Category Archives: rebel daisy

I Don’t Need Anger Management

I just need people to stop pissing me off.

This saying has particular appeal to me because I’ve often been accused of being an angry person. I’m not going to deny it. I HAVE struggled with anger. But seriously, who hasn’t? It’s not like I’ve intentionally hurt anyone or set anything important on fire. So YOU’RE the one with the problem.

Ah, but I deflect.

Seriously though, I have had to work through some anger issues. Over the past two decades, I’ve done this predominantly through therapy, yoga, meditation, and yes, alcohol. The first three have been noticeably more effective than the fourth.

It should be noted that I’m by no means an angry drunk. In fact, I was always more in the “we should totally go to Canada/climb that cell tower/steal that grocery cart” camp. (A wink and nod to my former fellow campers. And sincerest apologies to those who were my keepers during such inspired moments.)

Still, and this may surprise you, there were occasions when alcohol backfired. Case in point – one afternoon, following a series of poor decisions, I was at a biker bar in Southern Florida, nearly blackout drunk and angrily attempting to start something with a woman with whom I had no business attempting to be starting something. I’ll spare you the details because 1) war stories are boring and 2) I don’t remember the details. I blacked out shortly after that defining moment. But when I came to later, there were three distinct claw marks across my back. I’m certain they were human.

And though I have no memory of the incident, I’m even more certain they were motivated by rage.

This story may be unsettling to those of you who have turned to me for guidance as a yoga teacher or a life coach. To you I say most sincerely, sorry but suck it up. And that’s not me being angry. It’s me being honest. And straight-up human. I don’t drink like that any more. But twenty years ago, “push it down with the brown” sure seemed like an easy way to manage my anger. Things are clearly not as they always seem.

Rebel Daisy demonstrates righteous indignation.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to dole out some heart-warming story that relays to you the vast and sundry methods I employed to turn my life around and overcome anger. Despite the yoga, therapy, and meditation, I haven’t overcome anger. Frankly, it’s not even a goal. While to some extent I feel that anger is my birthright as a redhead (albeit a greying redhead), I don’t desire to rid myself of it because I also recognize where anger has helped me. My therapist many years ago suggested I reframe anger as “righteous indignation.” I liked that suggestion. And yeah, sure. For the first few years as I worked to grasp that concept, I was merely dressing up my anger in a righteously indignant costume and parading it around like a rabid three-legged Chihuahua in a black-sequined cape.

These days though, I am better able to recognize that line between righteous indignation motivating me to take positive action, and anger threatening to take me down. Far more often than not, I have a handle on it. And that’s saying a lot, given that THESE DAYS, things are… challenging. I’ll spare you the details on that one too, since we’re ALL living it.

Yes, yoga and meditation have gone a long way in teaching me skills to manage my anger. I no longer feel the need to be free of it though. When approached mindfully and with awareness, it serves a purpose. For me, it can be a valuable tool.

It would be nice though if certain people would at least stop trying to piss me off so much…

Love Hurts. Yeah, Yeah.

rd2 love hurts

Imagine this.

You’re experiencing the drug-addled headiness of being “in love”. All that pesky rational thought has been effectively eliminated by a flood of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin to your brain.

Caffeine or nicotine elevate the effects of the dopamine, a serotonin surge deems you unable to match your socks, and norepinephrine sends your heart racing and your sweat glands into overdrive.

You’re a crazed and sweaty mess and couldn’t be happier. You’re experiencing a serious high unparalleled by anything from the late 1960s and unless your racing heart produces a cardiac incident (or you’re a mouthy flower with an attitude), pain is very far away.

The free fall is terrific, isn’t it? Yeah, I know. Too bad you can’t bottle it and sell it to Axe as a body spray.

Because eventually it’s over and you find yourself back on earth, stumbling from your collapsed parachute. If you’re lucky, this is where the real love begins. The sustained, but far less exciting love. The love that brings pain back into your life.

The thing is, love can be warm and fuzzy and so cute that you want to squash it. Like a puppy. But love is also a lot of work. Also, like a puppy. And I’m talking about genuine love. The kind that will NOT be confused with keeping score or filling a void, activities that would be better left to sporting events and the toilet (which are not mutually exclusive).

So what the hell is love then? I see it kinda like this:

Love is the willingness to extend yourself to facilitate the growth of a living being; to focus on its self-expression and allow it to fulfill its potential. It is a commitment to the effort that goes into accepting and understanding this being.

This being may be your partner, your sister, your planet, your child, your monkey, your monkey’s uncle, whoever. But it’s important to keep in mind that “yourself” needs to be on that list, because while the whole “you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself” adage may be hackneyed, it’s still a fundamental truth.

Whether you’re working on self-love or love for another, to truly love means you have to do it openly and honestly. No parachute. No extra norepinephrine, serotonin or dopamine. Ditch the secrets, the games, the motives and the delusions. Saddle up for reality. Because you’re gonna run into some stuff that will force you to confront, look at and evaluate your own beliefs and desires. And it could get dicey for a bit.

But as Socrates said when he quoted Plato, “an unexamined life is not worth living.” With real love comes examination. And with examination comes the C word. (Yes, change.) And that’s a process that always brings pain.

So yeah. Love hurts. And it’s a lot of work.  But I’ll take it because it’s still much less work than hate, and feels a whole lot better.


rebel daisy has returned

Last week, my amazing and supportive husband suggested I consider including illustration on my blog. I pondered this. Then pondered it some more.

Yesterday, the narcissistic trash can fire president of the United States – a small letter ‘p” president whom I shall never call “my” president – decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. I pondered this. Then went and willingly banged my head against the wall.

It was at that moment – likely sparked by my husband’s suggestion, Trump’s narcissistic mind-blowing ignorance, and a slight concussion – that rebel daisy entered the room.

Who the hell is rebel daisy? Well, he’s a rebel. And a daisy. A daisy with no roots. He wears army boots and blue jeans. He’s a cut-to-the-chase kind of flower who doesn’t believe in capitalizing words. Or really any sort of capitalistic behavior. And he’s a he. So get used to it.

Nearly 20 years ago, rebel daisy walked into my life.

Or more aptly, my head. And he started seeping out of the pens and markers that occupied my hands at that time. He’s rather intrusive in that way. But he made his presence known.

rd - his nameIn those days, the internet was in its infancy and spell check software would have choked on the word ‘blog’. Even so, rebel daisy was well received in several quirky circles. So he’s decided to venture onto my ass-backward blog on mindfulness and see how he fares on the big screen.

I think it’s going to go well. And I think we can all stand to learn a little something from a renegade perennial. I know I can.

Sure, he can be a bit of a blow-hard at times. And he thinks he knows things that he really doesn’t. He could easily be president one day. Then again, he’s a well-meaning and compassionate environmentalist with some words to say, so maybe not. Anyhow, stay tuned.

Lesson number one with rebel daisy will soon commence…