Resolution of Love


Understanding Anger

We have all felt anger.   For some of us, surges of anger are quick and familiar; an experience we have several times per day.  Anger in itself is not a bad thing, and many amazing things in the world have come from anger.  Without anger we would not have had the civil rights or the women’s suffrage movement.  Anger can be transformative, even a uniting force.  Of course we know that there are different kinds of anger.  Anger at being stuck in traffic or someone cutting you off while you are driving is very different than the anger that you experience when you feel that your spouse is taking you for granted.  Because we know this to be true it is important to understand the emotions and actions behind our anger.  With this understanding we can empower ourselves to make a choice in how we are going to use our anger and to what effect we are using it for.  
In order to begin to work with anger we need to learn to identify the physiological symptoms that anger triggers in our bodies.  Most people find that their body temperature rises and they begin to sweat.  Anger is depicted in cartoon characters by drawing them with red faces, even smoke coming out of their ears.  We know that fire is a transformative element that makes things malleable, even steel bends in a forge, whether this transformation is positive in nature often depends on how it is used. 
As a therapist and a yogi, I am interested in the feelings that are behind our anger.  Anger is not a primary emotion. It is a result of a compilation of other emotions.  Think of a time that you were very angry.  Was there something behind that?  Frustration? Fear? Shame? Anxiety? Guilt?  When we become skilled at identifying the emotion or emotions that lead us to become angry, we can better express our feelings and communicate our experience more clearly. 
In my therapy practice I often work with couples and families.  One of my couples was fighting continually about keeping their apartment clean.  The wife was at home with the baby all day, and when her husband arrived home in the evening, he found it to be a nuisance to take his shoes off at the door.  This was a small example of something that caused great friction between them and lead to many screaming matches.  At face value, this seems to be a small hurtle to overcome in a marriage.  Why was she getting so angry about his shoes in the apartment?  When we discussed how she interpreted his refusal to leave his shoes at the door, we found that she was frustrated because she felt he did not listen to her.  She felt abandoned in the care of their home, hurt that he did not feel the same pride in having a nice home, and anxious that their child was going to crawl on a floor filled with germs.  Until they came to therapy, she hadn’t expressed any of the emotions behind her anger when she was communicating with her husband.  After she was able to discuss the feelings behind her anger, they came to a greater understanding and it became important to him that no one else wore shoes in the apartment either. 
What you can do to work with your anger:

  • When you become angry, start to notice the physical sensations in your body, such as you’re your body temperature rising or hands beginning to shake.  When we notice these physiological changes as the anger begins to arise, we have a better chance of a controlling the anger and using it as an opportunity for positive change and expression.   

  • Take some deep breaths.  This helps to calm the “fight or flight” response in the body and tells your central nervous system that you are indeed “ok”.  When you become more skilled at this, see if you can elongate your exhale which will cool and relax your body.

  • Look at the feelings behind your anger. Use these emotions to come to a greater understanding of yourself and to improve your communication.

  • Practice listening for understanding  rather than listening to prepare a response.

  • Practice having patience with yourself and others. 


Resolution of Love

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Mother Teresa


In the New Year many of us resolve to take better care of ourselves and exercise more, practice more regularly, eat healthier, etc. What if we looked at taking care of our hearts as a resolution that all other resolutions can grow from?  What if we made our new year’s resolution to practice opening our hearts a little more every day?


Many of us live as if our love is a finite resource rather than a renewable energy. Sometimes life is so stressful that we are left to feel emotionally and spiritually drained.  I have spent a great deal of time thinking about love and how we share and receive this resource with each other and with our loved ones. 


I have come to find that with dedicated practice we can all live in a more loving and receptive way.  I once heard Krishna Das say something along the lines of “Open the dark rooms of your heart and there you will find more love”.  It takes courage to love without seeking anything in return.  To be focused on the process of loving rather than the outcome of being loved.  Asana is an excellent place to begin this practice.  If we practice with physical goals like touching the floor or our toes as the outcome, and neglect the mindful and diligent process we risk injury.  When we are curious about how our body opens and breathe with encouragement and love we find that our hands eventually reach the earth and beyond.  When we give love for the sake of loving, with no thought of its return then we are creating this renewable energy ourselves.  When we have the courage to share love the dark rooms of our heart open and we let more light in.  Resolve not to be afraid to show your love in the New Year.  Your love for yourself is the love from which all other love grows, so begin there.


Ways to develop love:



May you be safe.

May you be free from suffering.

May you be filled with happiness.

May you be filled with loving kindness.