When I lived in California in the 60’s, I had a friend who could use her angry energy to clean her apartment until it sparkled. I really envied her. My anger disabled me.
For years, whenever I got angry, my knees got shaky and I started feeling nauseous and weak. I can remember getting emails about some environmental disaster and a plea to call my Congresspeople, and I would feel so shaky and weak I couldn’t do it. After I had been doing Somatic Experiencing for several years, I read one of those emails, felt a surge of energy, went to the phone and called the people in Washington. I was amazed and so proud of myself! It was really wonderful to find myself having energy to act on behalf of causes I believe in.
Marshall Rosenberg says that all anger has a core of life-serving energy. That helped me not react to my own anger with guilt, but to try to find ways to use the energy of anger in a positive way. Some early experiences helped.
In September 1990 I did a workshop at Kripalu called “The Quest for the Limitless You”. They had us doing an exercise which involved shaking our whole body. I had an experience I called “Dancing in the Volcano”: “We danced, that is let our bodies shake while listening to some intense drumming & other music. I enjoyed it, felt like I usually do during satsang, letting my body do what it wants to. A lot of spastic movements with my arms & hands. I also found myself making a deep roaring growling noise. Then a deep roar came into the music and I was inside an exploding volcano of energy, like a roaring column. Inside it, I was able to move my body very gently, pushing the energy up and down. It was a wonderful experience, like being bathed in fire. Some day I would like to know more about how to invoke and move that energy.”
Somebody told me once that you could use the energy of anger for protection. I remember consciously filling my aura with anger, and visualizing a flame, sending it out to the very edge. I don’t remember if it “worked”, that is kept somebody or something away from me. I do remember that it made me feel very strong.
The next level of learning to use my anger was my experience with Ingrid Bacci. She said my depression was not caused by anything physical. She said “Your father’s still holding you down.” I exploded with rage. She asked “Where do you feel his energy in your body.” I said “in the upper chest.” I raged for a while, speaking angry words and pounding my hands. When I sat up, it felt like my father’s energy was like a slimy sleazy coating on the outside of my body that I could peel off like duct tape, and I did that. Then I had a truly amazing experience of feeling warm red energy in my torso, while my head remained cool and my legs felt strong. I was so excited, I got all inspired to do a bunch of projects. My journal entries from this time are full of excitement.
I don’t get angry much any more, except in the face of injustice. Then I get energized to call my Congresspeople. It was anger at injustice that led me to join the protest in Concord.