What is rage?
Rage is when I’ve been ignored and I’m standing waiting to be heard. Rage is when I’ve been forgotten, and I’m still waiting to be attended to. Rage is when I’ve had enough.
There’s the story of Rosa Parks who defied the segregation laws of Alabama by refusing to give her seat to a white man. She said that she was not tired, not anymore tired than usual after a day’s work. She said that she was tired of giving in.
This is a 4:39 minute video of the story of Rosa Parks as told by a 5 year old girl named Rio: http://childwild.com/2010/03/11/the-rosa-parks-story-as-told-by-my-kid/
Rage is when I’ve ignored my soul. My power comes from my connection to my soul by listening to it and acting on the voice from within. As artists struggling to do art and still be able to be self-sufficient financially this is a moment-to-moment challenge.
Maybe some of you are familiar with that feeling of wishing that we were writing, producing and growing creatively in theater all the time instead of working at a job to do the art. The joy in not feeling the pinch to spend on paper and pen, or laptop and electricity that powers that tool; to enjoy the hours alone at a coffee shop watching, absorbing, translating, and writing, and doing it all over again.
After a long day of working at the job I feel robbed of my soul, because I haven’t nurtured it with what it craves. The only way I compensate it is with making connections with people I work with beyond the actual work at hand; or I attach a meaning to that paycheck. The most effective way of combating this feeling is doing my work soulfully – really putting care into the product I produce or the service I provide.
The personal microcosm of my rage seeps in ways that violate myself like I’ll eat too much sugar, indulge in alcohol, not exercise, tell myself I’m not worthy of this art – some really dreadful put downs which only makes the situation worse. I can relate to fluidly to Thomas Moore’s explanation of rage when the soul’s voice is repressed.
“If we don not claim the soul’s power on our own behalf, we become its victims. We suffer our emotions rather than feel them working for us. We hold our thoughts and passions inward, disconnecting them from life, and then they stir up trouble witin, making us feel profoundly unsettled or, it seems, turning into illness.” – Thomas Moore from “Care of the Soul” HarperCollins Publication
So everyday I’ve been practicing just trying to be silent before I go to work and write down stream of consciousness pages. I do my best to put down tracks or building steam of subtexts that I can write something to show myself (and maybe to someone) for validation that I have been working on my art.
The larger microcosm of rage is the violence of political wars. I need not say more than this because you’ve seen it and heard of it. There are people actively listening and doing to change the balance to be more respectful of everyone. It is easier to give in to feeling hopeless and ineffective and distract ourselves with entertainment and/or hiding behind a job. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to communicate to you with this writing. And it’s after hours from my daily grind at the office.
A change in one heart can create a ripple effect that creates massive changes in society and history. When Rosa Parks died the former president Bill Clinton spoke at her funeral:
, I was reminded of what Abraham Lincoln said when he was introduced to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. He said, “So this is the little lady who started the great war.” This time, Rosa’s war was fought by Martin Luther King’s rules—civil disobedience, peaceful resistance—but a war, nonetheless, for one America in which the law of the land means the same thing for everybody… That great civil rights song that Nina Simone did so well: “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free, I wish I could break all the chains holding me, I wish I could fly like a bird in the sky.” The end says, “I wish that you knew how it feels to be me. Then you’d see and agree that everyone should be free.” Now that our friend, Rosa Parks, has gone on to her just reward, now that she has gone home and left us behind, let us never forget that in that simple act and a lifetime of grace and dignity, she showed us every single day what it means to be free. She made us see and agree that everyone should be free. God bless you, Rosa. God bless you.” – President Bill Clinton on Nov. 2nd, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan
The Civil Rights movement in the US has shed a lot of blood and tears, though the original act was a simple defiance to stop giving in. A woman remained seated in her chair. When I look at other civil rights movements happening now it has mostly been a non-violent action of just words and not giving in. It would be inaccurate to say that there has not been any non-violent actions against the established norm and these have been called acts of terrorism.
It’s vital to own every part of ourselves, and the shadows that we repress finds escape in unpredictable ways. Accepting every part of ourselves also allows for a wider acceptance of others because we can see ourselves in the other. It just takes imagination and self-love. The rage is a signal of what we’re not paying attention to.