An old boss of mine once said her job was to be an umbrella, that no matter how much sh*t rained from upper management, her role (in her eyes) was to make sure none of it affected us, her team, so we could stay happy, engaged and productive.
I think the same is true of parenting, somehow. No matter how much emotional stress I am under, I feel it is my job to keep it from passing on to my little one. I need to be her umbrella.
It is not about being fake, it is about being conscious, it is about being aware of the energy I am bringing to this relationship, at this time and about choosing to channel, release and express my anger or frustration in ways that do not negatively impact upon her… as much as I can. This also doesn’t mean she shouldn’t see me being angry. Anger is okay, it is natural – but I want to learn to model healthy ways of expressing it, rather than being blindly lead by it or repressing it all together.
This is the intention. Aim for the moon, if you want to hit the top of the trees (… with your umbrella??)
For anyone left wondering, here are some suggestions of healthy ways to express and/or release your anger:
- Talk to a trusted, non-judgemental, grown-up friend
- Exercise, dancing, jumping, running… basically getting physical and releasing that pent up energy
- Shout with your child(ren), somewhere deep in nature, near the train line as a train passes, inside a car on the freeway, with the windows up, or in space – anywhere where no-one can hear you.
- Sing, at the top of your lungs – maybe an angry song, maybe not, maybe just something that gets you going
- Punch a pillow or the mattress
- Let all the sound out of your body. Okay this sounds weird but it is amazing. I used to do it in the shower or in ‘meditation’. You just open your mouth and breathe out sound – loudly. Let it all out, whatever sound comes out. Often it is quite primal, guttural (much like birthing groans, actually)
- Laugh - sometimes humour is the best way to get some perspective and get past the little stuff
- Ritualise… hmm… it is hard to put this in words, as it may get misconstrued (or I might just explain it really badly) but, sometimes when you feel an urge to hit somebody you can tickle them instead or if you want to shout you can mock-shout instead – essentially take the seriousness out of the moment but let that energy move forward in the direction it wants to go. It is kind of like taking the horns out of the bull but still letting him tackle you (horrible as that image is – for the bull); or it is like how some people will say sports are tribal violence ritualised - you still get the factions and the belonging and the adversarialism without the killing. Anyway, the important thing is that you don’t deny but transmute the energy of anger into something lighter and more fun. Experiment with it – start with the little things – and let me know if it works for you.
- Meditate – in whatever way makes sense to you. It is important that this isn’t used as a sneaky, spiritual way to repress your anger, though. Don’t let the fragrance of spiritual peace fool you into thinking anger is something to be avoided. Enlightenment is not being ‘free’ of emotions but being beyond them or detached from them, does that make sense? Let the anger be there. Find out for whom the anger arises. Knowing yourself and being in tune with that – that is what we are aiming for here.
- Spend time in nature, breathe it in, feel the wind, listen to the waves, sit under the tree. You will experience healing of the Heart, for sure.
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What activities would you add to express, release or transmute the energy of anger in healthy ways?