When anger goes, what is left in it’s place?
I’ve been healing from an anger that was so much a part of me, I did not see it as something I could ever let go of. For years, I fed the fire of anger more and more fuel, trying to keep it alive – memories of abuses, the pain of shame and of humiliation, of loss and of confusion and of being made a fool of. I tended the burning hearth of my anger with the kindling of my past until it all ran out, and I literally had to go in search of more. I feared allowing my fire to go out, feared it would be too much like forgiveness, like making peace, like saying, oh, that’s okay, I don’t feel that way anymore, so don’t change, don’t feel you need to be sorry any longer. It felt like betraying myself, to not be angry any more.
It felt like I would die if I could not feel that burning, that rage. I feared peace. I hated it. I felt nothing could be created out of a peaceful place, a peaceful heart. I stoked myself up and ran away whenever release threatened to hold me down and intervene on me.
But for a while now, the energy I’ve had to expend searching for fuel to feed the anger fire has felt like too much. Just too much. I’ve known it was time to release to peace. In my heart, I know there simply isn’t enough time. It’s going to take too long, cost too much, to stay at that fire, tearing myself up into pieces and throwing myself into it. Anger was overcoming me, little by little, it was taking me over. Too tired to go out looking for firewood, I simply waited for the flames. To take me.
So, I let go.
It didn’t happen one day. It’s been a journey, a day by day getting up from that anger fire and walking away to tend my soul. And there has been a space it left in me, a hole where things were not created, were not brought in, were not accepted, were not held and reassured and put to sleep. There was work undone, growing up not attended to, intelligence and wisdom not grasped and pocketed and stitched in place. I was stunted, am stunted. I have an empty place in me – a pit where the fire once was. A cold, scorched circle. And I stand at the edge and wonder what’s to become of this place. Do I abandon it? Or do I build an altar here?
I’ve been returning every day to the fire circle, to the quiet, cold campsite of my anger. And every day I bring with me something safe, small, and which has secreted inside a little beauty, a little music, a little teardrop, a promise of change. I dig a hole with my fingers and I plant the little seed there in the ashes, blessing it and covering it carefully. And in this way, I am building a garden there in the scorched remains of my anger fire, a garden of ashes, an altar to a part of me that is healing, has healed, is yet to be healed.
I wonder if your anger is ready to die, as mine was? I wonder if you’re ready to let it burn out, I wonder if you’re ready to stand and let the embers grow cold, to risk the encroachment of forgiveness and the pervasive embrace of peace to put itself around you, to weigh you down on the floor, to hold you until you’re ready to let go, ready to walk away?
I wonder if it’s your time too?
You will grieve it, make no mistake. You will cry for it, and you will stand and mourn for it, and it will hurt, because it leaves a space when it’s gone. But things come, I promise, and they fill the space. And the things that come, they are familiar, and they are safe, because they are made of you. The things that come to fill the place your anger used to be are your desire, your creativity, your dreams, your ecstasy, your feelings, your self. And they are strong, they are clear, and they are beautiful, as you are.
Imagine in your heart a garden of ashes, a place where your anger can be healed and made whole. Are you ready? I pray you will be.