Monday, March 15, 2010

Tony’s Blog: Be a good role model-Get pissed off!

Many people today have an unhealthy relationship with anger. Now, I’m not talking about the ones who are quick to anger and go straight into destructive rage. I’m talking about the other side of the coin. Some forms of New Ageism try to teach us to “never let a negative thought enter your consciousness”. So, instead people repress their anger and let it roam around inside their body until it consumes their organs one by one, becomes expressed in passive aggressive outlets, or gathers its force until it becomes the Incredible Hulk of rage. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” should actually be changed to “you wouldn’t like me when I repress my anger so long that it turns into rage”. That’s when you get road rage or Columbine High.

Aristotle wrote, "The man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, and further, as he ought, when he ought, and as long as he ought, is praised."

The expression of anger can be very intelligent. Think of anger as your body’s alarm system telling you something is out of order and that justice is needed to restore some kind of balance. Justice occurs when people allow their anger to motivate them to action. Entire social movements have been thusly inspired. Some people never come alive until they get angry at their current situation. The trick is not to allow your anger to consume you, but to express it intelligently by right action.

One of the vehicles we use to help us express anger in a healthy way is creative writing. Recently, our good friends at Street Poets paid a visit to our HBO Mentoring Program and conducted another powerful workshop. Here is what Courtney, one of our soulful mentors came up with in the moment:

I feel Anger- I know the anger only hurts me
I feel Anger- I know that only love can save me
I feel Anger- Don’t you know where we come from?
Don’t you know who we are?
When they came we fought when we had to
…but we survived
When they gave us scraps we made food
When they refused to teach us letters- we learned to read anyway
When we had no instruments - we still made music
When they told us we couldn’t…we did!
So why, tell me why, do you choose to pick up that Goddamned Gun?
I feel Anger! Why do I have run to from you? You my brother, my sister!
I feel anger! We are descended from kings and queens, healers and most of all survivors.
How many bore that whip
So that Obama could sit in a white house built for a white man?
A house built by black hands
That is where we come from.
That is who we are.
I know this anger will go away
But it is here now.
I want it gone- But I feel anger.

Thanks Courtney, for being yourself with us…for letting your anger inform the urgency of our mission…for being one who chooses to do something about the conditions that you see that upset you…for being an awesome, caring and loving mentor. We see you making a difference because you bring your full self (and your ancestors) to your mentoring.

Sincerely with peace,

Tony LoRe
Youth Mentoring Connection/Urban Oasis

1 comment:

Judy Friend said...

I totally support this point of view. We need to get really angry about issues that deprive citizens of their natural rights! Now let's just hope they pass health care...and then onto immigration reform and on and on...fingers crossed!