It is startling to acknowledge the level of unchecked anger that has been allowed to convalesce in my body. Just as many of you, I have allowed a certain amount of novocaine to seep in and numb it all out. IT being the pandemic, racial and social injustice, political unrest, addiction to confirmation bias via unchecked opinion, economic uncertainty, divisiveness, bigotry and hatred trending as it lures isolated, backroom rhetoric into the daylight for others to only confirm that I am right, they are wrong.
It’s a lot. It’s even more a lot when we are also juggling the other intricacies of our private lives.
So this is just a check-in with whom ever needs to read these words. The only reason it feels so visceral, so horrible and hopeless is the disconnect. The disconnect has always been here, but we didn’t have all these amplifiers plugged in at once turned up to 11! And what happens when you turn everything up to 11? IT is not sustainable. Marty McFly will eventually be airborne as he strikes that power chord and blows Doc’s speaker, dismantling the space completely. Let’s just hope we get that Hollywood-safe-landing, with that take-note, sunglass tipping iconic “whoa” in that old comfy chair that represents the universal human number one need; safety.
It is what we do now in the eleventh hour of all.this.stuff. Mmmmmm…eleventh hour eh? Sounds kinda hopeful Sarah…this could go on for like…
Ya, sorry to interrupt you and your downer reality-checking there subconscious, but I choose hope. Honestly it’s easier for me to choose hope than abandon shit and go back into my trauma bunker. I can only eat so much canned tuna, alright?! And I like canned tuna.
So in this reality where I am writing these words and you are reading them, this is what my conscious choice looks like. I have anger and I have hope. I have fear and I have love. Why is this so hard for all of us (humanity)? Because we’ve been forced to see the truth. We have been drifting for decades to otherness. Keep your head down and take care of your own…that’s okay when we call it Patriotism. But is it? What are the implications?
My conscious awareness asks me to reconnect the disconnections that have been allowed and are detrimental to my wholeness. We have to be crafty because the pandemic has physically removed this option for us. We have to have hope that a phone call, a video chat, a text or email or dare I say letter, or even this blog may re-establish connection between us humans.
We are being called to reconnect collectively. We are being called to reconnect to our true selves. You know the ones that were born into this world by our Mother’s. The ones that were maybe told as children, don’t do that, don’t say that, stop crying and behave. And we did as we were told because the alternative was terrifying; it was a threat to our survival. I know it sounds hyperboles but really, if you don’t act in the expected ways of our societal norms, you will be othered. When children are othered, they are withheld the human right of safety. Safety is connection. Being seen and heard as you are, however you are.
My consciousness recently (and over the past 2 years), had a series of highly challenging and frankly traumatic events. When loved ones die this is trauma. When a loved one dies and you can’t be there for closure this can be traumatic, when a loved one takes their own life because they can no longer tolerate the human agony of isolation, when a loved one dies because they’ve been locked down for four months in their care home due to a Covid outbreak and they too, finally succumb to what feels like the inevitable; losing my Gramma on Saturday, a week after she had been given her first dose of vaccine when she had not yet contracted the virus, has been traumatic. Being unable to physically be with her for over a year or not being with the family who has boots on the ground amidst her sudden passing, is traumatic.
And what is death to human beings? It is when a physical body ceases to function in our human physical world, thus creating a disconnection between the living and the dead.
How do I not be consumed by it all? Well apparently I, and maybe its only me, but I thinks not… compartmentalize and I continue to function the best I can. But in that functioning (er, doing) I can get a little lost, intuition goes quiet and the numbness begins to hum from the neck down. I intellectualize my way through, as I rationalize the this is hards with the yes but, gratitudes. And then, as I have within the past week, wake the fuck up.
My son started with little nudges asking me to “be nicer to Dad” and “stop giving Dad such a hard time.” I was like, ya ya, I’m only kidding around….Kids amIright? And then someone who was doing some pain work with my body noted the anger being held in my stomach and suggested how this internal misalignment might be adding to my chronic neck pain. And then the dots connected. Hmmmm, maybe I am a bit edgier than what is comedically funny and maybe I do have some unresolved anger about some things and maybe I am scared to acknowledge this because if I am angry about old things that means I am failing to be a better person. Maybe I’m mad about my repressed anger. Ok, not maybe. I am mad.
So, I’ve returned to meditation practice to quiet the numbhum static. It was strange to sit with one ass-cheek on compassionate curiosity and the other cheek on a hot stone of rage. It then became clear about what specifically I was angered about. When I knew the what’s, I became ready to explore the why’s.
My writing is a practice of self-regulation. Yesterday in the midst of my self-doubt and confusion, I was compelled to write something down old-fashiony like. And I am certainly no Dickinson by any means but there sat a chicken scratch composition of words via pen and ink that provided some instant pot quick release to what I had been battening down for the last year, for fear of being othered for my unwelcome emotions.
Roots of Anger
Sits in my core at the crux of my rib cage
Every now and then, throughout each and every day, a breeze comes and ignites the ember
Sometimes the discharge is a slow bloom, like algae clouding the ebb of a tide
Other times it’s a creeping burn of inflammation over belly, through chest;
Muscles tighten to contain the flames that threaten to lick at neck and spine
There are those times when muscle recruitment, with too little notice, fails to contain;
The outflow of lava, seething and hungry
Devours anything and anyone in its consuming wake
A slow pouring of rage threatens the other;
Through grit jaw to fight or flee or instead be consumed by what is mine
Appearing dormant in eminent moments, it is always roiling at the crux
of tissue and bone, warning silently to display the illusion of desperate power and wrath
Those who run will likely not return
Those who fight are eviscerated
Those who freeze may be allowed to exist within my mercy
This compelling anger of mine is also a formidable boundary of isolation and limitation
An invocation of transformative refinement for my being;
The way a forest fire clears it’s house of matchstick debris
Rich generous soil yields vulnerable shoots, hearty and rooted and grateful to the scorched earth nutrients and sunshine
The ember of anger never extinguished but instead transposed into a state of nurturing abundance
Safe haven of flourishing surrender
May I consent to the fear of rage released
Knowing this action has purpose and healing when allowed to burn brightly
Especially in darkest hours
I am beginning to understand, by this very process, that my want to feel (& appear) peaceful and calm and compassionate is not the same as my need to feel and honour all my emotions of the past year (& beyond). I thank you if you have been someone struggling to own your shit too, no matter how messy. The work is in the accepting of it. The result will be a deeper and necessary connection for all humanity. This is connection. This is safety. This is my hope for all of us, a safe landing when the dust from the collapsing bookshelf settles.