourselves what that part of us needs to heal or feel heard. With this new level of awareness and self compassion comes the likelihood that we will be better equipped to not repeat the same mistakes, or at the very least catch ourselves before we've fallen too far.
In the second part of the equation, we might discover that it is that same gunk that holds the answer as to why we don't or won't forgive ourselves. Somewhere in that cesspool is a self defeating or self loathing mantra that denies us access to the freedom of self forgiveness. Again, once brought into the light of day we can begin to explore how and when we owned that message and begin to question its validity. Once we challenge that internal naysayer we have the opportunity to look upon ourselves with love, no longer maintaining our personal crucifixion.
What does all that equal? Self compassion and new found self forgiveness, of course.
While I do know and understand the value of forgiving another, I feel as though forgiveness of self is sacred ground that we all deserve to walk upon. And if a touch of humor can take us out of our wastelands and into an internal holy land, I'm all for it.
Be well and happy.
April 13, 2015
Calm within the Storm
This past week I felt a storm raging within as I stumbled across varying points of view regarding the latest cultural debate. I had plenty of things to say to those I deemed ludicrous in their belief structure, ranting within my own mind and later, to my oldest son and a friend that shared my point of view. I desperately wanted to blast people for the fault in their logic. But something kept holding me back. "Don't," is all I kept hearing. "Don't do it, Kellie."
I back down with great difficulty, most especially if I detect an air of exclusion towards others or an unwillingness to try to take in a larger picture. I often find myself saddling my war horse, armed and ready to bring justice to those I feel are being treated unfairly. This time, however, I was being told to exit the battlefield. I'm not a fan of retreating and I felt the fibers of my being drawn taut as I was pulled in opposite directions, which I saw only as quit or fight.
The same social media that drew me into this quicksand, Facebook, also offered me a ticket out. In my news feed was a post that discussed the need to stop fruitlessly trying to calm the storm, but offered instead that my role was to simply calm myself. Aha!
I instantly understood that my role this time was to withdrawal from the contentious energy and remain a beacon of stability and centeredness, that was how I could be of service. My previous mindset was actually exacerbating the conflict, having an opposite effect of what I had hoped to do, which was to end the debate with what I thought was clear and loving insight but now saw it would only be perceived as challenging. Be the change, as Gandhi suggested.
I must admit, it was a tough personal conflict. But the more I changed my focus to calm, the more I understood my importance in the dynamics playing out and saw that by holding that space I was actually a key component in the shift that would ultimately play out in this cultural contention. I had become a bouy that would allow us as a whole to rise above.
I continue to bob up and down in the waves as the skirmish continues but there is now a peace in observing and maintaining my rank. "Are you sure?" inquires my ego, "I've got some really valid points to make." With a gentle smile I say, "I'm sure."
As if to bolster my knowing the universe guides me yet again with one last Facebook posting. I'll share it with you so that it might serve you as well when you feel your mighty warrior don its armor, all the while knowing that this time, it's your inner monk that is best suited for the job.
"When we say to you, make peace with where you are, we want you to make peace with where everyone is, we want you to make peace with the world events; we want you to make peace with where your friend is in relationship with where your friend wants to be. We want it to be all right with you where anybody is." -Abraham-Hicks
Be well and happy.
April 5, 2015
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