The Difference Between Anger and Inner Fire
I openly admit that I use the word FUCK a lot. And I love it.
It carries so much fire within it, so much aliveness and authenticity. It’s an uncensored, unmanaged, unfiltered exclamation of what I feel in a moment of …well, outrage or disbelief, in a moment of violation of my human nature and dignity. It’s an expression of me claiming inside myself what I call “Inner Fire”. It’s the part that comes out when I sit with my friend (or myself) and watch her go through the same story for years, repeating the cycles of self-doubt, confusion and flat-lined, compromised self-expression. Instead of allowing boredom and yawning to take over, and consequently my heart to close, that part simply cuts the bullshit and lets me breathe.
WTF?! Stop that shit and give me the real you, for fucks’ sake!
It’s a really handy tool, a great friend if you know how to meet and treat it well. In our society anger still receives a lot of bad press and for good reason. It’s a powerful force and one should definitely meet it with respect otherwise it can get out of control and toxic.
However, anger is not what it seems to be. Because, you see, anger like all the other ‘emotions’ is just one ‘flavor’ of the same thing: the electric current that runs through us, the power that animates us, keeps us alive and juicy. So it’s not really anger that is the bad guy, but what we do with it.
Anger as a path to liberation
Really??? You must be kidding me, right? Here go all those years of my Buddhist training! Argh! That’s exactly why I am writing this, cause we need to redefine what it is. We need to distinguish between Anger as a projection on others, a potentially very harmful energy, and Inner Fire, the sword-like quality of our animal nature, our truth. If we can harness that, it’s a path to liberation, a path to joy. Let me give you an example.
I’ve recently found myself at a Heart Intelligence Leadership training in Holland. I was sitting in circle with 13 others creating an amplified field in order to open the space for transformation. I was sitting in that circle for days, shaking, unable to control my nervous system from feeling overwhelmed, almost nauseated. That is until the moment that I stepped in and screamed: FUCK!
I used my anger, not as a projection on others, but as a catapulting force to take me out of my ‘freeze’. My nervousness disappeared as if taken away by a magic wand and I felt utterly alive, present, vulnerable, able to take in each person’s attention. Still slightly shaken I felt activated, more real than I had a moment ago. A great wave of relief washed over me, finally back to the real me: an alive force of nature that’s longing to connect and feel. There is so much JOY in the embracing of my wide range of emotions without fear and hesitation!
Inner Fire is exactly that: a force that cuts through our fears.
Our fears of rejection, of failure, of not being good enough. It cuts through this protective layer of our ego that we experience as ‘thinking’. It says enough is enough, I want to feel and know what’s real now! So I take risks, I express what I feel, what is moving inside of me. I reach for what I want. I take the risk of vulnerability, of saying I love you, of saying NO and saying YES, of FEELING everything, even when I’d rather be numb and asleep!
This fire can carry the pure longing of our heart to experience truth, which is love. If fully owned it becomes our heart’s and soul’s sacred guardian, nothing will come past it that’s not in alignment with our divine source.
What is anger then and why are we so scared of it?
Anger is what happens to us energetically when we feel disconnected from source and we blame others and/or our circumstance for not giving us what we need, for our feelings of lack.
And yes, that can become a potentially toxic and harmful vibration to be in. As soon as we project our energy ‘out there’, we are becoming dependent on something other than our own being and we often spiral down the ladder of blame, shame, guilt, and victimhood. And because ‘anger’ is such an intense energy, we literally see red and we lose ourselves in it. But that’s not all. What happens next is that most of us start suppressing it as we feel either shame or guilt around it. The more we suppress it the bigger it gets and our fear of it becomes almost insurmountable. What if we unleash the beast and it goes too far, too wide, too real?
The funny thing is, that we all carry suppressed anger within us because we all feel (or have felt in the past) disconnected from love. And seriously, that’s something to really get upset about. WTF?! Where is the love? Watch a baby crying itself into a fit when it feels disconnected from mummy: that’s our natural response to disconnect. I mean, c’mon, surely when we signed up for this mad journey on planet earth, there was a part of the contract saying: you will always be loved. What happened to that? Did God go fishing or something or did he simply miss a clause?
If we look deeper into what makes us actually angry in daily life, we quickly notice that it’s always the same, whether it’s a person, life or ourselves that we get triggered by:
We get angry when we feel disrespected and at the core level not seen as who we really are. The feeling of disconnection is so painful then that we close our hearts and use anger as self-protection.
Everytime that we don’t get what we want the way we imagine it should be, we have the potential to get pissed off and lash out as well as the potential to use it for our liberation.
I’m angry at my boyfriend for example. He again didn’t do the dishes. If I stay in anger, it can look something like that: he fucking never takes care of the space. He never washes up. How dare he think that I am here to do the dishes all the time. etc…..
The other option is to channel our anger through our heart and use it to step into the leadership of our lives: Where do I feel disconnected and unseen and what can I do about it? Meaning we don’t judge but we name things by name:
My love. It really bothers me when I see the dishes not done. I feel disrespected and I start feeling anger and resentment towards you. I really don’t like that. Can we make a deal on how to change this so it works for both of us?
Of course, it’s not always that black and white and it’s definitely not easy, but the message is simple:
It takes a certain Inner Fire to stand up in our vulnerability, express our needs and our boundaries without closing our hearts.
When anger arises there are always needs not being met and boundaries being crossed. So our job is to get in touch with the vulnerability underneath it and then use the fire for the courage to own and express who we are.
Embracing our Inner Fire means: I understand that anger is my friend showing me the way back to my heart. When I don’t judge it AND I name it, I become a master of it.
You see, when we start embracing it, it purifies itself and brings clarity. And that’s exactly the difference between ‘Inner Fire’ and the so-called negative ‘anger.’ The latter comes from suppression and as such has only one possibility: to come out as a projection on the other. Of course, then, do we get scared of it. We are suppressing so much that who knows what will come out!
How can we fully trust our inner fire- knowing that we don’t project and hurt others?
We only can when we are connected to our vulnerability. When our goal is not to get our needs met from the outside but to feel in touch with ourselves, to feel alive. When we commit to truth rather than being comfortable. It’s the sweet spot where we can feel at peace with it because regardless of the response we can own it and stand up for it. This trust grows hand in hand with our connection to our inner world. The more we stand up for ourselves, the more we are connected to ourselves, the more we can stand up for ourselves. Upwards spiral to more maturity and love.
So we have a choice: who do we want to be, a victim of our circumstances and emotions or courageous ambassadors for consciousness and joy.
PS: So what does using the word ‘fuck’ have to do with it all? It simply keeps my relationship with my fire alive. I do it on purpose for fear of becoming complacent, of disconnecting from what is moving inside of me, and kindly nodding to any kind of BS that comes my way. When I have it right by my side, when I am comfortable with it, I can use it at any moment that I need to step up into my leadership. And because I am so comfortable with it, it more often than not transforms into playfulness. It’s also a way to laugh at my over-demanding, critical, super-scared and insecure little Ego.