There’s no forgiveness without rage. […] The best thing to do with anger is to learn to channel it, and then dissolve it.Edith Eger
It has been a while since I was active on this blog. Life is super busy at the moment, but rest assured that I have been doing a lot of deep work around the present and future of Voxel Hub. I have been doing a lot of thinking, reflecting, planning, writing documents that will serve as a beating heart of this space.
All this work has a re-occurring theme for me: anger. Deep, hot, lava-like anger brewing under my skin. Result of my personal experiences of Brexit-fuelled racism and social isolation. Result of our collective trauma of unkind leadership during this pandemic. Result of the systemic neglect of our landscapes, networks and finally ourselves. More specifically, this anger emerged during the last six months of my personal hard look at the intersectionality of my White privilege, educational background, class and ex-pat status (I can see more than many of my friends living locally). I did not expect my privilege to trigger this volcano of anger, yet here we are. Victimhood is silent. Privilege is powerful. And so, in this powerful state, I am finding it useful (for myself but predominantly for my clients) to look hard at our shadow side.
There is no harder place to look at the shadows of our humanity than the Nazi camps. I was ever so pleased to hear about Eger’s book from a fellow therapist – she sensed that this is the guidance I might need at the moment. Here is Eger’s story:
You see, Edith Eger’s story is so deeply terrifying, but also anger evoking. As an Auschwitz survivor, this woman became an icon of psychotherapy, forgiveness and shift on the (sadly) very well known journey of disempowerment, abuse and victimisation: from complete helplessness, through healing and deeply internalised anger to slow, gradual opening, meeting her anger half-way and working with it towards a better life. Finally arriving at a place in life where she can not only help her clients but also lead the global thinking around healing from trauma.
Eger proposes a life philosophy of remembrance but a forward movement. Her explorations of her own victimhood are a fantastic template to follow for anyone who happens to experience any form of trauma – to in 2021, practically each and every one of us. It’s also an incredibly powerful book with specific interventions and easy exercises to follow. “The Artist’s Way” for trauma victims, if you like.
Her learnings are grounded in traditional psychology but also – sadly – a terrible first-hand experience. It is hard not to follow her lead.
I usually summarise all the books I read, but in this case, I believe you all deserve the journey with the author. So instead of pulling out all the quotes, I leave you with the one on the top and warmly encourage you to read it.
Reading this book can be healing in itself, but it is also empowering – for people on both sides of any divide. This book helps us dig deeper into our shadow side, face it and come back to the middle safely. It helps us channel our fear, pain and anger into something closer to growth.
This book is relevant to us all. It will change you for the better. It will help the healing, and who knows, it might also help you thrive.