by Rebekah Nightsong
As a crone, I must cop to some stuff. I wrote and rewrote this article a couple of times already. Each time seemed like the right perspective; I hope this is the one. The reason why it is so difficult to write is because in watching and re-watching Kevin’s Witch Balls on how men are to deal with rage, I realized that I have very little knowledge about male rage. I have less knowledge about what is going on inside the male brain. In fact, the information I thought I possessed proved to be woefully inaccurate. The main thing I learned is that most men feel rage. They feel it strongest during their late teen years into their thirties, but it can rear its ugly head any time. Also, as men age, they tend to give up rage. Or, at a minimum, get a fairly good handle on it. Previously, I believed that rage was not a male given. I fear, it is more prevalent than I imagined. Yet…I do know some things to be true about rage.
Rage does not have to be the default. There is a payoff to rage. It is a habit, and it is addictive.
If you are a man and are the one enraged. Hold on tight. I have some ideas to deal with male rage from a decidedly crone perspective.
RELAX! – You are going to give yourself a heart attack. There is very little that is that important. If you are in a rage, you are in the fight part of a fight or flight response. You are using a basic and simple part of your brain and you are locked in. Kevin gave us many examples of how to calm down in the immediate, like walking away or engaging in exercise or video sedation. I am suggesting something deeper. Relax your soul. Meditate, shock your system into a new, non-rage filled life. Take up yoga. Move away to the woods. Touch trees. BREATHE! Make “relax” a lifestyle choice. If you live a calm life, the emergence of rage can be a powerful red flag.
Get to the bottom of your rage – Rage is a secondary or tertiary emotion. That means that there are all sorts of things behind all your bravado. Is it sadness? Is it jealousy? Trauma? Dig deep men. You need to take responsibility for your own mental health when you are an adult. This means accepting and getting to the bottom of your rage. Save us all by doing the shadow work we all need to do. Deal with your hurts and watch your rage evaporate. Only you can control rage incidents.
Stop with your grudge-holding – When you decide to let go of a grudge, it does not mean that you must be friends with or even like the person again. Deciding to forgive a person and move on is the sanest and most reasonable thing you can do for you and for others. Adopt a “you do you, Boo” attitude. You have ZERO control over other people. The ONLY person you get to control is you. Your grudges and rage do nothing but rot you from the inside out.
Touch divinity – You have access to the Goddess as much as any other living thing does. All you must do is open yourself. Ask her in. Ask her to transform your rage. Ask her to show you what is behind your rage. Spend a year and a day dedicated to the Goddess. Feel Her. Feel Her succor.
POSITIVE USES OF RAGE
I know there are positive uses of rage for women. I’ve seen them. For me, it is because I have spent periods of my life suppressing, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so, feelings of rage and anger. For me, rage moments elicited shame because I was told I was acting aberrant to gender norms. It just wasn’t “ladylike” in my world to express much of any anger, let alone rage. As a crone, my anger serves a purpose. There are many positive uses of rage because, usually, it is not a go-to emotion. Possibly, looking at those spaces may give us insight into positive uses for rage, in general.
Connection to spirit: This may seem completely counterintuitive. It is. As a young woman, there were periods of my life when I felt and expressed rage openly. Despite the social pressure, I was angry. During that time, rage served as a connection to a spirit I channeled. She was angry, too. We spent many years together where she taught me about righteous anger and spirit and empathy. When rage is a rare emotion, it can be a powerful connection to the spirit realm. Some folks talk about “being ridden” by a spirit. Rage can transport you into a trance state, into the crossroads, the in between where spirit and mystery reside.
Red flags: If rage is not part of your general way of being, it can be a powerful red flag. That is, when I am immediately overcome with rage, I look around. Rage is not a habit I feed so when I get incredibly angry, I move in. What is going on? Is the Goddess communicating with me, trying to point something out? Am I feeling anger because I am, or another is being hurt? Rage can be a powerful red flag that rights are being trampled and boundaries crossed. Don’t lash out, look in. Question what is going on. What is stirring that emotion?
Motivation: I have noticed that I can stay in a lot of yucky situations until I get angry. Anger often motivates us to make changes we would not have otherwise made. And, when we understand rage, we know that it may take getting to that rage moment to actually take some large step we need to take. It can also spur us to larger action. Becoming enraged about the way other people are hurt can be a powerful motivator to get us engaged as a part of the social justice solution to improve their conditions.
The point of all this rage talk is that, it seems we all need a little help thinking about rage. I sure do. It is easy in our society for this emotion to rear its head and when it does, we all react in prescribed fashion, with little thought. What is more poignant is that we have very few male mentors or leaders that talk to our young men about rage in a real way, like Kevin. There is extraordinarily little help for the man caught in the grips of habit or worse, rage addiction. Seek out a mentor who can help you get space from it.
When you get space from rage, it can be harnessed and used.
Listen to another perspective from Kevin the male witch.
How do you release rage? Do you? Are you holding on or not releasing? Check out the "Art of Letting Go."