The Consistent Heart

I am angry at someone who wronged me. What the reason is, who the person is, doesn’t matter. I am burning in a rage that wants vengeance, retribution. I want to rise from my anger like the Khaleesi from the fire in the final scene of the Game of Thrones. I want vindication. I want to command a dragon.

The seedpod grows what you imagine. It can grow hatred, it can grown creativity and meaning-making. That's the power of growth.

For a moment, I hunt for an excuse to act in anger. I call it justice. I call it fairness. But the realm of the legal and the realm of ethics do not always intersect.

If I act on my anger, I will act from a place of lack. The place of lack is a space without bottom; it cannot be filled. Not even with all my anger. I keep wanting to justify my anger. But in the very back of my mind, in a tiny, cramped space that avoided the flash-fire of anger, is a tiny window that lets in light. If I crawl to that space in my mind, I can see a dim, even light.  And in the light, I recognize that any action that diminishes the person I am angry at, diminishes me.

If I choose to act from a sense of wholeness, from a place of the person I would like to be, then I have to let go the thought of retribution. I will not change the other person through anger, or vengeance, or punishment. I can choose only how I will conduct myself.

What about justice? Justice will appear if I act justly. What if it doesn’t? What if this person gets away with it? Then I have acted justly. Then I have acted not like I wanted to act when I was angry, but the way I chose to act when I was whole.

Yes, some people will laugh at me behind my back. Yes, I was tricked. But I chose to maintain my own integrity, my own reputation. I have walked the way I claim to think and believe. Right now it is not a willing walk, it is a limp and a bent-over burden, but it is the way I choose. I hold in my hand a seedpod. I have the power to grow from it what I choose, what I think.

--Quinn McDonald is struggling with meaning-making. She is struggling to walk the talk. She would rather rise as the Khaleesi who commands the dragons. But she lives in Phoenix, and she teaches what she knows.

Note: I’ve asked WordPress for help with the comment-leaving issue. If you can’t leave a comment, you can try to leave an anonymous comment, or even sign in through Facebook or Twitter.  Or send me an email at Quinn Creative [at] Yahoo [dot] com. Close up spaces and use symbols. Thanks.

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25 responses to “The Consistent Heart

  1. I understand the “torn” feeling. With time I´m beginning to think like Stephanie, staying put is overrated. I´ve seen many times that the ones that yell and kick doors are the ones that get listened to and get what they want/need. That being said, the wee in the pool image is quite powerful.
    Hope you can find a path that is comfortable for you in this matter.

    • I think I have a plan worked out. It is calm, fair and ethical. It opens the door to discussion but makes it very, very clear where the boundaries are. I have no control over the outcome, but my reputation is at stake, so I must focus on that.

  2. “Each day people invade and project thoughts and attitudes into our lives. The test for each of us is how to filter that which is useful and that which is not. The choice is ours to let in what enhances or what detracts from our personal journey. “ ~ Joan Anderson

    Obviously, I don’t know the details of the offense but I do know that we will always encounter people (many times our friends) that offend, take advantage or hurt us. Sometimes we need to find a way to forgive and let it go. Other times we need to re-evaluate the relationship and let the relationship go, for our own health and happiness. Either way, it’s not an easy road especially when we are caught up in anger, resentment, embarrassment, hurt, frustration or bitterness. There are also justified moments that we need to confront the situation and deal with it head on and discuss the offense with the person who offended us. Otherwise, it’s always hanging over our heads and forever alters the relationship.

    I hope you are able to find the path that gives you internal peace and comfort.

    • Yep, anger, resentment, hurt, frustration and bitterness. Check, check, and three more checks. There is clearly no friendship left, although I was hoping for collegiality. I may have to say something because otherwise, it will look like it’s OK with me. And it’s not.

      • Yea, I understand about saying something. I know it’s not the same but I had to exit a relationship with my best friend of 30 years. There were always issues with the friendship, issues that I chose to ignore for way too long, but finally there was a straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve gotten over my anger and resentment but I still find it unbelievable that she wasn’t able to be there for me and be loving and understanding during the worst time of my life. I finally had my ah-ha moment and realized what I had to do FOR ME.

        Do what’s best for you and your heart. Otherwise you will always carry it with you. A letter might be a good way to express how you’re feeling. Just don’t have an expectation for any particular response.

        Call me if you want to talk or we can do lunch.

