“Be total,” he urged, as I unleashed a primal scream into a paisley print pillow. The fabric wore its age. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people’s assholes had kissed it before me. The thought quickly fades behind the violent energy of a cathartic roar.
Purification, integration, softening the grips of cellular repression – whatever you want to call it – I was uncorking the caged animal within.
The first time I consciously yelled into a cushion, intense flashbacks washed over me from childhood; episodes where I had stormed into my bedroom in a fury, cursing someone’s name, purging my lungs into the mattress and pounding my fists. Five minutes later I would be rolling in the backyard, grinning from ear to ear.
In those days I was total. We all were. Emotion would naturally arise, followed by the according release. Children generally don’t hold on to the motions of frustration. It’s a rising wave of energy, like any other. We become it, feel it, and allow it to be expelled like used oxygen.
But somewhere along the way, we learn that it isn’t safe to release that energy into the world, believing we will be rejected, hated, feared, attacked, or arrested; people may retract their love and attention from us. Society at large and the family system will reprimand and, perhaps, even beat our anger back into us. And so, we bottle and conceal it, deep down, like a locked trunk in the basement covered with a sheet and hidden beneath the stairs.
It is through this conditioning that we develop a retentive reflex, splitting off a piece of ourselves and projecting it out into the world; causing us to recoil from those who display that which we’ve disowned – rage, perversion, immaturity. It takes incredible energy to resist and keep fragmented inherent parts of our nature. In particular, and most commonly, anger.
I had detached myself so radically from the feeling of it that I could barely register it anymore. When my anger would get provoked it would often be transmuted into sadness by the time it entered my conscious awareness. The pit of my stomach would grow cold, with an accompanying feeling of being put down, or being wrong, in some way. When I tugged at the loose ends of that knot, I discovered a white hot “FUCK YOU,” burning to lash out and crush something.
This pattern of withhold was especially present with women, which (big surprise) might have to do with mommy issues. It’s rarely safe to direct your anger at your mother, especially mine. She kept kitchen utensils in holsters. And since I was brought up going to church on Sundays, if I didn’t fear her, it would be Jesus bleeding on the cross, with all-seeing eyes, that would smite me for my sins. So, I kept it quiet and, instead, used that energy to carve hieroglyphs into all my bedroom furniture with a steak knife.
This dynamic, combined with the residual cultural influence of feminism, created a strong sense of taboo around exerting my power towards a woman. Whenever I felt emasculated in a relationship, that icy wave passed over my stomach and my eyes glazed over. The last thing I was going to do was fight back, because that involved inviting a dark, unstable energy to come out and play. I was afraid of becoming the guy that started shouting and walked out of the room, or pushed her around.
The long-term issue with this reflex is that when rage is forbidden to leak through it slides into sadness and depression. And instead of responding to life with authentic strength, we become quiet and distant, detached from our lovers, and ourselves.
Really, our anger is passion; it is power. When acknowledged, owned and directed, it becomes the force that moves mountains, sets boundaries, demands respect, and drives us forward with razor sharp focus. It is the missing half of a man’s self-esteem. It comprises our “spine,” which creates natural magnetic attraction. A woman can sense the presence of an edge, inherent strength, which provides a sense of safety and uncertainty all at once. Although, just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it will stop them from testing it. That’s just plain fun.
As we explore these blocks, we relinquish a sort of energetic constipation, and begin to more fully unfold and express from our true nature, wherein lies the possibility of actualizing our highest potentials. This process involves reclaiming and replacing all the shards and fragments scattered in the shadows; the unseen depths of our psyche. These are the parts of us we’d rather not admit to. But they are parts of us all the same.
We are animals by nature, yet we see ourselves somehow distinct from the animal kingdom; separated by a thin veil of khaki pants and linen napkins. We’re driven by the same instincts, prone to the same fits of rage and rapturous love, but we’ve built around ourselves this contrived societal game of appearances with etiquette and standards that accept only our syrupy sides. All the rest are certifiable psychological disorders and diseases.
To be fully at peace with ourselves we must accept the full spectrum of our “human-ness;” to see and accept the capacities we have for rage, greed and lust. Some may reject this in the name of a kind of spiritual purity, choosing strict retreat into the castles of meditation and communication with angel guides, and believing they are somehow cleansed of, or immune to, this fundamental condition. Of course, there are the qualities of spiritual intelligence, serenity and compassion to develop, but those efforts should not ignore what is: that by the very nature of being alive as a human being, we at once contain darker, more brutal qualities as well.
When they are owned, when we see them in ourselves, we are freed a great deal from their influence, and the guilt of their presence, leading to a greater sense of liberation and a life lived in such a fashion.
So, if he seeks Self-actualization, this is part of the necessary journey of the modern man: to rediscover and unite himself with the force of wildness within. That’s not to say he should act out as a criminal, but harness that immense energy we have, in all forms, which makes us capable of such radical, total acts. Until we do, we’re like a Ferrari being driven in first gear.
When that power is discovered, it becomes the catalyst for change. Anger at one’s circumstances and stale patterns is the most effective energy with which to transform them. And with it, as a bonus, we will also satisfy the animal in a woman by knowing the potential to take her, unapologetically, spreading her open and penetrating the goddess within with ravenous worship.
Ultimate fulfillment and success, or forward movement, lies in tapping such resources. In them we may discover, feel, and know our fullest Self, commit to it. From this place our highest destiny will naturally unfold.
Seek yourself not only in the light, but as well in the shadow.