What Do You Hear in Your Anger?


By KM Huber

In August of 1965, I would change labels—no longer just a child but now a teenager as well.

The Beatles had already arrived. The Civil Rights Act had passed. Lyndon Johnson had been elected president by the largest landslide in history. Martin Luther King recently received the Nobel Peace prize.

But before August arrived, there would be trouble in Selma culminating in the March on Montgomery.

This was my mindset on the day of my acupuncture appointment. I had just seen the movie, Selma. My heart was heavy or so I thought.

“I feel your anger in your pulse.”

Yet again my acupuncture physician revealed what my heart really was. She had ignored my statement of “I’m okay” in favor of taking my pulse.  She always seems to know when to dismiss my words for what my heart has to say.

It is not that I am being deliberately dishonest. My mind says I am fine but as Dr. Gold keeps reminding me, the pulse of my body–my heart—reveals the truth, no matter what that may feel like.

This time, Dr. Gold showed me how to feel the anger in my pulse. I was stunned at feeling this bubble, this thickened middle of a single beat. I remember my mind flashing the word “sadness” but I focused only on the beat of my heart.

Currently, my life is one of movement, so much stirring and shifting physically and emotionally. It is exciting, this palpable energy I am discovering through traditional Chinese medicine, this literal listening to the beat of my heart.

I feel as if I am sitting with a trusted friend for I am. It is a friend that allows my mind to reflect on but not to linger in what has passed. It is a lifeline for revisiting anger.

This broadening of the beat of my heart returns me first to the movie, Selma, and then to 1965 as I remember it. What the movie awakened in me was the feeling of that time.

Even in the sparsely populated, high-plains desert of Wyoming, it was obvious momentous change was on the horizon. For all Americans this energy would explode into their living rooms mostly on black and white television screens for it was an anger of black and white.

The heartbeat of the Civil Rights movement was palpable after just one moment of watching televised events in Selma and the subsequent protests. It was energy, it was hope, and ultimately, it became a movement for all faiths and for all races as the five-day March on Montgomery would show the world.

There was a belief that we would overcome. And the fact that President Johnson used those very words in his televised speech on the Voting Rights Act shocked many and angered some.

Fifty years later, we still fall short but ”tolerance, like any aspect of peace, is forever a work in progress, never completed, and if we’re as intelligent as we like to think we are, never abandoned” (Octavia Butler, September 1, 2000 NPR Interview).

We may be struggling “to be the change we seek”—maybe that is the never-ending human struggle–sometimes a great cause and other times, a true movement.

Our world is now even smaller as we meet one another screen to screen on a daily basis—connected is the word bandied about—we are faced with all we are and are not. We are a work in progress, ever in motion.

For a moment, we can reflect on but not bring forward the hope of another time. We move along with the real pulse of life all around us, a collective heartbeat. And if we are angry, that is our pulse. It is our truth.

What if we all learn to listen to the heartbeat of our anger? It is more calming, this expanding of a heartbeat, than you may think for it is the truth of what one feels. In knowing the truth we find our way to compassion and possibly tolerance, once again taking up the banner of believing we will overcome.

What kind of world might be possible if we turn to our hearts for the truth, for the real pulse of our lives? Are we intelligent enough to try?


KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2015 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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