A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting and something really ticked me off. I was trying to control my anger still, when walking into the next meeting. We started the meeting telling each other how we felt in this specific point in time and I came clean: ‘I am livid’, I said.
One of my companions in return said: ‘I have a lovely poem here that can help you’.
I just looked at her. Not feeling seen or heard.
Spiritual bypassing. It’s when one takes spiritual practice to avoid feeling what the present moment brings you. Everyone on a spiritual journey has probably done it at least once. Many people have made a practice out of it. Including me at one point.
The human journey is here to be experienced. We would not be here in this point in time, if we did not have something we need to learn and experience. Those experiences do not have to be pleasant. Often those experiences are very much unpleasant. If we do not work through them though, they will not leave us. Acceptance and expression are a big part of this.
Expressing how we feel is not accepted in many cultures. If someone is expressing their anger our gut instinct is to soothe the situation, or to avoid it. If someone is expressing grief we automatically go out of our way to offer comfort, making the grief go away.
But what if we wouldn’t do this?
What if my companion, rather than bypassing my anger, had looked my straight in the eyes and said ‘how would you like to express your anger?’. I would have taken a moment, maybe screamed, maybe stomped my feet, and then got passed it. Because I was seen and heard.
Acceptance is something we can only do ourselves. Acceptance is the start of any journey. In any good adventure story the hero always first has to accept his or her mission.
In my situation, I needed to accept the fact that I was feeling quite angry. It is scary to accept yourself as an angry person. To accept that something outside of yourself upset you to the point where you do not have control of your feelings (or actions).
Luckily I got to hang out with 2 friends after my encounter, who allowed for my anger to be expressed. No poems were involved in my expression.
For me, this helps to allow negative feeling to come into expression:
I feel like I am ready to accept my [anger] in this present moment.
I want to express it.
In order to allow myself to move onwards.
I see you.