Tonight is Covenant Group meeting at Eileen's apartment. Nine of us meet twice a month to discuss a topic of interest pre-selected by "covenant central". Our facilitator sends out an email ahead with the topic for the evening including some inspirational quotes and thought provoking questions to get the creative juices flowing. These covenant groups are part of Seattle's University Unitarian Church but interestingly, you don't have to be a member of the church to participate. I've been attending off and on for the past year with intermittent reluctance (see post from 10/17/07, ....One Wild and Precious Life), mostly because I'm always quieter than I'd like. I clam up in this group and can't yet enjoy a sense of ease. It's my inner shyness and social phobia at work but I'm trying. Old habits die hard and may never completely die in this case.
That's one reason why blogging has become such a release for me; I can get it all out there (or at least a substantial portion). Certainly a fair amount of respectful selection is part of blogging. But, playing with the words, editing and revising the posts, and journeying with my thoughts turns the posts into my own version of art. I kid you not; this is not overly dramatic. I really feel this to be my truth. But, I digress away from the topic of ANGER.
The opening words for tonight's topic read: "Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to. Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs and wants are not being adequately met, that we are not addressing an important issue in our lives. (from Harriet Lerner in The Dance of Anger). This is followed by questions for discussion such as (1) When is anger inappropriate?, (2) How has anger served or not served you?, and (3) How have you expressed anger in a skillful way?
I've experienced my share of anger lately. Yet it's an anger that boils up and then dissipates because it comes from a place of sadness, loss and the knowledge that these troubled days are self limited. Talking about it helps and I'm comforted by believing that it is not what we think to ourselves or how we complain to each other, it is what we say and do on the front line that counts.
However, sometimes we snap. It's mighty unusual for me to express anger directly and aggressively (especially to strangers) so when I do, it may be worthy of note (a post, a confessional, whatever.....). Saturday as I drove home from work on my way to Arapahoe for a family lunch prepared by MM I slowed slightly because a vehicle parked at the curb 50 yards ahead was full of people exiting their car, doors open. But even though I slowed, the man standing at the front of his vehicle mouthed the words "SLOW DOWN" and sported a face of disgust. Before I knew what was happening, my response flew out of me, unedited, raw, and nasty. I flipped him the bird and drove on by. I would say the intensity of this "bird flip" would have to be at least an 8 out of 10; very aggressive and very angry.
I don't feel good about this but I know from where it comes. I wonder if I can possibly share this as we discuss the subject of anger at tonight's meeting. We shall see.