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Jimi Hendrix at the amusement park Gröna Lund ...

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It doesn’t matter how angry I am or whatever emotional state I’m in that is approaching hostility, in the middle of a battle or après guerre, 2 things come to mind every single heated moment:

1) The first line of Jimi Hendrix Bold As Love

2) Stop Drop & Roll.

The latter being an action we were to take as kids if we were on fire or an earthquake hit, no, actually I think we were supposed to get under our desks if an earthquake hit. Anyway, in my demented mind when I am thoroughly upset and without control, those two thoughts run through my brain.  Which of course, makes me laugh; counteracting my attempt at being angry. Afterwards I am painfully aware of how true the expression of “makes my blood boil” really is.

I don’t get very angry often and I think I can pretty much remember every time where I’ve felt out of control with irritation but those moments I do recall are embedded in my brain forever.  In some cultures being “hot headed” is considered normal, if not expected.  In the 70’s I can remember being at a friends house where the dad came in, and back-handed his child for no apparent reason (we had been asleep). My own father had his physically violent moments but for the most part his speciality was verbal abuse.  But that isn’t what I want to talk about.

When I am angry, it really feels like my blood is boiling.  I find it fascinating and disturbing all at once.  During the actual action of being hostile I can feel my body heating up and my brain getting fuzzy. But nowadays I am aware of it and for the most part able to control it. We have tempers in our family and it’s best to be conscious of our actions or a minor situation could get out of control. I feel it is my responsibility to be aware of my reaction to things- good or bad. But conscious living is a lot more difficult than the manual says.

Mostly I think it is difficult to be “conscious” of your actions all the time because we are all so busy multitasking or proving that we can multitask, add a dollop of self-righteous behavior and you have a melting pot of anger. I’ve noticed more and more that people honk at me when driving if I’ve either slowed down or actually stopped and they can’t see, think or feel why.  I think if perhaps they “thought” about it before honking they might actually SEE the elderly pedestrian in front of my truck, or that someone else is running a red light, or that a bloody meteor just hit the street and I am doing them a favor! See? It’s easy to get mad when you think about traffic.

Recently someone pushed me into anger.  It happens.  Although I’d like to preface this story with something a good friend said to me not too long ago.  She said, “Well, I know YOU and if you got angry you probably kept warning them that they were going to far!”  I was glad she said that to me because I don’t want to be one of those abusive people who takes their anger out on anyone available even if they had nothing to do with its origin. If I feel scared, attacked or that someone is pushing my buttons, I tell them. I tell them because I learned a long time ago to trust my intuition.  Anyway, I blew my top.  Of course 5 minutes after screaming, I broke down crying and began apologizing profusely.  In my defense, and in retrospect, I had every right to be mad and if I’m mad it means I care. I had been hurt by someone’s bad behavior, they knew they had hurt me but I didn’t respond to their false overtures fast enough because I had other more serious things occurring in my life. When I finally did respond, the person managed to turn the whole debacle into my fault.  Just like a savvy Shakespearean character!  So I began feeling bullied in our conversation and hey, nobody likes a bully!  My hackles went up, my body got very hot, my throat got tight and my voice loud.  I blew my stack and then promptly burst into tears.  And from what I can gather, that is exactly what this person wanted.

It has stuck in my craw for weeks.

I try to be a conscious human being but right there- those three words are kind of silly together: conscious human being. No matter how conscious you are, there are going to be times of madness. Hey, I’m only human, and humans make mistakes- some more than others.  I don’t mind making mistakes if I learn from them but anger (and its many forms) worries me.  Also, if I’m not judging you for your mistakes, but you are judging me… Well, that’s not really fair now is it?

Living a conscious life means I have to slow down- which is funny because when you are slow and methodical it pisses people off!  Just try and put one of those Type A Ashtanga Yoga types in an Iyengar class and they go insane!  They want fast, fast, fast! Why?, because they don’t want to think. They don’t want to be aware. They don’t want to be conscious.  Why? BECAUSE IT HURTS! Well sometimes it does. Not always, but sometimes.

So my dose of recent anger makes me angry because I didn’t honor or respect it.  It was healthy and just, not cruel or demeaning.  I rewarded bad behavior and didn’t stick up for myself when I should have. A lesson learned that will probably need a refresher course in time.

I’m bold as love…