The Tough Love Column

Anger has its uses. Tough Love is where we come to get mad, to expose the bullshittery, to shine floodlights on the unacceptable, to vent, to report the hard stuff, and to have difficult but transformative conversations. 

There is wisdom and considerable advice available to us hidden in the folds of anger and discomfort.  Great masters will tell you how every emotion we feel is instructive. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know what the hell they are feeling - or how to use anger well. There's a lot of blame flying around, and not enough accountability. Accountability can hurt- especially when it comes to privilege and inequity. Nothing seems to make people freeze up, get defensive, blow their load- even the most open and honest people- than subjects like race, ethnicity, social-economic class, war, politics, civil rights.

When our demanding teacher, Anger, rises up from injustice in our world- whether personal or society-wide- then we must act. We have to feel our way through it, and we have to be patient with each other, willing to engage in "courageous conversations." 

Sometimes we need to yell and bang our fists. But rarely, if ever, is physical or psychic violence necessary. Hatred is never helpful. Ever. Anger, on the other hand, has been misunderstood and made a miscreant, an outsider, a villain -by and large- in much of our culture today. But it's a human right, and a powerful ally when channeled correctly. 

Thinking about recent events in Ferguson, NYC and beyond of racist, police violence makes me think about the powerful results of Anger in right action. I think of the powerful effect of literally millions of people being constructively outraged.

Although we have far, far to go on the road to an equitable, peaceful society and world, I do think it is remarkable to have seen people come together in Anger, and to see so few arrested- almost none! What does that tell you? For me, it exhibits just how powerful we are when united, even if briefly or only regarding one topic or event. The pressure and outrage sent a clear message that kept police very timid on the days of these marches, though alarmingly it did not result in the punishment of these officers.

If we believe its all in Big Brother's hands, that we have no choice or voice or say, well then that will certainly be our truth. You can't be what you don't see.

The scheme of the ultra-rich and powerful seriously falls to pathetic pieces without a willing, disjointed, isolated population. A unified, connected, unwilling public can create whatever it wants for its society.

But anger has been necessary for change as long as patriarchy, classism, and racial supremacy has ruled... so anger will continue to be necessary for some time to come. In its most distilled state, Anger will always be necessary for the seedling to push through the heavy, wet, cold dirt to find some sun and grow. In the Chinese elemental system, Anger is the emotion of Spring. It is what's needed for new growth. 

So what needs to be discussed?
Thoughtful essays on darker issues are welcome.
Channeled anger is welcome.
Hatred and Ignorance in posts or comments will not be tolerated.