I am on an anger diet.
After being on a hot button strike, I decided to explore the pervasive ways I nourish the wolf of hate in my heart, instead of the wolf of love*.
*A Native American elder was asked how she had become so wise, so happy and so respected. She answered: “In my heart there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day” (Bhudda’s Brain, Rick Hanson)
My indigestion started while I was watching the political debates. I was indignant by “them” “the other camp” and “their non-sense”. I heard somebody in the public discussion say: “We don’t want your hate”! And I thought: “YEAH! I don’t want your hate”!!
Whose hate was I referring to? Was one hate worse than another? Was I completely delusional about my own hatred? If I was infuriated by the others and their wrong opinions as they were of mine, what hope was there for the world?
So I asked myself where else in my life am I so violently wedded to my own position, that I am unable and unwilling to acknowledge or reach out to the other camp?
Even in homeopathic doses, the accumulated effect of anger is undeniably toxic to joy, connection and intimacy in a family.
Pursuing my reflections, I asked my daughter if she liked it when her parents fight? She said “no.” I was expecting her to say, “I don’t care”.
The day after that enlightening exchange, I made an official declaration to my family that I would refrain from expressing my anger until the end of April.
Since then, anger shows up in me all the time. Perhaps I’m like somebody on a croissant diet who suddenly realizes there are bakeries everywhere in Paris. I was just not paying attention before.
Anger energy takes all sorts of nuanced forms: irritation, annoyance, enervation, frustration and self-righteousness- but there is a specific sensation in the body: a rigidity, that reminds me that my lifelong companion –my ego– is not far behind whispering its same old tunes.
My experimentation with anger is far from being perfect, but I’m committed, and already I am noticing a surprising benefit: I feel more in sync with who I am – a well-intentioned human being with a solid heart, and countless flaws.
Which wolf do you feed? Are you inspired by the question? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Happy Spring energy!