I feel angry right now. Many people would say that anger isn't very spiritual, that we should meditate to get rid of it, release it… but I’d say that anger has its place. We often feel anger when confronted with difficult or painful situations; anger, like depression has a huge place in getting over bereavement. It's not healthy to hold onto anger but to experience it, to stand in the white flame of that feeling with no uncertainty can be very powerful and liberating.
If you've ever tried to help someone who seemed to constantly return to the same situation; whether it was through alcohol, gambling, food or other abuse, you may understand that for some people hitting rock bottom can be devastating, but the only way to start the healing process.
Spas can be very reassuring, with their neutral walls, soft music and essential oils but all of the softness is essential because it helps us handle the jangly sharp edges of what comes up during the healing process.
I was writing another article about the ego and why it is so hard for us to let it go, and here I find another reason; because when we begin to accept that we are perfect, whole and complete in ourselves then that can unleash a whole heap of anger and resentment towards the people who treated us as if we were not. "Putting up and shutting up" can be calm on the surface, but when we finally walk away from damaging situations it can take a long time for the pain and anger we ignored to come up and burn itself out. It doesn't feel good.
It also doesn't feel good when you have food poisoning and the body does what it has to do to get rid of the poison. It doesn't feel good to have flu and suffer sweats and weakness as your body creates a high fever to burn off the virus. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
Telling the truth can also be incredibly painful. The first time we admit to ourselves or a friend how somebody hurt us, or how we hurt ourselves, it can feel like it's happening all over again. Sometimes we get caught in our stories, telling them over and over, reliving until the past is more real than the present but if we're lucky opening up and telling the truth can free us to move on.
And the messiest, most painful part of the process? I think it's trying again. Picking ourselves up and really putting our hearts, minds and resources into another venture, whether it's romantic, business, friendships, physical. Putting ourselves out there in any way is trusting again, trusting others, trusting ourselves, "feeling the fear and doing it anyway". It feels exhausting, painful, hopeless sometimes, and the darkest part of others and ourselves is always ready to cry; "I told you so" when we fail, as we must surely sometimes do, whether it's the diet, the job, the relationship. And in this moment we must remember that we are all beginners (for some reason I like to think of us all as ducklings learning to swim) and we cannot do anything in life without first being prepared to make mistakes, to do it wrong, to suffer those failures, to sink and to remember that the only way to succeed is by making attempt after attempt. We are so lucky when we get something right first time, (usually it's the things that no one told us were difficult), but we are all challenged by different situations. For some people doing their best in a job may feel near impossible when they have been bullied and ill-treated in the past, but to put their best in, whether or not the job is a "success" is healing and a different kind of personal, if not professional success. To put your heart into a new relationship when the last broke it over and over again, to trust when it feels like you can never trust again, this is success, and something on which I congratulate myself today, no matter how messy or unpretty it feels.
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(c) Pearl Howie 2017. All rights reserved.