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The Breakthroughs in Anger Breakdowns

Some people think the benefit of mindfulness is that it enables you to avoid the far edge of emotions like anger or frustration.

Not true.

As human beings, these feelings are hardwired in us for a reason – the problem is that we’re not raised to understand why or, equally important, how to manage them.

And so we shut down or we lash out.

Or we shut down until we lash out.

Obviously, none of this is healthy.

I had my own battle with anger over the weekend and, since I can’t give you the lesson without sharing the story, here it is in two sentences:

In mid-December I hired a freelancer for a change to my Awake Exec site that needed to be complete by the new year.

On Saturday January 4th – as I had done every morning last week – I woke up and immediately checked my phone to see if it was done.

Nothing.

Nada.

Goose egg.

I had been agreeable and understanding about the explanations for the delay so far but, for some reason, Saturday was my breaking point.

And I was ticked.

Steaming.

Furious.

Ohhhhh let me tell you how these are moments where a mindfulness practice truly pays off.

Because when you’re in this state, the first thing you’re supposed to do is sit.

Yes, like a time-out for grown-ups.

And so I sat.

But rather than trying to squash or cover up my rage, I really leaned in to it.

At first, I just wanted to convince myself that I was still a good person.

“Maybe he was spending time with family.”

“Maybe he didn’t realize how long it would take.”

“Maybe he’ll drop his ^*&% phone in the toilet!!”

Wait, what?

Breathe Emily.

I continued to go round-and-round in an effort to identify where the problems started and, more specifically, what was my part in them.

Immediately, my wrath started to lift – and was soon followed by the “Halleluiah” question.

“What is the lesson here?”

I should stop and mention that I n.e.v.e.r could have gotten to this level of insight had I continued to allow the anger to take over. This is because deep wisdom – the kind that allows you to move through your life with grace – simply isn’t possible in the middle of emotional firestorms.

So back to sitting.

As cliché as it sounds, I truly believe everything happens for a reason and so the moment I zoomed out and looked at the larger issue, what I realized is that the project I had hired the developer for was – get this – totally unnecessary.

Turns out, I was running so fast I didn’t realize I was actually running the wrong way.

Sound familiar?

The resulting question – “What now?”completely shifted my energy and opened the door for an incredible new idea that will allow me to serve my clients even better.

Sometimes life really does happen for you instead of to you.  

So thank you for the lesson Mr. Developer Man.

And I hope your phone is okay.

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