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  • Writer's pictureJoJo Keane

what to do with angerrrrrrr. ask the forest and trees.

What to do with Angerrrrrrr? Expressing it might feel good for a New York minute, like bickering with your taxi driver on what route to take.

My first reaction is often to lash out at the proximal.

Whomever is unfortunately in my face, or the closest thing situated to that angry bubble that I just felt. But if you're reading this email, you may be like me and have become aware of karma. Or at the very least you know you will have to live with how you’ve just responded. Justified or not. Stuffing or suppressing anger sucks away your power and expressing it can give you more than a sore throat to deal with later. Neither helps for very long. Both can cause disease, loss of purpose and overall passive aggressiveness.

What to do with anger? In my life I am learning to look beyond the proximal cause to the antecedent! The thing that happened before the thing that caused the outburst.  I’m curious about what’s at the root of these angry emotions. So before I yell at the next proximal thing, I’m prone to take a breath through my clenched jaw and balled fighting fists. No need to stab holes into my palms with my own fingernails or quit my job! 

If I can remember this.Try not scare the antecedent away. Waiting as I breathe helps me see through the blinding rage. Has stress been building up?  is there an old pattern to take note of. A past trauma? A memory triggered?  Look and feel into it. Taking notice of the inner and outer environment. The weather of emotions can point the way. 

What logically precedes might be hiding still deeper. At a causal level.

I know I either cower or defend in the face of rage. Conversation over.

Doors slammed seem harder to open. When I find I'm quick to blame, or am defending myself and the anger inside is leaking out, I know I am hot on the trail of a Ah-Ha moment. Feeling the bubble of anger in all it’s heat but somehow being able to keep the lid on can cook that hard feeling to become a tender one.

I get it. Not so fun. But transformative. Like a camp fire, burning up old wood.

In this case dead energy. 

For me unwinding my hands helps unwind my intestines. Then my churning belly energy won’t erupt as easily out of my mouth with words I may have to eat later. If I am careful not to blame and shame myself, I won’t be stuck with a lump of undigested regret either. Just pure humble self awareness. The more tolerance I embody for annoyances and more space I make for a well of compassion.

On a grander scale, how can we solve this type of systemic societal problem of how to respond to the anger of the collective? How can we express rage safely and transform it into something useful? Can we have a deeper understanding of what’s actually happening as we try to hold space for others while they transmute their most uncomfortable feelings. I love the incredible symbiotic exchange we have with trees. Their gassing off waste produces our life giving oxygen. And we in turn fuel them with carbon dioxide.

The trees in the forest gave me another idea too.

In a forest the trees share nutrients and cures through the fungus and mushrooms passing what’s needed through the soil to each tree’s root system! So cool. So evolved. A sick tree will be sent healing from others of it’s species from miles away in the forest. The trees will cull back their own growth and expansion to reach out to the collective. They will isolate the disease and put a boundary around the infected part or wound. For a time they feed and heal the one in need through the underground network. If only families, schools and businesses could behave this way. 

To me the key would be to first have an environment that is aware of our connectivity. A kind of guarantee no one will be disowned, or left out. Like in the forest, the trees appear to be separate, boundaries made of bark deceive the eye to their interdependent connections under the ground.

My anger and rough barky behavior is intended to push away what seems to be causing the uncomfortable feeling. It often takes some time for it to unfold and reveal what needs attention and compassion. The more anger, the more potential.  So the quicker I can give myself compassion, the sooner the shift. Our human barriers are made of the ephemeral. What we don’t like to feel, and what we have a hard time tolerating become the cause of behaviors that push away the very the helpers who have the medicine. Compassion and understanding. The sensations of anger and frustration might feel immutable and be very upsetting to you, but I have always found someway to grow in wisdom by querying my point of view to look deeply within myself. The false illusion of our separateness blinds us to the fact that we are not alone in this, and not to blame. Your body is not intended to just hold and endure old pains or new. But to figure out the message and meaning and what brand of loving compassion will do the trick. Forgiveness, forgetting, humility made into action. Yet you will need to develop special eyes to see how we are connected. Like a boogeyman made of shadow, the fear gone when we turn on the lights.

The trees are all connected under the soil. We are connected too. Yes, I'm talking about the soul, the love thing, oneness. We all share common human emotionality. When

these connections are acknowledged, it allows communities to heal, thrive and see where change is needed and conversations can happen. We are all emotional beings. It’s my job to lead the way in my family, body and life. Open your heart’s eyes and see the forest through the trees. 


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