Working through hatred
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on May 13, 2014. Posted with permission.
I get it. You hate him (her, it, yourself, whatever).
I know you’re not just angry. You’ve been seething, entertaining homicidal fantasies, wishing ill. You’re dancing in a cloud of schadenfreude.
I’m not going to tell you that you’ll either make yourself sick, or, worse, you’ll be sitting alone in a dark room hatching a plot destined to blow up in your face.
I wouldn’t think of telling you that your hatred is really fear.
And I wouldn’t dream of telling you to calm down.
I won’t tell you any of this because you’ll hate me, too. You’ll tell me I don’t understand.
And you might be right.
Hatred is painful. It’s destructive. When we are in states of hatred, we are incapable of being our highest selves. If you can hear me, I’ll tell you to open your heart. If you can’t, we’ll push it open.
Lie on your back, and slip a yoga block between your shoulder blades. Your heart will be elevated, your head hanging back. If it’s too much for your neck, put a pillow under your head.
Spread your arms wide, and let your feet fall open. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Meditate on what sparked your rage. Now set an intention: “How can I see this situation differently?”
Transition to Bridge. Remove the block, bend your legs, and place your feet on the floor close to your butt. Using the strength of your legs, push your hips to the sky. Press your shoulders into the earth, and tuck your shoulder blades under you so your chest inflates. You can slide a block under your hips for support or straighten your arms underneath you and interlace your fingers.
Think of the object of your hatred. Ask yourself, “How do I feel about me when I think about this person?” Are your insecurities exposed? Do you feel foolish? What part did you play in the scenario? Is this person just a mirror for the qualities you dislike in yourself?
If you’re ready and only if your back is flexible enough, move into Wheel (backbend). Place your hands on the floor above your shoulders with your fingers pointing toward your body. Use the strength of your legs to push up your hips. Press your shoulder blades together and release your heart.
While holding Wheel, ask, “What memory is this hatred triggering?” Is it a parent? A childhood bully? A grade school teacher? A former relationship? Your own feelings of inadequacy?
Finally, Camel. Kneel, and keep your hips over your knees. Sweep your arms behind you, and place your palms low on your back, fingers pointing downward. Feel your heart lift while keeping your neck neutral, and squeeze your shoulder blades.
If you are ready to go deeper, grab your heels while pushing your hips forward. Become the object of your hatred. Assume his voice. Assume her voice. Speak. Why did you do what you did? What needs were you trying to meet? What mighty battle are you waging? What are your demons?
Now stand before the mirror, and face your truth. Push your shoulders down, and feel the tips of your shoulder blades trying to touch. Your heart will be emerging from the hollow of your chest.
Remember that people only do what makes sense to them. And it has nothing to do with you.