The other day I was dropping Grace off at school and a car pulled out in front of me.
I slammed on my brakes.
Grace yelled, “Mom, what is that?!” She’d never felt anti-lock brakes before. The car continued to turn, then ended up on my side and stopped.
Now I was face to face with the driver. As she rolled down her window this is the thought that went through my mind, “Well this is very nice, she’s going to apologize for being in a hurry and cutting me off.”
Yes, I really thought that.
But that’s not what happened.She screamed at me while I sat there in shock.
Why was I in shock?
Because she was yelling at me. I actually anticipated kindness.
I didn’t roll down my window to yell back at her, I just sat there staring, feeling confused. “Mom! Why aren’t you saying anything?” But Grace already knew why. “Sweetie,” I said to her, “she’s just love having a nightmare.”
Grace knows what this means as she’s become familiar with Byron Katie’s work. It means I don’t hold this woman’s actions against her. She’s in some kind of struggle and reacting from a place of fear. I dropped off Grace and she told me again, “Mom, I can’t believe you didn’t say anything.” But really she can believe it. And I can believe it too although it still surprises me.
I’ve been practicing living without anger, and it can be really weird. I drove home thinking about my near inability to get angry now.
Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to say I actually try. Over the holidays, my kids promised to clean the kitchen following a get-together. I went downstairs and they were watching TV, but the kitchen was still a mess.
I shouted and tried my hardest to show them I was pissed off. But I wasn’t.
I returned upstairs and said to Grace, “I can’t even feel it. The words are coming out of my mouth but they don’t have punch anymore. I can’t get angry anymore and they know it.” I don’t get the hot tightness in my chest or the feeling like my head will explode. It just doesn’t come. So without the anger, I went back downstairs, turned off the TV, and reminded the kids what our agreement was. I stood there calmly. They got up and cleaned the kitchen.
Still, and I know it sounds weird, but I think I’m mourning the loss of anger. Isn’t that a strange thing to miss when the last thing you’d ever want to be is angry? What I’m saying is, saying goodbye to anger is like saying goodbye to a relative you never really enjoyed being around, but was always there. It was familiar.
But here’s what I don’t miss about anger.
My chest pounding, my heart racing, my blood boiling, my head hurting from all the crazy thoughts running through it.
What I get from my body now is more like, “Hmmm?” Almost like it remembers having a different reaction to a situation, but it can’t go there anymore.
I’m learning to live without anger.
I don’t know what the future holds and I’m not in control of anything except myself.
But knowing I can choose how to react in a world out of my control is empowering.
It allows me a peaceful vision of my future, no matter what happens.
How about you?
Does your heart pound in your chest after you’ve argued with your spouse?
Does your blood boil when your sister-in-law makes one of those comments about your parenting?
Does your head hurt when you think about all the things you should have gotten done today, but didn’t?
Can you imagine how it would feel to NOT have these physical sensations anymore?
Well, I couldn’t either until it happened to me.
Maybe it sounds impossible right now, but this can happen for you too.
And I can show you how to get there. Let’s talk.
Light, love and peace to you.