All Roads Lead to Anger

  
I am an asshole on the road. 

While I have never engaged in road rage, I rage plenty on the road in seething insults and strings of profanity that I cannot help but recognize as an inheritance from my father.

I always believed I was most like my mother: cheerful, determined, optimistic and rational. But that’s because my father was never around, working round the clock as he did. Come to find out after he moved in a few years ago, I am much like him.

I not only inherited my dad’s long, skinny legs and dark eyes, but also his temper. 

My Dad could be nasty. My memories soak in pools of chiding, my mother wagging her finger at her husband after yet another profanity blasted from his lips. His pet names for his wife included colorful epithets that would curdle any feminist’s blood–really any civil human being’s blood.   

My father’s vulgarity fully bloomed in a car. I drive like him: impatiently, erratically, and aggressively. All the curses I ever heard growing up fly freely from my mouth in explosions of hateful disdain on the road. I transform from human to monster. 

I know habit has a large part to do with it, but I am nevertheless surprised at the ferocity of my anger the moment I encounter a perceived slight on the road: it rises in a flash hotter and more suddenly than those that plagued me for years before menopause. It feels like a siege, as if I have no control over an acid-spewing alien cocooning inside me that bursts from my guts and spews terror. 

And when I have just spit aloud from clenched teeth the words: “You f#@*ing asshole!” with venom, I immediately catch myself, just as automatically as the words that flew out of my mouth, “What is wrong with you?!!” 

Therein lies part of the problem: not the knee-jerk flying foul language and anger triggered by insignificant, impersonal lane encroachments but the counter reaction of self-berating. It does nothing to change the reactive fury. 

Not that I condone the behavior, the lack of control in the face of something so irrational and trivial. Like any bad habit–smoking, nail biting, leg shaking (all of which I have had to beat)–the behavior masks some other neglected need, some other unattended emotion, unhealed wound, stewing conflict or ongoing unresolved problem.  

Most often, however, we seethe in separation, having polarized ourselves in opposition to those who would thwart our efforts, not only on our immediate but our larger destination–at least that is our perception.

When we lash out at the unknown ‘other’ out there in the world, someone we have reduced to a concept, a negative speed bump in our lives, whether that be the generic bad driver (or merely inattentive driver), not to mention the total road blocks–“the racist cop”, “the black thug”– or the more specifically named and reviled “woman” or “Asian” or whichever derogatorily denoted driver, we do so because we are isolated–and not just in the safety of our cars. We are closed up inside of ourselves, removed from our innate artist’s eye able to see the details of others. I know this because no one except the seriously ill or wounded cannot memorize the lines in his mother’s face as she sits paralyzed placid in her wheel chair or the dimples in her babies’ knees.  

The mind can see if allowed to.
 
The distance between us is self-imposed, learned, unconscious and/or conscious. It derives from the dis-remembrance of our primal past as cave-dwelling groups of protective survival and the ever-unfolding illusion of separateness, the change in us since those days.

Change comes from active awareness of our material being. If the scientists’ and spiritualists’ postulations resonate truth, we are all part and particle of the same star bursts, the same matter that existed eons before us, made us. Our DNA that shapes us is shaped similarly to that of the earth’s flora and fauna. Whether our individual components–genetic or nurtured–make us tall, short, dark or light skinned, good drivers or bad drivers, even-tempered or hot-tempered, we are all respiring sentient beings that matter, are matter, both divine and profane.
 
When we forget that, we other-ize, sense the loneliness of that disconnection, and get angry. And that’s okay. Eventually, we shift sight, change gears to lower breathing rpm’s, and recognize ourselves as the free-way, the one leading us all to the same exit and on ramps.

 
Photo credit:  wakeup-world.com

A Parable of the Universe (Tell me if I am wrong)

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credit: chestofbooks.com

When all the stories of girlfriends and guyfriends collide and correspond, life unfolds in parables and tales of the universe. There are certain constants that run true in human behavior throughout time regardless of fashion, trends and technology. Listening to one friend over coffee yesterday and another few in email and text conversations, I awoke to a story of everyone, everywhere at some time, whether the relationship bespeaks love, career, worship, family or community. As parable, story figures take on symbolic feature to encompass the whole of humanity’s experience in some slice of its manifestation.

Today’s offering is called: A parable of the universe (Tell me if I am wrong).

I met a man when I was two thirds of who I had become that far. Too many rough years rubbed away the grit of my guts and solidity I had sewn together lo those many years prior, going to school, building a career and family–taking care of the world I had made and made securely well.

So when this man met me (I had gone looking for someone to top me off), he ministered to the two thirds left of me by being smart and witty, entertainingly soft and kind. The game of push the right buttons, turn the right knobs to nail the target and earn points had begun. He paid attention to me with admiring eyes that bathed me in light and filled missing space in the darkness of me. And he grew in me. He filled time and moment with his persistence and my quest for completion.

But then life struck again, and I lost another third. I was down depleted low. This gave urgency to him–to pour more into me, even more, to fill up that space as I, nearly eviscerated, crumpled to the ground at his feet. He saw opportunity and I felt lost. And he called it love and desire and support. He called it us and we and forever. And I fell back long, long with eyes closed until my body hit the sheets, which flew up from the force of the fall to cover me whole.

And when I awoke, I found replenishment–just enough. I could stand. I opened my eyes. The world was dull but constant. And one foot followed the other as it is wont to do. No meteor split the earth. No fire engulfed the city. Exhale followed inhale.

So when the flow of movement filled me up a little more, I found the man’s residence in me too much, too tedious and frantic. I would vomit. “Please pull back and rest inside yourself some,” I pleaded. But he could not hear. He had already made plans, made a home inside, expanded there to fuel his reason and his way.

Then the truth of the matter was plain. He was not a man at all. I had been fooled just as I had been all my life about what was life–doing hoops and carrots. I was wrong about that too. Separateness is an illusion. We don’t fill each other; we are one another. Only, some truly are tapeworms until they understand.