Yoga is the practice of anger.
Not of repressing anger or being happy all the time or feeling obligated to always feel 100% hashtag-blessed or hashtag-grateful. But the practice of dancing with our anger.
Can we hold hands with it and listen to the lessons it holds for us and hold space for what it has to say? Rather than shove it impatiently away with both hands? Can we give it an audience? Let it have its say and voice?
Maybe if we didn’t press it down so hard and try to pretend like it doesn’t exist, our anger wouldn’t feel so awful. So let’s all take a moment to appreciate the hard work our anger puts in to keep us alive sometimes.
It’s a challenging task when we face what we typically view as unpleasant emotions. But it can really help bring balance to the extremes – to the places where we need it most.
“The difference between a flower and a weed is just a judgment.” I always come back to this quote for both its relevance in gardening and in life.
Did you know that dandelions and clover (AKA “weeds”) are some of the first signs that soil is trying to heal itself? They bring much needed nitrogen and nutrients to otherwise dead earth.
In the same way, anger is one of the first stages of grief and healing. It marks the return of something life-like and real. But too often we treat it like a weed we should dig out and get rid of immediately. Hide the evidence like it never happened.
Yet how often does it pop up again? Bigger and more ferocious than the last time we squashed it down?
This is part of our practice – sometimes the most challenging part. We learn to accept and recognize all our emotions and hold space for them to peacefully coexist with each other. Like a little forum where all our thoughts and emotions gather and talk things out and feel heard. All while overseen by our higher selves.
We learn to recognize the purpose of presence in all things in our lives. We learn to recognize when to step in and take charge, when our anger serves us, and when to choose to accept the feeling but take another path.
This is the journey of mindfulness. The dance with anger, with all our thoughts and feelings and what arises and passes away in our lives. Knowing there is plenty of room for all of them, even when that jumble feels completely confusing and bewildering.
Think of the “weeds” both in your yard and your life. If you look closer into the truth of what we often perceive as unwelcome nuisances, can they actually just be overlooked gifts?