I would describe myself as a peaceful and content person and mostly pleased about life in general. I guess I’m a happy person. I have had many MANY failures in this life and I suppose I have always used them to inspire changes as I am forever fond of seeking the silver linings. I used to be mad, a lot, about a lot of things. It’s only natural that once and a while I still find myself an angry woman but as I have grown into the person I am still in the process of becoming, I have found myself filled with compassion more than anger, empathy more than annoyance, understanding more than conflict…to write that I believe, TRULY BELIEVE that I am a perpetual work in progress is no joke…I am in the process of working on myself every single day…what can I do that is better than the day before?? Day after day…My list is long, like, really long…the number of things about me and my life that I am working on changing is in itself constantly changing, but I suppose being a work in progress definitely keeps one from ever feeling bored!
I can’t think when the last time was that I felt really angry or super mad. I am annoyed a lot, but that isn’t at all the same thing, that sort of rage/fury/elevated heart-rate kind of mad is just something that I don’t feel like I’ve got time for anymore. It might sound silly but it sometimes comes down to simply a quote that says something like ‘being angry at somebody is like holding a hot coal and wanting the other person’s hand to burn‘…the only person getting hurt is me, and so I have really been working on this for what feels like a really long time. I have been VERY ANGRY MANY TIMES over my decades of adulthood but to be perfectly honest, this last “event” that happened to me, happened to my life, or “The-Summer-That Must-Not-Be-Named” as I sometimes now put it, completely wore me out, and even though it’s been almost two years since the ball of anger inside of me was so intense I thought it might kill me, I have learned that holding on to all of that does me no good…it exhausted the very last of my energy, and I came out on the other side a person who feels so much more calm, more at peace with what is, accepting that I can’t make people do what I want them to do, or think like I want them to think, or change like I want them to change…no, no I cannot, BUT I CAN CHANGE MYSELF and I can change how I respond, or not, to what other people do and say.
At this stage of the game, when I feel angry, if I pause long enough to evaluate the anger, it is most of the time (other than when it is because of terrible drivers) nothing to do really with ME at all but how I am thinking about somebody else, or some situation, or some series of events or circumstances…when I try to narrow down the feelings or rate the intensity, most of the time it’s simply because of the way I am thinking about the thing, not because of the thing…it’s me, it’s always me…You see, I have come to the realization that all of us can be, would be, better off, if we just worried about the words that were going back-&-forth in between our ears. I am not writing here about ignoring things that make us furious, like the wage gap or income stagnation, or the shrinking of the ice shelf and the warming of the planet, or the mites that are decimating the bee hives, or the loopholes and laws that make corporate greed so prevalent… THESE upsetting anger inducing issues are absolutely worthy of our action and attention, but I am mostly thinking about the day-to day-moments where we find ourselves wishing for things to be other than they are, and getting annoyed by it, and I am hypothesizing that if we only worried about fixing our own selves, our own minds and habits, or bodies and our choices, cleaning up our own messes so to speak, that how we deal with ALL OF THE OTHER stuff will become remarkably easier, and I feel like we could tackle the big things better…ch-ch-ch changing the world by first working on ourselves…I used the cumulative “we” here but as always, I am pretty much thinking about myself…if I clean up my own messes by starting with how I think about stuff, I think I will be onto something!!! Some real changes and some real growth that sticks! oh boy!!
I know it will sound very hippie-dippy to some but I have to be honest with myself here at the end; learning how to breathe in yoga class over these last years has SO MUCH to do with how I now handle negative feelings, negative people, negative emotions, negative situations, and negative events…finding the magic in the breath has been life changing…the silliness in scenes of movies where a woman is in labor and some doofus is yelling, “BREATHE BREATHE” is annoying, but here’s the thing, learning how to breathe though unease or pain or discomfort or anger is empowering. There are so many techniques and forms of breathwork that make your body and your mind feel better that to not do them, to not employ them as a tool when you feel your blood start to boil, would be silly. The way that I breathe now when something annoys me is like medicine…it’s like a soothing tonic for my spirit!! Let’s hear it for the hippie-dippy breathing!! The-Summer-That Must-Not-Be-Named, terrible events of my younger years, things I wish I had said, or stopped myself from saying, oh too many things I wish I had not done… there are too many angry times to count and it turns out that none of them really matter now at all to me, the past is the past and what is over is over and what’s been done has been done…it’s just the frequency of being annoyed with drivers that I guess I have to work on now, this me that is ever improving, this updated version of this mind and this human vessel. How could I have been so angry about ____ or how did I let ____ make me so mad??? These are questions for which there are no answers. Changing can be really painful, repair and growth can be so difficult that you might find yourself thinking, “why bother?”…you hurt your shoulder painting a ceiling or you hurt your back cutting down a tree or you hurt your brain by being mad at your ____ (fill in the blank here for any person of interest that fits) the fact of the matter is that fixes can cause unease, but it’s only temporary and the improvement can last forever! Fix yourself and the whole world feels like it’s fixed might seem too easy and simplified, but I am trying it out and liking it so far, a lot.