Sunday, December 11, 2011

How Do You Tend To Your Anger?

Anger seems to be a recurring theme for me. I have come to realize that I do not do a remarkably skilled job with dealing with it. I know when I am angry, but do not tend to it. Between the morning drama of getting my 2.9 year old dressed and off to school, teaching a few classes, working on creating a self sustaining business, worrying if I will be able to provide for myself and my child, beating myself up mentally every so often for not having a 'real career' and not wanting to stay in the city… Well, my practice of mindfulness has gotten thrown out the window. I simply am going on my own conditioning at this point.

I have been walking around angry, stressed and overwhelmed for the past month. I can only walk around in my misery for so long before I have my 'Ally McBeal moment'. It is the moment when I imagine an animated version of myself to be launched off the Queensboro Bridge, then rapidly coming back to: there is probably a better way of coping. Essentially, I have come to my ‘enough is enough’ moment. Some form of change will occur.

Stuart Schwartz says, ”When you realize how bound you are by your own beliefs and concepts, freedom is sought.” Or, in my case: misery.

The other night, the UPS guy showed up with a package. I opened it and lo and behold the book that I had ordered days prior had arrived – “Anh’s Anger”. I told myself that the book was for my son, but it was for me. We read it twice that night. The following morning my son handed the book to me and smiled.

In the story, Anh’s grandfather calmly tells him to go to his room to tend to his anger and will come and get him when he is calm and able to talk.

Anh goes to his room. Laying face down on his bed repeats, “I’m so angry, angry, angry!”  He then hears a voice, “Finally! I was hoping you would notice me.” Anh comes face to face with his anger. I will not go on because I think this book should be on every home bookshelf no matter what the age. This children's book woke me up a bit. I have since started to embark on my own journey through this.

One does not need to be a scholar to see what anger has done to families, governments and countries. We must abandon everything when our anger arises and tend to it. I am learning how to tend to mine. Mindfulness takes effort. We cannot expect to simply just read a book or go to a class and call it a day; we must put teachings into practice. With any spiritual teaching, you must practice what you learn.

Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Anger is like a howling baby, suffering and crying. The baby needs his mother to embrace him. You are the mother for your baby, your anger. The moment you begin to practice breathing mindfully in and out, you have the energy of a mother, to cradle and embrace the baby.” When your child starts to cry do you not drop what you are doing to tend to him or her? You must do the same for your anger. How do you tend to your anger?