When I heard the word “rage”, I used to immediately think “violence”.
Aggression. Destruction. Out of control. Unreasonable. Not okay.
My guess is that most of you have gone to school. In school, when you don’t speak the “right” answer, you are “wrong”. You are a “bad” student. If you say things the way the teacher wants you to say them, you experience the sensation of “winning” and being “right”.
In school, it is not allowed to speak of something that we do not know, so we learn to be reasonable. To be reasonable, we numb our feelings.
Feelings can be felt from 1 to 100% intensity. The numbness “bar” can be set to any intensity, usually around 70–80%. In this case, you do not feel low-medium-intensity feelings. With a high numbness bar, you feel your anger (for example) only when the intensity goes past 80%
What happens then?
Explosion. Broken plates and holes in the walls. Someone gets hurt.
This is why you spent most of your life feeling scared of your own and other people’s anger.
It is possible to feel the low-intensity anger that is not about blowing up anything. Low-intensity feelings are an immense source of energy and information that you can use to handle your life.
Anger tells you when you need to pee, or drink water. It tells you when someone comes too close to you. Anger tells you when to say no, stop, yes; when to make boundaries and decisions. Your anger tells you what you want, what you don’t want and fuels your intimacy negotiations. Your anger connects you to what you care about. Your anger is the resource that allows you to take back your Authority to be the unique Being that you came here to be.
Learning to direct the power of conscious feelings is an ongoing practice.
Even now, as you are reading this, you might understand with your mind what I am talking about. Understanding will not change anything. Even if you understand the “concept” of numbness, or using conscious anger, this will not bring you new results.
You would be surprised by how easy it is to unconsciously numb your anger. The low-intensity feelings accumulate and accumulate until BAM!: you explode.
For breakfast, your housemate leaves dirty dishes on the counter; you swallow your anger, wash them, and pretend as nothing happened. Your friend shows up late for lunch and instead of using your anger to negotiate and be vulnerable with what you care about, you smile and say “it’s okay.” When your partner shows up late for dinner you blow up, scream at them, pull out all the things they’ve ever done to you, and sink into a miserable evening of arguing. It probably happens to you once a month… once a week… once a day, even.
We have become experts in suppressing anger because we associate it with the violence that comes from the numbness.
In order to get new results, you need to rewire your nervous system. You need to experiment. To try out new ways of feeling and using anger. This might be uncomfortable at first, but in the process, you will also experience joy. The joy of getting your energy back, of being more alive and authentic than ever before.
I will tell you a secret: consciously feeling pure adult anger in the moment is ecstatic.
When was the last time that you felt the small anger that told you to tie your hair to get it out of the way? That you felt the anger of confusion, of not knowing? That you felt the anger that fuels you to do the next thing?
After months of conscious experimenting with learning how to feel anger through Rage Club, I am more connected to myself than ever before. I feel angry that children spend most of their time in schools that teach them to be obedient, to be right, to be good, to avoid experimenting, to be numb… and so on. I feel angry that we are still fertilizing fields of sterile plants grown to fast-feed cattle, that these chemicals leech into rivers, suffocate the aquatic eco-systems and contaminate our drinking water. I feel angry that we are cutting down trees and burning them as “clean energy” pretending that we are saving the Earth while violating her.
This profound anger tells me what my mission is. It drives me on my path of bringing more consciousness into the world. I love my anger. I am at home with my anger. You can be at home in your anger, too.
If you are interested in changing your relationship to anger, check out online/offline Rage Clubs.
Possibility Coach, Rage Club Spaceholder and Trainer-in-Training