Modern Ho’oponopono

A few years ago, I read a wonderful book about the ancient Hawaiian teaching called Ho’oponopono, co-written by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Hew Len, called Zero Limits.

It described the work of Dr. Hew Len and his application of this ancient teaching of reconciliation and forgiveness in his work as a psychologist.

It involves getting to what he terms as “zero state.”  This means the state where we are perfect, whole, and complete.  The state that is our inheritance as human beings.

You are whole.  You are always enough.  You need nothing.  Our conditioning and our memories of our experiences block that knowledge.

Everything that is perfect for you is already in you – the Inspiration, your spark or potential, is within.  In order to understand this as your truth, you must release what is blocking you, what you would consider an enemy- the memories that stand between you and Inspiration.

Dr. Hew Len talks about “cleaning” the memory.  This means acknowledging that what we know is not all there is to know and that we have a lot of arrogance to overcome so we can experience reality.  This takes a humble spirit!

It also takes a courageous spirit, because, in this manner, we have the responsibility to set everyone and everything free…

I came to life…I don’t know how.
I am here to live.  I am invited to express Inspiration in my unique way.
I will leave here the same way I came to life.  I don’t know how.
Not knowing is freedom…

Come to Inspiration like a little child – curious, enthusiastic, playful, and always enough.

Children are always listening, watching, and learning.  They don’t know what anything means.  In this same manner, I must admit that I don’t understand much of anything.  As clear a filter as I can be, I am still a filter.

Children trust because they love.  It is always wise to choose to access the deepest source of wisdom you can at this point in time.  Love opens the door.  Fear blocks the door.

The four statements in the Ho’oponopono Prayer are an acknowledgment of our need for greater humility and fore-giveness.  I call it fore-giving, because first, we must give ourselves that which we wish to give to others.  We must live it so we know how it looks, sounds, tastes, and feels for ourselves.

Overnight, it seems, our world has been catapulted into a new frontier.  A New Earth, as Eckhart Tolle describes it, has the potential to emerge from the ashes of the old.

In the next weeks…months…years…what doors will you open?  Will you emerge from the dark womb of Mother Earth, this dark night of the spirit, as a new being?

Now is the perfect time to begin the journey towards the sun.  You were meant to walk in the sunshine…

Here are some thoughts regarding the process of Ho’oponopono that I apply to my own life.  It is the only prayer that I say, and has brought many blessings to my life.  My personal mantra, Kiss not Curse (offering a psychic blessing to others instead of a judgment) has its genesis in this ancient Hawaiian teaching.

I offer them to you with love:

I’m sorry (acknowledging responsibility, my personal role)

For not demonstrating the best of me.
For not offering you a fresh new slate on which to write.
For not being a welcoming human being.
For not being an elegant example.
For believing more in my memories of you than in you.
For loving my own opinion more than you.
For protecting myself and hardening myself against you – your thoughts, your reality, your wisdom.
For condemning and imprisoning us both.
For not cleaning up my own home while criticizing your housekeeping abilities.

Please forgive me (offering humility, acceptance, willingness to let go)

For not listening and understanding.
For not taking responsibility for my healing on myself.
For indulging in selfishness.
For loving my limitations more than our freedom.
For condemning and criticizing you.
For not offering you the space to embrace your possibilities.
For taking the responsibility for your life onto myself.
For knowing what is right for you.
For believing you are attacking me.
For seeking revenge.
For attacking you.
For attacking myself.
For thinking so small.
For separating myself from you.

 I love you (inviting Inspiration from within as well as through others)

I see you.
I hear you.
I love your life.
I love your Spirit.
I love your creativity.
I love your ideas.
I love your perspective.
I love your freedom.
I love your wisdom.
I love your truth.
I love your eyes, your hands, your ears, your voice, your heart.
I love your sadness, your suffering, and your pain.
I love your mess.
I love your quirks, and wrinkles, and scars.
I love your disrespect and hissy fits.
I love your hate.
I love your potential.
I love your creativity.
I love your best.

 Thank You (an acknowledgment of perfection aka innocence)

For blessing me awake.
For opening my eyes and my heart.
For showing me your pain.
For revealing your heart.
For reminding me of life.
For celebrating life through me.
For opening me to potential.
For showing me exactly what I deserve.
For opening me to understanding.
For teaching me patience.
For relaxing me into the time that I need to process forgiveness.
For restoring me to love.
For bringing me home.
For helping me write another version of my story.

