Coming to terms with anger and other unsettling emotions 

by Barb Casper
Excerpts from Sarah Bowen

Happy New Year to all you wonderful people who are here because you want to heal, learn, and grow into the very best and loving version of yourself you can be! I honor you for your courage in doing your inner work, which, as I am sure you know, many people are afraid to do. For each moment you choose love over fear, you add to the higher frequency of our planet and help to bring peace on earth. Thank you.

Are you feeling as if the world has gone completely mad? Do you find yourself turning off the nightly news in disgust? Is the chaos and lack of control getting to you? Well, most likely, you are not alone in how you have been feeling regarding the injustices our world is facing:

  1. Abroad there is war and famine. We see firsthand on the news the inhumane treatment of others, We witness countries that are so impoverished, our fellow human beings are living in filth and squalor with open sewage flowing at their feet. These families face starvation, drought, disease and death every day due to the conditions in which they live. Cameras on these faces reveal their cry for help. We cannot respect who we are and what we have until we first respect and care for each other.
  2. And, not just EVERYONE is suffering. EVERY LIVING THING is suffering, too! The animal kingdom…rhinos, elephants, and many other endangered species are being slaughtered for jewelry, fur coats, the illegal trade of exotic animals, and, ultimately financial gain. These poachers often do it for sport, for boasting, and the trophy rack to be hung on a wall. We cannot respect ourselves, unless we respect all living things.
  3. Our vegetation and forested areas are suffering...we have allowed unsustainable agricultural/ farming and logging practices that prioritize monetary gain and mass production versus focusing on the long-term consequences of these practices on our earth’s resources. We cannot respect ourselves until we respect SLOW FOOD PRODUCTION; the bounty and blessings of raising our own crops, the joy of the work and learning the responsibilities of watching things grow, caring for and tending the earth and recognizing the benefits of everything pure and natural.

    We are only able to learn respect by living in right relationship with every living thing. We are able to express gratitude and give back and replenish our earth when we respect all living things and honor the blessings and resources we have been given. Reciprocity is a “give and take” relationship. We can’t have healthy relationships without both ingredients.

  4. Our nation has witnessed a sharp decline in household incomes and rising inflation across the U.S. due to the increase in gas prices and many other commodities and material goods.
  5. Signs of homelessness riddle our cities’ streets and crimes of indignation, passion, anger, and discrimination against one another are running rampant and becoming more prevalent in recent years.
  6. Our open border policies have allowed for unrestricted human trafficking and the entrance of hardened criminals into our country. We are seeing an unprecedented flow of smuggled drugs, firearms, and other contraband into our country. Recently, the news reported that since the borders have been open enough Fentanyl has entered our country to kill every man, woman and child TWICE over!
  7. Lastly, despite the fact that we are one of the richest countries in the world, U.S. health care has ranked worst in the developed world since 2014 1

    In 2020, the U.S. health care system was ranked last among 11 wealthy countries on access to care, administrative efficiency, equity and health care outcomes despite spending 17 percent (the highest percentage) of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.

    Researchers behind the report surveyed tens of thousands of patients and doctors in each country and used data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Half of lower-income U.S. adults in the report said costs prevented them from receiving care while just more than a quarter of high-income Americans said the same.

    The U.S. also had the highest infant mortality rate and lowest life expectancy at age 60 compared with other countries. 2

So, what does all this mean? How do these occurrences affect our health and well-being? How do we make sense of it all and what can we do about it? Unfortunately, the world has been responding in very unhealthy ways:
  • Here in the United States, suicide has become a major national public health issue. The country has one of the highest suicide rates among wealthy nations. In 2020, there were 45,979 recorded suicides (that is one death every eleven minutes), up from 42,773 in 2014, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). It will be eye-opening, to say the least, to see the stat reports from 2020 – present once they have been revealed. 3
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that almost 800,000 people die from suicide every year. That’s one person every 40 seconds. Every suicide is a tragedy and reflects upon what our world has become. 4
  • According to the National Centers for Drug Abuse Statistics, drug overdose death rates are up 30% year-over-year. 5
  •  Major causes of death from  2019 to 2020 occurred for several leading causes of death. Heart disease deaths increased by 4.8%, the largest increase in heart disease deaths since 2012. Increases in deaths also occurred for unintentional injury (11.1%), Alzheimer disease (9.8%), and diabetes (15.4%). 6
Pray for Brighter DaysIn 2023, creating the change we want to see in the world requires first caring for ourselves, welcoming all of our emotions, even the difficult ones, and then moving forward with clarity. 
We are only able to learn respect by living in right relationship with every living thing. We are able to express gratitude and give back and replenish our earth when we respect all living things and honor the blessings and resources we have been given. Reciprocity is a “give and take” relationship. We can’t have healthy relationships without both ingredients.

May I suggest, we turn to prayer. Citing Sarah Bowen WTF prayer, ( WTF? I know you must be thinking, I have gone over the deep end, too), I would like to suggest you find a prayer to “Welcome The Feelings” you have been experiencing during these tumultuous times.

Sarah Bowen suggests that rather than pushing away our undesired emotions or repressing them, we should welcome our feelings, letting go of any desire to change them. Sufi poet, Rumi, implored we welcome not only our joys but also our depressions and sorrows. Rumi even proposed being grateful for each visiting emotion, considering it “a guide from beyond.”

And yet, when we’re mad as hell at some injustice we’ve encountered, we tend to react outwardly, needing somewhere to put the feelings. Blood coursing through our veins, temples thumping, and fists clenched, we project outward. We tap that angry face emoji and spout off in outrage and indignation. Unfortunately, we fuel a cycle of anger and more anger, which does not end the injustice. Next time you feel that distinct WTF?! feeling, try this ritual to turn your anger into effective sacred activism.

Creating a WTF Prayer Ritual

  • Light something aromatic. Say: “As I light this incense, I offer it into the Universe, to invoke a state of support.”
  • Light a candle. Say: “As I light this candle, I ask my mind to release its tendency to grasp. I ask my body to feel.”
  • Gaze softly into the flame. Sink into your emotions and any associated feelings and thoughts. Notice them and welcome them. Say: “I welcome everything that is coming to me at this moment. Welcome, anger. Welcome, clenched fists. Welcome, fast-beating heart.”
  • Next, welcome divinity into the feelings. Use whatever language feels comfortable to you. Say: “Welcome God/The Divine/Source/Spirit. Welcome into my emotion. Welcome into my anger.”
  • Let go. Say: “I let go of my need for agreement. I let go of my craving for approval. I let go of my desire for control. I open to the presence of divinity in this situation.”
  • Set an intention for action and put out the candle. Say: “As I extinguish this flame of anger, I release myself of any behavior or thoughts that do not serve me or others. I commit to acting for the highest good of myself and with compassion to all beings I encounter, especially those who I disagree with. I open to the ongoing guidance of divine nudges. Help me feel into what is mine to do.”
  • Listen. Be Still.
  • Take action.
Feeling into WTFs creates a sacred pause for connecting spiritually to that which supports us. Rather than feeling angry, activated, and alone, we establish a strong foundation for creating the change we want to see in the world. As we tackle unsettling emotions through contemplative practice, we can listen for the words that point us toward the next needed action in our advocacy.7

prayer candle
Article Citings
3 https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/suicide-data-statistics.html
4 https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/mental-health
7 https://www.spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2020/09/17/the-wtf-prayer
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