On Taming the Temper

One of my biggest struggles as a parent is controlling my fiery temper.

It’s not yet 11 am on a Thursday. This morning, I pulled shots of espresso from my beloved machine and made crepes from scratch. I read today’s entry from The Book of Awakening and a few pages from another book. I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the bathroom and cleaned the stove and wiped down the counters and picked up toys and clothes. I helped with homework. I bathed my children, washed and conditioned and brushed their hair. Packed their lunches and snacks. Made and ate my second breakfast. Snapped a few photos. Posted on Instagram stories. Spoonfed vitamins. Re-filled water bottles. Unknotted shoelaces. Found ballet outfit. Delivered one to school. Delivered the other to ballet.

I lost my temper, too. All those tasks piling up, the tension mounting, the relentless juggling, a full day of solo parenting that stretched long before me. If we could only get where we were going on time. The dam that held a spring of emotions snapped open;  my stress came pouring out, and onto my baby. I yelled and grabbed her hand and she started crying. Her sadness pulled me back to reality, to my true priorities, which have nothing to do with arriving on time. As usual, almost immediately, I repented.

Where does that heat come from? How does it rise and boil over with such speed? What happens to me when I snap? Why can’t I, the observing presence, catch the fire, contain it, control emotions instead of letting them control me? How can I model emotional stability for my children?

I decided to look for the stars for guidance by following the wisdom of my rising sign. (Your Ascendant [or rising sign] reveals the ways in which you present yourself to others, as well as the ways in which you immediately respond to the world around you – source.)

Believe (or don’t) what you want about astrology and the power of the cosmos, but I have found that it reveals what I already know to be true. Such as:

  • Those born with an Aries Ascendant are quick to anger and quick to let it pass. – source
  • Their temper is quick, too. It’s also quick to disappear. Rarely do you find Aries rising people holding grudges. – source
  • It is important to recognize the need to expend a good deal of physical energy when you have Aries rising. Exercise and activities often help to keep the nervous system from becoming overwhelmed. Inactivity can often lead to moodiness and emotional overwhelm as your innate need to expend energy has nowhere to go. – source
  • One of the pitfalls of the Aries rising is that with warring Mars as their chart ruler, their rash delivery and heavy-handedness can intimidate people. However, when channeled through physical and creative outlets, their fury becomes a force to be reckoned with. – source

By generating heat from the inside and letting it erupt in the form of sweat, I notice how I am better equipped to manage my feelings. Going hard at the gym shakes up something inside of me, grounds me into my body, empowers me. I can do this. The center of me contains multitudes, with far more power than the tides of stress and anger.

By writing creatively, whether its a page in a novel or a poem or even a thoughtful Instagram post, my fury becomes potent, usable, a force to create.

When I lost my temper this morning, I had neither exercised nor written. It seems simple, but the maps are not always easy to read. After all–I had done both of these things the day before. But, I had also been emptied the night before at dinner and clean-up and bedtime. I did not re-fill before bed, nor upon waking. In retrospect, after an extra-loaded evening followed by an extra-busy morning, of course my nerves were frazzled.

I’ve been trying for a while to meditate/read/soul-search my way to inner and outer peace, to equanimity and absolute calm. I thought I could use willpower to achieve it, but I’ve started to revise my thinking: perhaps my greatest control is not over my emotions, but how I spend my time, how committed I am to filling my cup. 

As the sages have said before and will say again: one cannot pour from an empty cup.

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4 thoughts on “On Taming the Temper

  1. Isn’t it crazy to come back around–from questions that seem so complex, to answers that are so simple? To look at these things is some of the hardest work we do, and you are brave to do it 💪🏼 Love you sister.

    Liked by 1 person

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