SHADOW EMOTION: HOW TO WORK WITH ANGER

Mars retrograde stirring up any suppressed…rage (um, Lemonaid)? You can use your anger as a powerful tool for transformation, says Erin Telford

Anger is my favorite shadow emotion. It’s powerful, it gets things done and it is excellent at creating boundaries and change.

But anger is also one of the most misunderstood and underutilized emotions. As women, we are socialized in both overt and covert ways to be nice, not make a fuss and not rock the boat. When we are taught by our loved-ones and by our culture to bite our tongue in service of keeping the peace, we can get very disconnected from trusting our feelings and from feeling safe to work with this emotion when it flares up.

The thing is, most of us have never seen a healthy expression of anger. We associate it with road rage, throwing things at people, screaming, crying, cursing, fear, abuse, physical threats, danger, and out of control people. These are all examples of unhealthy anger. It’s not an emotion we appreciate so we try our very best to suppress it out of existence.

But it’s actually unexpressed or suppressed anger can get ugly. And beyond the stigma, all anger is, is a catalyst for change and an opportunity for some honest communication. Anger can actually work for you if you work with it.

Anger in its purest form simply says: “I don’t like this. Something needs to be different about this situation.” It’s a call to action! You don’t like it? Okay, change it!

One of the best examples of healthy anger is peaceful protest. This is anger put to work—a group of people turning their collective anger into action to create change. We are seeing this right now in politics, the environment, and human rights. It is impossible for anyone with a beating heart to turn a blind eye to what is going on in our world. We are riled up, expressing our opinions and getting involved!

We can all do this in our personal lives as well. Anger is a very powerful force and if wielded with grace and finesse, it can move mountains. Where we get into trouble with anger is when we push it down, causing it to build.

Anger is connected with the season of spring. This is because it speaks to the catalytic energy surge required to turn a seed into a plant, to push it’s little head above the soil and reach for the sun! Spring, our liver, and by association the energy of anger, are connected with upward and outward growth.

So what happens if your growth is inhibited? What happens when someone tells you “no”? A ridiculous new policy is created at work? What if you are simply just trying to walk down the street and everyone is in your way? You didn’t get the apartment or the job or the acceptance letter, a flight is delayed, a class isn’t offered, you didn’t get the promotion?

These are ways that an obstacle interrupts the smooth flow of our life. We don’t like obstacles. We don’t like no. We don’t like interruptions to our plans.

And so our natural reaction can be anger. Which is totally fine. We are upset.

But to deny this is to block our access our personal power. When we feel guilty about what we feel or label ourselves as being “negative” when we feel angry, we miss out on an opportunity to out-create our circumstances.

Rather, if we can sit with our anger, can look at where it’s coming from and why we feel it, we can polish it into a nugget of transformational gold. If we have been hurt or upset by another person, rather than lashing out, we can advocate for ourselves and clearly state our needs to that person. If someone continually disrespects or hurts us, you may need to use that anger to create a change in the terms of that relationship!

You may have heard that anger turned inward results in depression—an oversimplified expression, since depression has many roots and takes many forms—but there is some weight to it.

When we repress our anger toward a partner, friend, loved one or co-worker by not sharing our truth, we are betraying ourselves. We are inadvertently communicating to ourselves that our feelings don’t matter and we are not worth standing up for. Self-betrayal is the most painful betrayal of all and can decrease self-esteem and confidence—leading to depression.

So we stay snippy and unexpressed and we self-medicate even more or our tense up even more, or our digestion suffers. It doesn’t have to be this way. Use your anger as a call to action to change your circumstances.

Breathe it out. Dance it out. Run it out. Write it out. Scream it out (not at someone else!) Sing it out. Create it out. Talk it out. Paint it out. Boot camp it out. Express it out.

You have to feel it to heal it. You have to let it out to transform it. Just don’t be afraid of anger.

The more you know your triggers and can feel when it’s rising in you, the more gently and safely you can manage this emotion. Anger is so powerful and properly harnessed it can do so much for you. Think of anger as your inner Mama Bear, your inner Kali, and your inner badass.

And let it be fuel to create powerful change and transform your life.

