May 29th 2006

copyright© don oddy

~ freedom of expression ~

silence, anger spoils the beauty of the soul, silence regains it.

We sometimes become frustrated with our emotional equipment. We get torn between being good and being bad. Sometimes we might wonder if we are allowed to be good or bad, sometimes we cannot tell the difference.

Why is life so contrary, why is life so full of opposites, why is life sometimes black and white and then every shade of grey in between. Why do I find it hard to be happy with the real world and why do I imagine it could be different. So many conflicts in my mind and so many good things to get on with. Why would I imagine the world would be better in my dreams?

And when we get angry about something, is it because I am right and the world is wrong or is it because the world is wrong and I am right? We can become frozen in time the longer we debate the right and wrongs of a particular situation. We become transfixed with our own views and forget the world views we are offered. Is it sometimes that the reality of life is so hard we must deny its reality. Of course it is, for sometimes the real life we are trying to get to grips with is so hostile to our views, we cannot believe it, we cannot believe the world is the way it is and the world is so unfair.

And life is not fair, and yet even though I know this I still want the world to be my way or no way. I can imagine my perfect world and my world being right especially when the world feels like it is against my wishes and hopes and dreams. Denial gives me time to cope, until I can believe the awful truth. And it is only awful until I let go the awful things which make me sad or feel out of control and insignificant.

In our fellowship meeting this morning, well yesterday morning now. The debate was about our use of words and letters and how we deal with things we donít like. Some people get so angry when dealing with people they know, especially partners who are not partners anymore, and have unfinished connections with, like children and finances still tied up. The anger that can be felt is as great as the pain of when they split or ended their intimate relationship, and much is still raw inside as any simple request takes them back to that moment of angry torture when all things ended, mainly love.

And with all matters of the heart, we all feel our loss and denial of our own part when love breaks or goes away. When we love and there is no love back, it is very difficult, for we ask ourselves, I love them and why do they not love to me too?

And we spend a long time wondering why. If we stop loving somebody, we do not have these feelings of great sadness, just a wish to move on mostly, we might have regrets but they are nothing to loving and not being loved.

We do not feel this way when we have new people and experience, this is when we move on to new possibilities. And only when we can see we can be loved again do we break from our old feelings and denial. Obsession often keeps us from seeing new relationships and possibilities as our loyalty is still uncertain, hard times indeed.

In our meeting, there was much discussion of how we can be so mad with anger, we can be unforgiving in our reactions to the slightest criticism, and we react with fury, and not with care.

So many felt this burning desire to strike back and be unpleasant. It makes us feel so bad, we might take out our anger on ourselves rather than hurt anyone else, because when we feel this way we would rather hurt inside than anyone on our outside. This is dangerous for us who can turn to drink, and leave ourselves open to harm.

What do we do? We meet and talk our problems through, it is part of grief to share hard times and hard feelings and not ever to hurt those we still have care for, even if they have stopped loving us.

I realised as the meeting moved along, that most of us never really understood how to deal with our harder feelings, the negative feelings we all have from time to time. We were taught to be good, and we were taught not to be bad or feel angry or sad. We were taught to cover up the bad side, the harder side. And we learned to be good at denying our dark thoughts and feelings. If we had learned to deal with hard knocks and blows as they happen, and be able to share the harder feelings of sadness we might have escaped from the clutches of drink for sure, and been able to deal with life as it really is and not as we might will it.

So I learned again, that from very young, I never really understood my hard feelings and what to do with them, I never knew how to be angry at others, just angry inside. And when our anger has no expression except on ourselves we get become harmful and toxic, poisoning our insides with our feelings.

I realise this was not something any of us learned growing up, how to be angry, how to be sad, how to express our feelings other than our happy ones. So we showed the world our happiness and never really expressed or showed the world our sadness. For if we had no idea how to be sad, then the world would have no idea how to deal with our sad or angry sides either. And eventually this dark side of us made it easy to seek oblivion and let our thoughts and feelings be erased for a short time. And then longer and longer, until we never worked out our sorrows or anger, until now of course.

So our meetings help us to express the hard and sometimes over the top, the excessive anger and often hate we have inside, built over many years and finally we have voice. We have voice in our meetings, and we have time to respond properly to what we hear from those we feel are hindering our outlook and lives.

When we respond we get a chance to be right sized in that response, for we have used our meetings and time to reflect on what is hurting us. We more often respond rightly, and not excessively when we get opportunity to express or work out the right measure in our meetings and people who understand our problems. So easy to let things slide and go back to angry. Harder to try new ways and get better a day at a time.

It is a long process to develop all our feelings, some to the good and happy, some sort of bad, but hurtful. We need be hurt, its ok, we are human, we donít need to strike or lash out inhumanly. And we need never pick a fight for the sake of fighting, if we respond and not react.

We learn it takes time, a lifetime. We work a day at a time, and it takes a lifetime to learn. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Of course, providing the old dog is sober and willing.

So many people in life get stuck somewhere, with old feelings and bitter notions. We donít need to be addicts or alcoholics to find these things out. Many who might claim to be sober and sane, they too find new ways as hard to contemplate as any who face ruin in a moment like us. So one day only and only ever one day, we learn not to react, but to respond and process our feelings. And as we learn, we get better a day only, and only, that day at a time. And making mistakes is our rule of thumb, for in mistakes we make good in our ways. T takes time, a day at a time, to get established in using all our feelings and so responding to our world as it is, the real world.

Learning, we feel like we have learned all there is when we are young, and we may feel we know all there is to know, our confidence is high and we are free of burdens. Later we accept, if we are lucky in our good fortune, learning is forever, a day at a time!

Copyright © Don Oddy