ANGER DIRECTED AT US
When someone directs their anger at us it can really hurt, as well as cause confusion, the way we are conditioned (or instinctively programmed) in Western Society is to respond with fight or flight mode, to either fight back or to flee. I had a very confusing moment last week where I did neither, I had a short moment of ‘fighting‘ back, but it lasted about 5 seconds when I saw Wolf (my dog) choosing to plant himself down and not move, that brought my consciousness back to realising I absolutely did not want to fight, that type of response is outdated for me these days, unless it was crucial as self defence.
It was such a bizarre experience to have stood (actually kneeled, I was crouched down on one knee next to Wolf, this along with yawning has been part of my way of calming him and encouraging him to not be scared and not to bark, the body language of yawning shows him I do not feel threatened, so neither should he) in the midst of someone directing their extreme anger towards us, I initially responded peacefully asking the man if he wanted to discuss whatever was going on instead of yelling at me, there was no signal of that being wanted, the verbal abuse just continued, so my attention got directed at calming Wolf down, getting him to sit and encourage him not to bark back. Wolf was acting out of instincts alone, by barking back at this man yelling at us, he was an obvious threat to us, but I was trying to reprogram in Wolf (and myself) that he wasn’t.
If I used my natural instincts only I would be doing the same, otherwise running (fight or flight), the man’s dog was being held by another man behind them, and barking at us too, it was pretty chaotic, my main attention was on Wolf, I wanted to calm him down and show him we had nothing to fear. What took me out of this peace focus bubble, was hearing the man tell me ‘I’m just a woman, and if I were a bloke he would come and knock me out’, well… I don’t view people as just women or just men, I view them as beings that feel, hearing this triggered something in me (tired of feeling like women are any less strong than men, we are not, we are different yes, but it hurts to think that anyone would think they could knock out another man because he is a man, men and women both feel, we both all desire the feeling of aligning with love, seeing people love and appreciate us, while allowing us to love and appreciate them, I always feel our main desire in life is to be happy), I stood up and told the man to ‘come and try if that will make you feel better’, no action, so I realised he was all bark too.
I am absolutely not proud of having responded in this event, responding to the chaos reduced me, I felt embarrassed and disappointed in myself, I almost got really down on myself for losing my balance, however I took my view outside of my self and looked as if I were looking outside in, it helped me get compassion for my being, it helped me release the heavy burden of having to be ‘perfect’, be ‘the good woman’, this was a physical experience which has strengthened my desire to hold peace and not respond in such events, I am sensitive so as embarrassing as crying in public and feeling really upset rather than joyful, with a crowd of onlookers is, it is a reminder that we all feel! I believe we need physical experiences in life to truly understand concepts, this has been (one of ) mine, I do not feel we ever make a mistake, we simply experience a mis-take (so long as we contemplate why an action did not feel good and how we would like to improve it for next time.) Honouring mis-takes, allows us to release unnecessary guilt, shame, regret, it allows us to continue evolving into compassionate humans without the pressure of needing to be perfect, it honours that we are not perfect, no one is, while allowing us the space to rectify what we do or do not value, teaches us that we are all continuously learning through this life experience, no one has it all worked out, and no one should ever be put on a pedestal, essentially we are children at different stages of life, learning how to respond and gaining response-ability as we do so.
The response of mine that initially upset me the most was following my verbal response, since there was no action from the man, just more verbal abuse after I invited him to come and take a hit at me, I told Wolf to ‘GO’, which means RUN, and I started to run at the man (not sure what I intended to do once I reached him, I think my response was simply to show him we were not scared, and hope he would be scared of us instead, and basically to just put a stop to all of this nonsense by crashing into it), well that did not work out as planned (thankfully!!) Wolf planted himself on the ground, he looked terrified, I got about 2 strides until I saw him, and it completely pulled me back to realising that we both are not fighters, and that Wolf was so terrified, it was ridiculous to force him into a fight, that is not his nature, and not mine either.