The Japanese process called Naikan is a lovely compliment to Ho’oponopono.  It is an examination of our life from the perspective of what we have received and what we have given.

This is all about me.  This is all about you. I am you and you are me.

Namaste…

My Version of Ground Hog Day?

I was asked today…If you had one day to live for the rest of your life, what would it look like?  It became an interesting exercise…

Creativity. Connection. Community.

These are my prime motivators. I have no problem attending to the details of life, but I am primarily a big picture person. I apply these three essential elements in my life every day.

As a person who has given herself over to the directives of the most honorable and compassionate self that I can possibly imagine at this point in time, the part I call my Constant Traveler, every day is fresh and new, so my version will always be my version, regardless of how many people are watching. It will always be unique.

It is interesting to consider how many of us are actively trying to retreat to our version of Ground Hog Day right now, as we resist the tsunami of change that is happening in our world.

Disclaimer: As an artist, my focus on creativity allows for my own redesign of this day. What “same” means to me would be the key component of my contemplation. “Same day” for me means exploring my personal Field of Dreams, what I call the Wellspring of Inspiration. It lies beyond any glitch in the Matrix. From this perspective, each day is always full of surprises. There is always Something Colored Beautiful to explore.

On a metaphysical level, the whole world is a construct of my imagination aka illusion. Check it out – on a quantum level, we are primarily composed of space. My world is composed of concepts – even the self that is writing this was constructed of nothing, of space…the space where everything and no-thing become moot.

In the big scheme of things, when it comes time to exit this life, I will give myself over to that expansiveness. I don’t take it any more seriously than I do this Ground Hog Day exercise in speculation…it is an exercise in creativity. Serious play.

I am curious to see where it leads me…

I am a peaceful warrior. Each day that I wake up on this side of the grass, I choose my response to life. If I were to live my version of the movie Ground Hog Day, it may look like this:

Creativity:

I would wake up in the morning, happy to be here. I begin my early morning practices in a state of receptivity, anticipating and accepting everyday miracles. These are the Something Colored Beautiful moments that are hidden in everyday life.

Yes, there is always stuff to deal with. There are challenges and readjustments and disappointments…my compassion flows to those who are suffering and deeply scared today…

I focus on my heart, my influence, my good vibes…in this creative space. Quora has become one of my creative spaces. Even if I were to answer this same question over and over again…considering my perspective, I would always find something new to share.

Connection:

This includes connections made in my brain through reading and understanding; connection with my Constant Traveler and the artful Wellspring of Inspiration inside me; and connection to other people. I would always be learning. I would always be sharing. What I learned and shared on this day would strengthen and enrich this connection.

But best of all…because I enter into what I consider sacred space every day…I would always be in contact with Inspiration…perhaps my Ground Hog Day would become my version of Nirvana???

To discover what lies beyond the Matrix because I would be immersed in it by the force of the Universe, not able to draw myself, my attention, out of it through ego identification?

What a delightful thought!!

Community:

I have been preparing for this event for over a decade. I live by the 5P’s of Effective Action – Proper planning prevents poor performance. As an ambivert, I have learned how to fill my inner directive to engage in the world, as well as how to retreat and recharge. I have been actively connecting with folks, writing and sharing songs and books, joining with others in groups like Toastmasters, and offering my contemplative and meditative thoughts to others in every way I can imagine.

Inspire. Invite. Incite others to action…I do this every day, so my Ground Hog Day wouldn’t be any different. Sometimes we don’t need to open out…sometimes we need to open in…to expand our inner resources and resilience and connection to the collective through what we share energetically…to enrich our inner space, because, in ways that you may not be able to recognize, when mine is beautiful and full it spills over into yours…

My same will include compassion and sharing that which I choose to live each day…and there is nothing wrong with more of that same!

And as my day draws to a close, and I have completed my qigong and breathing exercises and released this day…died to it, essentially…regardless of whether today becomes yesterday…I am living my best life. Too cool!!

Sending you lots of love, my friends…

Insight from COVID-19 – Transforming Reaction into Response 1.0

We are in the midst of chaotic times, no doubt.  It is truly a call for us all – to wake up to the fact that we live in a global community.

Arguments to the contrary can no longer be entertained.  However, new thoughts, habits, and routines can be inner-trained.

