Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Let It Go


As I lean into the reality of achieving 60 years on this planet, an epiphany has struck me that simply won’t let go:  

The act of forgiveness has become a scarce commodity in this modern world.

Forgiveness is an emotional tool that many people have simply forgotten how to implement. For some reason, we’ve lost the ability to forgive the transgressions of others, choosing instead to cling to the venal anger and hatred that comes with not forgiving another human being for something they did or said or didn’t do or didn’t say that was ether bad or wrong or stupid or misdirected or just plain dumb. 


Like it says in ‘The Invisible Sky Wizard Explains How To Live Your Life’:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37

Now… don’t get me wrong here. I’m not a religious person or a believer, and I hold all religions in contempt for the brainwashing and manipulation of so many mentally enslaved people on this planet. But we humans are prone to being brainwashed and manipulated, so I forgive those humans because of their human-ness.  As for the myriad superstition-based religions that seek to ensnare and enslave malleable minds… well, whatever, they have no bearing on my life and I can ignore them with no effort whatsoever. 

Forgiveness has nothing to do with religion, and it seems religious folk are the ones who are the least forgiving among us. But we as a species definitely need to re-learn about forgiveness in order to keep our world spinning in the right direction. 

Here’s a few notable examples of my efforts to forgive.

I forgive George W. Bush.


I forgive him for being the absolute worst U.S President in my lifetime.

No… really. As much as I despised his smirking stupidity, his vapid incuriousness, his destruction of our economy and of countless American and Iraqi and Afghani lives… I forgive him. Viewed now through the lens of time and space, it’s easy for me to chalk up his disastrous tenure at the head of our nation as just… well… he did the best that he could, that’s all.

I forgive him because he’s a human being, and all human beings are flawed.  None of us are perfect, or even near-perfect, with the notable exception of The Artist to whom I am married because she is AWESOME (nice save, eh?).

It’s a funny thing, forgiveness. We have it at our disposal to allocate and use as we see fit, yet somehow we simply refuse to do so because we're dicks. Here are two words that demonstrate this concept perfectly:

Jane Fonda.


There's an entire demographic of mostly-older While males whom, upon hearing those two words, will fly into a blinding ranting rage of hatred and disgust and cursing against ‘Hanoi Jane’ because of an ill-timed photo and film taken of her during the final day of an arduous trip to Vietnam in 1972 for which she has apologized literally thousands of times.

They have no forgiveness for Jane Fonda, even after all these years. They don’t care about the situation she was in, nor her countless apologies, nor the fact that lots of things happened during that ridiculous war that were far and away more egregious and deserving of their venom than an image of her sitting on an anti-aircraft gun in some nondescript rice paddy.

They want to preserve the hate and anger and hostility. They desire to maintain the jagged little pill of blackness in their hearts, which they don’t realize has rotted out their human-ness.  They refuse to forgive, and it will gnaw at them for the rest of their lives.  They’ve chosen that path because they simply cannot find the human emotional capacity within themselves to forgive her, and it will haunt them right into the Dirt Nap.

I forgive my ex-wife.


We weren’t meant to be a couple, which became evident almost immediately after we met and got pregnant and then married, all in rapid succession.  Our marriage was a rolling disaster, and the divorce was tragic and ugly and she made damned sure I always knew how pissed off she was by feeding our daughter a constant stream of negativity towards me that took decades to overcome. But guess what?  Eventually, we became friends again, and she even admitted to my stupid face that I was a Good Father and a Good Person and she had actually forgotten why she stayed mad at me for so many years.

I had forgiven her a loooong time before that, but she finally figured out that forgiveness is better than wretched anger and unreasonable hatred. The Artist had a hard time understanding my decision to let it go way back when, but women look at things differently than men, amirite?

Now… when I say that forgiveness is an important emotional quality to have, I certainly don’t mean I should also forget.  That would be dumb, because how in the hell does a human being learn things if they forget everything that happened to them? As I grow older and shorter, I realize that I’ve always admired Gray Panthers because they've LIVED THEIR LIVES, learned from their mistakes (mostly) and use that knowledge to whip up a frothy cocktail of wisdom and pathos and humor to sip on for the remainder of their conscious lives. 

And it tastes goooood.

I forgive Donald Drumpf for being a Major League Asshole.



Poor Donald... he doesn't even realize why he's such an inflamed, bloated, stinking, reeking asshole. His life of unparalleled privilege has accorded him the ability to say and do whatever the fuck he wants, and NO ONE has ever had the nerve to tell him NO. That's what unearned inherited wealth and power and celebrity can do, but... it's not really his fault.