Wolf seems to be highly misunderstood, I have only just realised that people fear him because of his size, and he barks which I believe is mainly out of fear, to tell other dogs to back away. So our fight moment didn’t eventuate, I was in tears, I had been since I told the guy Wolf was barking because he was scared, just like I was feeling scared from him yelling at us. That brought out the tears, and I couldn’t get them to stop. I felt so overwhelmed trying to understand why this man was yelling at us in the first place, it was so unexpected, and so confusing that someone could direct so much anger and vulgar language at someone who they don’t even know! My mind didn’t seem to be able to go down the path of comprehending what was happening, usually I find I can get a quick understanding, however my mind felt blocked on this day which was surfacing even more sadness, I felt so lost, I felt crazy.
I recently sat my first 10 Day Vipassana course, which is a silent meditation course, it teaches us to be aware of bodily sensations (energy), and to not respond to anything as bad or good, it teaches us that everything dies and is renewed, it teaches us to stay balanced with our emotions, not have aversion or desire for certain feelings. This experience was the polar opposite to what I had been practicing for the majority of this month of June, however with hindsight I have realised it has been my real life, physical experience at an extreme level which has imprinted my decision to choose peace over having to be right, and a desire for all beings to be happy, rather than respond with fight or flight mode. It was so bizarre to have found myself sitting through the verbal abuse, with hindsight I feel I experienced a moment of burning off outdated aspects of myself, I used to bite and bark back, it never feels good doing that, was feels better is to not respond. My concern with not responding, is blocking the throat chakra, not standing up for ourself, but after contemplating this event, what I have come to realise is that we are all on different vibrational frequencies, and not everyone can hear what we are saying, that is where choosing peace over having to be right works to create harmony, we are not standing up for ourself, we are consciously choosing peace over needing to be right. These interactions will be far and few, our circle of friends (soul family) will allow us the space to both express and shine who we are, we may move this into a broader circle, however in moments of having someone on a lower vibrational frequency respond to us, simply holding ourselves peacefully and not responding communicates more than trying to yell our view and truth louder than their own view and truth.
What I have realised is this man must have felt really scared, he must have had so much fear moving through his body, that is natural response was to yell verbal abuse and threats at the beings that triggered his safety (Wolf and I).
What happened about an hour earlier, was I ran down the beach with Wolf, he interacted with every dog on the beach (there weren’t many, about 6), and he was being really gentle, so I felt at ease with him being off leash (off leash beach area), he has some days where he barks at certain dogs and I’m learning people either hate it or recognise that it is simply the dogs working things out, he will not bite otherwise I would not be there with him, but realising that some people seem to be really annoyed by (or scared of) his barking has made me focus and try different techniques to help settle the barking, anyway, this was a good day, he was being gentle and not barking at dogs while off leash, we ran back half way from where we came and Wolf’s gaze got set on something, he ran up to the man mentioned earlier and his dog, the man must have got scared and started waving his tennis racket and swearing at Wolf, his dog was behind him, sandwiched between him and a sand dune wall, barking too, Wolf started barking back at them but from a meter or two away as the man was swinging his racket, I ran up to them and stood next to the guy to tell him Wolf will not bite but I understand the barking isn’t nice, the guy said something about that’s what they said last time, I don’t quite remember but I got the feeling his dog had been in a fight or two, Wolf meanwhile circled them barking, when he got to the sand behind me I told him to GO, and he started running, we both continued on with our beach run together, went to the end of the dog area where we had set ourselves up earlier. I put Wolf on the lead not wanting to cause any more stress for this guy, what I didn’t realise is that he must have felt really scared when Wolf ran up to them, and must have assumed Wolf was going to be aggressive (which he wasn’t!) We stayed for a while longer at the beach, I wanted another quick swim to wash off the emotions that were stirred, and when we left I walked Wolf along the beach on his lead (to get to the exit path), again being mindful of this guy and his dog, usually we would do that walk off leash. So you can imagine the shock I got when I reached the end of the beach and saw the guy standing ahead yelling abuse at us, there was a muscly man holding his dog behind him, so what I saw was two men and a barking dog, nothing about it scared me, but it made me feel like I was being ganged up upon, I never expected to see that man at the end of the beach, I would have expected him to come up to me if he were upset with me, the ironic thing is a woman had come and checked if I was okay after the first run in, she thought he was acting crazy (so did I, but I felt more concerned if there was something I was missing about Wolf and I, if I was doing something wrong / starting to see that people get scared easily of Wolf. I can’t understand it because I know his temperament perhaps, or because I’m used to wild dogs in Greece, all you need to do is bang a stick and yell and they run off, I don’t feel threatened by dogs, so this event was making me question a few things and try to see outside of my comfort bubble).
