I learned a painful lesson on anger this month. It totally blew my body up. Like a bomb.
Instead of writing to you through my anger pains, I decided to wait and write to you afterwards. Deep inside, I knew if I was still angry the tone of the post would be sharp, not judgement free.
So I waited.
A few weeks ago, I would have told you that I was rarely angry. While I had felt frustration, it never seemed to last. Something more exciting always caught my interest. I realize now that I had a small reservoir of anger that I had tucked away. Even when I moved on to something exciting, I did not always displace my anger constructively. Some if it got trapped in inside.
I visited a holistic massage therapist who was going to do deep organ/tissue work on me. I triple verified she’d be the right person for me. I set aside time and money to travel to a backcountry forest to work with her for a week, which was a big commitment for me. Her work was good; she tonified & nourished my muscles, joints, and bones so I could stay flexible and limber.
Yet, on one particular day, I lost it.
Why the Anger?
It’s stupid really.
I asked the therapist if she could explain a pain I was experiencing in my body. She gave me a vague, nondescript answer.
Maybe she did not know?
It left me burning up inside.
Instantly, I had flashbacks of every medical professional that I had ever visited with my dad through his diabetes care a few years back. I felt a deep frustration that became this monstrous, pulsating anger. I remembered specialists in one organ who absolved themselves of having to look at another connecting organ or system. I remembered the vague answers – oh so many vague answers – that led us to more doctors with conflicting guidance. It was only after meeting Dr. Lad of the Ayurvedic Institute that things started to get better. Better, not perfect, but significantly better.
Here I was at a holistic therapist- someone meant to help you connect the dots – and yet she could not give me the guidance I was looking for. In her mind, her job was to gently move waste out of my tissues/organs. This was the actual agreement. My silent request , however, was to have her explain my whole body – to test her – entirely unreasonable. I had a hidden agenda that I did not even realize.
Like a sucker punch to the face, I realized the stinging lesson that no one knows you as well as you know yourself. You work with trustworthy doctors/therapists when you need help but your body’s cellular intelligence is your ultimate guide.
What did I do? I just got angry because I didn’t have answers. I was compulsively seeking answers instead of consciously letting the answers dawn on me in due time.
Anger is like a brick wall. If you kick a brick wall, do you blame the wall? A lot of us try to blame the wall (e.g. the other person) but blaming the wall by kicking it even harder only causes our own suffering. We keep doing it because we get compulsive when we get angry. We silently say to ourselves if I’m suffering than you should too – so we kick the wall HARD. We might not admit it but that’s what we’re doing if we’re unpleasant with someone. We want someone else to feel our pain.
What happened after?
I had an acute gastritis attack- inflammation in my stomach lining. It is one step away from an ulcer.
A scan of the inner lining of my stomach. It should be light pink not red!
P.S. The cells of the stomach have the ability to regenerate new skin within three days!
I found it uncanny.
In Ayurveda, each emotion is tied to a specific organ. Anger is tied to the liver and gallbladder. The heat of anger affects blood and food filtration in the liver and gallbladder. That means that the junk that should come out of your bowels stays trapped inside you. This can disturb the balance of stomach acids because alkaline bile from the gallbladder is supposed to neutralize stomach acids. Increased acidity can eat away at the protective mucous lining of the stomach, causing the lining to get raw and sore. It takes time to manifest but in Ayurveda, a sudden burst of anger can accelerate damage.
Guess what? My stomach was raw and sore. I felt like I could not put out a fire inside me. Sorta like I was being eaten up from the inside
Interestingly enough, the stomach in Ayurveda is tied to the emotion of disgust. If you are disgusted by a situation, your stomach is quick to react, usually by pushing food out (e.g. vomit).
This pathology is classic pitta dosha aggrevation. (especially during or soon after summer).
Are you Ok?
Yes, I’m writing to you calmly and clearly in a sunny window lit room. I still have some tender pain that I’m working through but I feel totally at ease. Next, week I’ll write about how I dealt with my gastritis attack in its most excruciating phase.
For now, I’m happy to be writing to you. I do hope you are well.