In just this one moment, receive and touch this anger. Be touched by it, for just one second, or two. Fully. Not partially. Speak with the angry one, listen to them. At a pace that is provocative, yet safe-enough, feel what he is feeling, see what she is seeing, imagine what they have come to imagine; be a vessel where this one can find sanctuary and safe passage from an exhausting journey. Open a dialogue into relationship with this forgotten soul-part who has returned, longing to be allowed back home.
We all know the tragic effects of disavowing our anger and our rage, denying this one a seat at the table of Being. But sending it into the underworld does not purge or heal. Pretending we’re never angry, discharging it in unconscious behaviors, or engaging a fantasy that it’s not “spiritual” to have feelings of rage only allows it to gain energy like a psychic tornado, spinning and gathering force within shadow where it will eventually surge, often in ways that can be incredibly destructive.
Separate a bit from the anger so you do not fuse with it. The invitation is to move close, but not too close. Intimacy without fusion, honoring your own integrity as you enter the interactional field. “I will enter relationship with you but will not merge with you. I am listening. I will no longer deny you, but nor will I be flooded and taken over by you. I will meet you in the middle.”
Find the boundary which is provocative, but not overwhelming. In this liminal, in-between state, we neither deny, repress, dissociate, or split, but nor do we fall in, drown, and act out in unhealthy, habitual, and addictive ways. In the alchemical middle, anger and rage are not toxins which we must expunge from what we are, but intense and wrathful energies that are an organic part of the human psyche and only long to be integrated and provided their rightful home. They are life itself, wanting to be known, here to serve a vital function, but they must be understood, digested, touched, and metabolized in order for their intelligence to flow.
In this sense, anger is not something that needs to be fixed, cured, or even healed. It is not a sin nor is its wavelike appearance evidence that you have failed, fallen short, are not “spiritual,” or have fallen into a pathological state. It is evidence that you are alive, that you have a human nervous system, that you are in touch with sacred life energy, albeit an energy that is often misunderstood. It is not the anger or the rage that is the problem, but its repression, dissociation, and the unhealthy acting out of these energies in an unconscious, disembodied way that can be so devastating.
With the fire of curiosity, deep care, and the commitment to no longer abandon yourself—and with the ally of the breath as your guide—descend into your belly, touch your heart, open a portal to your throat. Find the anger lodged into your somatic being, hiding out and pleading for reunion, buried in the old stories and in the unfelt emotions. Make a journey into the core of the rage and feel the feelings, sense the sensations, and touch the raw, shaky life that is longing to be held. Dare to see this one not as enemy, but a wrathful ally and harbinger of integration.
It is by way of this journey that anger will be revealed to be what it is, a secret wisdom-guide and bridge into the universal heart, a messenger of power, clarity, and fierce compassion that wants you as its midwife. In ways that seem contradictory and paradoxical, befriending this anger opens a portal into connection with others—others external to us as well as lost figures and pieces of soul within—so that we may live and move and dance with them in ways that are skillful, wise, sensitive, and compassionate.
My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020.