From an early age, I realized I was an angry person. Intense, competitive and at times, really pissed off at the world. Around age 11 onward the intensity of this type of energy grew. I didn’t know what to do with it. Some was channeled into sports and dance and playing music. Some leaked out as meanness and slid into power trips. Then sarcasm and judgement and separation became a thing. Then boys and jealousy and a bunch more projections. Then driving and road rage. Messy. Energy leaking out everywhere. I hadn’t learned about the energy of anger, adults certainly didn’t seem to have a handle on it. Turns out that those with externalized anger actually fair better in the long term than those with internalized anger. So I was lucky,... I guess.
The shame of my behavior and my thoughts and judgements towards others was eating away at me however. Though society encouraged anger be expressed only behind closed doors, expressing passive aggressive behavior like sarcasm and judging and labelling others appeared rampant. Some part of me saw the deep seated anger in this and I realized it just wasn’t who I wanted to be.
I found meditation as a teen, then psychology and both fueled my inner desire to know myself and understand humanity. Self-acceptance began to emerge and anger slowly dissipated...or went into hiding.
I found yoga a few years later and soon after, an enlightened teacher with whom I studied for many years. Here is where I made peace with anger and learned to welcome rage.
Many beliefs were challenged: “can I be a spiritual person and be angry?” “something must be wrong with me” Underneath the anger and rage would be hopelessness or despair or blame or sadness. Lots of projections. “The world is fucked” “things will never change” “it’s all their/his/her fault” “why is there so much hate and violence?” “why did creator make us this way?” “why did she/he/they hurt me?”
In the ongoing active meditation and self-reflective somatic practices, anger and rage continued to emerge amidst cycles of joy, compassion, passion and reverence. Intuition sparked, contemplation grew, psychic abilities flowered, compassion grew, sexual energy rose and heart opened. When I was able to touch the anger and rage as a witnessing consciousness without attachment to its ‘wrongness’ or denying it due to fear of its danger, I was always gifted with vast openings of insight, vitality, passion or love soon after. When I tried to push away or wanted to keep the anger and fed it with thoughts of indignance, entitlement or ‘poor me’, it would fester and leak out repeatedly. I watched and learned.
Within these years, I found deep peace with almost every internal state of being. There was a power, wisdom, vitality and trust alive in me that I never could have imagined possible. It was time to fly out of the nest, leave my teacher and integrate what I had learned. I got married and had a child. Ha! Now to see it all in real time.
Most poignant were the teachings about power and rage from my son in the early years. I had clear inner commitments about parenting due to my knowledge of human development. My awareness of attachment and its consequences on future relationships, confidence and optimal health had me commit to long-term breast feeding, extensive holding and no ‘crying it out’. I was also keenly aware of how physiological, mental and emotional patterns develop from the parents and held this awareness like a parental guidepost.
So this lovely child is born at home after 36 hours and only in the last hour with the possibility of going to the hospital close at hand, was I able to push that boy out. Without the encouragement of my dear midwife, his father and two dear friends, it would not have happened. I love you all so much for that.
In his exhaustion, little Joshua slept 12 hours that first night. Then not again until 4 years and 6 weeks later. For the next 1492 nights with my child, I learned previously inconceivable lessons about rage, trust, sexual energy and human potential.
If I view these years as a marathon, I had a strong start. Good pace and though hitting various stints of hopeless and exhaustion, the thought of the finish line appearing soon kept me going. I was generally optimistic for that first year though shocked by the experience of sleeplessness and sacrifice of so many freedoms. The second year I began to wane but trusted that the finish line must be close at hand. I figured after I stopped breast-feeding surely he would sleep through the night. I read everything I could and was generally amazed at the capacity of the human body to continually find more energy after being awakened 4-8 times every night. This awe and gratitude at my daily capacity fueled my waning trust and got me through times of hopelessness and frustration.
Tension was building and energy was seriously waning by year 3 though, around 1100 nights in a row without sleeping through. I had long since lost all sexual desire. I had learned to live with a torture of sorts. Thoughts of rest consumed most days. Will I nap today?’ ‘will he nap?’ ‘how will I get through the day?’ Besides how to spend the waking hours with him and what to buy and cook, sleep was all I thought of. Meditation and yoga practice kept me going in addition to every nap I could grab.