NAVARATRI: HOW TO WORK THE GODDESS ENERGY FOR FALL

The Indian festival of Navaratri begins today, and is a nine-day opportunity to work with the Goddess Energy of the Divine Feminine to amplify your personal power. Anita Kaushal explains how…

Autumn signals colder, darker nights and this can leave many of us feeling physically and emotionally fatigued. At times of weakness we need to summon strength and this can take many forms. So it’s fortunate that Tuesday 13th October signals the start of Navaratri – the nine-day Indian festival devoted to Durga – the Goddess of Shakti, or power and strength.

Nava-ratri translates to ‘nav’ meaning nine, ‘ra’ meaning night and ‘tri’ meaning the three aspects of mind, body and soul. This festival happens twice a year – in spring to celebrate sowing seeds, and autumn, when we reap the harvest. The exact dates are determined by the lunar calendar and the celebrations pay homage to the three aspects of Goddess Durga – as Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Together the three aspects of Durga represent the Divine Feminine energy that creates all that is. Here we share with you how you can tap into the Divine at this sacred time, and in doing so supercharge your inner strength to bring you greater fulfillment and peace.

:: October 13-15 ::
For the first three nights of Navaratri, meditate on the destructive aspect of Durga as Kali – a symbol of change, power, creation, preservation and back to destruction. Here we see Kali as the destroyer of ego, the mind-made personality that cultivates fear based thinking, leading to anger, greed and hatred. However, this is not a time to deny these aspects of your personality, as to deny is to strengthen. Instead use this time to reach a greater understanding of when and where these mind-made habits took form and how they are triggered in the present.

Cultivate the understanding that you are not these labels, and allow the feelings to come and then go. Thank these feelings for bringing you closer to the aspects you wish to cultivate, which represent your true nature. Let Kali guide you to turn anger into patience, greed into trust and hatred into love. Above all this is a time to simply surrender, knowing that nothing is permanent. Kali is often depicted with her tongue hanging out and you may know this stance from yoga – you exhale the negative and let it go.

:: October 16-18 ::
Spend the next three nights meditating upon the Divine Mother as Lakshmi – the Goddess of Abundance. Depicted with four arms, sitting resplendent on a full-bloomed lotus with gold coins cascading from her hands, Lakshmi represents the beauty and bounty of nature. Her four arms represent the four ends of human life: “dharma” or righteousness, “kama” or desire, “artha” or wealth, and “moksha” or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. This is the perfect time to connect to your heart space and get clear on what abundance means to you.

Trust that the abundance meant for you cannot be taken away, and is simply waiting until you are ready to receive the download and that can only happen when you get clear and free from free of fear. During these three days, give freely of all you would love to receive. Nurture yourself by creating sacred space for beautifying, balancing rituals, buy yourself something special and then wear it – special occasion or not! Savor good food, give compliments and be open to receiving them too – this is the time to feel abundant with all your being. And if you don’t do it already, now is the time to start a gratitude journal – fill it with all you already feel grateful for and watch it multiply.

:: October 19-21 ::
On the final three nights, meditate upon the Divine Feminine as the wisdom-bestowing aspect known as Saraswati. The Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and wisdom, Saraswati brings the joy of learning and of self-realisation. This is an excellent time to sign up for a course, read inspiring articles, read a translated version of the Gayatri Mantra to further deepen your knowledge and create a mediate practice.

Equally, it is a time to create a ‘to don’t list’! Learning should be fun and if you have a long list that is not getting done, ask yourself if you ever really wanted to do it in the first place? Why set yourself up to fail? Who are you proving things to and for? Use this time to truly connect to what you want and give up everything else. Think about all the lessons you have learnt and give thanks for growing wisdom.

Throughout the nine days of Navaratri, focus on breathing as an opportunity to inhale the qualities you wish to nurture and exhale the qualities that no longer serve you. Traditionally, the 10th day concludes by offering nine girls from the local neighbourhood treats of some kind, be it sweets and clothing – to symbolize an offering to the Divine Goddesses. We offer gratitude to the Divine Mother and celebrate in a state of sat-chit-ananda, or truth-consciousness-bliss, and conclude with Vijayadasami (Vijay – victory, and dasami – tenth day), symbolizing the victory of the Goddess over all demonic forces. Think about the small but significiant victories you have made as you have focused on Durga, and give thanks for how far you have come.

Anita Kaushal is the founder of Ayurveda-inspired natural beauty line Mauli Rituals. Find out more about her and her journey at the link, and follow her @mauli_rituals.