I was downtown in heavy traffic the other day - the time of day when all the delivery trucks are double parked and people are cussing and fuming in the heat. I was heading toward a green light when a woman stepped out into the crosswalk with a ton of bags and a frappachino, I stopped in time for her to cross safely, but the man to my right barely did. After the screeching wheels, all that could be heard was a man crawling halfway out of his window screaming, "Why, why!!?? you #%&$ &^#*$!" his face was red, his teeth were flashing, and I feared he might fall right out of his beamer. This, along with the adrenaline of almost being hit, incited her rage and she came close to giving him a sticky, cold, mocha shower.
Behind his dirty mouth and flushed face were frightened fatherly eyes, and behind her cooler than coolatta veneer was a rushing heart and sizzling embarrassment - I felt bad for both of them.
Anger is intimidating, but it helps when you realize that anger is like the great and powerful OZ hiding behind the curtain operating the smoke and lights. It's a big step to challenge yourself to face anger with compassion, but it doesn't seem so daunting when you ask yourself what the anger you're facing is taking the place of - is it fear, hurt, loneliness... embarrassment? It may not be that love just comes pouring out upon the realization, but at the very least you will gain the perspective to confront the situation with more grace. I use the same approach with myself - instead of saying,"I am so angry!" I force myself to replace the word....and, unfortunately, there are times that the exchange happens in retrospect.
I don't know if it's because it's starting to heat up here in the city, but I've been reminded of this allot lately. I watch theatrical pageants of veiled emotion - all of it dressed up as anger.