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"Take a gentle breath in. Let your muscles relax. If anger is present, simply—KATHUNK"
I am hurtled out of my guided meditation MP3 by a loud noise downstairs. I can hear the dogs rattling around, and I try to ignore it. I settle back down into Savasana, and attempt to quiet my rattled mind.
The meditation continues and so does the KATHUNK.
The KATHUNK in question is the sound of my husband pacing downstairs. Whenever he has a big project, he wanders around the house while he thinks, a roving philosopher in 1,200 square feet.
I realize that in the middle of a meditation on releasing anger, my fists are balled. I just want ten minutes of peace and quiet. I take a deep breath in, unclench my muscles, and pat myself on the back.
Look at me, I think. I am going to transcend the noise, transcend my frustration, and find inner peace in the middle of a difficult day. I'm fantastic.
My thoughts digress into an elaborate fantasy. In it, I finish my meditation, glowing with spiritual attunement. I glide down the stairs, and tell my husband how I was able to meditate through the noise.
He stands in awe of my willpower. Also, my hair is longer, and behaving really well. I like this fantasy.
"Just let the words flow over you. If you find your mind wandering, let it and bring it back to—KATHUNK"
My hands curl back into fists. COME ON. He is pacing faster, and now the meditation is making me cranky. It's a reminder that I am not the beautifully coiffed yogi of my fantasy, but a human being who gets irritated easily. This pisses me off.
I listen as my husband KATHUNKS his way up to the second floor. We only have 10 steps, but it sounds like he's climbing Mount Everest. How long does it take to walk up the damn stairs? I am furious.
He appears in the door of our bedroom, smiling sweetly. He is coming up to check on me, because he loves me.
I shoot daggers out of my eyeballs.
"You. Walk. Like. An. Elephant." I say, trying to measure my words, lest they come flying at his face like a demon monkey.
"You can hear me all the way upstairs? I'm so sorry, sweetheart." He moves towards me, and I snort like a cranky dragon.
"It's just that I am trying to meditate and your loud, incessant stomping is driving me crazy." By the end of the sentence, I am shouting the words. I rip the headphones out of my ears, as I can still hear the too-soothing tones of the guided meditation. I want to wallow in my fury.
My sweet, adoring husband looks defeated, and he shuffles from the room.
I notice that there is an iron block in my chest, a physical manifestation of my anger. I've been feeling it all day. I don't want to feel it. I want to obliterate it. I want to be the cool, calm yogi, the guru breathing peacefully on her pillow. She doesn't have to deal with anger, right?
I slowly put the headphones back in my ears, in time to hear some wise words:
"This is a safe time, and a safe place. Anger is welcome here."
I close my eyes. I've been fighting myself all day, judging my anger, and myself for being irritated.
I create space around the iron bar in my chest, and it finally has room to release - and to my surprise, it dissolves into big droplets of salty tears that run down my cheeks and onto the floor. A day's worth of backed-up frustration comes pouring out.
Sometimes we allow our perceptions about how we should be to run rampant. When this happens, we steamroll over what really is. Sometimes, I am angry. If I had acknowledged and accepted that anger at the beginning of the day, it wouldn't have grown into a full-on rage fest. Instead, I spent the day judging myself and cutting off my own feelings.
It comes down to radical self-acceptance. Fantasy me isn't real me, and comparing myself to her is only going to bring frustration and disappointment. Sometimes we need to make space in our lives for those parts of us that we're none-too-happy with, and not only accept them, but love them as well. This goes for anger, frizzy hair, sadness, and knobby knees.
Tomorrow, should I wake up feeling cranky again, I will take the time to accept it and give it the space it needs. I will love my frizzy hair, soothe lotion onto my knobby knees, and hold my sadness gently. And most importantly, give my husband a big hug.