He was born into an extremely wealthy family, had every possible benefit accorded to him because of his birthright, attended the best schools, never wanted for anything, and was fronted a million bucks by his Nazi-sympathizing Father to get his business career started.  He's been the Captain of his own ship since the beginning and has never even once had to swab decks or peel potatoes or scrape paint or any of the myriad grunt-work jobs the rest of us enlisted slobs have to endure. 

Therefore, it should be no surprise that he acts and talks as if he is simply owed the right to be President of this-here United States on HIS terms and NO ONE is gonna question him because he's DONALD TRUMP. He simply doesn't know any other way to be. He's the poster child for and the very definition of Affluenza.

I forgive him for that, and I'm certain it matters not to him because that forgiveness is for my benefit, not his.

See what I'm getting at?

Everywhere you look, there is seething anger and rage, hatred and angst, rancor and animosity... and all because nowadays no one will give an inch, a millimeter, an iota towards deference or compromise or forgiveness. I can have a FecesBook conversation with someone whom I vehemently disagree with, but I don't hold their ignorant and uninformed opinions against them because they arrived at those ignorant and uninformed opinions via some mechanism that I can't begin to comprehend, so why should I blame them for that? I'm not them and don't pretend to know what's inside their head.


I forgive the long-dead relative who repeatedly sexually abused me as a child.


No… REALLY… I forgive him, and not just because he’s dead. I’m lucky that the abuse happened when I was still young, and although I knew at the time what he was doing to me wasn’t right, he never actually hurt me either physically or emotionally. In fact, he provided me with an early window into my own blossoming maleness and appreciation for why girls were just so darned cute and special and fun to be around… and this was in grade school. Well, that and the hush money he’d give me that would be spent on Orange Crush and Look bars and MAD Magazines.

He grew up in a family environment where sexual abuse, while not necessarily condoned, was a fact of life and just happened. It’s not an uncommon thing, no matter what anyone says, and there are many people who suffer their whole lives with the self-imposed shame of having been sexually or physically abused but never EVER admit or speak or think of it lest they open themselves up to more shame and scorn and ridicule. I’m pretty sure that same internal shame is what caused my younger brother to live his life inside a bottle until he wasn’t living any more.

I forgive the Barack and Hillary Haters.



Think about it:  why do some folks hate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton so much? These two amazing and dynamic people, who have given a majority of their adult lives towards the betterment of all Americans, are roundly vilified and derided, hated and accused of being any number of terrible things.  Why is that?

Could it be that as a strong and visible politically liberal people, it's very easy to accuse them of wrongdoing and malfeasance without a shred of evidence, yet have those accusations given legitimacy and validation by a media machine that is always taking out the long knives and slicing for no reason other than they can?

After years of negativity and lies and hatred and animosity towards them by a ratings-addicted media, people who simply won't educate themselves are brainwashed and convinced that Barry and Hilz are inherently evil, which is painfully obvious by asking the haters a few simple questions about why they hate them. 

I forgive those haters because of their ignorance... they really DON'T know anything. They simply parrot what they think they know because they only know what they've been told. It happens over and over again to the point of absurdity, but that's the result when someone's been wrongfully vilified for years and even decades.  It becomes a given truth, and unless one is compelled to investigate further, that given truth is all they have.

I forgive the Boss who cursed me out to my face numerous times.


Although he's now retired to play golf and goof off, I was subjected to numerous curse-filled, spittle-flecked, raging rants from a guy who I worked under for 10 long years. His normally semi-snarky attitude was easy enough to handle, but his ability to fly into a screaming "FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!!!" rant without warning kept me off-balance for many years until I finally figured out where his simmering rage came from.  Once I understood his motivation, I learned how NOT to take it personally.

The Artist isn't quite so forgiving towards him, and of course I love her for that.

People who are prone to such outbursts of anger and hostility are usually marinating in it 24/7 for one or many reasons, but they're well-pickled and can squirt out the Hate Juice with a viciousness that is almost breathtaking. I was known to have a quick temper that dated back to my youth, but I've learned how to resolve those tendencies and rarely (if ever) slip back into that mindset. I know how it feels to be both a giver and receiver of that unleashed anger, so I'm tuned to the wavelength that keeps it at bay. 

Mostly. I'm human, too.

**************************************************************************************

During the final few months of my first marriage, we had decided to try counseling to see if the union could be salvaged (it couldn't), but after only two sessions she announced SHE was done with counseling because the problems we were having were MY fault, so it was up to me to get right. Nice.

I continued the counseling sessions for another few months, which turned out to be a watershed moment in time.  Counselor Donna helped me to see where I was at, where I wanted to go and how to get there.  She also introduced me to a phenomenon that often caused marital problems called 'gunnysacking'.

