Holy anger

For a while now I’ve been meaning to write about my perspective on parental anger.

I’d say that have the power to detach from feelings, as I acknowledge them. But this one in particular got really twisted around my being, through the ties of guilt.

I recently read this spiritual guide called the “power of now”. A neighbor and friend lend it to me, and I never pass an interesting book. The moment I finished the book I was already reading, I picked up this new book. I gather the friend gave it to me because of a book I had just gifted to her, and because the two were quite intertwined.

So here goes.

Some lingering facts about the book: pain is an illusion. It’s our perception of time and space, and our inability to let go, in order to live fully in the present.

Kids remind us about heaven. They don’t fully grasp good and evil. (What Adam&Eve sought by disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit)
Kids don’t know time. For them it’s always now. They are born with a huge capacity for spirituality and are made to live in the present, to their parents dismay. The are born to be in awe of nature, to put off anything that doesn’t bring joy. And we as parents seem to be in a rush to “fix” them to perceive time and abide by our rushes rules and expectations. When they ask when, today and now are best grasped. Anything else is tomorrow. Yesterday doesn’t even make sense to them. They don’t hold grudges. Jesus himself urged us to be like kids in order to inherit Heaven. Jesus also talks about the futility of worry, and tells us to look at birds and the beautiful field flowers who don’t fret or gather. The animals also don’t grasp time the way we do, and are not burdened by it. I think we confined ourselves in the limits of time, and have a hard time letting go. It’s a small prison that we are just familiar with. But heaven will be the New Earth. Death itself is painful only if we hold on to the illusion about what life is in its current state.

The author of this book “the power of now” keeps things very secular and broad in his arguments. But at times, quoting the Bible, along with many other illuminated and respected wise people of the world, things just make sense. Things I knew. I have a broader perspective and understanding.

And back to anger. I have learned as a kid that it is in my interest to not embrace the state of victimization. I don’t blame people, or god – though there was that one time when “we had words” and I used Job’s avid David’s words to say my piece. I have exercised the freedom of letting go. Of observing my emotions, feeling them and transcending them. At this mature age I couldn’t explain how easy it is to do so, remaining positively positive, and I forget others don’t find it as easy.

But with anger it was different. Maybe because I rarely expressed it. It was not acceptable as a kid. I would stuff it down before I could feel it, observe it, transcend it (let it go).

My little girl all of a sudden brought out in me this feeling through purposeful normal kids defiance. As if she knew what she was doing, looking me in the eye with a smirk and do exactly what I told her not to, or plainly not obeying, even when it concerned her safety or wellbeing. Not all the time …but enough to create a pattern of frustration for me.

This book reminded me to remain present. If only I could explain what clicked. But I guess everyone will have to journey on their own… maybe reading the book, maybe waiting for the right reason to have it click.

I waited a few weeks to see if it was a fluke. But today I don’t feel the anger like the tension of a volcano. When I did, I mostly raised my voice. Just like only a mother would. My husband said I even scare him a little, like never before. It is not flattering to yell. I had more power when my getting angry was allusive – a possible outcome, a tall tale and thus more effective.

The other day, in a situation where either my daughter with her defiance, or my husband with his reaction to her defiance, would have caused me to feel anger, an inner pain, and in consequence raise my voice, I felt the feeling of powerlessness, I felt my tension in my throat and didn’t control it. Didn’t oppose it with strength. I let it flow through. The best resistance is no resistance. My anger subsided instantly like a wave that falls flat all of a sudden. And then I could think clearly like I haven’t before. I felt empathy. I could understand my daughter and I could have a constructive conversation soon after with my husband. I had the ability and energy to connect with her, and diffused an otherwise very unfortunate tense evening. A small win. The joy of it is that this diffusion wasn’t an isolated event. It didn’t feel like a win of stuffing it down. It felt peaceful and like this “no-resistance to my own self” (and others) could become a way of life. It’s been a couple of weeks now. Instead of raising it, I have only lowered my voice – it’s much more effective. And I don’t feel rushed to get results, get things done, get others to comply. And maybe they feel it. We are all together happier. We entered a new season. And my deep joy in my new discoveries is that the wisdom was there all this time, and is also deeply rooted in the Bible. I only connected the dots and saw it all with fresh eyes.

Steinhardt says: “yet, Moses’s anger is not judged as bad but looked upon as holy (when he destroys the first Ten Commandments) viewd as a legitimate reaction of a whole man”.