Curious Questions for You

Posted: May 21, 2012 in Life, living
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A month ago, a friend had challenged me to sit for an hour, just to concentrate – and maybe pray – about where I want to be, what I wanted to.   It was a goal that was fairly open-ended.   

I did.  I sat on the floor, on my yoga mat (shaddap) with a pillow behind my back.   I did this for an hour, at first in mediation, and then thinking/praying.   Just going over stuff.  

I came to a few realizations.

I’m an angry person.  Have been, ever since I was a teenager.   People generally didn’t know this, because it’s not obvious.   I am.  I’m angry.   So….this introspection….this navel-gazing, if you will…. sought to figure that out.  Why was I angry?

Years ago, my therapist suggested that anger is not a bad thing or a good thing.  It just is.  (What do you think?  Do you agree?  I’m really interested in your thoughts on that) .   Anyway – that’s the approach I took today.   I guess that anger, like pain, might be there for a reason.  It’s a messenger, a warning, that all is not right.   There’s an imbalance.  Something that needs correction.

So…..why was I angry?

I couldn’t approach it head-on as there were no answers there.  I just know that sometimes something will trigger me, and I’ll go off on a passionate rant.   Last night I ranted on a friend’s blog.   When I woke up this morning, I found myself ashamed and regretful.   I had told him the truth, but maybe it was overkill.  Maybe I didn’t need to show quite so much passion.   Truth-telling is enhanced by alcohol, in that booze relaxes your inhibitions.  The bad news is that it also inhibits your judgement – and I’m not sure my judgement was where it needed to be last night.   Anyway… spilt milk….water under the bridge.   Regrets are only good as lessons for the future.  They have zero effect on their origins.  You can’t take anything back or undo what you did.

So… Anger.   Anger happens when you find yourself limited from your potential.  Anger happens when you find yourself subject to fear – and once again, inhibited from doing what you know you should do.  

And I have been so very angry.  Sometimes it comes out as a reaction to whatever excuse will serve at the time.  I recognize its deceptiveness by virtue of its overkill – all out of proportion to its catalyst.  

I have dreams that I’ve let slide.   The time of reflection and meditation made that clear.  There’s a need to create.  To indulge some creativity.   To act.  To play music.  To write.   To – and this is kind of the crux of it all – help people.   

It’s tough, being so acutely aware of people who failingly struggle with expectations.   I see people who are bound – hogtied – to rules and restrictions that they thought were imposed on them, by their friends, their church, their friends or their workplace.  The brutal truth is that they’ve chosen to bind themselves.   Whatever the case, the end result is that they’re bound.  And they think they’re alone.  And I *need* to shine some light.

At the same time, I’ve become acutely aware of the fact that I have so many blind spots too.  So I can’t brag about any of this.  I can’t pretend I’m not deceived on occasion too.   Self-deception is the worst, isn’t’ it?  Mostly because you have no idea you’ve done it.   No clue that you’ve lied to yourself.   It doesn’t even cross your mind. 

I find that someone will say something and I’ll realize (hopefully immediately, if I’m lucky) that what they said just bumped me.   Like the universe pinched me hard on the bum.   And I realize, once again, that I’ve been fooling myself.   Damn it – I wish I could be more specific here, so that you had some idea of what I’m talking about.

That hour-long meditation is key:  especially in a world where stuff is happening all of the time, and you have no room to think.   It’s a time that you schedule, just like anything else, where you sit by yourself, quietly.   And listen.  And talk out loud too.

I don’t know how it would work for you but here’s how it worked for me:  I sat on the yoga mat and closed my eyes.   The first thing I did was concentrate on my breathing.  I slowed it down and took deep breaths, which I held for a few seconds before letting out.   As I did this, I noted the rest of my body:  where my limbs were, what they were touching, whether there was any pain or twitches or anything at all.   I didn’t judge any of it or try to make anything better.  I just accepted it.  I also noted the noises from outside of my apartment:  not in an irritated way, but just acknowledging that they were there, and accepting them.   

After a few minutes of that, once there was a rhythm going, I started deliberately thinking about all of the above.  Digging down deep into my motivations.  Figuring out what it was that caused me anger.  I don’t know why anger was the focus, but once again – I didn’t judge.  I accepted it.  It might be different for you though:  you’ll know if you try this.

