Forgive Forget Move On Part III: Lovers and Forgiveness

By Brian Kane 6/4/2011

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher, Mr. Bannister, when referring to a peculiar current event that involved our government or a celebrity, often said: “All is fair in love and war.” When I was 11 or 12, that saying really never affected or left an impression on me, because besides the usual innocent grade school crush and the proverbial “love” note the read “Do you like me?” or “Will you go out with me?” I had no idea what love felt like. And war, it would be another 15 years until I had friends leave for the Middle East, and had one of those, Shane, die in combat.

Flash forward 20 years…I often think about what Mr. Bannister said.

With regards to war, well forget about it, although we like to live under the illusion that there are “rules” in war, that idea  is utter bull crap. Does Abu Ghraib strike a chord with anyone? How about the Mi Lai Massacre? Yeah, I wonder if former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld (or as New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd referred to him as, “Rummy”) thinks there are rules in war. I truly doubt it.

Love is a different story.  Ideally, there should be no deception in love. There should be no games, manipulation, spitefulness, et-cetera. The word ‘fair’ almost alludes to the fact that love is a game. That brings up the question: Does love really exist? Or is it merely a chemical trick of the mind: a Serotonin farce?

I believe that love is real. I know when I am in love if after the lustful feelings have subsided, I truly enjoy the company of a girl to the point that I am excited to support her and, ideally, she is excited to support me.  If you are truly in love, then sex is perhaps only half of the equation. Once I went to a rock concert, and the singer of the band told the audience that he would like to thank his wife. Because without her, he did not believe he would be as successful as a musician. See, love is empowering and mutually beneficial and some would say, necessary for a healthy existence.

I would revise Mr. Bannister’s quote to say: “All is fair in war and lust.” That makes more sense. For instance, recently former Senator John Edwards has been in the news for cheating on his wife and then supposedly receiving contributions from a supporter to cover it up. I am sure that he loved his now deceased wife. However, his lust got the better of him and he had an affair, ruining their marriage. And I am sure most of you have read about Arnold Schwarzenegger having a kid with the live-in maid. This list could go on forever: Pastor Jimmy Swaggart, Hugh Grant and his affair with a prostitute, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton and on and on.

In the aforementioned cases, only one of the women forgave her lover, Hillary Clinton. Some might use the argument that humans are not innately monogamous. I would have to say that some of us are more monogamous than others. It is true that some people should just not get married or should agree to polyamorous relationships which involve multiple partners.  Men seem to be more apt to want multiple partners, but this does not mean they are not capable of love. Love involves sacrifices, so it seems to me that even if you have lustful feelings, you should be able to subdue them if you are truly in love with a person.

One of the biggest issues in relationships seems to be cheating. I myself have never cheated on a woman but that is not to say that I have never had the urge or thoughts of doing it.  Moreover, if I was a man of power and prestige like say, Bill Clinton, I cannot honestly say that I would have remained completely faithful to my wife. Like my uncle Marvin often says about celebrity affairs: “Hey, how would you act if you were constantly around eye-candy and having women throw themselves at you on a regular basis?” I’d like to think that I would remain faithful to my girlfriend or wife. But one can never be completely sure.

So even if love is a game, nobody likes to play with a cheater. Being in love is not easy because although true love does exist, so does the incredibly strong urge of sex and lustfulness, which are often completely different emotions than love.

Man, where in the world am I going with this? OK, so like with friends, we all have different values and levels of tolerance when it comes to lovers. Some of us view love as a very Shakespearean tragedy or comedy: “The Merchant of Venice” depicts the often ridiculousness of love. Some believe it does not exist and is a way to control our natural tendencies to desire to copulate with anyone that is willing. Some believe that love exists, but is not for them. Some believe that they have found love, even though in the past they thought they were in love. You know… love is a really complicated phenomenon. Maybe we make it that way. It is certainly hard to describe love with words so I will stop this nonsense now and get to the issue at hand: Lovers and Forgiveness.

The year was 1998, November to be exact. I had just broken up with my first serious girlfriend. I will spare you the details of how and why this love affair ended but I can tell you that some pretty mean things were said by both of us during the breakup. One of the things she said that has haunted me over the years is “You are gonna end up old and alone.” Although I do not believe this to be prophetic, I think we are all scared of that happening to us. None of us want to be the crazy cat lady (or man).

She felt really bad about saying that among other things and in a beautiful letter (which most of her letters were) she asked for forgiveness for her words and actions.

