What to do with the rage?

What do you do when you feel rage? I'm not talking about annoyance or frustration or anger, but full-blown primal rage.

I felt that rage this week. It was powerful and intense, and wasn't interested in being placated with re-assuring words.

At first my rage was directed toward a specific person. (It doesn't matter who.) I hate him, I hate him, I HATE HIM! I found myself screaming one day, driving alone in my car.

But what's interesting is that when I started taking those thoughts to the next level, wishing the person dead, or even just out of my life, I couldn't do it. I realized it wasn't actually what I wanted. All the things that enrage me -- cruelty, dishonesty, hypocrisy, short-sightedness, ignorance, cowardice, selfishness -- they don't die, even when people die.

What I wanted was not to feel powerless.

And what I was raging against was not a person or even a group of people, but the human condition itself.

Poor humans. Here we are, trapped in vulnerable bodies, with unreliable brains, up against situations that are soooo much bigger than us and often make no sense. How could we not feel powerless? How could we not feel rage? 

I sat with that rage for quite a while, and watched it turn into grief.

Being human is hard enough. Why do we insist on making it harder by going to war with each other? By making up stories about "good" guys and "bad" guys? By getting all self-righteous and judgmental and pretending we know things about people that we simply don't know? By getting so caught up in proving we're right about other people's flaws that we lose sight of what we actually want?

It's so easy to be fooled into thinking that cruelty, dishonesty, and the like are problems out there that we can just find and eliminate, but they're not. Those things are built into all of us. They are built into me. And I've got to find a way to live with that.

Sometimes, that way involves screaming. And crying. And then taking a deep breath and moving on.

Whatever may be happening in your own life, I hope you will hold some compassion for yourself. Being human is not easy, and I think we could all use a little more tenderness right about now.