Those who know me, know that I pressed pause on my business in August 2014 to begin a difficult journey which for me has centred around the emotion of anger.
I fostered my niece several years ago when she was 11 years old, both her parents were unavailable to her. The conflict I had with social services to get her back to family was immense and took a long drawn-out 11 months. For me it involved loss of a job, the end of a relationship and selling of material possessions. It involved a lot of conflict with persons that had forgotten professional standards within their roles. As this chapter closed, things seemed to settle down for a while. In hindsight, I don’t think I ever released my anger from this time.
Then came the next chapter of conflict with social services, which seemed harder to deal with than the first. It was actually more unbelievable than the first. I could not express this added anger and disbelief to the people involved as by the end of this chapter they had moved on/been moved on. The best way to describe my feelings was that I had enough energy for a physical battle, but there was noone on that battle field but me. I know from my Army career how important physical exercise would have been if I could have engaged with it, but I could not. It may have helped to use up this energy physically and consequently would have improved my mental well-being. I was in a much darker place emotionally and not able to take time to heal self. My focus was on my niece and I did not heed useful advice once given to me…
‘fit your own oxygen mask before fitting other peoples‘
In addition to this conflict, my niece was paralysed whilst at school, by something, later diagnosed as Transverse Myelitis. I spent days in hospital with her as doctors tried to figure out what had gone wrong. It took a whole year for a full recovery, it also took a lot of therapy, most considered ‘alternative’: chiropractic, reiki, nutrition, equine therapy and homeopathy. It also took self belief in the healing process from my niece. It left me very reflective of her healing journey and realising I had neglected my own. I had ignored a nagging voice about a mole for some time, when I tried to remove it in my sleep I decided it was time to see the GP. It turned out I had a small non-spreadable cancerous tumour. Why had I not listened to my intuition sooner? It’s not like this had been the first time it had been right.
Louise Hays talks about emotions and their link to dis-ease. Cancer she discusses is resentment, anger that has not been released but repressed. This hit a chord with me. Stepping into Transactional Analysis for a moment, anger is one of the four emotions a ‘free’ child has innately. Most of us become an ‘adapted’ child as anger may not be an acceptable emotion to display to our parents. Adapted anger is displayed by children in various ways: withdrawal, boredom, moping, petulance, sulking, tantrums and rebellion. Certain situations can trigger many adults to enter their ‘adapted child’ ego state and anger is not released freely. I was perhaps displaying ‘withdrawal’. Expressing anger when it comes up, reflecting on why it has come up and also releasing old anger has probably been my biggest challenge to date. Studying Therapeutic Counselling, having personal counselling and practising meditation has been helpful in this pursuit.
I recently gained my Reiki masters and was reminded of one of the five principles…
‘Just for today, I will not anger‘
I realise now, that this does not mean suppression of anger. Anger can be used as a powerful stimulus to achieve many positive things. This principle (to me at least) is about not allowing external stimulus to effect me internally to trigger an anger response. That I am in control of my own emotions and I can create a space around myself and allow what comes in and out. This is a ‘work in progress’ as I get used to looking at things in a different way.
Image: Mohamed Nohassi