This Dusty Earth: Witchcraft in the City

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Anger is Sticky

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I'm preparing to receive my Reiki II attunement, and I've been thinking a lot lately about anger.

There are countless things in my life that make me angry right now. My kids drive me up the wall. My husband leaves messes in the kitchen. I don't particularly like my day job, but I haven't yet figured out how to quit it and still pay the mortgage. My back hurts a lot. Also, we're in the middle of a late capitalist apocalypse.

Sound familiar to anyone? We're living in tough times, and a lot of us are isolated, overworked, and anxious. A lot of us are struggling to survive each day (sometimes literally). Each of us thinks we're alone with these issues, even though we're not, and even when we figure out that people around us are suffering, too, we can't figure out how to form healthy communities to mitigate that suffering.

Any Reiki practitioner will be familiar with the 5 guiding principles of Reiki. There are lots of different versions and translations out there, but here's the form I learned:

  • Just for today, I will let go of anger.
  • Just for today, I will let go of fear.
  • Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.
  • Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  • Just for today, I will be kind to all living things.

When I first learned these principles, I struggled a lot with the "let go of" part. It's a phrase you hear often, but it's always bothered me. Anger and fear are sticky things. You try to shoo them away, to forget about them, to get your mind on something else, but before you know it, they've crept back up to twine themselves around you again. You try to shake them off, but they won't come loose.

Again, I ask: sound familiar?

When these moments arise, I'm grateful for my years of training in Vipassana (mindfulness) meditation. Vipassana teaches us not to let go of the visceral emotion of anger itself, but of the stories we attach to it. For example, tonight as I was doing chores I began nursing an old wound, a fight I had with a friend several years ago. I got carried away by my thoughts and quickly found myself having an imaginary argument with her, standing on an imaginary soapbox, telling her off once and for all with an imaginary audience applauding my every word.

Well, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic, but you get the idea. The moment, though unpleasant, was a kind of gift: it allowed me to put my Reiki principles and Vipassana training into practice. I took a breath and simply stopped telling myself the story. I stopped retelling the story of the original wound, and I stopped crafting the story of my imaginary revenge. The anger remained for a few minutes, but without a vessel for me to carry it in, it gradually faded, and a deeper sweetness was revealed. Admittedly, it was much easier to do tonight than it was many years ago, when I first started meditating.

I may never get closure from that old fight, and I'm sure anger about it will creep up again. But just for today, I was able to let go of my anger, and for that I'm grateful.

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Asa is a sliding-scale tarot reader, intuitive, and witch blending pellar craft with animism and earth-based Judaism. Instagram: @theRedTailWitch


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