Anger: the Forbidden Emotion
At some point in our process of awakening it becomes impossible for us to avoid the forbidden emotion of anger. If we are women, we have often been taught to repress it in one way or another. Yet anger is simply a distorted form of our vital life force and bottling it up generally results in all kinds of unpleasant side effects. It is not uncommon to discover anger lurking underneath depression and sadness, especially if it is chronic and not from a specific incident.
When we are young, crying and expressing our discomfort is a natural response intended to help ensure our survival. If our needs have not been met sufficiently for whatever reason, we eventually withdraw our attempts to be seen and heard and instead shut down and become numb in order to avoid an overwhelming feeling. If this experience is repeated, it can become a pattern that carries into our adulthood with adverse consequences.
Expressive arts can be a useful way to begin to tap into this buried source of power in a non-destructive way. Often the very act of painting or drawing on a large surface can be very cathartic and help us to feel better. However, for it to affect lasting change we need to allow the energy to be uncoupled from the initial source of the trigger, which is where the process of Creative Inquiry comes in. When we allow our bodies to make colorful marks and smears without censoring what comes through, we can begin to express what the mind and the intellect often cannot. Then, when we allow ourselves to pause and actually feel the sensations in our bodies, it begins to unlock the patterns that are related to the cause of emotion. Finally, when we allow ourselves to dialogue honestly with the image that comes through, we can often discover the source and help to resolve the inner conflict.
Although we won’t necessarily be working on large paper or canvas in this group, we can still allow ourselves to safely access emotions like anger by making gestural marks with our crayons and finger painting with bold colors and shapes. The important part is to feel the process in our bodies and then to use spontaneous writing to bring meaning and insight that helps resolve it on deeper levels. It can also be useful to use the Somatic Awareness Exercises along with this process. As always, if this ever feels overwhelming, stop what you are doing, breathe, ground and seek additional assistance before continuing.