A Person comes to a Friend bereft because a Loved One offered poison to drink, and having consumed it, this Person was in terrible pain and agony. The Person and the Friend commiserate at length the nature of the crime, the motive to offer poison, the sort of poison it was and how agonizing the pain. For days they spoke and there was no relief from the agony. The Person and the Friend went to the Law to address this grievance, and the Law spoke at length on the punishment suitable to the crime, depending on the sort of crime it could be determined to be. For days the Law spoke and there was no relief from the agony. The Person went far and wide with the pain and the agony, speaking at length with other persons, looking for agreement that a crime had been committed. The Person railed at and against the Loved One, demanding redress, acknowledgement, change and even vengeance, and shared the anger and pain and terrible agony far and wide with many other Persons.
One day, the Person met a Wiser Person and related the tale and the pain and agony of having been given poison by a Loved One. The Wiser Person listened carefully, and asked “Why did you drink it?”
I read something recently that gave me some clarity around the emotion of anger, but differentiating clearly between the emotional experience (‘the feeling’) of anger, and how it moves us to behave (‘the expression’) being called hostility, instead of also calling that anger. Nice wordsmithing, actually, because that actually gave me a foothold on greater understanding of a complicated piece of my experience. Anger isn’t pleasant, but the emotional experience is pretty personal, and limited to the individual experiencing it – until they share it with another, in the form of hostility, and it isn’t all that different from offering someone poison… but if I am offered poison, in theory, I don’t have to drink it. 😀
Yesterday I woke in a good mood, but considerably sicker than the day before, and drained, exhausted, and suffering a pretty horrible headache, too. The morning went sideways when my limited emotional reserves met real-life unexpectedly – and it really was as if someone I love had walked right up and handed me a cup saying ‘here’s this poison, I made it myself, have some?’ and sure enough – I drank it right down. lol. Learning compassion and practicing mindfulness haven’t put me beyond the realm of human experience, for sure, and I not only took the whole mess quite personally, I over-reacted more than a little. As sick as I was, my supply of good decision-making was also diminished and I found myself out in the world, walking and crying like a madwoman, and under-dressed for the weather, which was a dumb choice since I was already ill. All too human, right? lol. I sort of ‘forced myself’ to make some better choices; to go home, to have some calories, to rest, to let the small stuff go, and sure enough things sorted themselves out – because it wasn’t my experience that had me wound around the axles in the first place, and I didn’t really have to drink that poison. I am hoping to learn how to politely say ‘thank you, no’ when I find myself ‘offered poison’ in the form of someone else’s anger being directed into my experience as hostility…
Other ‘cups of poison’ being handed round recently include a variety of news articles about rape and rapists, after the news about the Steubenville rapists being convicted. Another blogger really ‘gets it’; being sympathetic to the convicted rapists rather than to the victim is more than inappropriate, it is offensive. They said it better than I would have, and it’s definitely a share-worthy message. I’m glad I’m not reading/watching media news right now – the heinous insensitivity of the talking heads on parade could easily have triggered my PTSD for weeks, and I just don’t need it.
It’s a good Monday, in spite of being sick, and I am eager to be well and able to enjoy spring.