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Well Hello There Anger, You Curious Beast

rozSubtlety has never been one of my shining qualities, nor do I wish it to be. It makes for hearty discussions that can be uncomfortable yet rich. Being with people who can admit that they are afraid of the dark,  yet have the courage to explore it are the best kind of people.

I’m a fiery gal. There are no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. I am not for the faint of heart or the timid.

But I’m also soft-hearted to a fault, and love nothing more than to take people in, feed them, make sure they’re safe, and take care of them.

For many years, like many women, anger was not my friend. It’s ugly, and doesn’t accessorize well. It chewed me up from the inside out, and boy oh boy, did I suffer for ignoring it. Once my practice matured, I was able to let it in, give it room to breathe it’s fire, and finally burn off the dangerous edges.

This post was inspired by my incorrect perception. Some might even say, I was wrong. But let’s not get carried away now my sweet little peaches. Being wrong is such a bitch and entirely not sexy.

The human smorgasbord of emotion is fascinating, with a little of this and a dash of that sprinkled through the entire menu. What I’ve discovered, and I believe to be true, is that the  plethora of negative emotions are all rooted in the muck of fear. To be fearless about exploring those negative emotions, well, that my darlings, is interesting stuff.

I will be the first to admit that relationships scare the hell out of me. Commitment is a word I actually had an issue saying ( it made me stutter).  Yet, I’m a devoted, loyal, stick-with-you-to-the-end friend and colleague. What gives?

Well, after years of learning and practicing, I came to understand just how healthy it is not to deny myself all of the ugly-step-sister emotions; anger, jealousy, shame. They are all rooted in fear, and we, as human beings all experience fear and the offshoots of fear every day.

After a thoughtful discussion with my sweetie last night about anger, communication, and perception, I came back to an article by Jules Shuzen Harris, Sensei; Uprooting the Seeds of Anger, (Tricycle, Summer 2012 p44-47);

We’re going to keep getting angry. It’s going to come up. It has come up in our lives before, and it will come up again. This practice is about becoming more mindful, becoming aware of how we are getting stuck. With care and work, we find ways to get unstuck. But we also know that the moment we get unstuck, we’re going to get stuck again. That’s why it is called a practice – we never arrive. So when you find yourself upset or angry, use the moment as apart of your practice, as an opportunity to notice and uproot the seeds of anger and move into the heart of genuine compassion.

This passage speaks to me of impermanence, the Five Skandhas, and the importance of self-compassion as we practice mindful living/self-awareness.

When I first sought out meditation practice and the wisdom of the monastic teachings at a local monastery, what I really was doing, was running away from fear. I thought that I was doing something wrong, and that being happy all of the time was what being a spiritual being was all about. But, surprise, surprise, the Goddess-of-Everything-Delightful was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Ick.

Denying oneself the full-spectrum of emotion is like plastering concealer over a nasty pimple. Eventually it wears off, and it just makes the problem worse.

Our daily practice consists in running away…We are afraid of the suffering that is inside us, afraid of war and conflits…But we do not want this fear to manifest, because it hurts, and so we repress it.  We try to repress our suffering and we invite other energies into our ‘lving room’ to fill it up so that the negative energies will not be able to make their appearance there…We should not adopt this boycott policy. On the contrary we should open our door so that our suffering can come out.  (Thich Nhat Hanh, True Love)

I have committed to my practice, and I feel it slip when fear enters uninvited, tracking mud through my heart. But I won’t pretend it’s not there. I will not kick it out, or wash away the dirty footprints without taking a good look at how it got in, and what I might do lovingly acknowledge it.

 

 

 

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Spirituality for Dummies

being a spiritual person

 

Bells went off when I read this. Every once in a while, I lose my cool, fall down, make a mistake, screw up…you get the picture. I used to berate myself for it, but now I just realize every time this happens, it’s an opportunity to learn.

If a relationship makes you angry all the time – get out. If your job makes you angry all the time – get out. If any situation, person or relationship brings out ugly qualities you try to hide, don’t just cover it up and move on.

Be with the discomfort. Be with your dark side. Learn that every emotion, even anger, fear, resentment and jealousy are part of what it means to be human. Take time to be with that messy stuff and learn from it.

Oh yes, you may also want to distance yourself from the people who turn you from beauty into beast.

