From the Fire to the Flaming Heart

Photo by Troy Taylor.  A exploration of the Narrative of Red String.  Nataki Bhatti with one of her Toki hats and felt doll forms.
“Wounded Bird” by Nataki Bhatti.  A meditative paintsketch of the wounded healer archetype.

I am learning about the mechanics of righteous rage.  Specifically, how my rage can be transferred into a vehicle of change and healing.  This is a powerful and valuable tenant of the path I am on.  So many don’t know what to do with rage and the collective message seems to be to suppress it.  When I tell people I am enraged with emotion, I feel them shut down and become fearful.  Whether quiet or boastful, my rage is a part of me.  It is in my body, morphing, waiting, hoping for justice.

We all experience trauma and hurts in our past.  And from an intellectual place, I knew violations happened to me. I went through life thinking best to keep it moving, shit happens.  Going so far as to justify the violators, I was just trying to survive and make the best of what I was dealt. Mainly by ignoring the pain I felt. In order to suppress the pain, I had to act like nothing happened, it wasn’t a big deal.

By practicing a program of recovery, I learned that it is okay to experience my feelings.  I could survive my feelings especially the ones I thought would destroy me. I became more open to a plethora of emotional energy, many I am still learning to identify.

A miracle sprouted as I continued to grow and develop an authentic and deeper awareness of myself.  As the scales of self dishonesty shed, I began to proactively love myself, a little at a time.  There came a transition from thinking I love myself to feeling I love myself. My actions did not align with my beliefs about myself.  I was conflicted, I still am.  However,  I started to value myself in fundamental ways.  What was once acceptable to me before, no longer was tolerable. Where I thought I deserved what I got: internalized feelings of shame, fear and despair; I grew an awareness, at the very least, I did not deserve what happened. I still struggle with it’s not my fault, but I am hopeful because of a major shift in my thinking.  Consequently, this shift has incited a true value of self.

A deep remorse and anger has awakened because I realize that the little girl of me was worthy, too.   With that, rage ensues.   Memories of hopelessness ebb, wandering alone hoping and praying someone would help me.  I relived the fear of condemnation if I told anyone what happened to me, how I felt or what I was really thinking.  And when I realized nothing could be done to my violators, my heart sets fire. With each heartbeat, I feel the pain of my past.  I can not change the past, and I am still left with the feelings. Enraged, I wish I could go back in time and defend the little girl of me. I need to go back because that little girl was worthy of protection.  And justice.  (Whispering…I never believed that about myself before.)

Rage strongly differs from angst or anger. The offense(s) are presently real, even though, they occured along time ago.  The little girl of me is living now, because the emotional states of trauma are stored in my body. So much so, that it goes beyond my thinking, and into my nervous system. It affects the characterization of my DNA, how my individual cells absorb and expel nutrients, how I translate energy as emotions.  This energy has made me very sick for a long time.

Restorative justice… I understand as an internal process.   I need to begin to change these emotional states living in my body, allow them to evolve.  Just for today, I do not anger, I do not worry or fear.  However, when the fire erupts in me, I do not deny my feelings of rage.  It is my faith that restores me, calms me. It is my creativity and imagination that frees me.  In the end, all things work together for good. I will no longer deny my rage, but I hope to be able to use it, well and good. Ultimately, expression is a very dangerous weapon and my greatest tool for  justice. I allow the energy of emotional and psychological trauma to be released from my body.  I do not suppress, when feelings rise, I embrace them as if I am embracing the little girl of me.   I give her a powerful voice and presence through my creative expression.

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