Fifty years ago, a major problem was brought to my attention through a single, shocking experience.
My husband, who had consciously conceived our infant with me, came home one day to announce “I’m not ready to be a father. I’m leaving you.”
While this situation is enough to cause anyone to feel angry, I was not prepared for the overwhelming cascades of anger that poured out of me and onto my little child. It was overwhelming. My father poured anger onto me during my childhood. I couldn’t stand to see I was behaving the same way. I felt helpless.
Desperate for answers, I sought them everywhere. I was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I returned to the library of my university, seeking to find out what anger was all about. What causes it? What can I do to stop it from cascading onto my child? Why do we have anger anyway?
There were no answers! Our understanding of emotions is rudimentary, even today. Back then even social science researchers didn’t look at anger or fear separately from the psychological diagnoses of which they were a part. Schizophrenics experienced anger and fear, but nobody was looking at those emotions separately!
If I were going to get free of anger, I would have to find answers on my own.
Having a devastating experience that turns our world upside down is one of the major ways “the Universe” gets our attention. Our pain is so great it draws our focus. We get determined to change something so we can escape the pain.
That pain continues, even grows, unless and until we learn the lesson. I’ve come to call this our “Giant School.” Every one of us is on the earth, the “Giant School,” so we can experience, explore, learn, and grow. Experiences present our lessons. When we don’t learn a particular lesson, it repeats and repeats, each time accompanied by increasingly intense pain. When we do learn that lesson, we are immediately finished and free to move on.
Emotions arise with every Experience. Why? What are they for?
I discovered emotions are part of the entire learning system that operates here in our Giant School. It’s an amazing system designed to help us navigate our lives. Emotions give us the information we need about what we must learn or change so we learn the lessons of our experiences and end the pain.
The pain I experienced that fateful day 50 years ago, along with the cascades of anger it released, has been the greatest gift of my life! That pain was so powerful I had to keep paying attention to it. I was able to slowly understand how to work with anger, so it took its proper place in my life. In the 1970s, I was an Angry Person. I cursed like a sailor, got upset by almost everything, exploded about small things, and felt totally unable to calm the anger I felt. Anger was out of control in me.
Today, I am a Recovered Angry Person. I curse very little. Nothing really upsets me. I haven’t exploded in anger for more than 15 years. People note how calm I am and how calming I am to be around! When unexpected or frustrating things occur, as they do for all of us, I patiently work my way through. I also ask for help from “the Universe,” since that’s what I perceive is bringing that lesson!
Anger, and all emotions, is energy. The Laws that govern energy tell us we can neither create nor destroy it. We’ll always have emotions come up in us. What I have learned is that I am the one who decides what happens when an emotion arises. There is no emotion that can totally take me over without my permission. If I experience anger, I can choose to explode or I can laugh! Emotions are part of my life to help me, not tyrannize me!
My life purpose, which I am focused on living for the rest of my time here, is to learn about and share with others the simple, practical, commonsense way of mastering emotions I have been privileged to discover. It’s a system for Mastering Emotions! I’m busy making lemonade out of lemons!
During Covid, I’ve had former psychotherapy clients, from as long ago as 45 years, look me up, asking for a “check-in.” Since we last met, their lives have been going very well. They have been catching me up on what they discovered working with me that has helped over the ensuing years. Here’s the verdict: What I teach regarding mastering emotions works. And it lasts, continuing to work over the long haul.
Time for a SoulTreat Retreat!
The Wellness Universe SoulTreat retreat in October 2021 is the most perfect place for me to share my Life Purpose! I’ve discovered there are lots of people focused on learning about emotions these days. I’ve also noticed that my focus on practical and commonsense ways of working with emotions is different. My solutions are simple, non-mental, applicable in everyday life, and they work!
Wellness Universe members and guests who join us for meetings are already addressing emotions. They are spiritually oriented. (And we are in the process of rejoining our everyday material selves with our energy selves, which is what this approach to emotions facilitates.) What may still be missing are some pieces, and an overall system for understanding and working with emotions that we can all agree upon. I’m excited to be able to share this with you!
My book, Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System, was published in 2019 on Amazon. I’m currently preparing my TEDx talk on Mastering Anger to Change Your World, to be presented later this year. Please join me at Soul Treat in Boone, NC and help me reach my personal and world purpose. Simultaneously, advance your own Purpose. Together, we’ll transform our world!
Connect with Ilene Dillon on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!
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Ilene Dillon, MSW, has dedicated her life to helping people resolve personal challenges once and for all, then design life to be what they want it to be. A Transformation Specialist, she has worked 50 years as a psychotherapist and 15 years as a coach. She is a global speaker, Amazon International Best-selling author (The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, Volumes 1 and 2), podcast guest, and plans to give her first TEDx speech (on Anger) later this year. Ilene is also the author of Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System and End Manipulation: Stop Being Jerked Around by Toxic, Energy-draining People. With her little dog, Pi, Ilene lives and travels full-time throughout North America in her RV, writing, teaching, and speaking along the way.