pro-active

I’m Mad about Julia

Cover of "The Artist's Way: A Course in D...

It might seem strange to talk about anger right after announcing my engagement, but I came across this beautiful passage on anger and had to share it. Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way,

Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout, a plea, a demand. Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map. Anger shows us what our boundaries are. Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we’ve been and lets us know when we haven’t liked it. Anger points the way, not just the finger. In the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health.

Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out… with a little thought, we can usually translate the message that our anger is sending us.

“Blast him! I could make a better film than that!” (This anger says: you want to make movies. You need to learn how.)

“I can’t believe it! I had this idea for a play 3 years ago, and she’s gone and written it,” ) This anger says: stop procrastinating. Ideas don’t get opening nights. Finished plays do. Start writing.”

Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not.

I read this passage so many times and underlined almost every word. And then I put stars next to almost every other sentence.

There are two basic expressions of emotional pain: anger and sadness. While men typically express their anger and repress their sadness, women typically do the opposite. Anger has always been a really hard emotion for me to embrace. Sadness feels safer and more appropriate.

Maybe I’m afraid anger will push people away, or maybe I don’t feel like I have the inherent “right” to stand up for myself. But Sadness cannot be the only tool for relieving emotional pain. There’s no sense of empowerment when you are sad. No sense that you are in charge, and you can change the situation.

"Oh bother"

While there are certainly people who have an unhealthy amount of anger, and need to learn how to manage it, there’s also a lot of people who need a little anger in their lives. I’m talking about all the doormats, the Igor’s and the Emo kids out there. You know who you are.

My mom started her wildly successful

business of challenging property assessments because she was angry about the local municipality not doing their job, and taking advantage of her. What good would it have done her or anyone to just cry about how unfair her property taxes were? In that case, anger put all three of her kids through college, paid the mortgage, and helped thousands of people save money.

I love the thought of using anger to show you what you want. I love the thought of anger as a pro-active emotion. Take some time today and think about what makes you really angry. Are you angry enough to start doing something about it?