The Truth Behind the Rage
Rage. Rage is what I felt most of the day today off and on. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “What the fuck am I doing?!” I wanted to throw things and ram my fist into a wall.
Instead, I paced in my kitchen and snapped at my daughter. She wanted to play with me, but I could not give her the attention she needed, so on top of the rage I felt guilt. This fanned the flames of my rage because I hated feeling guilty for not being a better mother to my daughter. But most of all, I was angry because I was supposed to go into work today to get ready for my first week back, but they’d closed the campus because of a storm.
I should have done shadow work when I was feeling that way, but I didn’t. I had attempted to do shadow work earlier that morning, and nothing came. I was disappointed in myself for not sticking with the shadow work, but the fact was I felt nothing, and sitting there forcing myself to feel something just for the sake of doing shadow work felt silly and unproductive. It was shortly after my failed attempt that I wanted to tear my hair out, and destroy things.
So why not do the shadow work when I was overcome with the rage? The answer to that came later. At the time I did not know why I didn’t do the shadow work.
Instead, I busied myself with house work and eating, and finally, I fell asleep after feeding my son his afternoon bottle. I woke up at around 6 in the evening! Then after sleeping through most of my day, and not doing anything productive, and not doing the shadow work I should have done, I didn’t feel angry, I felt shame.
After dinner, I looked out the window and saw that the storm had passed. I imagined that it had torn through our neighborhood and blown all of the beautiful cherry blossoms off the trees. I likened my feelings of failure to the image of naked cherry blossom trees; the delicate petals of the cherry blossoms strewn over the pavement where people trampled them into nothing, just like my issues had trampled my dreams.
I looked out at the dark, calm sky, and I thought about how dismal I had made my day. Tomorrow, I was going to start teaching, and my daughter’s elementary school matriculation ceremony would be in the morning, so I couldn’t prepare for my classes then. My thoughts drifted to thoughts of my daughter growing up, and how I wanted to give her flowers at her matriculation ceremony the next day.
I had planned to buy them on my way from the office, but the storm made that impossible. I glanced at the clock. The stores down the hill from my apartment were still open; I could go buy her a little bouquet. There was still time to salvage what was left of this horrid day.
As I made my way to the store, I thought about how hard I had been on myself. If I had slept, it was because I needed it. I’d been burning it at both ends all week, and not getting much sleep. Feeling a little better about myself, I entered the store. I found a bouquet of flowers for my daughter, and some milk and bread for the house. Feeling happy that I was able to get my daughter flowers, I made my way home.
The main road in my neighborhood is lined with cherry blossom trees, so I decided to walk up the hill along that road to get home. I had expected to find the trees stripped bare of their cherry blossoms. Instead, as I made my way through the corridor of trees I was overwhelmed by what I saw. The trees still had most of their blossoms, and I could smell their gentle fragrance as I made my way up the hill. Walking on a blanket of petals, I noticed that their beauty was not diminished at all, but enhanced. Pressed underfoot, they melded together to make a silky, pink ribbon of color on the black asphalt. It was as if the universe were telling me not to give up; that my dreams were still possible, and that I should trust the work I am doing and press on. I was overcome with gratitude and deep sense of understanding.
By the time, I got home, I felt much better, and when the opportunity presented itself, I did shadow work. Surprisingly, it was not rage I felt when I delved into my emotions. Can you guess what emotion finally surfaced?
It was terror, I felt when I was quiet and sitting with myself. This was the emotion hiding behind and fueling my rage. It was terror over the thought that I might fail. It was terror over the thought that I might be left alone. This terror manifested itself as a fear of being hurt by some unseen force. It’s that feeling that gives you goose bumps when you’re watching a horror movie.
I’m not proud of the fact that I’m a grown woman and I still freak out when I hear creaks and pops, and sounds akin to foot steps in the wee hours. I’ve suppressed this feeling for some time now. No wonder, I spent so much time avoiding shadow work today.
I realized that behind my rage there is abject fear. And behind that fear is the need to feel warm and to feel safe. My inner infant needed that. It was revealed to me that I first felt this terror when I was given a vaccination. I imagine for an infant, such sudden and acute pain, given just after feeling cold and abandoned would lead to this feeling that some unseen force were waiting in the shadows to harm you for no apparent reason. From an infant’s perspective, I can see how such a thing could be terrifying.
So that’s what was revealed to me today. After a raging storm cherry blossoms can still remain on the trees, and the beauty of the petals that fall to the ground is not diminished but enhanced and transformed, just as my dreams cannot be denied by my fear of failure and abandonment.
I learned that behind my rage is a terror of being left cold, alone, and unsafe. I also learned that that cannot happen, for I am love, and I am warmth, and I can never truly be alone.
I hope that when a storm blows through your life, and you feel overwhelmed by rage and the terror that lies behind it, you will also remember that you are not alone, for you are love, you are warmth, you are Source.