Thursday, April 7, 2011

Feeling Good About Feeling Bad

Sometimes I just wanna be mad. Not just mad, but outrageously frickin furious. Does being Spiritual mean I can’t be pissed off?


For some years, I have practiced, chanted, refined and honed my way into some level of even-keeled serenity. Most of the time, I feel good about life, I feel hopeful and confident, or, at the very least, I trust that I am on the path to feeling better. I didn’t start out here, and it didn’t happen overnight, for sure.

I grew up looking for reasons to be mad, furious, and righteously indignant. Looking for reasons why other insensitive people or pitiful situations were to blame my sadness, my disappointment, my anger, my RAGE. It was satisfying as far as that goes. I found no end of people and situations to blame, and I rather prided myself on my ability to logic my way into why and how each of them was to blame.

I remember an incident in high school when a friend explained to me that her psychology teacher said, "no one else can make you unhappy, only you can do that." I thought that was the most outrageously idiotic thing I’d ever heard. For days, I railed against the man and the message. I didn’t know the man, and though I was still rather shy, I confronted him in the hallways and listed all the reasons why he was clearly wrong. And I rejoiced in my “victory” of proving his position wrong for years.

I can’t pinpoint a time or place with such blinding clarity when I first realized that he was right. Perhaps that’s true because it happened gradually, though I suspect it is more due to the lack of thrill associated with discovering that I was the one who was “wrong.” In any case, I agree with him wholeheartedly now; in fact, I build my life, my vision for my life and my world, on the foundation of that Truth. No one else can make me unhappy; I am uniquely skilled in handling that task myself.

Thousands of hours of workshops, retreats, books, prayer, Abraham CDs, and meditations later, I am the usually calm and serene virtual person you see before you, trusting God and the Universe to provide, knowing that everything happens for a reason, and that my positive intentions create what I want to see in my life.

Then a truly stupid thing happens. The internet service at my home goes out, and no one at the provider company knows why. Or they pretend they know why and they really don’t. Or the claim it’s somebody else’s fault. Or they say it has already been fixed and it hasn’t. It is so freakin tempting to rise to the occasion! My rant and rave instinct is alive and well and wanting to be heard.

My experience and belief is that pushing back against something only brings more of that to my experience. Yet I also know and believe that the “contrasts” of this life, the difference between what we experience and what we’d like to be experiencing, are what causes us humans to launch “rockets of desire” (in Abraham parlance), which fuel the creation of what we do want.

So what’s the answer? Do I get to revel in feeling irate, even if only for the experience of contrast? I suppose that’s the answer. It’s fine, even vitally important, to feel unhappy, disappointed, even irate when something happens I don’t like. The trick is not to stay there, but to use that negative feeling to fuel my vision of what I do want, and inspire my action steps to bring about change.

I don’t like being without internet service. I envision being connected wherever I go. And that is a very good feeling.

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