I like pine trees. Not in my yard so much, but in the mountains. Pine trees have always had a sense of home to me. I feel so calm around them. I’ve always thought this was funny, considering how some pine trees are brought into the world.

Some pinecones require the extreme heat of fire in order to open and release the seeds of the next generation of trees. Forest fire – destruction – is literally what enables these trees to bring new life into their world.

I’ve discovered that anger can do much the same thing for our own lives.

Anger. What does that mean to you? When you get angry, what state do you find yourself in? Do you seethe in silence as you process what happened? Do you vent to someone safe? Do you rage? Maybe you paint, or clean, or go for a run.

Maybe you do all of these things, depending on the day and circumstances. But the fact is that you’re human, so you have experienced anger. Maybe not a lot, maybe every day.

If you’re like me, it’s more often than you would like. Anger seems to be a part of me. I’ve been notorious for my rages that cause me to do things I regret in a moment of fury – nothing lasting or that has hurt other people, but usually something that I realize could have hurt me, or broken something difficult to replace.

For a long time, I carried a lot of grief, anxiety, and guilt surrounding my anger. It seemed out of my control, and some days it would come blazing out of nowhere and I would suddenly be reigning in so much wrath that I thought I would pass out or simply disconnect from my body. It was disconcerting, and I would fight it. But that never seemed to help.

The worst part is when people would tell me to not be angry. “Just let it go.” “Think positive thoughts.” “Don’t be angry! Simple!” I’m sure you can guess what commentary like this created in me. Anger, rage, fury . . . and guilt.

I felt terrible that I was angry. I was confused, because I didn’t consider myself an angry person. But yet when my anger would come up in conversation and people who didn’t know me yet would wave it off, basically saying “Nah! You don’t seem angry!” something in me would cry out and say “You don’t understand! You don’t see the rage deep inside me! Someone help me!” (And then if they saw the anger, they would seem shocked and appalled. Go figure.)

As I moved into more spiritual circles, this only got worse, as people tossed things at me explaining away my anger. I’m all for learning how to think and feel better, but I felt trivialized. And the guilt got worse as these spiritual people told me that it was a construct, and that there was no need for it.

The harder I tried to rid myself of anger, the worse it got.

I ignored it until it built up to a point where I thought I would spontaneously combust from it. But yet, I didn’t know why it was there, or where it was trying to go. So I turned it inward, which wasn’t good either.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you felt this simmering cauldron or wrath inside you, and you’ve been afraid of it, because you didn’t know when it might suddenly boil over at the slightest provocation? It’s a weird thing to live with, isn’t it?

Then came the day where I started to ask “Why?” Not so much “Why is there so much anger?” or “Why do I have to feel like this?” but seriously trying to find a quiet place in my mind in the midst of the anger and asking “Why?”

I was amazed at the answers that would come surging out of the fury. Sometimes they made a lot of sense. Sometimes they seemed downright dumb! But I realized there WERE answers in the rage, and if there were answers, there were solutions.

I started sorting my anger. As an empath, the first thing I did was figure out what anger wasn’t even mine, and I tossed it out. I cut cords to it and sent it on its way. Good start. Then I started seeing where anger was coming from in my life, but outside of me. Certain people and situations stood out as culprits, and so I did what I could to minimize their effect on me. At this point I was feeling pretty good, and so I sought out more.

This is when I discovered anger can be such a powerful force for growth and change. There were things inside myself that I didn’t like. Much of the time, these things manifest outside us, but the reason we have anger is because it is actually something inside ourselves that prevents us from changing the situation.

I started focusing my anger at these things I didn’t like – didn’t appreciate. Instead of waves of senseless anger that washed over me but didn’t create any good outcome, this was focused anger that I could use to burn things out of my life. And in the process, what happened?

Other things began to grow. Like a pinecone bursting open to release the magic inside and seed new life, as I removed things and ideas with righteous anger, new ideas and worthwhile thoughts took root and began to grow.

People will tell you to not be angry. They will tell you that anger does nothing good. That is a destructive force, and destruction is bad. And maybe someday we will find that wonderful place on our journey where we can “do” life without anger.

But for now, sink into your anger and ask WHY? See what rises to the surface, and do your best to lean into it. See what you can use the anger to destroy, and what new wonderful things rise up in the space that is left.

Pretty soon you’ll have a whole new forest of healthy, thriving thoughts, and your anger won’t be an unpredictable force you fear. It isn’t the enemy. It’s a tool. Use it like one.

Your Higher Self can be hugely helpful in showing you how to sort and channel your anger. If you want to meet her and see how it easy it is to start developing a relationship with this part of yourself, pick up the free meditation here!