As we wrap up Self-Love this month, I “celebrate” February 24, 2021, three-hundred, sixty-nine days of isolation, house-bound due to Covid-19. It’s a familiar story that many Americans share. One would think after all this time spent alone, that plenty of opportunities presented themselves with which to grapple with anger and get rid of it.
Well, I am still angry. However, it is not serving my best interests, nor is my anger serving anyone else. In fact, I think anger is contagious.
The idea that emotions are contagious hit me hard yesterday as I was working with a fifteen-year-old art student. He expressed how exhausted and sad he was, angered by environmental destruction, political upheaval, and, in general, adults who can’t understand that there needs to be change in our thinking, our attitudes, and our behaviors. He is a compassionate warrior on the precipice of starting his life and it sickens me that at fifteen he is sad and exhausted.
As one of those adults, I need to sever my ties with anger. At my age, I have accrued anger that colors my reactions to most life events, but I have to let go. I want a clean slate.
This idea was heavy on my mind when I joined my writing sisters at the Well on Monday. We always begin our gatherings with a meditative circle, and that didn’t change when we switched to Zoom meetings last March. Now, we circle virtually. During Monday’s meditation, I grabbed the words: roundness, circle, soul star, and higher self. Our first writing always reflects the meditative message. We have ten minutes to write, but I couldn’t let go of my conflict with anger.
Then this happened:
It is impossible to entertain anger in Circle. Circle is consideration, compassion, round, buoyant Love. Circle is a Never-Ending Begin Again. Mistakes have nowhere to stick in Circle, and so they become unjudged experience as they fall away.
Anger is angular. Mistakes stick in corners and crevasses and fester. Eventually, rigid structure devolves and softens, morphing into Circle, becoming a Never-Ending Begin Again.
Hmm. I want a Never-Ending Begin Again. How do I soften the rigid structures of my anger so they can fall out of Circle?
That night I remembered a vivid experience that occurred during my childhood. It was a tiny piece of anger that had hidden in a corner.
As a pre-teen, sometime between the ages of ten and twelve, I was studying to become a pianist. I am from a musical family, and it was logical as the eldest child to follow in the footsteps of my elders. I liked the piano. I didn’t really hate practicing for at least an hour a day, but I resented that my younger siblings didn’t have to, especially since I had been working since a very early age, competing in State and National competitions. Maybe my parents could only handle one child at a time who brutalized notes as they learned them. I was a successful performer. It was, however, not my dream. My dream was to sing.
So one afternoon after school while I was practicing on the keys, I was also singing along with the music created by my fingers. I don’t really remember which one of my brothers was responsible for this heinous act. They were twins, so perhaps they were both in on it. In the middle of producing a high note, one of them threw a live grasshopper into my mouth.
They knew I was terrified of grasshoppers!
You can imagine the chaos. I believe a double glass door was broken, perhaps a lamp, and a screen door was pulled off the hinges in my desperation to escape and get the grasshopper off my tongue.
As I write this, I can’t stop laughing. I wonder if either of them remembers this incident. Today, this event became Story, and because of this telling, the rigid structure of this tale has devolved and become Circle. I judge it funny, but I am still disgusted.
A grasshopper in my mouth!? How can I change that?!?
So, Monday night, after having this ridiculous memory, I dreamed I was at a fancy restaurant and the menu was indigenous food. One of the offerings was grasshopper. It was sautéed in lemon and spices, all sharp parts had been removed, and I was brave enough to try one. It was tasty, but in this dream, I wanted to eat a whole, unflavored grasshopper. I didn’t want any happy flavorful colors clouding the confrontation between my foe and myself.
The chef honored my wish. He brought a roasted hopper, head and all. I picked it up with chopsticks and held it in front of me. I looked at it a long time, wondering if I should eat it with the exoskeleton or peel it. In the dream, mind you, I left it intact. I told it my story. I forgave it for terrorizing me. I thanked it for offering its life for my nourishment. I popped in my mouth and tasted buttery sweetness. Then I abruptly woke up.
Instead of feeling disgusted, I felt a kinship for this creature that originally I had abhorred. I have tasted Never-Ending Begin Again.
It is time now to use this tool to hunt in the corners and crevasses of my psyche and create Circle wherever I find a hidden anger. I must cut ties with this contagious polluter.
It is impossible to entertain anger in Circle. Circle is consideration, compassion, round buoyant Love. Circle is a Never-Ending Begin Again. I hope you do not battle anger, but if you do, maybe gathering it into Circle can give you peace as well.