“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” ~Buddha
I received an email over the weekend from someone I coached years and years ago. Or I should say, tried to coach.
The woman had cancer and a mutual friend of a friend of a friend suggested that she contact me to see if I could coach her back to health. Pretty much everyone who knows me, even a little, knows that I beat cancer and at one point had my own health clinic in Australia. So I often get these types of referrals.
The woman did not live far from me, and we made a date to meet in the middle at a charming coffee shop that overlooked a large pond. It was a beautiful spring day and I enjoyed the short drive.
I arrived first, got us a table, and sat for a few minutes enjoying the ducks swimming around on the pond below. Suddenly I saw a woman enter and she had such a darkness about her. I knew instantly that this was the woman I was to meet. I stood.
We greeted one another and she immediately began a tirade about the traffic and her horrible morning and numerous other things I don’t now remember. Now, as someone who had cancer and was told I only had six months to live, I completely understand that facing your own mortality can sometimes cause a person to… not be in the best mood. But this was different. My work with cancer patients had taught me an incredible amount about human nature and emotions. I had seen my fair share of anger and irritation that was a result of battling cancer and not feeling physically well. And I had seen something else entirely in certain people. An anger that was deeper and darker. Something that had been there a very, very long time.
I shared with her many of the strategies that I myself used and my clients at the clinic used to reduce inflammation, remove harmful toxins, support the immune system and let go of the emotional baggage that was often the BIGGEST culprit of sickness and disease.
She completely balked at this last one.
We met once a week for about 6 weeks and she did well following the protocol. Her color was better and she had a bit more energy. But at her last doctor’s appointment, her numbers were no different. Things still weren’t looking good.
One weekend, with nothing else to lose, I was very blunt with her and said, “I don’t know what’s happened to you in your life, but if you don’t let go of your anger, it’s going to kill you.”
Boy you should have seen the look on her face. She was absolutely stunned. And then she became royally pissed and hostile toward me. Who was I to judge her and who did I think I was and that kind of thing.
I told her how I was diagnosed with cancer just a few months after my father had been killed by a drunk driver. I told her of the immense anger I had, the hatred I had, for that driver who took my father away.
I told her about numerous clients who had been holding onto anger and rage for years, allowing it to “eat them alive.” Which, by the way, is what cancer does. And I told her that on more occasions than I can even count, those cancer patients who were able to let go of their anger, truly let it go, were the ones to experience miraculous healings. While those who held onto their anger like a precious gem did not.
There was a moment of silence, and I could tell that I had gotten through, if only a little bit. But hey, the dark only needs one tiny prick of light to no longer be complete darkness.
She thanked me for the time I had given her over the weeks but felt I wasn’t the right person to be working with. And then, she walked out of the café.
This was about five years ago. I had thought of her on and off over the years, even inquiring a few times about her through our mutual acquaintances. I must admit, I was shocked to learn that she was still alive. That may sound harsh, but I have worked with so many people over the years and I have seen what I have seen.
Our emotions play a major role in our physical health. Sadness, shame and guilt all manifest in the physical. But without question, the emotion that causes the most sickness and death is anger.
After five years this woman decided to contact me and tell me that I had, in fact, help to save her life that day. My words rang true. She knew she had anger issues and decided after our final meeting that if facing these big emotions was what could possibly save her life, then she would do it.
She had attached a recent photo with her email and she is now glowing. Doesn’t even look like the same woman. This woman looks years younger than the last time I saw her. There is no darkness to her, only light and happiness.
Anger kills. Let yours go. It needn’t be difficult. Just recognize that the diamond you are clutching is really a hot coal and put it down. When you feel your anger and resentment and rage, STOP and feel it for what it is. Poison. In that moment, CHANGE your thought, and your feeling will change automatically. Think of something that brings you joy, peace and comfort. Do this over and over. Eventually your anger will have no power over you and it will drop away like dead leaves.
“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”