Friday, 12 July 2013

Fierce

“Our challenge is to listen carefully to our own anger and use it in the service of change.”
~Harriet Lerner

Artwork by Russ Mills

She is the Black Panther, the Tigress, the Lioness – chasing, stalking, threatening, striking, pouncing. She is unpredictably wild. She is sensual and passionate. She loves an adventure. She is assertive, aggressive, and holds her power with strength and grace. She brings about needed conflict and change. She is protective, guarding against injustice and cruelty. She is a feminine force not to be messed with. But if we surrender to her, she has the medicine to heal our wounds. She is Fierce.

From a young age, girls are taught not to know their anger. To be Good Girls, we learn that our tempers must be reigned in, controlled, and contained – lest we seem unladylike, unfeminine, unattractive, unbecoming, or ugly. Following in the footsteps of our mothers, their mothers, and the mothers before them, we may even find ourselves teaching the next generation of daughters to contain this unacceptable aspect of our humanity, hiding it from being seen or heard.

After years of strict concealment, these unwelcomed feelings are pushed down deep so that regardless of what is going on inside, all appears peaceful, placid and calm on the outside. A healthy relationship to our anger may seem unfamiliar and foreign, only revealed in the safety and privacy of our dreams, where the expression of it is an overcompensation of all that has been repressed, held back, strangled off. We feel paralyzed to ever really know or understand it in an intimate, healthy way. We come to believe that our anger is “bad,” and by expressing it, we are bad.

The tension of holding it all in may become so great that we have sudden, uncontrollable outbursts where the darkness within us barrels forward, spewing out onto everything and everyone around us. Our anger becomes a dichotomized force: dulled out and silenced, or out-of-control and destructive. In either case, we feel shame. But in denying our anger, what else has been denied?
“Just as physical pain tells us to take our hand off the hot stove, the pain of our anger preserves the very integrity of our self. Our anger can motivate us to say ‘no’ to the ways in which we are defined by others and ‘yes’ to the dictates of our inner self.” ~Harriet Lerner
Co-mingling with the many other feelings that emerged when I began to speak my truth and make significant changes in my life and lifestyle, I realized there was a world of feelings within me that had been relegated to the shadows, now slowly revealing itself as I re-define what is healthy, balanced, and whole. I cannot be a whole person if part of me is cut off. At some point, I have to face all that is mine.

As I tentatively cross the borders into the unfamiliar territory of my anger, frustration, resentment, upset and pain, I realize that along with all the unpleasantness of facing these demons are characteristics that I long for, that I value, that I can claim.

Unchecked and ignored anger can be destructive. It can cause hurt, suffering, and wreak havoc in our relationships and on our lives. But if we are willing to work with it, live with it, feel it, observe it, explore it, and name it without restrictions and rules, we will meet something new. It is a protection against harm, a warning, and stealth in maneuvering conflict or threat. It can be fiery, edgy, and powerfully strong. It helps us say “No”, develop good boundaries, stand up for our truth, and defend what is important and valued. It reveals a more accurate picture of all that we are.

As I explore it more deeply, allowing it space to live in my body, I renew that which was previously denied: the Good Girl can stand back now; it's Fierce Woman's time.


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On July 22, 2013 (Full Moon in Aquarius), I am honoured to be a guest blogger for Jodi Lobozzo Aman over at her blog Heal Now and Forever, a beautiful space where she explores the intersections of healing, inspiration, spirituality and intuition. Please stop by!

10 comments:

  1. I have really enjoyed this post and it has made me think about a few things in my own life, interesting.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Have a great weekend!

    Lluisa xx

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    1. Thank you Lluisa! I'm so glad that it resonated for you. Have a wonderful week!

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  2. Oh Dear Kristen, I just came over to your site via's Jodi after commenting on your glorious piece on the new movement within you that is still yet to be named. And here, again, I am pausing, finding myself nodding "yes" to your words here! I have been writing about (on the edges still) this fierceness growing in me. "Kali" energy is growing in me. I find myself CLAIMING my life. And as I turn 40 soon, I am doing it with vigor and deeeeeep connection to Mother Earth. I am delighted to be here.

    Lisa A. McCrohan
    http://www.barefootbarn.com

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    1. Lisa, thank you so much for your beautiful words - I'm honoured! Kali has been an important part of my journey as well, she seems to come alive as we begin to understand our anger and embrace our fierceness. So wonderful to hear you embracing yours and reclaiming your life!

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  3. Your writing is a soothing balm on my pain. Each word felt like it was written specifically for my eyes only.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sandra! I am very touched by this and wish you all the best as a sister in this struggle!

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    2. So true. Repressed anger is just dangerous. It’s what causes serious depression; for that’s exactly what depression is: anger turned inward. And, yes, it does wreak havoc in relationships. Someone I love is VERY angry. We just had a talk about it last night. How would you suggest I help him deal with such deep-seated anger? How do you express anger in a constructive way? If you have any thoughts, let me know.
      Oh, and thank you for the poignant story you shared earlier tonight. I was so moved I almost cried. I could FEEL the anguish you must have suffered. Your storytelling is so powerful.


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    3. Debra, I'm so sorry you are dealing with this - I'm sure it's not easy trying to work with someone who has difficulty expressing anger in a healthy way. I'm no expert, and I can only speak for myself - and for me, it has been about understanding that my anger is in there and that it's okay for it to come out and to be expressed. Writing helps, and I have done some really powerful embodiment work through a Process Mind training that I took part in a few months ago - it was incredibly powerful. Here is a link to the website: http://www.processwork.org. I know they have counselling services as well, and I believe they offer services over the phone. I hope this is helpful.

      Re: your piece on forgiveness - it was my pleasure to take part any any project you are working on! Best of luck with it, and I look forward to hearing more about it!

      Much love to you dear friend!

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    4. p.s. Debra, you might also appreciate the book The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Lerner. It is meant as a guide for women, but looks at the effects of anger on intimate relationships. It's an excellent read!

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    5. Thank you! Anything you suggest is worth checking out!
      xox

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