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Mad As Hell: Is Positive Thinking Bad for Women?

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Rage. The white-hot rush that floods your body and shoots out the top of your head like a volcanic eruption, leaving you vibrating with energy so pure you feel you could levitate. For one sweet/hot, burning moment, you are the Goddess of FIRE.

Rage is a powerful, cleansing river of lava that opens every pore, every blood vessel, igniting your entire body and soul.

When was the last time you were well and truly enraged?

If you are like me, you may not be able to remember, exactly. Or you may have felt the rush of anger over something totally unrelated or inappropriate, like a dish you dropped or somebody in traffic. Anger, like the pressure building up in a geyser, has to have somewhere to go. It is a force of nature.

Here's the truth: I feel ENRAGED when I have to lower my eyes and keep walking when men ogle my breasts under my blouse as I walk to a café to write. I feel ENRAGED about the stupidity and intolerance in the abortion debate. I feel ENRAGED when I read about the abuse of children, women or animals. I feel ENRAGED that I am not supposed to feel rage.

But you would never know it. My rage is quiet; it transmogrifies into a feeling of helplessness, of emptiness. I have swallowed so much anger in my life that my belly is full.

It is said that depression is anger turned inward.

For the past several years, I have immersed myself in the ideology of Positive Thinking. Thoughts become things. Like attracts like. If you feel anger or god forbid rage, you will suffer from some kind of terrible vibrational blowback. But what is the cost of that disconnect between how you really feel and how you ought to feel? Not so positive, when you think about it.

Surely, it is common sense that passive aggression, sarcasm, quiet resentment, hostility and an inability to move on is crippling and can surely reap a lifetime of same. But that type of slow burn anger is quite a different thing. Or is it the result of avoiding rage in the first place? There are many shades of anger but rage is the top of the heap; its explosive nature is not destined to last.

I think of the Hindu Goddess Kali, the Dark Mother, the goddess of many names. Kali is fearful, powerful and primal; she is a manifestation of the Divine Mother, she embodies the duality of ferocity and loving-kindness. She is whole.

What happens to women when we do not embrace our own duality? Where does the dark side go if we aren't allowed, by society -- or worse, by ourselves -- to express it? How can we be hope to be whole, to integrate ourselves and to create the space for change?

The cleansing power of anger -- of rage -- can be transformative. It is the howl that levels psychic obstacles and burns victim thinking to the ground. Anger is an opening through which we may, if even for a moment, see for miles with great clarity. Anger is the NO that prepares the way for the YES.