The Gift of Anger – Part 2
by Prema McKeever
The Gift of Anger, Part 2
“Everything that appears in the physical realm is always connected with energy flow at the invisible level” – Nan Lu, Founding Director and President, Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation
By alerting us when our boundaries are being pushed too far, anger can act much like the smoke alarm in our homes. Often it comes when we are saying ‘yes’ to things when we’d rather say ‘no’. Perhaps, we are feeling overwhelmed and that our partner should take on more responsibilities to support us more…. Maybe there are long-standing frustrations with close friends or family and we don’t share our thoughts or feelings… Perhaps we feel that someone is treating us unfairly…? Like a fire alarm in our home that goes off to alert or tell us that something is not right, the gift of anger is much the same way. It alerts us that something in our life is not feeling quite right. When our house is on fire, we don’t reject the fire alarm, we don’t try to ignore the fire alarm, we don’t feel guilty or ashamed at the fire alarm or ask how to get rid of the fire alarm. The fire alarm is telling us our house is burning down. The red alert of anger can tell us when our boundaries are being pushed too far.
For many of us, reclaiming our access to healthy anger is an integral part of healing our past trauma. At its essence, all trauma is a boundary rupture of some kind – whether it’s from a car accident, a natural disaster, or violence from another human being – our sense of safety and having an intact boundary has been lost. It is healthy to regain the felt sense of the power of our anger. Owning our ability to say to say “NO”, can empower us to stand up for what we need and speak our truth with energy and safety. This is vital to heal the ruptures. We need our anger to feel that we can defend our boundaries, and without it our nervous system automatically collapses or freezes in order to numb any discomfort or pain.
Chinese Medicine has long recognized the interdependent of our emotions and physical health. Specific organ systems in our body are associated to an emotion (as well as a season, sense organ, flavor and color), and excessive anger is said to harm the flow of Liver Qi. Conversely, an out of balance Liver system can lead us to be quick to anger, easily frustrated or depressed. It’s been recognized for thousands of years that suppressed anger is connected to many common ailments – including headaches, vision problems, menstrual irregularities, and PMS, to name a few.
So how does the restriction of anger show up in tension patterns in your body? Maybe it shows up as shallow chest breathing, tension headaches, a tight jaw, belly, neck, or shoulders? We learn at a young age to stuff our anger and our tears by tightening our muscles and restricting our breathing. Over the years that becomes our unconscious default pattern. In the BioDynamic Breathwork and Trauma Release System, we work with conscious touch, breath and movement to create a safe holding environment so we can come back into contact with the power of our anger without it being overwhelming or cathartic. This allow our bodies to unwind the layers of tension and unblock the constriction in our muscles, freeing up our life-force energy.
It’s widely known that our emotional patterns are held in our tissues. To heal we must work with our breath and body to get below our conscious ego identity which keep us disconnected from our healthy anger. We are often locked into patterns of suppressing our self-expression and denying our deepest needs. Overcoming the fear of our own anger and others’ becomes a journey of self-discovery with a return into loving ourselves. Its gifts include helping to heal our ruptured boundaries and restore trust in ourselves and relationships, not to mention vibrant health and vitality.
More about Prema and her work on www.sacredinquiry.com
To find out more about how we need to feel our feelings to heal our trauma and restore our aliveness be sure to check out Giten Tonkov’s upcoming new book ‘Feel to Heal’ – an in-depth exploration of this and so much more. Coming March 5th and available on the BioDynamic Breathwork & Trauma Release Institute’s website!