Working with Anger Through Creative Expression

The topics of anger and rage have come up frequently in conversations I’ve had since the events at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. I saw a user (@alexanderchee) post on Twitter that “the gentlest people I know are full of rage and grief.” I’ve felt these emotions myself in reckoning with difficult aspects of recent events. The purpose of this post is to normalize feeling intense emotions and to explore creative outlets for expressing and understanding emotions such as anger and rage (an intensified version of anger). A poem by Jalaluddin Rumi likens the human experience to a guest house as emotions come and go from our lives: The Guest House This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has…

Holding Gently: A Transformative Dream

          For years dreams have been an important source of meaning for me. Sometimes a certain dream seems to have an enduring message that continues to apply to various life situations and contexts, or it seems to map to an existing mythology. I’d like to share the story of one of those special dreams that I had several years ago, and some of the meanings I’ve found in it. In the dream, I was walking along a dirt path in a natural place, with tall green grass, trees, and a lake nearby. I found, on the ground in front of me, a duck egg, cracked open lengthwise with almost half the shell missing. The duck inside took up most of the shell and looked embryonic, wet. I picked up the egg and cupped it in my hands to get a better look. At first I felt disappointed, as though the duck would never make it, and that it was too bad the egg got broken. But then, the duck started to develop in fast-forward, cupped in the palm of my hand in the broken shell. Warm light energy surged up into my hands and through the…