Jun 09 2005

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Dancing Out Loud


On occasion I have to keep my mouth shut before I explode in anger in polite society. I have always struggled to find a way to express my anger non violently or non verbally so not be arrested or shout out a vulgar statement at someone that I will later regret. One effective method of working out my frustrations I learned from my younger brother.

Many years ago when my brother was very young, he had a tendency to get extremely angry at one thing or another. His temper was uncontrollable at times especially when he was teased or when he lost at a game or when he felt he was cheated. He learned after many failed attempts at fighting with his older brother or failing to win an argument with our parents, that shouting , screaming or hitting , besides being hurtful to himself, were not effective methods of releasing his pent up anger. One day he got tagged out of a backyard baseball game while running to first base. I remember him stopping cold, raising his arms, his face got scarlet red and he began to twist his feet into the dirt and shake his legs in a spontaneous dance, then he moved into a full ” Twist” and ran around the back yard until he calmed down. Sounds strange and maybe my brother suffered from some form of loser’s rage but, it seemed to be an effective temper management treatment for him under those circumstances.

Every so often when I get to a point that I might lose my composure and get very angry in polite society, I stop and think of my brother’s technique and start to tap my foot. If the anger doesn’t subside I then stand up or walk around the room. If that doesn’t subdue my anger then I begin the dance, not to any music but simply to the atonal rhythm of my anger. Each emotion has it’s own rhythm that can be expressed in a physical motion, a low kick, a high kick, a striking at the air, shadow boxing. It is an effective form of meditation. I have often taken a swing at an imagined opponent or kicked the ground in frustration and anger. Sometimes I’ve done it in full view of others, who probably thought I was crazy. It is a method of anger management that I recommend to anyone who feels the need to strike a blow for justice, to playfully strike out at an enemy or Bush and Cheney. Imagine them as the physical recipients of your expressed anger and you will suddenly sense the physical and spiritual benefits from the sense of release you will feel, by dancing out loud.

L.A. Steel

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