Regardless of how everything played out, I realised that people are scared of Wolf, he is large in size, and he has moments of barking, although I know he will not bite, they don’t, so I intend to continue to work more with Wolf to keep his barking down. Furthermore I realised that people who direct anger at us, are most likely feeling some heavy emotions inside, and we cannot even imagine what is going on there, we cannot know what their childhood was like, how safe they feel in this world, how safe they actually are in this world, we cannot know how their morning was, or their week, how loved they feel, so the most compassionate thing we can do is not respond in any way, even if they are out of line, peace comes from not needing to prove ourselves right. In turn people cannot imagine what we have been experiencing, they cannot know if we had a challenging morning and were at the beach to soothe ourselves, they cannot know what we had planned for the rest of our day or week, or what we carry in our heart, they don’t need to, all of that is on us, it is continuously on us to decide how we want to feel, and to find the equanimity within ourselves. To allow ourselves peace, and happiness, regardless of what we are observing and being moved through in our ‘outside world’.
The biggest gift Vipassana gave me in this experience, is to trust that even this moment will change, the man called Animal Control for the Byron Shire, when I saw the car I was relieved, thinking he was there to check on the man himself, when in fact he was there to check if Wolf was aggressive (he’s not, although arguable by people who thinking a dog that barks is aggressive, but holistically and legally he is not), the man had circled around to yell more abuse at us even after we had all left the beach, it kept shocking me to see him, I could not comprehend how angry he was, or why he was doing what he was doing to us). I wasn’t afraid, but I was definitely confused, I know Wolf is not an aggressive dog. There is an aspect that the Animal Control man explained I need to make sure Wolf comes straight back to me when I call him, I had been teaching him to stay and wait for me to go to him, so we’re on a new path at the moment of him learning to come straight back to me (practicing on our property first before I take him to an off leash beach area again), if I need to work with Wolf more to be allowed to share space in off leash beach areas, I’m willing to do the work needed, if we never accomplish that level then those areas are not for us, I’ll stick to our property and deserted beaches, there is always a way. However my desire is to be able to enjoy fun moments at off leash beach areas with Wolf, I see how much joy he gets, some of the dogs he has made friends with yet, and also I get, it’s fun and good to socialise occasionally! So I intend to hold that vision in my mind and see how life plays out. The biggest curve ball Vipassana gave me I believe is increasing my sensitivity and adjusting how my mind usually responds to such events, the hardest part for me was not being able to comprehend what was happening, I had so many emotions (and so many tears) run through my body but my mind couldn’t process everything, it made me feel like I was losing it/crazy/something wrong, I felt like I simply sat there and allowed someone to verbally abuse me, it took me the rest of that night and part of the following morning to find my peace again, I felt so much pain for humanity and had so many questions about what we are, what we are creating, asked myself what the point of living is - had a Leeloo moment from 5th Element, ‘what is love?’. I had so much compassion for humanity the previous days/week after coming out of my Vipassana course, so this was polar opposite/unexpected.
I felt pretty fragile the next couple of days, the day before this happened I spent most of the day being a cat with a three year old who was a unicorn, the polarity of feeling safe and gentle could not have been more extreme, I was completely caught off guard, I believe that added to the shock, but once we ‘survive’ these moments there are lots of gifts to be gained, whether that be clarity, inspiration for change, gratitude for who we are/our circle of soul mates, gratitude for those who show us love, those who see us and appreciate us, emotional release/s, or change of perspective etc. Riding through these moments, surrendering and resting, and knowing that this too shall change, allows us to release what we are feeling a lot more effortlessly - I could have stayed stuck in being sad or angry for longer if I tried to fight what I had experienced, and also what I was feeling, I had plans to write and enjoy creative time to myself that afternoon and night, but after the turn of events, all I could do was rest, surrendering to that rest I believe helped me move into peace faster than if I went down the path of blaming the man for disturbing my peace - I will not give the power of my peace over to anyone else, ever, that lies on me, my thoughts and my actions.