Trust me, next time it will be easier, not last as long or cut so deep.

Being spiritual doesn’t mean attaining some bullshit ideal. It means being honest, real, emotional and raw.

Being spiritual equates to being fearless when it comes to holding a mirror up to your own expectations, and the reality that is your humanity in all it’s splendour, and with all of it’s scars.

Above all, being spiritual means trekking deep into the heart of your darkest emotions and confronting the demons.

So laugh, dance, kiss, make wild passionate love, throw out the odd f-word if you must. Be you. You’re perfect.

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Valentine’s Day Emotional Cleanse

Alternative Valentines Cards 2009
Alternative Valentines Cards 2009 (Photo credit: craftivist collective)

An essential part of any successful Valentine’s Day is being prepared. That includes feeling light and carefree, shedding any unnecessary baggage and anxiety.

This morning on a very icy drive to work, the DJ was talking about a new Dolce and Gabbana fragrance for babies.

He accused any parents who were vain enough to spritz their infant with perfume as, “insufferable a-holes”.

I kinda had to agree.  My first thought was that so many people are out of work, worried about keeping a roof over their heads and feeding their kids.

Then of course,there are those who have enough disposable income to buy designer baby fragrance.

What on gawd’s green earth  is the world coming to  my little cream pies? Please pass my gimlet.

Later today the hundreds of job losses at Sears and Best Buy were announced, followed by more news that gas prices are going up 2.5 cents overnight. That’s over ten cents a litre within a month, and Canadians shrug their shoulders and robotically soldier on. We are a nation of Stepford Citizens.

I’d love to revisit true journalism. I crave the days when  journalists also had the wherewithal to report on the profit margins and executive bonuses  of the same companies that have fallen on hard times and laid of workers who are making the lowest incomes.

Having been a reporter, I highly advocate for booze in the news room. Look at the truth spoken by good ole’ Hunter S…but that’s another blog altogether….

My sweeties, being informed makes you beautiful, and attractive. Being aware of price gouging, unfair pay, decreased benefits, worsening working conditions and the calculated ever-present looming fear that we’re all about to lose our jobs makes you exciting to be around.

It can also make you a little hot under the collar, and not hot as in bring-those-sexy-thighs-over-here-my-scrumptious-man.

This begs a question from a Buddhist…when is it ok to express frustration, protest, and just basically go apeshit as humans are prone to doing once in a while?

After a few months of soul-sucking stress, I had a complete, sobbing-poor-me-break-down this week. I let it all out during a phone call with my very patient mumster. When I got home, I put my jammies on, cooked dinner, and surfed the couch all night. The theme of the night was, “Life-sucks-and-I’m-tired-of-being-someone-else’s-bitch”.

Yah, it was a rough night.

Miraculously, after giving up, having a good, thorough, snot-dripping cry and a sleep, I felt  better. It was cathartic.

It was not at all what you picture surrender as my puddin’ pies. No,  I didn’t assume the lotus pose. I did not close my eyes and come to some great peace. I fought it every step of the way. Le sigh.

In retrospect, I see how I could have handled things better. Retrospect involved a wee bit of gin and tonic, with just a twist of lime. Most importantly, I realize that I’m human. I can only take so much stress. I do fall down every so often. I do need someone to reach out and help raise me up again.

That’s pretty hard to admit for a hard-working, independent lady like myself!

Another event that happened today was talking through an issue with a dear friend about abusive relationships. I’m not talking about ‘man beats his wife’ relationships. What I’m talking about is our relationships with people who are abusive in any way, and how we choose to let those people into our lives or not.

Like the greed of fattened executive bonuses, price gouging, and fear-mongers, these people would fall into the ‘insufferable a-hole’ category.

So, if you find yourself surrounded by insufferable a-holes and find the state of the world a bit depressing, go ahead, let it out.

It may not stream out of you as gentle chakra awakening. You might be a bit shocked at the pooh that gets unstuck after having your voice stifled for so long. Try to vent somewhere safe, with people who genuinely care for you. I know, you’re tempted to call someone on their bullshit to their face, but really, are they worth your energy? No my darlings, they certainly are not!

But don’t let the ugly waste of insufferable a-holes wear you down. It’s just not sexy. You and your valentine deserve more.