“…I said some things out of anger and rage that I didn’t mean to say,” she wrote. “You are a wonderful person and I wish the best for you because that is what you deserve…” She went on…”Forgive me for my harsh words please, you know that I don’t meant them…”

Of course I was kind of a bugger at times during that relationship, but hey, I was a kid. We both were. That was a very long time ago and honestly I have completely forgiven her and she has forgiven me.

A recent ex of mine one time randomly emailed me some pretty vitriolic words. I was kind of taken back since it had been about two years since we had broken up and she had since then married.  Some of what she said, I think I kind of deserved and I wrote her back saying I was sorry. She did not respond—right away.

About six months ago, she wrote me a beautiful email that explained that she was getting help for some of her personal issues. Part of that help entails asking people that you might have hurt over the years for forgiveness. I cannot tell you how happy this made me. She explained why she believes she made our relationship hard and then I wrote to her explaining what I believe I did wrong.  After I wrote her back, it was like part of what was weighing down my soul to love had been lifted and I was breathing easier, if that makes sense.

I could go on with other examples, but the point is, forgiveness is very empowering. It is not a sign of weakness or conceding. It is good for both parties involved. Love is also empowering. It is not a sign of weakness or conceding. It is also good for both parties involved. Perhaps the trick is to realize and be at peace with the fact that relationships run their course: Some last a very short time, some last until death. Throughout it all, both very kind and, unfortunately, often very mean words will be said: very kind and in some cases mean actions will be taken. The trick is to not act out of what my first serious lover also mentioned in her letter “…passion and rage…” but out of intelligent understanding and maybe even patience.

Dr Guan-Cheng Sun has written three books that are available to YiRen QiGong students. In Volume Two he wrote “One of the major problems in Western medicine is its lack of the knowledge and understanding about the functions of the internal organs at the energetic level. For example, shoulder pain can be caused in an individual by chronic grief. In such a case, the shoulder pain is not the problem, it is the signal of an accumulation of grief. Many people don’t understand this could be caused by holding the grief for a long period of time and they do not allow themselves to cry to release the grief. Instead, they may take painkillers to repress the feeling of the shoulder pain. Without the knowledge and understanding about the functions of the body at the energetic level, the body’s intelligence and energetic communications can be easily mistaken as illnesses or problems requiring medical treatment with drugs and surgery…”*

He then goes on to write how our thoughts, state of mind, emotional habits and behavior have a direct connection to our health and quality of life.

After reading through the exercises, I came upon two Level Two  YiRen QiGong exercises that I believe can help us learn to forgive past lovers (and others) and also empower us to seek new lovers and relationships. Those exercises are the Lung/Large Intestine exercise (as mentioned in my previous two writings) and the Stomach/Pancreas exercise.  From my understanding these two exercises are Heaven (Du) related to Yang Energy, and Earth (Ren) related to Yin Energy, partners.

For example, the lungs are affiliated with the emotions of sadness, grief, depression, sorrow, momentum and enthusiasm.  The large intestines at the conscious level are related to abomination, detachment, forgiveness and purity and at the emotional level: coolness, purity, longing, despair and hopelessness.

The Stomach, at the emotional level, is related to curiosity, anxiety, obsession and stress. At the conscious level: thoughts, decision making, imaginations, delusions, logic and reasoning. The pancreas, at the emotional level, is related to impatience, worry, shame and guilt.

This is not an exhaustive list, but my intentions are for the reader to see how the health of these two organ pairs is very important not only in relation to forgiveness, but also the strength and courage to carry on in your quest for both self love and the love of another person. The more I study Yi Ren QiGong, the more I have become aware that there is a definite mind/body connection. If that connection is not fluid and unimpeded, oftentimes blockages or hang-ups are created.

Love and war, to me, are two separate and very different things. War is destructive, and love is mending. War is foolish, and, contrary to some popular belief, love is very wise. It might be a misconception of love that created that quote that my elementary school teacher taught us.  No matter whether you agree with the adage or not (All is fair in love and war) it is unarguable that forgiveness of lovers (whether it be romantic, ideal love or a fleeting, lustful tryst) is imperative to living a healthy life.

With all that said, I leave you with the lyrics to a Daniel Johnston song. Johnston found true love with his muse, Laurie, and she inspired him to write beautiful lyrics such as these. Enjoy.

True love will find you in the end
You’ll find out just who was your friend
Don’t be sad, I know you will,
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.

This is a promise with a catch
Only if you’re looking will it find you
‘Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.

*Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun , PHD & Jill Gonet, M.F.A.(2011). “Qigong: Energizing the Zang-Fu—YiRen QiGong Therapy Manual Volume II” page 1.

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