Wednesday, May 1, 2013

THURSDAY THUMP: prayer tapping on anger

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs,which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. --Matthew 23

Jesus was ripping mad. His frustration with the Pharisees had reached a tipping point and he was tired of playing Mr. Nice Guy. Mr. All in Control. Mr. I’ll never take out a whip and upset a marketplace set up in the Temple. 
Jesus was angry. The chemicals were rushing through his brain, his heart rate increased, his fight or flight impulse was activated in the amygdala portion of his brain. He was ready to fight these self righteous Pharisees on behalf of God, on behalf of the people who were suffering under the hypocritical laws and practices of the established religion.
Been there, done that. Felt that surge. My face getting hot red with derision. Mouth dry...or salivating all over the place like a rabid dog. The veins in my neck start to surface. Fists clench. Sometimes I’ve gotten angry over something noble like an injustice that I’ve witnessed or experienced. Sometimes I’ve gone ballistic over being cut off in traffic or being served the wrong order at Taco Bell. I have been known to explode when I witness an injustice in court or on the sidelines of a pee wee soccer game. I get all riled up and then perseverate on the anger I’m feeling. I hold onto it and nurture it and share it with anyone who will listen to me rant. I’VE BEEN WRONGED! SOMEONE I CARE ABOUT WAS GIVEN A RAW DEAL! RAWWWWWWWR! (insert your image of me doing a Hulk impersonation here).
It’s not pretty.
Maybe you’ve been there, too.
The hard thing is when I can’t let go of the anger. When it get’s into my blood and keeps on boiling long after the triggering incident has passed. I’m grateful for tapping prayer, because if I can think to use it, I discover that God can ease my angst and replace it with peace.
If you are still stewing on something that has made you mad, please join me in a round of tapping prayer. If you are new to prayer tapping, you can check out my basic recipe here.
Because anger involves the amygdala, it is likely that whatever has us upset right now, has gotten us upset in the past. Perhaps the same situation. Perhaps a similar event. The amygdala is like an early warning system in our brain and it alerts us to feel certain things based on previous experiences and patterns of experiences.
Try and identify something that has your blood boiling right now. Before bringing that issue to God, try and remember an incident from your childhood that had you feeling a similar way. Once you have that incident in mind, give it a SUD (see basic recipe) on a scale from 0-10 and write that number down on a piece of paper. There is such a wide variety of things that can get our goat, so let’s call the incident that you have identified, THE PURPLE. Naming our anger after an abstract symbol (such as a color or shape) serves 2 purposes. 1. It gives us a little distance from something that may feel overwhelming or frightening to us. 2 It gives us a common language to use when offering up our prayer.
When you are ready to pray, please take responsibility for your participation in tapping prayer, and let’s pray!

Karate chop: Dear God, I am mad! Angry! Ripped!. Something Purple has happened and I’m beside myself with rage. It’s hard to think of anything else. I keep going back to why the Purple happened. Why it made me feel so ticked off. Why I can’t let it go. It’s kind of exhausting, and at least around this Purple, I am ready for you to bring me some peace. Even though I have this Purple anger, I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God. Even though this Purple makes me feel angry, I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God. Even though I have all this Purple pulsing through my veins (and my amygdala!) I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Top of head: I have this Purple anger.
Eyebrow: This Purple is so strong.
Outer eye: I feel overwhelmed by this Purple.
Under eye: This Purple feeling is out of control
Under nose: I don’t like feeling out of control
Under lip: This Purple is kind of scary.
Collarbone: I have all this powerful Purple
Underarms: This Purple is painful
Wrists: I don't deserve all this Purple.

Top of head: Even though I have a lot of Purple, I am deeply loved and God completely accepts me.
Eyebrow: I wonder when I learned to be afraid of the Purple?
Outer eye: Maybe the Purple wasn’t safe
Under eye: Perhaps I was told not to express my feelings about the Purple or I would face terrible consequences.
Under lip: I might have been punished for feeling Purple
Collarbone: Even though I was punished for feeling Purple, I am deeply loved and completely cared for by God.
Underarms: All this shame filled Purple...
Wrists: The Purple is everywhere. Maybe I deserved it.

Top of Head: Even though there is Purple everywhere I look, and even if I deserved it, I am completely cared for and accepted by God.
Eyebrow: Maybe Purple is nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe people just feel Purple when something like this happens. Perhaps the Purple is just another feeling that can come and go like waves on a shore
Outer eye: This Purple is crashing down on me
Under eye: I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God as I try and catch my breath
Under nose: This rage filled Purple
Under lip: This Purple that is just another feeling
Collarbone: My Purple is boiling over. I can’t contain it.
Underarms: Maybe God can contain it. God is, after all, pretty big.
Wrists: I can consider forgiving myself or anyone else who contributed to this awful Purple.

Top of Head: Even though I have this angry Purple, I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.

And take a deep breath...Thank you God for being with my Purple in this prayer. Thank you for sending your healing spirit to attend to the Purple that has been keeping me from feeling peace. Amen.

When you are ready, take note of the Purple anger and check the power it is still holding. On a scale of 0-10, how strong is your Purple? If the number is not down to a 0-2, what issues are keeping it at a higher number? Did new issues around the Purple become more prevalent? If so, try writing them down and bringing them to God with more specific language.
The lessons we learned about Purple kinds of events when we were children often inform how we experience Purple as adults. God has been along for the whole of our journey, so trust that the Holy is capable of getting back to the beginning of our anger and healing us up into the present. If the whole Hulk thing is starting to wear thin for you, try prayer tapping on the many shades of Purple that might be turning you green.
PS. Check out next week’s TUESDAY TAP: prayer tapping on grief.

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