'Gunnysacking' is something people in troubled relationships do when they would rather not discuss or fight about a particular issue. Instead of hashing things out, they take their anger and stick it inside an emotional gunnysack that's always slung over their shoulder. Time after time, it seems easier to stick one argument after another into the gunnysack instead of dealing with the problems at hand.

Eventually, that sack gets loaded down with anger and issues and deferred hostility until one day, usually the result of a minor squabble, one or both parties take their sacks filled with emotional crap and dump it out all at once, which can lead to severe chaos and unintended consequences. Relationships end over this kind of emotional violence.

Donna helped me to understand that my troubled marriage was like me clinging to a slippery rock in the middle of a swollen and raging river, weighted down with a sack loaded to the brim with unresolved emotional crap.  Letting go of the crap-filled sack (forgiveness, no matter what) was the first important step, but I still clung to the rock, afraid of what would happen if I let go (divorce). I could cling to the rock and take what I could get (unhappy marriage), or let go of the rock and swim like hell to try and reach the shore (destination unknown).

Letting go of the rock and making a break for the shore meant I might actually drown in the process, but as R.P. McMurphy said when he simply couldn't budge the massive water station in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest': "Well I tried, dammit! At least I tried!!"

"There are no guarantees", Donna told me... "but at least you'll know you're going somewhere, and if you try hard enough, you'll reach dry land and the chance to start your life again."

BOOM.

Donna saved my life and taught me a valuable lesson that I still use today. Sure, sometimes I get angry about things that I can and can't control, but I don't stay angry. I let that anger rise, internalize my understanding of it and then Let... It... Go. If someone does me wrong or something riles me up, I let through a flash of anger (because it's a solid and honest emotion) and then immediately forgive. I refuse to drop anything into my gunnysack, because life is hard enough to navigate without the extra weight of needless emotional bullshit.

Did I mention The Artist and I have now been together for 34 years?

"Forgiveness liberates the soul. That is why it is such a powerful weapon."

Nelson Mandela knew it. I do too, and so can you.



Mandela image, gracias de static1.squarespace.com; GWB image, gracias de gannett-cdn.com; Fonda image, gracias de static.guim.uk; Flo image, gracias de groundfloormedia.com; Drumpf image, gracias de answerguy.com; Molester image, gracias de dailymail.co.uk; Mob image, gracias de michaelshannon.files.wordpress.com; Boss image, gracias de rawstory.com; Marshall Crenshaw 'Walkin' Around' video, gracias de youtube.com; Fuck Donald Drumpf, I'm With Hillary and I forgive Bill Clinton too.

5 comments:

  1. Robert,
    This blog, is one of my favorites and I agree with you on Bush, Fonda, Barack and Clintons. I thank you my friend for sharing as I sip a glass of single malt Scotch Whiskey (Glengoyne) I admire your courage, cheers mate and go Hillery Clinton

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sergio... your connection and friendship means a great deal to me. A toast to you!!!!

      Delete
  2. I like your writing style and humor. I'm glad you found the power and efficacy of forgiveness. Because of it, you will step off the cosmic wheel of cause and effect, also referred to as Karma.

    As you have forgiven, I have forgiven you--that is, your apparent lack of belief in God, referencing Him as the "Invisible Sky Wizard."

    As I often tell atheists and agnostics, you cannot not believe in God. It's your definition of God that's flawed. Do you really believe that God would make us in His Image, and after His Likeness, and leave it to us to decide whether we believe in Him or not?

    Well, He didn't.

    Look around you, everything you see is a miracle. That's what God is, a Miracle. And if you believe in the big bang, then you believe in a cause without an effect, another miracle.

    As for me, I'm not "a believer," I'm a knower. I know that God exists.

    I challenge you to suspend your disbelief, at least for awhile, and search Him out, a quest of a sort. You'll find that God and religion aren't necessarily the same, that True Religion places God and His attributes at the center of its structure.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It should read: "then you believe in an effect without a cause, another miracle."

    Unfortunately, the comment section doesn't allow for corrections, as I'm writing this in haste.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lightworker...you assume that I've never considered or evaluated my connection to 'God', but that would be incorrect. You say I 'cannot not' believe in God, but you are sadly mistaken. I know there's no such thing as God because what is normally known as 'God' is nothing more than a fable created by semi-literate men in order to control the minds of others to their bidding. You can believe all you want, pray all you want, but there's literally nothing in this universe that would convince me that your God exists. God is a myth, a fable, a non-entity, and he/she/it has no relevance in my life, for which I am truly grateful. I am made of the stuff of stars, which is of a universal cosmic force, not a childish 'miracle' as you claim. If your belief makes you feel complete, than I am happy to know that. My life without God or religion or 'belief' is a wondrous, fulfilling thing.

      Delete