Then, I decided that since anger was a signal, I needed to pay attention and figure out what it was telling me.   I found a few things:  I wasn’t creating.  I wasn’t playing piano.  I wasn’t writing as much as I needed to do.   I was resentful of my job, which takes up so much of my time.  I need money to live – and my job was the surest way to do that.  I wasn’t physically fit.

There’s an awareness of a need to reach out to people too.  That’s the main thing.  I thought of how many times I’ve been lifted up by music.  Pretty much catapulted out of a threatened depression and dropped into joy – because of music.  I’ve done the same thing when I’ve created and played music too.   The clearest example was at the death of my father:  a man that I truthfully hated for much of my life.  Yet, my emotions were ambivalent.  He wasn’t a total asshole.  He did some things right.  He likely did (as we all do) the best he could with what he had.   He was limited (as we all are) by so many things, some of which were obvious, and others of which were hidden.  At his funeral, some of these truths made themselves apparent.  It wasn’t completely conscious though.   On the eve of his funeral – for some strange reason – I decided to compose a musical eulogy to him.   There were no words – just music.   I remember setting up the electric piano at the Catholic altar of the church, and playing the piece.   It was a bittersweet number:  grounded in pain but interspersed with streaks of joy.   I couldn’t articulate it in words at all.   

The best thing:  it fit, and not just with me.

It was the first time I was conscious of the powerful effects of music.  

I need to do that again.  There’s a need to meet the mark of the joy, the potential, of music.  And of writing.  And of being in the best health possible. And of so much more.

Do you dream?  Are there things you wish you’d done?  Do you find yourself irritated for no apparent reason?  Or apathetic?   

Are you where you want to be?  Are you satisfied?   If so – how did you get there?   Did it come easy, or did you need to do a lot of introspection?  Did you have to make some deliberate choices?  How so?  How did you do it?

If not – have you accepted your “station in life” as inevitable?   If so, why?  Is there fear?  Of what?   

Or are you truly happy with your choices?

Comments
  1. Barbara says:

    You certainly have a lot of questions! I think you’d be surprised to learn that this place of questioning is a great place to be. I get the feeling that you have a bit further to go yet though in this process before you start to find some real answers. But that’s okay. Once you find the answers, there’s nothing to do with them except to learn them more deeply until they become all that you are :)

    I think you might also be surprised to learn that your anger isn’t very well hidden at all! You are incredibly talented at weaving the threads of anger artfully among a vast array of concepts with incredible distracting sensory articulation, so perhaps it may feel hidden. But it’s not. In fact, if you take a good look at what you’ve written here, you’ve pretty much described the exact dynamic of your dilemma. Re-read what you’ve written here, but change every “you”, “they”, “them”, etc. to “i” or “me”.

    You see, I don’t believe anger is an emotion at all. I believe it’s a behavior. I’ve written more about this that I’ll share with you sometime, but for now I’d like for you to just consider it.

    I saw your “rant” on your friend’s blog. I almost commented, but decided not to. My question to you now though is, how invested are you in the “truth” you so vehemently expressed? What would you sacrifice for it? Your life? A friend’s life? A child’s?

    I apologize if this reply sounds cryptic and airy fairy. As much as I’d like to just offer a completely straightforward analysis, there’s a certain downside to doing so. That is, you don’t get to discover for yourself the answers you’re looking for in your own time and space. There’s a richness to the experience of discovery that you don’t want to miss :)

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    • wolfshades says:

      Frankly, I think I’ll be done with the process when I die. : ) But I agree: the more you go forward with this stuff, the more it becomes a part of you. It’s like truth-telling (which I hasten to add, is much more than simply “telling the truth”): the more you do it, the more you practice, the more you can trust yourself.

      I think my writing has definitely had a tinge of healthy anger to it – certainly the word “passionate” comes up. And I have a better handle on the whole concept of anger than ever. My dad only showed me the negative and destructive side. There’s a side which promotes health though. In my day to day real life dealings, not many have realized it’s there, until a passionate moment arises, and I let it loose. My writings are far more reflective of what’s going on in here (points to head) than what is obvious to real life observers, in other words.

