Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Patience as a goal, and a check-in on anger

Patience is a virtue - and one I feel that, at times, I have a tenuous grasp on. Motherhood pushes patience to the limits, of course, and that is exactly the reason why I'd like to cultivate it in my life. I suppose letting go of selfishness is part of the process, but what else? Counting to 10? Cooling off alone? Explaining yourself? These things have worked for me some of the time...

I find that there is a strange dichotomy within myself: at times, my self-control and endurance is deep, while other times...yikes...it is all I can do to control my irritation. And therefore, this very thing - growing patience within myself - is my next big personal goal, now that I am gaining ground on anger and better at understanding (and dealing with) it in my life.

Angrrrrr ---
I feel like I have done very well working towards identifying and understanding negative feelings, gut instincts, and anger flashes since reading The Dance of Anger and pondering it within my own life.

This has been huge. As a spouse, I can be a terribly frustrating person to argue with at times; because I can be very confused and confusing, with looping arguments and seemingly incongruent ideas and opinions. With a this-or-that and cut-and-dried sparring partner, spouse or otherwise, it can be a nightmare. I am learning how to say, "Hold on a minute...let me figure that out" during disagreements and better yet, to be able to mentally/emotionally grasp what I'm feeling before I open my mouth.

But best of all, instead of feeling grouchy about an upsetting feeling, say an unhappy gut reaction to something, I am learning to say to myself, "Why?" and then give myself an answer. I feel so much freedom with that: instead of paddling in a pond of confusion, I am learning to get out of the water and walk on dry land. And that, my friends, is quite refreshing.


Timothy said...

Do you meditate 15" a day?

Do oyu drink too much coffee or alcohol -- both can set me off balance, making me more irritable.

Do you exercise daily aerobically?

Dance of Anger is good for getting your head around your "story" about anger and exploring -- but what about the daily gym work out, eating less sugar etc... to get your body supporting the changes you want to make being more compassionate?

Have you read Pema Chodron's book "When Things Fall Apart?"

Having a kid is a big energy suck -- no matter how much you love your baby. So you have to do more than minimal walking to be present.



Jenell Williams Paris said...

Did I tell you I read dance of anger after reading about it on your blog? My mother-in-law saw it on the nightstand and said she had read it a long time ago and loved it, and said it would _definitely_ be good for me. (Grrr... there's a spark of anger!)

It added "overfunctioning" and "underfunctioning" to our marital vocabulary, which is very helpful.

I get angry at least every day since becoming a parent -- am learning, like you, to ask 'why?' 'what is this emotion trying to teach me?'

great stuff -

a. borealis said...

Terrific! I'm so glad you read it -- isn't it revealing? I am also much more aware of the underfunctioning and overfunctioning roles; not only to be able to put a name on it, but also to be able to spot 'em at fifty paces. "Triangles" was another epiphany for me - the worst use of these I've ever seen was in the work environment. Oh...my...