Smash Shack and the “Intense Luminosity” of Rage

June 25th, 2009


I recently heard about Sarah’s Smash Shack, a place in San Diego where you can go to smash stuff — plates, glasses, vases and other such breakables — in the shack’s very own “Break Rooms.” They’ll outfit you in protective gear, play the music of your choice and give you the chance to “let go of your inhibitions and let some steam off.” What a brilliant idea.

The folks at the Shack explain that Sarah, the namesake and one of the owners, was going through a bad time in her life and “literally woke up one day and had a vision of a room, where she could just let go and destroy some stuff. She thought this was an interesting idea for a business … after all, who doesn’t just want to smash stuff sometimes?”

Around the same time, I heard about a workshop being offered at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California called “Intense Luminosity — Embracing the Nature of Rage.” The teacher, Ruth King, writes, “Rage is energy — impermanent in nature, luminous in quality. In this contemplative and interactive daylong, we embrace rage elementally — without hatred. Understanding the intense nature of our own projections, we discover that it is not rage that we fear but rather the intense clarity of our own light.”

I think she’s saying an interesting thing: the experience of rage isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it’s an intense sensation that we think about and act upon in certain ways. In psychotherapy, we often discover that strong emotions have something important to tell us and that we have choices about how we act on such emotions.

I’m also intrigued by how she talks about rage as an energy — what is your response to this?

I like how these two different women in California are offering such unique approaches to dealing with and understanding intense emotion.

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