      I like your last paragraph in particular very much Barbara: it resonates clearly. I think it’s important for people to arrive where they’re going, by means of the tools at hand, and in the timing designed for them. It’s why I’ve held back too, when I’ve seen others who aren’t at a place where truths can possibly be accepted or acted upon.

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  2. Wolfie — so much to say.

    I’m going against the norm here and say that sometimes I find myself doing exactly what you’re doing in this piece — possibly over analyzing a bit? Not sure – -I am not aware of the “rant” you wrote on someone’s comment and so maybe there’s something there you need to walk through, but I don’t think Anger is a bad thing at all, actually, I think it’s quite necessary as humans. I mean, I get angry because I disagree with folk all the time. I get angry when I make a careless mistake, I get angry when someone cuts me off while I’m driving, I get angry when I stub my toe! It’s NOT the getting angry part that’s the problem, it’s how we deal with situations, and for how long they internalize — that’s when anger does us harm.

    I got so angry with someone the other day because they completely failed at something they said they would absolutely take care of. And somewhere inside of me I knew they would drop the ball. If this was 5 years ago, I would have been clamoring about this for days. Now, I just get mad for a few minutes, figure out how to move through it, and get back on track.

    For me, whether I’m happy or sad, angry or full of joy, I strive to keep some sort of even keel about it because focusing on it too much sometimes leads us down a path we don’t want to go. I strive for consistency in how I deal with things. Not trying to eliminate anger — it’s part of the human condition. But learning to handle it better — that’s been brilliant. And it’s helped with other aspects of my “isms”…

    Clearly, you have so many questions… and they are brilliant questions, but you seem to be asking them of yourself, and ironically answering them along the way. When I’m in this place — the place you seem to be in right now – – I agree, music is wonderful. But you know what else is amazing? GREAT books! I always find myself thumbing through The Prophet. Or Reading The Alchemist. There are so many — but sometimes when we’re searching so deeply within ourselves for answers, we ARE SO IN IT that we can’t see clearly. Over analyzing…maybe being too close to it…. walk away from it a bit…at the very least, you’ll get a different perspective.

    Cheers.

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    • wolfshades says:

      The Prophet and The Alchemist are *amazing* aren’t they?

      I’m not big on introspection (despite these blogs), believe me. But the anger I’m talking about is a silent thrumming in the background. Since therapy, I have no problem with having outward overt anger about obvious things either. Like you said: it’s part of the human condition. I accept it of myself – when there’s something to be angry about. But there’s this other anger that stems from something else that’s out of balance – the harder stuff that isn’t quite so easily identified. It’s that irritation that occurs when there’s nothing to be irritated about. It’s those times when you (me) react to something quickly, realizing that you were waiting for an excuse to be angry. Finding something to validate that already simmering internal anger. It’s important (I think) to recognize that too, without judgement – but with a willingness to try and determine its roots. That’s where I was hoping to go with this blog: to explore that.

      I really don’t think I’m the only one who ever struggles with this stuff. So the questions at the end truly were for others to read and respond to. Absolutely I ask them of myself – but (*grin*) I don’t need a blog in which to do it. I really want to know about others’ experiences.

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      • Hmm….sorry that you’re dealing with that: “simmering internal anger” sounds extremely deep. I think it’s great that you have gone to therapy to try to work on it — or is that the point? You’ve gone through therapy and you haven’t figured it out completely yet? How great that you’re using this blog to walk on through… love that. I guess I’m in a different space. Not a better space, just a different one. I feel like my “simmering internal” compass is optimistic most days. sometimes I wonder if I’m just living in the clouds… but again, I try not to over analyze it at all. I just keep moving through….

        I hope you figure it out Wolf. I’m crossing my fingers for you!

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        • wolfshades says:

          Actually…. *laughing* I have dealt with it. This blog reveals where it comes from – only I wasn’t that explicit about it. I know that it comes from the frustration of not aligning myself with the core of who I am. I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that had you not made your own life changes, away from the office environment, you’d probably have a *much* better idea of where I’m coming from. : )

          The fact is: I always took the easy road, the more expedient one at the time. Instead of taking the time (or being self-aware enough to even know to take the time) to figure out who I am and from there figuring out what I should be doing with my life, I went to work in a factory, as pretty much 75% of the men in my town did. Took quite a few years to realize it was killing me inside. And there were physical symptoms that showed up….. You know what? That story deserves another blog.

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