Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Week Three: Anger, Synchronicity, and a Sense of Power

Tonight I finally had a chance to go through chapter three in The Artist's Way.  I love the way that Julia Cameron explains the usefulness of anger.  Growing up I associated anger with all of the things I didn't want in my life: mean people, yelling, hurt, hypocrites, and about three tons of guilt.  I hated anger and I was a very angry person (albeit underneath the surface), which meant that my Guilt Monster showed up repeatedly. I told my monster to go away, but he knew he didn't have to listen.  I'd get angry soon enough and then I would feel guilty for being angry while my Guilt Monster just smirked.  As I became an adult, my outbursts of anger were under control.  I was a more reasonable person, a calmer person, and I didn't feel quite so guilty because I wasn't "angry," I was frustrated and frustration was totally acceptable.  This went on for years until recently I started feeling angry again. Why? I asked myself. What is the bigger picture here?  Those questions and the answers that I have experienced perhaps explain why the explanation of anger in this chapter resonates with me. 

Anger, Cameron says, is a tool: we use it to spur ourselves into action.  It shows us boundaries, points in new directions, and can be used as a guide.  Thinking back over what causes me to be angry (more than just frustrated -- and yes, there are times when I'm legitimately just frustrated and not covering for some deeper anger), most of the causes of my anger are when I see people being abused, mistreated, manipulated in some way: few things get me upset like issues of social justice, love, compassion, and equality.  Aha! I thought to myself, So that's what's meant by "righteous anger"! I get it!  I feel like if that were the entire message in the chapter it would be enough.  But there's more!

Just the other day I commented to a friend about how interesting it is that a number of us -- all independently of one another -- are focusing on being intentional this year.  It was as if the world was lining up and telling us I want you to start living with intention. Be in the moment. Enjoy life and be reflective.  It's just one example of the synchronicity I see in life.  In my younger days I called it God.  Then I called it coincidence.  Now I don't know what term to use, but I have seen -- in my own life and the lives of others -- that when one is on a pathway of intentionality or creative recovery then serendipitous things just seem to happen.  That is one of the reasons why I am so excited about this Year of Intention and working through The Artist's Way trilogy: I want to see what is in store for this year.

"Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you lease expect it, there will be a fish." -- Ovid

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