The first time I watched two talented performers dance the tango, I was mesmerized by the precision of their movements and the rapidity with which they changed direction. Anger is like that for me. Not there at all and then, in an instant, staring me in the face. My experiences with personal anger are much rarer than they once were, partly as a result of years of meditation training and partly from the related exploration of emotional baggage I carried with me for a long time.
Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to observe the anger of several people close to me, each time in a different circumstance, and then I had a personal experience that brought me face-to-face with my old tango partner. The details of that situation do not matter for the purposes of this post, but what fascinated me in that moment was both the intensity of the anger and the confusion about where all that emotion had been hiding deep inside. My anger was triggered by lies from someone I trusted, lies that deeply affected me (and others) because the purpose of the lies was to withhold information that we had a right to have.
I learned much from that recent experience, and while I would not have voluntarily signed up for those lessons, they have helped me better understand the link between anger and fear. And more than anything they reminded me that in every moment, I CHOOSE my reaction to situations, and my choices ultimately lead me to anger or to forgiveness, to sadness or gratitude, to fear or love.
Now, more than ever before, I feel compelled to choose love, to choose compassion, to choose forgiveness, and to be grateful for the lessons that help me see how these choices shape my life.