Did you ever wake up with an impression that this is going to be ‘one of those days’?
The alarm didn’t go off. Your important meeting starts in fifteen minutes so you are already late. There is no time for coffee and you don’t have anything to wear. Your hair is a mess and you don’t have time to take a shower and anyway your shower broke down yesterday. The plumber said there is no hot water for a week…
A wild guess is that we’ve all had days like this.
I did, recently. That day, nothing was working my way. After a few hours of growing rage, I called up a friend. Weirdly enough, he was experiencing the same situation! After a solid fifteen minutes of serious complaining on both side, I asked him “What do you do with the anger when nothing seems to be working?”. He said: “I use my anger to do the next thing”.
What a wild idea! How do I do that? I always thought anger was the problem, not the solution to the problem! In modern culture, we were never educated to use our anger ‘to do the next thing’. Why not, I wondered? Then I realized, we never had class about anger, or any other feeling, for that matter. What are we taught in modern culture about anger? That anger is a bad feeling, that anger is a negative feelings.
But now, I am told that I can use my anger to do the next thing. So I tried it and I couldn’t do it. Why not? Because anger is definitely not polite. What would stop you from using your anger to do the next thing? Maybe for you, “anger is…”
- out of control
- initiates more anger
- ignites chaos
Having it wired in your head like this is no surprise. Our culture has hammered us with the message that, actually, if we want to be accepted, and loved, we should avoid expressing anger at all cost.
To use anger to do the next thing, we need a new starting point. What if we start by trusting that the Universe didn’t make a mistake by giving us the ability to feel angry? What if we start with the idea that anger provides neutral information and energy to use in our daily lives?
With this new starting point, what neutral information and energy can anger provide us with to do the next thing?
For example, anger could gives us the energy and information
- to say, “No!” or “Stop!”
- to say “Yes!” (by the way, you can only say yes, if you can say an authentic no, otherwise your yes is a lie)
- to change things, move things, stop things, start things
- to get rid of things
- to make boundaries
- to make distinctions (just wait until you discover that distinctions are more powerful than boundaries!)
- to answer questions, create clarity, eliminate confusion
- to commit, to keep promises
- to take action
- to ask for what you want, or say what you don’t want
- to take a stand for something or for someone,
- to hold space
- to maintain integrity
- to implement powerful intentions
- to take steps and move forward, in other words, to do the next thing!
Which pathway gives you more powerful options to do the next thing?
Well then… which pathway do you choose?
Prove it. Do five of these things:
- Say “No!” directly and clearly to three different men, today.
- Get permanently rid of one piece of clothing, today.
- Make a phone call that you have been procrastinating, today, and end it in less than fifteen minutes.
- Go do fifty push-ups or fifty jumping jacks right now.
- Present clearly to someone what you take a stand for and why, today.
- Choose one irritating item off your ‘To Do’ list and wrestle it to the ground until it is totally finished and cross it off your list.
- Choose what you will eat for dinner off the menu in less than thirty seconds, and do not change your mind about it or complain about it.
- Go clean the bathroom and finish in less than eight minutes.
- Say right now, out loud, “I am using my anger to do the next thing”, no matter who is in the room.
- Sense into your emotional body right now, look for anger, even it it is only 17% intense anger, and ask it, “What do you have for me? What is the next thing for me to handle?” and when it tells you, say, “Thank you anger!” then go for it!
EXTRA CREDIT: Ask your anger to tell you what part of your life purpose you have hesitated to engage because you were not using the energy and information resources of your anger to do it. When you get an answer, have fun!