Crafting Gentleness

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sustained anger?

I've been thinking about your post, Jim, and it's something that we've talked about before, and it has given me pause for thought for a long time.

It struck me last week, though; do I find it helpful to call that energy you speak of, that motivating force, that sustained focus of action, 'anger'?

There is no requirement to call it 'anger', and if that is the case, what is it about calling that experience 'anger' that might lead us towards a different place?

I'd be very interested to hear how people you've worked with have responded to framing it in this way. Knowing you, I have no doubt your work with people is likely to be powerful and inspirational. You have been both for me. Have people ever talked to you about the effect of this way of thinking about things?

If I had for years been defined by others and by myself as someone who lives with anger and who privileges anger as a way of making sense of my life, would thinking of a new, less harmful focus as a form of anger allow me to not have to consciously give up on a quality which has become an important part of how I think about and have thought about myself? Would it make the next steps forward more familiar, less frightening? Is calling it 'anger' an important step in some cases, a respecting of the values that are not often helpfully displaced in a moment?

I wonder about the difference between the importance of sitting with, acknowledging the intensity of my feelings, and then using a metaphor which locates the intensity outside of myself.

I wonder if eventually naming it differently, or thinking about it as unnamed energy of some sort might allow me to work with the direction of it a lot easier, a lot more creatively? Would I want to always keep the weapon, or would I work to dissolve the weapon, and magic it back as a powerful shield should the situation call for it? I don't know.

I also wonder if what we think of as the 'content' of our energies, the way we name the more intense energies/experiences that we carry around with us can often be quite arbitrary, nourished by the colour of whichever unhelpful thoughts and ideas might be waiting to rush into the holes of dark water we sometimes scoop out for ourselves, which sometimes have little to do with the earlier circumstance.

Or, if not arbitrary, guided by ways of thinking that are often more appropriate to circumstances that have already passed. I wonder if that might sometimes make our crafting of those energies less appropriate-to-circumstance too?


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