“There is a middle road to be found between waving your sword, taking prisoners and locking yourself in a dungeon.”
-Pixie Lighthorse, Boundaries and Protection
I would like to think about anger for a moment together. What thoughts or images are conjured up for you when you think about this word? Perhaps you recall a particular scene from your own life, or even from a film or a novel. Maybe it’s more sensory for you; a color, a smell, a body sensation. Most likely, we can all call to mind some person or some event at which our anger has been directed in the past. And it’s here that I would like to spend our moment together. It doesn’t have to be more than that, just a moment to get to know that anger a bit better than we did.
Why am I suggesting this? If we’re being honest with ourselves, no matter what comes to mind when we think about these scenarios, whatever we’re experiencing is not pleasant. Whenever we feel unpleasant sensations, the tendency is to go one of two ways, as Pixie outlines for us in the quote above: either, we try and make others feel as bad as we do (waving swords, taking prisoners) or we shut down entirely to our sensations and/or to others (locking yourself in a dungeon). However, again, as Pixie writes, there is another option, that middle road. What does that road look like? In order to answer that question, it is imperative that we spend more time with our anger.
Each of our emotions, when given the opportunity, can teach us something. So what would happen if we could de-vilify our anger at this moment, and instead, give it space to teach us? This is, perhaps, where we would find this middle road of which Pixie writes. Disclaimer: this is much easier said than done. Understanding our anger as a teacher is incredibly hard work, which is probably why it is not a very popular choice. However, how would it feel to work with our anger in a non-destructive way, to ourselves and/or to others? The work is worth it and contrary to what we may be feeling in our moment together, possible.
As much as possible, try and find a safe place to experience these sensations. If we only try and get to know our anger when we’re in the situation or with the person with whom our anger is associated, we will find ourselves more out of control and not ready to learn from our sensations. When possible, I would also encourage you to find someone to witness these sensations with you, not only so that you can feel the healing that comes with being seen and known more clearly, but also so this person can help you remember your truth in case the sensations become a bit overwhelming. This person can take the form of a therapist or a trusted friend or family member. After you have found this safe space, and perhaps if you are with a witness, begin to notice when the anger flares up. What triggers it? Perhaps notice one or two body sensations that arise with it, and name them.
Take a couple of deep breaths, feel your feet on the ground, and return to your present moment. Starting small in this way can really begin to start that safe path to understanding anger as your teacher and where you can start to uncover your own “middle road”.
Heather Baker-Jackson is an RYT 200 certified yoga instructor as well as a certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Therapist. She also graduated from the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education (N.I.T.E) as a Natural Health Educator. Her passion in her work is to create and facilitate a space for people to feel safe and seen and known. She believes in the innate wisdom of the body and seeks to cultivate a mind/body relationship that honors that wisdom. While every person’s healing journey is unique to them, a central part of each step in that journey is finding a supportive space where one can turn inward and truly listen to their inner guidance.