|.....without using it's turn signal|
Have you ever held anger inside you, only to channel it at some poor innocent bystander or your kids or your mom or your spouse?
Has there ever been a time when anger languished in your mind, festered and grew whilst you tried to see the positive in a difficult situation, only to find it come back to the surface when you met that situation or person again?
The first of these three scenarios happened to me just last week.
Just over a week ago my husband completed his job as a Head Of School. A job that twelve years ago brought us cross-continent from Hong Kong. He said farewell to his colleagues and school community and within 36 hours had taken a plane to Boston to facilitate a group of senior educators participating in a course at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. One of the bonuses of this trip was that I planned to join him in Cambridge MA for a few days......... I just had a few things to do first.
In 48 hours I packed camp bags, calmed pre-camp nerves and delivered my 12 year old, Jacob to the airport to meet his fellow campers to fly to camp. Along with that I helped to organize a shiva* after a close friend's mom had died. All this was at the culmination of a very busy, emotional 6 weeks that I wrote about in Sunshine and Rain and other posts I list below.
I really, really needed this break. I was ready to spend time with Jonny, sit in cafes, write a blog post or two, visit Harvard and walk a lot. I was ready to unwind and contemplate the huge changes in our lives and take time to refresh and rejuvenate.
The night before my flight to Boston, I realized I didn't feel too well. I was sure I was just emotionally and physically exhausted and that a good sleep and the upcoming visit would buoy me up. When I finally reached the hotel room. I took one look at the crisp white sheets and knew there was nothing I wanted to do more, than climb beneath them. It was 3.30 pm.
I did not leave the hotel for over 3 days. I could not even move from bed for the first two! I was completely overcome with exhaustion from a nasty virus, that had no fever but left me hot and cold, sneezing and bunged up. I slept and woke with little awareness of time. Jonny checked in on me with copious cups of tea (don't worry we had brought a huge supply with us) and tried to help me rationalize the situation.
"Thank goodness there was nothing I needed to do."
"Oh the beauty of a hotel room. Someone else made the bed and I didn't have to make dinner or do laundry. "
"I just have to sleep and recover, no carpools, grocery shopping or blog posts."
I tried very hard to repeat this mantra to myself. If I had to be sick, this was a good place and time to be unwell.
But in my viral-ridden mind I wasn't grateful, I was angry and all the rationalizing did not make me feel any more appreciative for how lucky I was to be ill in a hotel room.
Then I remembered a quote from the Facebook page of a new Twitter friend. Abby Wynn is a psychotherapist with a lovely, comforting Irish lilt who calls her FB page Abby's Energy Healing Page. On it I had seen the following about anger and fear...
.. don't hold onto it, wallow in it, soak in it or
drown in it. Feel it and move on from it, ....
drown in it. Feel it and move on from it, ....
In each of the situations I posited at the beginning of this post I wonder what would happen if you actually stopped and felt the anger. Really felt it. Felt where it was sitting in your body -perhaps in your stomach,your fists, your head? Actually focused on what exactly was making you feel that way and why it was making you feel that way.
Instead of telling myself how lucky I was to be sick in a hotel room I allowed myself to feel angry that all the things I had looked forward to about this trip had not happened. In truth I had a good old cry. I cried out so much emotion that had built up from the last month (or two), it actually felt cathartic.
Once I had truly acknowledged what a bummer it was, the anger dissipated and I came to a place of acceptance.
I didn't hold on to it, wallow in it, soak in it or drown in it. I let it go.
Abby Wynn continues with this message in the same post on her FB page, I referenced earlier...
'Just because I’m choosing to live a positive life, don’t just think
everything is perfect. In amongst negativity around me, I hurt, I
cry, I feel lost but deep down in my heart, something is telling me
“It’s all going to be ok”. It’s in that, I trust.' ~ Unknown
And believing deep down that everything is going to be ok is what lets you acknowledge these strong feelings and then let go of them with long deep breaths!
Has a situation like this ever happened to you? How did you cope? How did you move on?
I hope your summer plans are going well.
Please let me know how you are doing. Leave me a message below. (Please don't worry if your comment does not show up immediately. I am moderating all comments before they appear on the post, due to a huge amount of spam appearing on the blog.)
And if this post resonated with you, please re post it on your FB page.
Thanks and take care.
Talk to you soon.
You might also find these posts helpful:
- 5 Ways to Bring Comfort in Times of Grief or Distress -Listening, Respecting, Understanding
- When There's Trouble Brewing-Do This -How to find what gives people pleasure and comfort
- Why Routine Brings Comfort. -Caregiving/grief- bringing comfort to those you love.
- 6 Ways to Build Certainty In an Uncertain World
*Shiva, the First Seven Days of Mourning
Shiva is observed in the home as an intensive mourning period for close relatives.Reprinted with permission from Jewish Literacy (HarperCollins Publishers).
After the burial, mourners return home (or, ideally, to the home of the deceased) to sit shiva for seven days.
Shiva is simply the Hebrew word for seven. During the shiva week, mourners are expected to remain at home and sit on low stools. This last requirement is intended to reinforce the mourners' inner emotions. In English we speak of "feeling low," as a synonym for depression; in Jewish law, the depression is acted out literally. For info please go to the link below.
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