Last night, I got mad. Really mad. So mad, I started crying. It wasn't my best moment.
Picture this: two days before the meltdown (as I am now calling it), I left a message with my doctor's staff, inquiring about the status of insurance approval for a procedure I've been preparing for over the past nine months. Yesterday, I received a call saying that I was still missing a document (which I had actually hand-delivered to the office three weeks ago), and since I hadn't completed all of these tasks within the period that my insurance company requires, I would have to repeat several of these invasive and expensive tests again before they could present my case. In reality, I had completed these tasks in time, but the office had not submitted the approval request as they had said.
My reaction to the news was, ah, passionate. "I do MY job, why can't they do THEIRS?!" and "Why did it take my reaching out to them for this matter to be addressed?!" and "What the hell am I supposed to learn from their having wasted my time and money?!" I sobbed to my wife. After a considerable amount of time spent patiently listening to my complaints, she encouraged me to practice what I preach. So, I held my sweet little satin spar selenite sphere (whom I now call "Luna," btw), and asked my ancestors to have a chat.
I was moved to work with the Native American Tarot deck I acquired early in my relationship with tarot, which is interesting, since this particular deck hasn't left its spot on my nightstand in months (because I've been super intimidated by it). Now was clearly the time to dust it off and breathe life into it again. So I did, and using one of my favorite spreads, the "Know, Grow, and Let Go," I worked through a good amount of my anger. I also pulled an H + H helper card for guidance on practical ways to process my emotions (and you know, 'cause I like them a lot).
Apparently, my ancestors totally empathize with me on my frustration and support my expression of it, but are now coaxing me to find ways to reframe my situation and move past the anger in healthy ways. Going with the flow, remembering everyone's humanity, and spicing up my life may help. (Ooh, Thai takeout.)
Yesterday, I posted an article to my Facebook page that introduces the concept of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This treatment strategy acknowledges that sometimes (or lots of times), positive thinking and being in a life-affirming headspace doesn't protect you from getting physically or karmically crapped on. Giving yourself permission to feel defeat, anger, hurt, despair, grief from trauma is an important part of healing. The next all-important step is figuring out effective ways to manage the stressors, rather than struggling against the injustice. Easier said than done, I know, but I will say it is easier find solutions after you've allowed yourself time to actually feel those intense emotions our culture demands we choke back.
Bottom line? Anger, bitterness, frustration, sadness, hurt, and all of those "negative" feelings that society is so uncomfortable with aren't negative at all, and are really just components of #emotionalexercise. There's tremendous value in allowing oneself to feel, so long as there's an endgame and realistic plan to escape the reverie at an appropriate time. I can't say that my grudge-holding temperament has completely forgiven those that did me dirty yesterday, but with my ancestral posse behind me and card decks in hand, I am actively working on it
About the Author
Sarah Ouano is a naturopathic doctor and writer. A fierce advocate for health equity and rights of the marginalized, she frequently writes about the intersection of naturopathic medicine and public health, throwing in personal anecdotes and tasty (and practical) recipes along the way.