Angry woman wields baseball bat 50s cartoon style image for fatboy slim Mindfulness and anger postIt tickled me, in the gym today sweating on the cross trainer, to hear a track by @FatBoySlim that I’d not heard before. I was tickled because it was a cracking advert for Mindfulness in a, shall we say, unexpected format!

There’s no way of quoting the lyrics without sounding like someone’s square and very English aunty … But work with me here…

Where u iz iz where it’s at

An’ you can’t beat that with a baseball bat

If Mr Cook is reading, then firstly, amen to that, sir. There are a lot of great reasons to agree that the present moment is the healthiest place for us to be, as opposed to ruminating on the past or the future. That you ‘can’t beat it’ as a hyperbolic recommendation. But I’ll leave it to the real Mindfulness experts to convince you.

But perhaps it won’t surprise you, if you’ve read more than a couple of my blogs to do with anger, to read that I’d like to jokingly take issue with the statement that you “can’t” beat the present with a baseball bat.

Obviously I realise Norman’s just my straw-man here, but it’s a bit of fun.

I’m a big fan of gestalt ways of working, of body-based psychotherapy, and of the Hoffman Process. Anyone who’s done Hoffman knows more than they ever expected to about baseball bats and “bashing”. And at least at this point in my career as a therapist I seem to be specialising in supporting my clients to shed their shame fear and inhibition around anger – which I think culturally as well as individually is still a big taboo in England – and find ways of expressing it with their bodies not just their voices. Especially with their bodies.

Most of my clients, and most of my colleagues’ clients, are people who need help with expressing – with even feeling – their anger, not help containing it. So if where it is for a client involves being angry about something, then these days they get handed the red foam bat  a cushion to beat and invitation to go to it.

The last thing to say about this, in Mr Slim’s defence, is that maybe you don’t need to (rather than can’t) beat the present with a baseball bat, because it’s the past – the where-it-woz rather than the where-it-iz – that really needs beating. What I mean is that it’s the pent up forbidden unexpressed impotent and overwhelming rage of the past that needs beating with the bat. The anger that we’ve chewed choked and swallowed down, watched over by the injunction that Thou Shallt Not Be Angry. And the gift of present-day circumstances is when they open a time-portal of familiarity back to the moments when we were so very very understandbly and overwhelmingly angry but could not afford to be because the interpersonal price was too high. 

And you CAN beat that with a bat.