Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Compassion While Angry

The other day I was in a fit. I was fed up and overwhelmed. And the worst part of it all was that I was treading familiar territory; being mad about the same things I've been mad about before was just adding to the flame of anger that was already within me.

I tried a new practice and was annoyed with it when just days earlier I had been so happy and so pleased with myself! Then, I was on new path! Now, I was dried up, yesterday's news, no one going anywhere.

I curled my self-pity and lostness into bed and picked up one of my trusty books. Somewhere between someone's good advice, I realized I had been believing that when I'm angry I don't deserve my love, kindness, or compassion.

And this is true of how I treat others. If anyone or anyplace is angry, then I want outta there. I will leave leave leave.

So this time I chose not to believe the worst about myself during my time of anger. I practiced tonglen with a very specific audience in mind (to all thirty-four year old women who have been in an unmarried relationship for four years and do not have children . . .) because I cannot be the only one going through this anger.

I understood better the wisdom that the anger would not be inside me if I didn't have the capacity to be this angry. So I tried something new and prayed to God for help with this anger. What makes me laugh is how much I hate the phrase, "I gave it to God." This is prompting me to make a distinction. I like the phrase, "Give it to God" because it implies that no one has to carry her burden alone. It implies a humbleness that the load is too heavy and that it's ok to ask for help. But I hate the "I gave it to God" because that implies my part is over. As if I just gave it away once and now I'm good to go. Maybe no one ever implied those meanings. Many of my discussions with people about prayer have felt naive and superficial to me. Maybe those seeds of naivete and superficiality are smaller in me now so that I can have these types of discussions.

I'm trying what I can these days to go deeper, especially now that I see better the ways in which I have dug a rutted dirt road with my same old patterns. Here's to the water to wear the path down and let me start anew. (Especially as we begin a new year!)

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