If you spend any time at all on Youtube or Facebook, you have seen clips of a humpback whale caught in fishing lines, or a ram tangled in a tree, or a cygnet caught in a fence. In each case, a human rescues them, almost always after considerable effort.
What amazes me about these videos are the wild animals. In each case, the human approaches carefully. Moose and long-horned rams can cause serious damage to a human. But in these cases, the animal, which has been struggling, holds still while being helped. I’m pretty sure they are terrified. Humans and animals live very different lives, and often, humans are predators and animals, prey.
Still, the animals hold still. While in the worst of conditions, they don’t struggle or fight. I find that fascinating. When we are hurt or in emotional pain, we often lash out, yelling and protesting, demanding something better, or different.
Often, when grief or anger has us in a heart-hold, the best thing to do is what those animals do–hold still. Get our bearings. Quit struggling, lashing out, fighting against what is. Sometimes, it is best to breathe deeply, sit with the pain or anger, and let the worst past. Once we know ourselves and our pain, some sort of action forms. We aren’t always rescued, but when we hold still and stop struggling, a solution might show up. A plan may take shape. But struggling solves nothing. It just digs us in deeper. Intensifies the anger. Deep breathing is an amazing healer. So is admitting to our anger and helplessness. Calm is a good place to start. Calm is a place that offers solutions. At least, what happens when you regain your calm is your dignity shows up. And that’s always a good thing.
—Quinn McDonald knows a thing or two about anger and grief.