Though he was no longer breast-feeding, Joshua still woke 3 times per night often in fear and calling ‘Mama’. Though trust in his safety and the presence of his caregivers had deepened, he consistently asked for maternal assurance through the night.
It was in this 3rd year as I would sit by his bed until he calmed and fell back asleep where I visited with rage and hatred and surrender in the dark of each night. I had a few standard songs I sung to him nightly that year and ‘Kali-ma’ was one of them. Little did I know I had been invocating the Divine Mother of power and life and death every night! Well she sure showed up with skulls on.
We had a routine. He called out Mama and I showed up. I would whisper ‘it’s ok’, ‘you’re ok’ and hold his hand as he fell back asleep. It took anywhere from 15-30min. Then he may wake as I walked or crawled or inched my way out of the room. I would go back to my quiet sitting position and descend into meditation again. If he only woke twice in the night, it was a really good night. It was in these meditations in the dark by his bed where such anger at him would rise up,... rage….an energetic force that wanted to scream, throw, hit or explode in some way. I felt bound. I couldn’t speak or I would yell. I did not want to wake the tenant, Joshua’s dad, the neighbours, or traumatize my child. What to do? I remained still, inward in the witness. I watched this volcanic force rise in me each and every night. It would rise to the heart and turn into hot tears of hopelessness, then soft tears of surrender and eventually the quiet devotion of prayer. And so the cycle continued. Life was inviting me to deepen my relationship to rage and even hatred. Beyond tolerance and acceptance, I was asked that this power be a welcomed energy, each and every night. Sometimes it was thoughts of hatred towards him that took me to the tears. A few times I wanted to hit him. Direct line to tears. And in my commitment to the calming of his nervous system from wherever this nightly fear had come, in my commitment to my contract as his loving parent, I continued while all else in life was falling away. The needs of the marriage, career, friendships, family, all of it, was near impossible to attend to, to say the least.
Jogging, walking or limping my way into year 4, over 1450 nights of interrupted sleep, my desire for freedom now became stronger than my will to keep going. I had become so accustomed to my unmet needs that I had long since given up on ideas of naps and deeper rest. It was the will for a different life, for pursuing my greater missions in life that kept me going through the day. Some Kali-influenced energy was telling me to get out, out of the routine, out into the world, out of my own way maybe. This became the force that wrote my mission statements, visioned my further offerings to the world and was the fire under my feet.
Then somehow, after no external change in our routine and after 1492 nights, he just slept through the night. It was a November night. I was in some sort of shock and went away a few days later to be by myself. I dropped into some deep relief and surrender and could scarcely believe it was really done. It continued. He just slept now. For several months my own nervous system woke me 3-4 times each night. I slept through the night only occasionally those first few months and then gradually more and more. I could hardly believe the energy I had. It was inconceivable! More vitality than I had ever known before continued to emerge and rise. It was akin to re-experiencing the vitality of adolescence except without the pressure of high school and parents. I was wildly alive with my whole life ahead of me. I had more energy than ever to speak my voice, attend to my career vision and offer to my clients. I began to tune into a greatly neglected relationship. After 4 years bound to a child in the day and his bedside at night, all I wanted was freedom. I began to realize that all I had ever wanted was freedom. Freedom was the true nature that I had longed for and never really given myself. All my life, I had been the victim and the captor. I had been the one who put myself in prison and was yelling through the bars to be let out. It was my own chosen soul agreements each step of the way that had caused struggle and that had brought me the teachings I had longed for about human suffering.
There I was. This journey with Joshua; his fear and sleeplessness had brought me more power, understanding and life energy than I thought humanly possible. What had created this? How would Life direct me now? The energy and clarity was strong. His fear had been my fear, an example of every human beings fear. The fear of being fully alive. I was renewed. Unencumbered. The whole experience had been in service to my own soul! My awe at Creation was now as unbound as my being.
With deep humility, enlightened reverence and an open heart, I walked on.
Still bowing to you beloved Joshua.
Bowing to you Abheeru.
Bowing to all the friends and family that loved me through it.
Bowing to you Creator.
All my love,