  3. I hear you Quinn. I agree that acting out in anger will poison you too. It will poison your life and the Universe.

    That said, there are times when taking the high road is totally underrated. HIGHLY underrated. Sometimes, the notion of “taking the high road” is just plain total bullsh*t. I did it for years with certain persons in my life and in the end I got screwed to the wall. They trashed my life. Quite literally. In the most stunning way imaginable. Lawyers were needed. Many thousands of dollars later and the loss of my home I was vindicated, but I didn’t get my money or my home back, just my freedom and my vindication…and the people who screwed me walked away scott free.
    It all very well might not have happened, probably would not have happened, had I much earlier “commanded a dragon”.
    In life there is a difference between “punishment” and “survival”. Survival is an “if-then” proposition at times. If you do ‘this’ then I will do ‘that’…do you want to do ‘this’ again? My consistency in taking the high road was construed as “never fighting back” and made me a target for further abuse, further betrayal, greater and more serious betrayals as time passed.

    Commanding dragons does not have to be about anger. It can be about resistance to being taken advantage of and being abused. It’s all about intent and your clarity of purpose within your mind and heart.

  4. So profoundly written and something I needed to read. I’m so mad that my journals are all packed up because I had to write out part of this. One line needs to be tattooed on my forearm to read ALL THE TIME. “Any action that diminishes the person I am angry at, diminishes me.” PROFOUND!!! Thank you, Quinn, for this thought provoking post. I’m sorry you are walking through the trenches of this but grateful you are sharing your struggle and process with us so we too, can learn to do this better.

    • If we are all connected (and I believe we are)–let’s say all swimming in a pool of humanity or divine grace, or however else you care to experience it, then if I pee in the pool, the water is fouled for everyone, including me. I see this, I understand it, but right now, Angie, I am still struggling. There is no feeling great for doing the harder thing. Not yet.

  5. Now I see why there are all these comments about not being able to leave comments, I don;t want to comment under my Twitter account, but WordPress sends me a list of instructions if I want to post using my wordpress.org account. And I sure don’t want to follow a series of instructions, just so I can leave a comment. Grrrrr.

    And what happens if you don;t have one of these identifiable accounts — twitter, wp, facebook? Then you can;t leave a comment at all. This is way toooo hard.. But then it looks like you’ve been working on this and so you already know how aggravating it is…

    Interesting that after reading a blog post on anger, wordpress got me all fired up…

    • Yeah, it’s a pain. What really roasts my groats is that I unchecked (and saved) all the boxes. If WordPress acted as I told it to, anyone could leave a message–with no email, no accounts, no nothing. I should have a thousand spams by now. But I do not. Just WordPress hassling people over comments. And no, that’s not why I’m angry, although it does make me grumpy.

  6. Anger must be one of the most powerful of our emotions. So easily ignited, and once burning, so hard to extinguish, it smolders — which is sometimes more difficult to manage than the initial bright flare of anger. Thinking of you with strength, seeing you in my mind, choosing and then walking the path of integrity.

  7. Thank you for this thoughtful & thought-provoking post this Sunday morning.

  8. “If I act on my anger, I will act from a place of lack.” Brilliant, stunning. Your vision, and this very moment when you choose to do the more difficult thing, is impeccable. I celebrate your choice, Quinn, and bow deeply to the love in your heart that shines forth.

    • One of the reasons I wrote it for all to see is to force myself to choose the right way, which feels bitter right now. I’m not feeling love, I’m feeling stupid. I think that doesn’t matter right now.

  9. Anger. Such a powerful emotion, and one we so often, especially women, stuff down and squash. “good” girls don’t get angry. Early and deep lessons.

    But clean anger, which I hear and see in your post, is not only healthy, but powerful. Feeling it can be the catalyst. It takes great courage though, and I very much admire you for it.

    • I’m not through it yet, Krystyna. But it’s easier than yesterday. And if I act the way I feel, I’ll feel sick for choosing that route. Even if the other person is wrong.

  10. Seems like you’re pretty good at walking the talk to me Quinn.

    PS see what you mean about the commenting. I have some private blogs on wordpress it wants me to connect to. Wouldn’t it be nice to let us choose?!

    • What’s baffling, Joanna, is that I’ve made the changes to allow comments of every type–it shouldn’t be happening. And it’s a dumb rule. How’s that for clarity?

  11. Its not always easy to control one’s emotions when confronted with someone who consistently breaks moral, social and legal rules and not only seems to get away with it, but prospers. It takes an extremely generous soul not to feel any resentment at all, and being able to control our feelings of outrage and anger sufficiently that we can walk away without inflaming the situation by retaliating requires great strength of character, something we should all aspire to, and sometimes don’t achieve.
    I’m a great believer that sooner or later we are all required to account for our actions. Its not always possible for us to see justice being done, but I am sure that it does happen, and our ability to walk away will stand us in good stead when that day comes for us.

    • I still have some questions about letting the person “get away with it,” largely how we need to behave to support social justice rather than ignore a personal hurt, but at least its a question I can thing about. I’m still struggling with my decision. Emotions are a heavy wave and my will is a feather.

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