Video: Meditation On Anger and The Itch to Be Bitchy

Aug 25, 2023
meditation on the value of anger

Here's a video and transcript of a recent meditation on the value of anger that we recently practiced inside The Compassion Club:

When your primal protective instincts come out, what do you do? Do you snap, sidestep, shrink, or...? 

How Do We Move Beyond Fight or Flight: Other Ways to Respond to Aggression

Our primal protective triggers are there for a reason, although the time for that reason may be over. Metabolize and understand the desire to fight, to protect, to be mean. Empathize with yourself and others by asking, "What happened to you?" 


We're going to call this one the itch to be bitchy.

Take a hand to your heart, hand to your belly. Notice what's here in this moment. Take a deep breath to fill you up.

Feel yourself full, whole, complete. Take in a little more breath. Pause with

the breath held in and slowly deflate.

I'm going to chant Aum. You can join me if you want. Breathe in.


Let's breathe in and reach out to the sides. Palms up. Breathe in a little more. Reach a little higher. Breathe in a little more. Take in that last bit of breath. Fill up completely. Bring your hands together. And then sigh or yawn as you bring your hands down through center. Slowly. Inhale your arms out, inhale more as you reach up more, inhale more, there's more space, more capacity, hands together, and down through center.

One time on your own.

Let your hands rest on your belly or in your lap. Being aware of this lowest part of you, your guts, lower belly, and what's here. I invite you to consider, like a time that you have felt bullied or someone was bitchy to you, or that mean energy and it hurt and your desired response was to get back.

Notice how this feels in your gut. Notice the visceral sensation there of this. This is a really visceral experience that everyone on this planet has had at some time or another, right?

We're not alone in this feeling of being treated unkindly, and how that feeling manifests in our body, and the desire to discharge and get rid of that feeling by kind of lobbing it back.

The desire to engage in a way where there's this power differential and somebody has tried to get over and our gut instinct on that really primal level is to get over them. And if it's not, if the instinct is more to shrink or cower, then that is another level down the polyvagal ladder.

So the desire to fight or get away from the aggressor is a really adaptive and healthy primal response that we need. It's part of safety. It's part of protection. So let's not make it wrong. But let's notice that feeling right before, right? Either fleeing, fighting, or collapsing. What is the feeling?

And is there another way that we could discharge that internal sensation or energy that isn't a behavior that then perpetuates that relationship? Because a lot of times we do want to diffuse. Most of the time we don't want it to perpetuate, this power struggle.

One thing I really like to do is to move a little, shake a little. You could get up and do that. Or you could shake, maybe shake your arms off to one side. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your arms off to the other side. Shake above your head. Shake your feet, shake your butt, shake your ribs, shake your head.

Shake your head? No. Just think of all of the no's. Let those no's out. Keep shaking for as long as you can. Shake whatever will shake. Shake longer than you want to. Shake in different ways than you might have shaken before. And you might even say, like, No, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is wrong. This is bad.

This is mean. I don't like this. Push it away. Lots of ways you can do this in your body and also reach up. Reach way up.

Yeah. And look around, look behind you. Bring your hands down, look behind you. Reach up again. Look behind you the other way. Yeah. So the yawns, if you're yawning, our bodies tell our brains that we're safe. Do a little side bend. So, so much of this, we don't want it to stay in our heads.

We want it to move and metabolize through our bodies. So we'll do a lion's breath a few times. And you can first make fists. Take your thumbs inside actually. Take your thumbs inside and make fists. Bring your shoulders up and tighten everything. Make a prune face. And then, from there, you can take your palms forward like a stop in the name of love, and make a lion's breath.

Or you can take your arms out to the sides, whatever helps you. So, thumbs inside, big tight fist.

Let's do three more like that. So

you make a prune face. And then roar like a lion.

One more.


What we're not trying to do is take away that feeling. The feeling can be there. The feeling is a signal to us that something's wrong. It's okay that feeling of wanting to either fight, flee, lash out, or Escape, those are all really reasonable, responses to an aggression.

What else, though?

What else could we do? We could acknowledge that the other person is me. In some way, there's something in that other person that I...

Identify with. If there was no attachment, no thread or string... if there was no cord, no triggers, then we would just walk on past, right? We wouldn't engage. It would be easy. We wouldn't feel it viscerally. So that cord is telling us something.

Can we be with it? So just ask yourself, like, can I be with this in me? I'm gonna place a hand on my heart because it's easier for me To be with the part of myself that I'm not a fan of

when I place a hand on my heart.

So this is, for me, just talking about me, really disowned part of myself that is judgy. That can be cutting. Sarcastic. Cruel. Comes out in certain specific situations where My buttons are pushed, and I'm triggered. And I know I'm not alone in this, and there's shame around it. It doesn't feel aligned with my values.

And yet I know that these parts of me, they were put there for very helpful, healthy reasons early on. I don't necessarily need them anymore.

But as a child I did. Needed the protection of being able to assert myself and be aggressive to push people away.

Now when I think of someone else who seems completely, unexplainably mean...

when I can see them through that same lens of, Wow. What happened to you?

The cord is still there, but something shifts in it. What happened to you?

I have to start with self empathy. That something happened to me, and there's that little part of me that still feels it needs to be sarcastic sometimes, to be judgmental sometimes. There's that little part of me.

And I can acknowledge the why. Doesn't mean I'm going to act on those feelings. Doesn't mean I'm going to be bitchy.

But there's that part of me. She's in there. She's ready. She's poised.

And when I see the mirror, after I get over my initial defensiveness, sometimes I'm able to say, in my head, not to the person, "what happened to you?"

Because to have that be your mode, your default mode, to not have another way of connecting, must be really unpleasant.

And so again, this idea of having a cord, cutting the cord . Placing them in a bubble, letting them float away. Having separation, to me that's helpful and that's part of it, it's like the need to diffuse the bomb before investigating further.

And sometimes we may not feel like investigating further, going deeper into it. Totally fine.

I'm going to give you a little quiet time,

So each of us is different in the way that we work with our challenging emotions, and Challenging relationships.

Things that help me may or may not help you. It may help you to visualize cutting a cord between you wrapping the other person in a, in a bubble or creating a bubble around yourself. It may help to really internally ask

what happened to you. And maybe even see the other person as a child. Feeling disempowered and struggling to find a way to regain a sense of control.

I believe it really has to start with our own self compassion.

And that sometimes these relationships, as fleeting or... Bound as they are. () Maybe it's someone you walk by on the street that gives you a dirty look, or maybe it's someone who's in your family.)

They can ultimately be a, path to healing for ourselves. I can see the person who feels mean and I can see them as a little hurt child.

Empathy arises just naturally out of that.

And it becomes this feedback loop of empathy for myself and that part of me. And when I can have the most generous interpretation of the other person, I don't need to stay in relationship with them.

By having that most generous interpretation of them, I can free myself. I can release myself from that thread, that cord.

I can have empathy and compassion for my inner mean girl.

So I'd like to end with a different chant. This is a Buddhist chant, OM MANI PADME HUM. From the muck, we discover the jewel, the lotus that grows from the yucky stuff, right? We discover the jewel of compassion. Feel free to put a hand on heart or not, it's up to you .

I'll chant it five times, and I chant it kind of monotone. You can do whatever you like with it. Om, ma, ni, padme, hum. Breathing in.





Last time.


Thank you.

Stop Walking On Eggshells!

Gentle yoga to release your stress and shift your mindset about struggle.

If you get your buttons pushed often by other people's issues, you may be hypervigilant. You might feel it in your body as clenching, tension, or chronic pain.

You'll become more grounded in awareness of your body.

Stop Walking On Eggshells