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10 Magic Bullets of Forgiveness

A kick here and there for my mom, my daughters and me, rivalry inscribed from birth to grave, our mouths disengaging our brains, Sweet kisses turning into salty tears, do as I say not as I do!

Silent wars, screaming hostility, with pods revolting and roots diving deep for refuge, Galileo painting our minds with jealousy and conflicting opinions, from one generation to another, Caffeine, Nicotine and Prozac swallowing our kingliest bliss, our happiness depending on our estranged loyalty to one another, Women are flags of far too many dimensions to unfurl on paper.

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” – Katherine Ponder

Are you an angry creative person? Albert Rothenberg MD commented that “Deviant behavior, whether in the form of eccentricity or worse, is not only associated with persons of genius or high-level creativity, but it is frequently expected of them.” I don’t want to think because I am an artist, I must be “crazy.” I want to believe it is our passion that sets us free to be more eccentric, more colorful and/or explosive. We are drivers of high-performance vehicles and must be careful not to run others down who get in our way. If you’re lucky, you had a forgiving mother. If not, it takes a long time to understand how anger can hurt us. It messes with our minds, our bodies, and our hearts.

Anger kills. Forgiveness is contagious. Most of us cannot determine how much time we got. If we want to live a healthy and happy life, we have to let go of anger. Forgiveness is nature’s cheapest medicine and is pure therapy whether we forgive ourselves and/or forgive others. I am good at holding grudges but every day, I try to forgive myself and my husband and kids.   I forgave Obama although I am a senior at risk. I recently forgave Christie for his improperness should he be guilty. I’m not sure I forgive Snowden. Espionage hurts too many innocent victims. I do not forgive terrorists. I have a hard time forgiving selfishness and hate.

As far as coupling is concerned, some of us have a hard time freeing ourselves of painful childhoods or past love affairs. I never escaped my past until I met my insignificant other, Joaquin, in my early forties. Although I did not know it at the time were perfect for one another, we became a couple out of need and convenience. We were much like I believe my mom and pops after the war when they came together. There was no romance just a lot of laughing and leaning for all of us.  Ours was yet another case of how history in certain families kept repeating itself.  If the truth were told, Joaquin was a textbook alcoholic with no place to live. I was a codependent enabler with a home and no one to enable.  My four children were grown and gone off to chase their own dreams.  Big surprise! Where else would I meet someone as sick as I?

It was close to Halloween, cold, and the first time I went out in ages with a lady friend. I was bed-bound and empty nested from the pain that comes with family dysfunction. I also had physical pain. My body was as on fire with chronic pain as my heart. My organs were screaming to be set free. I was still angry with two divorces behind me, unforgiving children and exes.

Joaquin had gotten separated from his friends.  They left him there alone, maybe, because he was. It was dark in the club and drunk. He asked me to dance. On the floor, while dancing, he leaned on me in a fog of confusion for the first time. I just laughed at him thinking I would help him sober up. I forgave him and brought him home that night like I would any stray. Sex was not on our minds. We both had what the other needed.  If you will excuse the expression, I was most probably his last shot at living and he was my last shot at forgiving myself for my own limitations and failures.

He was moody, depressed, and manipulative. I will admit I was the same. Sometimes we did not even like each other yet we made our bed together lying between sheets of codependency and anger.  That was what we both knew best. He kept his bag packed behind my couch that first year. Sounds like a country and western song does not it?  We clung to each other while mending our hearts.  A funny thing happened in our darkest times; we discovered the healing that comes from pouring ourselves into each other. We both swallowed an inordinate amount of crap from each other! We were like two pieces of a puzzle that should go together but did not!  Our corners were missing. There were good times when he was sober and affectionate.  He was kind, loving and thoughtful. He seemed to enjoy taking care of me as much as I did him:

Rotted gutting, pickled lips, and bloodshot eyes, violent limbs in the middle of sleep, Protruding wormholes where the liver and heart should be, Fading in and out, a stranger, a lover, A stranger, again, Coal-black days for his enabler, Who nourished him? It was me. His breathing labored after kissing me, Him licking his lips loving the way they tasted of beer; I was his woman, He drifted in and out, a Boy, a Monster, a Boy, again, Joining hordes of others dying, One day at a time in crowded Sanguine rooms of hell, nothing Left but the faintness of their best memories, their dreams Strangling in dishevelment Who nourished him? Who fell in love with him? It was me. His enabler.

After twenty years, we had now moved into a better vantage point as far as couples go. His bag behind my couch long ago disappeared. We are totally committed to one another’s misery and joy. Right from the start, we began working on our self-esteem issues by discovering value in each other first as creators than as friends. He began helping and supporting me in many of my adventures in art like no one else had done before. We opened and closed those mad, sad, scared and lonely doors. We kind of melded into each other without us consciously deciding to do so. Love brought the best in us after our pain and anger brought out the worst in us. Joaquin finally quit drinking and went back to work. We are still together, as happy or as unhappy as any couple can be. We have art all around us we made together.

I tend to agree with Goethe who says, “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.” Otto Rank, a philosopher, says, “Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.  We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating and adventuring.  The actualizing of our potential can become the most exciting adventure of our lifetime.”

The 10 Magic Bullets of Forgiveness
1.    Sleeping together
2.    Eating together
3.    Make-Up Cuddling
4.    Make-Up Sex
5.    Trust when your heart tells you not to
6.    Pray and Play together
7.    A happy marriage is two forgivers
8.    Do you hate to hear no, don’t, or stop?
9.    Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge
10.  Forgiveness enlarges your heart to live fully in its total meaning.

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