In 2012, a Los Angeles restaurant owner discovered a neon light on his property that had been walled over but never disconnected. After 77 years of uninterrupted use, it had amassed $17,000 in electric bills.
When I read this, it made me think:
- What is walled up inside of me that continues to amass spiritual bills?
- How do I disconnect the power?
No matter how much I meditate or spend quiet time replenishing my spirit, I have not been completely successful in turning off the power of a hidden element with its “red” emission. Programmed into my psyche, behind a solid wall, is the continually running low-voltage current that quickly changes to high-voltage when I encounter certain triggers.
Unless you happen to be the one who sets me off, you’d likely never know this light exists. The other day I mentioned that we all have a dark side. My grandson said, “Not you Lala, you are always thinking about other people and trying to be fair.” While I admit that this is true, and am grateful that he has that perception of me, I sometimes respond in unkind ways when I feel as though I’m being provoked.
Neon has no stable compounds, much like anger, often used as a protective mechanism to cover up fear, hurt or sadness. I know that my sometimes automatic reactions are learned. My father often had intense, emotional responses triggered by a variety of things. If you happened to be the target, it left its mark.
I’ve done enough research to know that anger can be a useful emotion. It’s a signal that something’s amiss. So I will continue to take apart my wall, brick by brick, until I completely reveal the hidden circuits and hopefully rewire them.
A jackhammer does not work because it may demolish important circuitry. A chisel allows for gradual revelation and the opportunity to really see what is beneath the surface.
Some chisel-like tools I’ve used to crack open my wall are:
Journaling – by writing about the basis of my anger, I can scrape away the insulation and examine the exposed wire.
Breathing – slow in and out breaths give me time to think about what is really happening. I can experience my anger and own it. I can think about how I want to respond. Or if I just want to let this one go.
Listening – What is going on with the other person? Is he/she really wanting to attack me? Or is this fear or hurt disguised as an assault?
Neon is an inert element. That’s what I want for my anger. I want it to live in stillness. I want it to be informative, not destructive. I want it to be a catalyst for change and self-discovery. I want to honor and respect it. It is, after all, an important element of perfectly, imperfect me.