Aggression. She follows you everywhere. She’s in the flurry of doing laundry as you transfer that wet ball from one door to the other with a little more force than was needed. She saunters in to your yoga practice while you sneak a peek at the bitch whose bird of paradise doesn’t wobble. She’s speeding from red light to red light feeling the agitation of the five minutes that will pass without you where you’re meant to be. She’s in the conversations you have in your head with your in-law, your neighbour, your ex, that client who can’t see the vision. She lives between your shoulder blades when you look into the near future at all those things you just don’t have the energy to get done.
Aggression begs you to push through. And she’s kinda mean about it. I should eat better, exercise more, be more patient with my kids, more open and loving to my spouse, my house should be cleaner, my files more organized, my thighs smaller, my income higher.
PUSHING. STRIVING. CONTORTING. CONTRACTING.
I don’t know many people who get all in a fuss about how tall they are or the size of their feet. Because there’s really nothing we can do about that. But goodness, as soon as we have one iota of control, of influence, in rolls the aggression on a rampage for change. The Inner Critic sure is aggressive. But so is the tension we hold in our bodies when we imagine that things should be other than they are.
I’ve been feeling aggression present lately in my jaw. I can feel myself holding my jaw in a way that’s just not necessary and if I follow the line of thought that’s occurred just before, I will find a whole stream of things I need to get done that I’m resisting the heck out of.
If you’ve ever been a student, you’re probably quite familiar with spending more of your energy resisting doing something than it would actually take to buckle down and do it. When aggression towards your self is present, resistance will likely show up to the pain party. Feeling aggression and resistance in their dance is like watching a really sloppy, fierce and cruel tango—which is just lame since the tango is supposed to be so sexy. As resistance to something or someone builds, so does the aggression that demands we overcome. But whenever aggression is generated, resistance builds.
Ewww, I feel tense just writing this. Hold on.
Ok…just had to make some tea, stretch my spine and relax my belly a little…all good…
If we’re in the game of living an open, connected and awake life, noticing the ways in which our own aggression and resistance towards ourselves, others and reality as it unfolds will be like a lazar to the areas we could transform by simply softening. I can certainly feel in myself a habit that says I need to push through. I see it in others A LOT. We try to get leverage on ourselves using aggression in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. But when we get all agro with ourselves, the feeling on the other end is not one of satisfaction, but one of exhaustion, depletion or defeat. It erodes self-esteem and leads to more aggression.
Soften your jaw. Relax your anus. Breathe so deeply into your belly you can feel it in your thighs. Lean back. Smile. Not to change the circumstance or the outcome, but because we’re usually using way more force than is needed. Feeling resistance to something? See if you can relax into that. Feeling stressed about something? See if you can relax into that. You don’t have control anyway and we’re all going to die, so we might as well lighten up, soften up and relax into the mystery of how this will all go in the next iteration of the present moment.