I was “having a moment”, uh, you know… cranky, irritated and pissy. I could give you the reasons why but really, what pisses me off might turn you on, and that’s the illusory fact of emotion – emotion relies on a story to stay alive. My story of woe may be your story of a day in paradise so the triggers are irrelevant. I was frowning and crashing pans around while getting the potatoes out of the oven; I thundered through dinner and then sat in a pile of self indulgent pissyness outside while my son had his post dinner toddlerish frolic. This small window of not-much-to-do gave me time to inquire.
I’m shitty, I’m irritated and it’s XYZ’s fault, if only they’d blah blah blah. I chose that moment to STOP the thoughts, the self talk, and dive, head first, into the emotion, into the chaos of it.
The thoughts were actually keeping me distant from the emotion, that was my first whammy. No one told me to expect that. I’m on my own, I realised. I’m discovering this for myself.
Without the thoughts about why I was pissy, I had no choice but to BE pissy, to truly sit and experience pissy. Not act it out. Not repress it. Not express it. Just experience it.
From early childhood until the age of 35 I didn’t feel or express anger very much. I had it bottled into me by parents, out of love and concern, who did not like to see anger or sadness in their children. It hurts to see your children hurting, and the unchecked feedback is to stop them, not realising that they aren’t stopping the emotion, just the expression of it. If only it was as easy as “hey, stop being angry”, then we’d all be free! We kid ourselves with our children, thinking that when we make them stop crying or yelling we’ve healed them. HA! Mass cultural self delusion.
The birth of my children had lessons for me, my son’s appearance brought with it lessons in rage. Woah boy, and wasn’t that fun. Rage is different to anger, I found, but with the same foundation. That’s the price you pay for a lifetime of suppressed anger.
I felt fear of anger, I felt I would lose control and maybe even hurt someone… so the fear kept me from really feeling it and instead “acting” it, as we all do. And I am gooooood. I have a great huffy face, and have perfected the door slam.
I chose to know this feeling for once. At first, I felt like I was sinking into it, and I literally felt it physically, moving upwards from my stomach, lurching, so I sank deeper into it, I was ready, “C’mon!” I said, “let’s DO this, mother fUCKer!” and I’m sitting there and this feeling is shaking along and…
… holy bananas, I had to FORCE myself to stay irritated.
Without the thoughts about the people who were “causing” my irritation, without any of the thoughts around it, the irritation DID NOT EXIST.
The emotion required the thoughts to exist. As I grappled with this I fumbled around looking for the pissyness, I conjured mental images to trigger it again but it was too late, my mind had been shifted slightly off kilter.
Wind affects the tree, but wind is not the tree; when the wind stops, the tree goes on.
I started laughing. I couldn’t help it. Like a lunatic I’m sitting there giggling away at the simplicity, the nearness, and at the pureness of emptiness; I was empty of fabricated emotion and this left only joy. A kind of joy, and I long for a decent English word to describe it. My son toddled over and giggled and put his head in my lap, needing no explanation. Adults in the vicinity, not so much; but how can I tell them? WHAT can I tell them? And I started laughing again.