Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fear is the mother of anger


In Chinese medicine, health is achieved through the balancing of the five elements. Each element has an associated internal organ and emotion. In the generation cycle, water is the mother of wood, meaning that water energy creates wood energy. The emotions that are associated with them are fear (water) and anger (wood). Fear creates anger.

In the western world, we refer to this as fight or flight. When we are scared, our instinctual reaction is either to run or to turn and fight. In Chinese medicine, the wood energy is understood to be forceful directed energy, much like a punch. We get scared, we want to hit something. My experience with MS is that the wood energy often gets directed back at oneself, so essentially when we get scared, we hit and hurt ourselves. It's a very ineffectual way of running away. It's also another aspect of the urge for self-destruction.

The key to unraveling this cycle is to deal with our fear directly. There are many ways to do that which I will write about in my next post, but the best way is to send love to the fear. In the five element cycle, fire is the child of wood. Fire is associated with the heart and with love, so when we transform our anger into love we are bringing ourselves back into balance. More on this in the next post.

This post has a lot of Chinese medical jargon in it. I chose to use it, though I usually stay away from jargon if possible, because it's the best way to express what I wanted to convey, so if you have questions about the jargon, please let me know.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Anger takes away power

I've been noticing lately how effective anger is in taking away my power.

I'm the kind of person who is very sensitive to noises around me, so when my neighbors play their stereo too loud or let their yappy dogs yap at one am, it just makes me really angry. So much so that I either just sit and stew, which is no good for me, or I knock on their door to "talk" to them about it. When I'm angry, I'm very aggressive and I just want to shout at them. Invariably, that just results in their shouting back at me, and the music stays loud. When I go talk to my neighbor in a calm voice, she'll usually listen attentively and turn it down. Invariably, when I'm angry, I yell and nothing gets done.

The anger saps my power and then I make choices to please the anger, not to help myself, and those choices are always the wrong ones. By allowing the anger to have power over me, I lose my power.

There are those who are fueled by anger. I hear stories about football players who play their best games when they are really pissed off. They have figured out, or maybe their just wired that way, to use the power generated from anger to help themselves.

I don't know if I can generalize for all people with MS, but anger has never taken me to a good place, it's only taken me to more darkness. My choice is either to learn how to decrease my anger, which involves dealing with my fears (more about this later), or learn to channel the anger for my good.

I guess that's the question for y'all: does anger motivate you to help or harm yourself? Does it focus you? Or send you off in the wrong directions?