Friday, January 20, 2012

Lost identity or blank canvas?

Listen to post:
Self-portrait in ink done about age 17

Express your anger, two people I love and respect have told me … more than once. I seem to chip away at it a little at a time, but there was still a locked trunk, wrapped in chains, sunken in the root of my existence. It held every incident of pain and injustice I have experienced. Locked away.

And something would seep out and I would lash out. Sometimes just by myself, sometimes, inappropriately, at others. I am not certain I understand this anger. I’ve made lists and it always goes back to not getting what I want: understanding, acknowledgment and pain preventing me from my real work.

I sat in my studio today to write in my mad journal, marked with a big green M, making that list and looking at the ink self-portrait I did of myself in high school staring at me from the ledge above my work table. I never added a face, so I was contemplating this lack of identity and equating it with all of the things that anger me. Then I began a conversation with God in my journal:

How deep does it go, God?
To your root, where it’s stuck.

How do I get it unstuck?
Give it attention, love and surrender it to me.

How, exactly?
Pretend it’s not you. Let it gently dislodge and come up through you. Do this now.

And so I did, letting screams and sobs emerge, begging, pleading with God/Jesus to take this away … without violence to my body. I’ve had enough of that. I found myself in child’s position, bowing, on my dirty studio floor and asking that this anger, this locked box, be taken from me. Then I surrendered it because something told me I must.

I wiped the tears away, snarfed my stuffy nose into a tissue and returned to the table, staring once again at the self portrait. This time, however, the empty face revealed something else:
‘Now as I look in the mirror of my faceless self portrait,  I see a blank canvas: possibilities, not anonymity or lost identity. Rather a cleaned surface, purity.”

I was able to ask God for one more thing: “I don’t want to be that same angry person. teach me the way, please.”

I will,” was the response.

• What role, if any, does anger play in my life?
• How does it control me [if it does]?
• How can I surrender that to God?
• What is my experience of surrendering anything to God?
• What is my current prayer?


  1. I started to go to therapy of the reiki sort when I realized how enraged I was getting at my little kids... way out of porportion to what (if anything, honestly) they had done... for me also, it had to do with feelings of resentment that came from other parts of my life. as always, still working on it... :)
    good post.

  2. Thanks for your honesty; it's a hard thing to admit and harder, for me, to surrender. Learning that I am not alone really helps ... much gratitude!