Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Tuition of Anger

I get angry sometimes. It’s not a chronic problem. I don’t get offended easily or dwell overly much on injustice. But, sometimes I do have a welling up of that hurtful emotion, that beastly ghost, and it always comes in lesson form.
Major Test
About a month ago I had an experience that elicited from me a reaction of extreme anger. It was a dreadful case of disrespect at work. I was so angry that I shook inside, trembled in my spirit body like a dry leaf ready to break free. It had been so long since I had allowed a feeling like that, I broke down. I became physically ill. It took a forgiveness ritual and much meditation to get back on track so I could get well.
Field Study
Today I went to my daughter’s university graduation ceremony. Her boyfriend and I found seats right up front where we could see her accept her diploma and walk down the stairs. We waited a good hour and a half for that momentary event. Meanwhile, other audience members would come down the stairs to take pictures and were quickly chased away by a woman usher who was very devoted to her job. The usherette seemed to be curtly insistent with some people and softer with others. I alternated between trying to be understanding, to watching in curiosity, to being a little shocked by her behavior.
At one point, a man in a suit came rushing down the stairs to take a picture of his daughter and nearly knocked over, linebacker style, a woman who had just been brusquely chased away. The usherette simply looked at him silently as he planted his feet, yelled for his daughter, held up his camera, and clicked as his daughter stumbled down the stairs! Thank goodness for the boy who caught her! It was as though the man’s self absorbed energy, that had nearly pushed a stranger into my lap, was thrust across the divide over to his poor daughter. I found the whole thing quite amazing.
Pop Quiz
Then it was time for my daughter to walk. I had a perfect set up right from my seat to get a clear shot of her coming down the stairs. (I was lucky enough already to get a really cute picture of her entering the arena to the graduation processional march.) I got greedy, though. I stood up to get a picture of her being handed her diploma. The usherette fussed at me. I snapped the picture and the usherette continued to fuss. Rather than sending her love and a smile, I argued. I pointed out that I was just standing next to my seat. It took only that long for my daughter to reach the edge of the stage and walk down the stairs - without me getting the picture I had waited for.
I knew instantly what had happened. Moi - the person so often described as mellow, patient, laid back – had merely acknowledged the ugly head of anger and was getting an obvious, in my face lesson.
I’ve been reading quite a bit about the effects of anger lately. Writers like Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, and Eckhart Tolle warn of the consequences of allowing anger to separate us from each other. Anger ruins everything.
The usherette was firmly lodged in an “us and them” mentality and I fell into the trap. I wasn’t even angry myself. I just took the time to acknowledge her anger, allowed myself to absorb the negative vibes coming from her, and in weakness I responded!
So what am I going to do? I had to laugh. The cool thing to be happy about is that my daughter and her boyfriend had a special moment glancing at each other across that space - a sweet moment that only they share.
And me? Well, I’m still a long way from being a Yogi. But I’m taking little baby steps - and that’s okay.
The usherette? Thanks, lady. I think you helped me earn another enlightenment credit hour.
Until next time,


  1. Anger is a tough emotion to deal with. I found it a great challenge when I was younger. As I've gotten older I've learned how distructive an emotion it can be & I rarely get angry anymore. I try instead to understand where the feeling is coming from (usually it's an old wound that I thought was healed). I take time to reflect on this feeling & then let go of the anger from the old wound. Doing this over & over again the anger gets further & further away & I'm able to move forward without it. Remember that every emotion has merit. We need to recognize it & understand where it's coming from. I did write a blog on Anger many months ago...check it out if you have a chance.