I’d been feeling angry about someone telling me who I can be, trying to limit my expression of my medicine verbally and energetically. Reminded me of my parents and childhood. In a process group I take a tennis racket and am told to hit a pillow, hard. As I do I am yelling, vocalizing my frustration, and as I yell it all shifts. I am no longer shouting my anger, telling them to go away or leave me alone, I am claiming my right to be, to have my space in the world. The underlying doubt and fear is gone, replaced by a fierce joy that comes from my deep being, that will no longer be denied.
Several years ago when I had this experience I was surprised to find that although the expressions of these two energies may look similar, they feel quite different and that the other people present reacted to them differently. True fierceness turns out to be attractive, even when it’s loud and noisy. It doesn’t induce the matching fear or protective fear responses that anger does.
A good way to understand this comes from Shiatsu, a Japanese art similar to acupuncture, but where the chi (life force energy) is applied with your fingers rather than through needles. Before you apply healing energy to someone, you first need to feel the condition of the energy already flowing in their body, to determine what they need and where to work.
Chi normally runs through channels called meridians, which can be too full, or not full enough. They are something like feeling a hose which has too much water in it so it feels somewhat hard, and one that has too little and is a bit flaccid.
With practice these feel quite different. However when the flow is seriously weak, then something else happens. The body systems compensate, creating a protective energy around the weak flow to mask it. This shielding energy feels hard, similar to the overfull condition, but less alive, more static, lifeless.
This protective shielding is similar to the swelling of muscles around a physical wound, or aspects of emotional protection around traumatic events and memories. This brings us back to anger, which is like the defensive layer that surrounds the depleted flow of chi. This is what we usually experience in ourselves and others. Anger is trying to be strong, but is operating from wounding or weakness. It is based in fear, reactive and hard to control.
Fierceness is us being strong, claiming our right to be alive. It is based on life force and love. It arises in the moments when we need to protect ourselves, a loved one, or something else that is important to us and is being threatened. It has a foundation in our right as spiritual beings to be present, to have our own space, and to be respected for who we are. Like the overfull meridian, fierceness comes from an abundance of life force, claiming our basic spiritual or human rights.
Meditate on these differences. Practice feeling into them. Ask yourself how you can shift the defensive energy of anger into the inclusive energy of fierceness. Focus on what you are claiming for yourself, and let go of what you are afraid of and reacting to with your anger. Claim your power and fierceness from a place of joy and celebration. Own this for yourself and you will never be the same.