Anger is a powerful, demanding emotion that arises when we feel wronged, betrayed, victimized, abused, that there is an injustice, or that a boundary has been disrespected or ignored. Anger often gets a bad rap as something that is shameful, taboo, or wrong to experience. Because of this fear around anger, many of us have difficulty feeling it and instead end up repressing it, holding grudges, and ignoring it, hoping it will go away. In this week’s podcast, we share about transforming anger with psychedelics, and how plant medicines can be tools to help us move through our anger in healthy and healing ways.
Anger Takes a Big Toll
Unexpressed, unfelt, and unacknowledged anger leads to illness in our bodies, hearts, and minds. Anger is nothing to be feared or avoided. It is our ally. It is our message that something is wrong – our natural alarm bells warning us of danger. Working with plant medicines can help with anger by helping us connect to feel it, and release it.
It’s difficult to have real talk about anger. Before I began working with psychedelics, I was not capable of feeling my own anger, and instead used alcohol, food, sex, and drugs to numb, repress, and deny that it existed. When it crept in, I labeled it depression, sadness, anxiety, and other more acceptable emotions for women to feel.
And yet, the anger persisted, despite my pretending it didn’t exist in me. It wasn’t until I began working with ayahuasca and San Pedro that I was able to connect to my anger and truly feel it. Ceremony by ceremony, I began transforming anger with psychedelics. I learned to allow the fire of anger to burn so big and so hard that I could hear the message it brought me. As I began to heal with psychedelic medicine, I felt it all. Decades of rage ripped through my body and heart, and left me with understanding, compassion, love, and trust.
We all experience anger differently. Some of us are pushed into it, encouraged to hold on to it, to walk through life with is swirling around inside.
Some learn to use it for fuel, motivation, revenge, and abuse. Sometimes the anger is unleashed on others, sometimes on ourselves. Sometimes anger turns into violence at the hands of a sick, suffering heart that needs attention, compassion, and love.
Anger is the Messenger
What we have learned from the plants is that anger is an opportunity for course correction. It is an ally that shows us when things are not aligned. It has taught us to trust ourselves and our feelings. It has empowered us to allow it as a valid response when something shitty is going down. It has reflected our own power to us, because as spiritual warriors, we have a choice to react without thinking, or to take as long as we need to respond, adjust, and make decisions.
Understanding the purpose of anger has given us a quiet, graceful freedom that feels like a superpower. As a messenger, it delivers its package and we can choose to be unmoved and unprovoked.
Anger often begs attention, action, and it wants it NOW. Most often, it’s actually telling us to slow down, practice patience, take heed, be cautious, and to disengage.
Anger calls for upholding boundaries and protecting our own best interest, regardless of what others will think of us. Thank you to plant medicines for teaching me that the message of anger is compassion and understanding, and that my heart knows this language.
How Do we Express Anger in a Healthy Way?
All this growth is awesome, but sometimes, the appropriate response to the message of anger is to express it, sometimes to someone directly. If we are able to develop coping mechanisms in advance, and bring awareness to our process rather than acting on the anger as we are feeling it, we have a better chance of being direct and clear when we do express our emotions.
So often anger is the warning bell, but the true feelings are hurt, disappointment, sadness, shock, and emotional pain. It is so important to share the feelings under the anger, especially when someone has harmed you and you need to have a confrontation about it. Make sure to take space and time from the anger response before you choose to speak to someone about it. We talk more about how to specifically do this in our podcast.
Once we get the message, the messenger disappears. It is healthy and important to allow ourselves to feel anger in ways that are safe for us. Psychedelics are an important tool in helping us learn how to experience anger, understand it, release it, and feel good about the whole process. Anger is a vital component of a healthy emotional response system, and it is empowering to allow anger to show us what needs to be changed, to feel the immediacy and necessity of that message, and to stand in our calm power, unafraid and whole.
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