This book by Gill Edwards, Stepping Into The Magic, is really a gem. It is not often you can get very practical advice that incorporates spirituality, clinical psychology, and a writer that is adept at connecting with their reader. She's trained in metaphysics, shamanism and energy psychology. She has studied with a Hawaiian Kahuna, which is my ultimate dream, yet offers a commonsense approach to life. I highly recommend this book.
Back to emotions -
We know that unexpressed emotions turn into 'gremlins' such as illness, anxiety, self-pity, and a list of other issues that I talked about in my last post. The goal is to try and find a way of dealing with them now, without causing ourselves more pain and suffering. I suggested hitting a pillow if you were feeling angry, but what about if you don't really know what unresolved emotions are lying dormant - causing you problems? Let's look at them one by one. From the book:
"The most common telltale signs of suppressed anger are depression and/or anxiety, self-pity, blame and resentment, guilt, apathy and inertia, sarcasm and irritability, struggle and martyrdom, addiction to drugs, alcohol, work, sex, food, etc., accidents (often an expression of anger turned against the self), cancer, arthritis and other diseases, having affairs, or violence and aggression. (Violence is not an expression of pure, clean anger, but a symptom of bottled-up rage and fear which has eventually exploded.) Since the world is a mirror, noticing any of these signs in people around us can also indicate suppressed anger!"
Wow, that covers a lot of issues. This one resonated with me. I've believed for some time that I have an inner child furious that her mother left her as a child. Yes, death is not something that you can actually blame on a person, but that child was only six. Anger would have been appropriate response to the death of someone so detrimental to her well being. So for me, this is an issue. I won't go into all of the symptoms I have, but suffice it to say - I definitely have a few.
One technique that she suggests to deal with anger would be to write a very angry letter to the person or people concerned. After expressing your total disgust with this person(s), either tear the letter into little pieces and flush it - or create a ritual whereby you burn it in a fire-safe container. By writing everything down, and leaving nothing out, you are able to express exactly how you've been hurt, abused, neglected, disrespected, etc. You've had a chance to feel the anger associated with the incident - now it's time to let it go.
Other ways of expressing anger in a healthy way would be to pretend to feel the anger while punching a pillow or cushion until the real anger begins to surface. Role-playing, if you will. One way I dealt with angry emotions as a teenager was to take a long walk, or jog, returning home to a long hot bath. She suggests punching the air on your walk, shouting or yelling, all within a safe place to do so, however. We don't want anyone arrested...
I would like to inject a point here that I feel strongly about - we tend to not take into account people and where there are in their lifespan. In other words, don't expect a child, or adolescent, to know how to deal with their anger in the same way an adult or senior would. We are all in different places in our lifespan and that is too often left out of the equation. I sometimes have to remind myself that my 23-year-old is not in the same place as I am when it comes to emotions and decision-making. I simply cannot expect her to understand some things that are seemingly obvious to me. Her view of the world is very different from mine. And that goes for all of us. Be aware that your anger, that feels so overwhelming now, may look different in a few years.
She suggests that you "don't attempt to forgive someone for hurting you, or to understand why you created a traumatic event, until you have first dealt with your anger, hurt and other emotions. Always take care of your Basic Self before 'up-leveling' to your Higher Self - otherwise you will attract further events which will bring those emotions to the surface. Anger does not have to rational, it does not have to be reasonable. Emotions simply are. By feeling your anger, you are honoring your inner Child, your Basic Self."
She goes on to say that if you feel it appropriate to express you anger to the person concerned - that it be "clean anger." Clean anger is an expression of how we feel, dirty anger is deliberately hurtful or manipulative, full of blame and the desire to punish. It is focused on the other person and not on your own feelings.
"If your intention is to be hurtful, it might be wise to cool down before expressing yourself."
I knew this post would be long, therefore I'll look at some of the other issues in my next post. I truly believe anger, and all of it's ensuing issues, is a huge problem in our world right now. The only one we have any power to change is ourselves, but by looking inside, seeking out our inner 'gremlins', we make our inner world a better place. Once our inner world is in a better place, it can reflect into the macro.
Next time: fear, shame and guilt, doubt and confusion. This could take longer than I thought...