octopus_drawing__painted_by_glory5641-d3180x1“Holding on to anger,” said the Buddha, “is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel the venom coursing through my veins when I’m ticked off, tightening all my muscles, activating the sympathetic nervous system to prepare for the gorilla that is not about to attack me, and tagging my amygdala (fear center), saying, “You’re it!”

For me, anger can be a good thing, a sign that I’m alive and I’m invested in this world. I guess I’m feeling well enough lately that unkind remarks bother me more, things that I would have never cared about back when I was doing death math all the time, not paying attention to what came out of people’s mouths because my sole focus was on getting to the grave.

But holding on to resentment is no good either, the broken record that keeps on playing the same tune over and over, and it’s not “Let It Go” from Frozen.

My good friend and writing mentor, Mike Leach, called me up yesterday and said, “I have never seen you use so many capitalized letters and exclamation points in a piece. Are you okay?”

I knew it was time for the Angry Octopus.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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6 Responses
  1. tmg

    I am jealous you can make these pronouncements – and sit and observe. I am reminded of your fake promise to me in 2013 to help me with an article I was writing – and then? You just ditched.

    1. I’m sorry if I never got back to you. I put emails in a box, and if I have time I go through each one. When I’m in a bad place my health must come first. So sometimes I can’t get back to everyone. If I put emails in front of my health, I would still be in the hospital. I would hope that anyone who has struggled with this illness would appreciate and understand that.

  2. Claire

    Ooh read this. And apply it to all those non returned emails re getting together

    ” It was a reminder of the second agreement of Don Miguel Ruiz’s classic, The Four Agreements, which is, Don’t Take Anything Personally.

    Ruiz writes: “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally … Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”

    Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds.


  3. I have found it very hard of late to cope with the surging anger that completely takes over my body at times. I lost my 1 year old son 14 weeks ago which has now been shown due to negligence in his care by health care professionals. Although hard to express, I know that being consumed by anger is healthy for me and not objective. Sometimes I grab a pen and hold it really tight and scribble frantically on a piece of paper, screw the paper up and throw it, to literally somehow get the energy out. I write a blog too, someway to organise my thoughts. Like you the anger shows me that I am alive, but sometimes that is not where i want to be. http://www.amotherwithoutachild.com

    1. Melissa, I am so very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine. There are a few people in Group Beyond Blue (the Facebook group) that have also lost children. It is the greatest loss, and one that is so unique that only people who have been there can appreciate. If you are up for it, you could try it out. One member of the group that tries to look out for other BP (bereaved parents) is Michael Webb. You may want to friend him. He has helped me understand this kind of loss better and I hope to write about it soon. So very sorry. Therese