Anger | Bridge Over Troubled Water | Patience, Love, God

From the archives
An interesting event occurred yesterday (June 8, 2006) that revealed anger to be an opportunity.
I was walking back home after an appointment downtown in the morning and had an encounter with a rude motorist. I gestured a “what gives” posture as I tried to cross at the intersection, on the pedestrian Go signal, only to recieve a tirade of emotions. Equal to the opportunity, I responded with equal stupidity and responded in kind. This is where it begins to get very interesting.

We’re all familiar with road-rage and I can recognize that something bigger is happening than the event at hand that triggered the road-rage. Knowing this, after he drove off I continued on my way, along the same route he had disappeared. A couple of blocks away, seeing his vehicle parked I placed my business card in his window. Less than 30 minutes later I received a phone call full of venom and arrogance at my action.

With some perseverance, I stayed present and invoked the Divine (mystical-speak for all the love and patience I could muster) into the conversation, knowing that my audience came from a rich background of religious culture. As soon as I brought up the term Allah, the situation calmed remarkably although his passionate response still attempted to re-escalate the situation. At one point, holding the phone away from my ear, I spoke into the phone and said, “If you keep interrupting me, I’m not going to be able to have this conversation.” This welcomed an apology and he made room to allow me to speak as well.

The truth is, he made assumptions based upon his current beliefs, his current and past experiences, prejudices, and anger relating to all of these influences. And I asked, “Did it ever occur to you that I was placed in that situation with you this morning to teach you something that you needed to learn?” I know that I did feel that way for myself and I had seized the opportunity to learn and to build a bridge rather than allow the initial encounter to burn that bridge. We were both learning in that situation.

Now we’re talking about having a coffee, about getting to know one another versus making assumptions and accusations, and I invited him to discover the hurt that causes his anger and how better to counter these influences that continue to cause him pain. This came about after asking him if he knew what was underneath, what was causing his anger. He acknowledged that a lot of painful things have occured in his life, causing him to become more and more reactive as a self-defense strategy. Fight or Flight.

The coming days we will see how this plays out. In the meantime, I learned a great deal about responding to someone else’s venom and the opportunity to recognize that so much more is happening. This encounter is an opportunity to extend a hand and heart to have us learn and grow. It allowed the seed of peace.

As for how I turned this around: After he drove off, I invited the divine (in this case I asked the angel presiding over the situation) to take charge and allowed the higher power to speak into my heart. This simple act, be it real or a mind trick, simply parks the ego and allows communication and insight from the higher self or source. This provided courage and humility to see an opportunity and lo and behold, I see his car, placed my card,he called and I reached out to listen and seek peace.

It was a powerful experience and learning opportunity.


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