Every spring here in New Mexico the air carries the smell of smoke from fires set to clear last years dried fields and piles of raked leaves, twigs and branches. Hoses are laid out and shovels and rakes gathered in order to assure control of the fires. Often bandanas or masks are worn to limit the amount of smoke inhaled. Gloves assure that hands are protected just in case. With these tools the fire is guided, controlled and used to a healthy advantage. This is a way to symbolically and physically cleanse the debris of the past and make way for the new life about to break through the waking, softening earth. It’s a smell that to me at least, feels ancient and comforting carrying cellular memories of the long ago past…
As I take part in this yearly ritual, I find myself reflecting on the things in my life that need to be burned away or ignited into action in order for me to break through my old limitations and give life to that which is waiting to be birthed. In this capacity, the fire within us is of great importance because it gives power to our ability to move forward, to flare up from our place of being stuck and give momentum to ideas and dreams. Our fire is our drive!
Anger is part of our fire. In a healthy person anger can be that spark that screams to us to stand up, take notice, gain insight and take action to move in to a place of positive motion. Some examples of this could be walking away from an abusive relationship, or standing up for your beliefs by running for office, or moving out of a bad work environment to pursue better dreams! Anger can be a powerful and transforming emotion!
Anger can also be horribly destructive, think uncontrolled forest fires…
Here in New Mexico we are also plagued by spring and summer forest fires. In 2000 there was a fire in the Jemez Mountains that moved in to the town of Los Alamos and burned the homes of 400 people. The fire was so hot that it burned the mountains surrounding the town beyond recognition. It was a miracle that everybody got out ok. This was not the case for so many animals and birds living in those forests. The town was evacuated for a couple of weeks and as we all went back home the sense of loss and grief was suffocating. Even if we didn’t personally lose our home, everyone knew others who had. Besides that, our beautiful mountain home would never look the same, certainly not in our lifetime or the lifetime of our children or our grandchildren.
Anger can be like this too… Uncontrolled and unconscious anger can destroy friendships, careers, loved ones and lives. It is the blind raging that consumes and destroys. It is the flame set loose without having the proper tools like the hose and shovel to contain and guide it. It is not cleansing, nor motivating or insightful.
It is profound to me that our fire, our anger, can be both of these things. It just depends on how it is used.
Some coaching questions:
Think of times in your life when you let your anger get out of control. What were the repercussions?
Looking back now, and from a place of safety, what would a productive conclusion to the situation look like and what could you have done to guide the anger to positive forward movement?
What could you use as tools? Examples: Support person, breathing before reacting, anger management classes, walking away until you calm down, etc.
Think of a situation that is current in your life that is producing some irritation or anger. What would you like to have as an outcome to this problem? How can you use your fire and your tools to produce this outcome?
May your fire provide you with warmth, comfort and motivation!
Remember to always breathe deeply and wield a loving heart!
Joni Holub, CPC gratefully lives and works in Nambe, NM, a bit north of Santa Fe. Sessions are held either in person for locals, or on skype. Please visit the website for more information, to make inquiries, or to schedule an appointment.