When I was an angry young feminist, I didn’t know what to do to get out of the suffering I was in. I wanted the world to change. I rallied, marched, yelled and otherwise protested wars, the patriarchy and nuclear armament. I was militant about freedom; anxious about the future of our world.
I’m not decrying activists; someone needs to draw attention to things that need to change in our world. However, something was out of kilter for me. I didn’t know it then, but
I was being angry about others being angry…
angry young feminist at 29
Before coming to Yoga and Buddhist meditation I did a number of silent vigils protesting the War in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s with Women in Black in Trafalgar Square in London. This style of protesting had a dignity and relative safety that I enjoyed. It allowed people who might have shunned loud and militant protests to approach and learn. They read our banners and information material. They spoke to us earnestly about their concerns.
Silent vigil was dignified and safe for people to approach
Their approach to us allowed me to open my heart. I got to connect, to see and feel those who were interested and involved, in all sides of the conflict.
Others’ willingness to approach opened my heart
While I was already a psychologist, it was my Yoga and Buddhist practice that gave me reflective spaciousness, safety and ease so that I could turn inward with kind attention towards the anger in me.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself ~ Rumi
With Yoga and Buddhist Meditation practice producing internal safety, I could approach, connect and get to know my own anger. I could see how I was relating to the instinctive, protective, reactive emotion of anger with more anger and hatred.
I was kicking the wheel – Spinning the top that created the wars I was protesting
Only then I learned, slowly, to turn that around. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests we can learn to hold our own anger as we might hold a baby. This is the way that love becomes the healing force of the universe. It has to start first with ourselves, just as we are…
All true transformation only occurs in the field of love
at 51 heart in evolution towards love
Barbara Fredrickson, in her research on love, suggests that the prerequisites for love are SAFETY and CONNECTION.
It’s only when we feel safe that we can open to connection and be available for love
So what can you do to feel safe?
Over years, I’ve distilled and refined
May all beings be safe
at 29 photography by Deb Ball
at 51 Photograph by Narelle and Glen McKerrihan at figandagave.com