When faced with challenging circumstances, I have trained myself to search for something worthwhile that can be gleaned from the suffering.  With practice these kinds of thoughts become like beachballs in water – they inevitably pop to the surface.

Folks are afraid, and there is good reason.  This contagion is real.  Government protocols are being rewritten because of it.  The lifestyles of the rich and famous and poor and unfamous are changing because of it.

We are at a crossroads.  Will we react?  Or respond?  There is a world of difference.

Here are a few of the things that I am learning from this outbreak.  These include the pragmatic and philosophical, as well as the humorous…humor is Now Therapy.

  1. Appreciation is an Elegant Art.  Appreciate our health care workers, retail clerks, truck drivers, utility workers, and those who maintain our vital communication, and emergency services.   Friends, this realization is changing the water on the beans – without these folks we WILL be in dire circumstances indeed.  Keep in mind that those who are in direct contact with the public (you and I) have to go home to their families.  We can spread the love not the virus.
  2. Appreciate our personal vitality, health, and strength.  If you are healthy it is honorable to help others.  There are those who will not be able to get to the grocery store.  We can always drop off food and meds to those who are even more shut-in than we are, while maintaining a necessary distance.  This is a vital community service.  Contact your local organizers to find out how you can assist.
  3. We can walk outdoors (if we are not under a strict isolation order) while keeping our distance from others and even if we are confined to our home we can do stress-relieving and flexibility enhancing exercises like yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong.  There are hundreds of videos that are free online.
  4. Kindness costs nothing but pays a huge return on our investment.  It is also stress-reducing.  We are all consumers.  We are all contributors.  What are you consuming?  What are you contributing?  It is true kindness to only use what you need and leave the rest for others.  These days, kindness also looks like staying home!
  5. We can ration paper products.  What is this new Toilet Paper Index but a sign of irrational times? This is not gross, folks, it’s a natural bodily function.  In many cases, two small squares of TP is all you need to attend to a #1, ladies.  Gents understand this pragmatic approach and have for eons.  Hippies and hikers have known the benefits of rationing products that decimate our old-growth forests for what seems like forever.  Glad to have y’all on board!
  6. We can get by on about half the amount of food we regularly consume.  The SAD (Standard American Diet – this includes all of North America) is excessive.  We have heard that before.  With people hoarding food, this is the perfect opportunity to practice calorie-restriction.  It won’t hurt you.  Cut your consumption of meat in half or quarter – there are huge benefits for your pocketbook as well as your innards.  You won’t simply survive, but you may find yourself thriving.
  7. Eliminate food waste.  With the requirement for social distancing, you may find yourself a lot more mindful about what food you are buying (getting to the store is a privilege of these who are healthy) and, if you are community-minded you will find yourself naturally limiting your trips to the stores that remain open so we can continue to eat.  You may find yourself using leftovers in creative ways!  Bravo!
  8. Staying at home has its benefits.  We can play more games.  We can write and listen to music and hang out with those that share our home.  Our wardrobe is not a concern.  One change of clothing is all we need.  Minimalists have been saying this for years.  Consider what truly is important – enjoy the benefits of not doing nearly as much laundry too!
  9. You now have time to give your windows the attention they deserve.  I accept my responsibility for cleaning the dog snot off the living room window, and now I have plenty of time to attend to it.  Wash your dishes by hand!  My hands have never been cleaner!  🙂
  10. I have new empathy for my dog and cat and every critter who has ever spent time confined.  I can go outside.  I can move around my home.  I don’t have to hold my bodily functions like my pup does if he or she is crated.  My human litter box is clean.
  11. Feed the need now – pets need more than food.  Pets need petting.  That is the definition of petting – where it originated.  Pets give us so much – this is the perfect time to give them a whole lotta love!  This is a gift that keeps on giving!
  12. There is logic in cat poop.  Sharing negativity and nastiness on social media is like taking the contents of your cat’s litter box and handing it to others.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a piece of it.  Neither does your cat!  Litter box wrangling is a solitary endeavor for the cat (ask him!) and a solitary pursuit for their hooman…scoop it up and dispose of itPlease don’t try to distribute it to your social media community.

Yes, I agree.  Some choices have to be curtailed for a while.  It isn’t fun.  There is a whole world of adjustment happening – financial strain and frustration and fear is real.  We still have many choices available to us – ones that don’t cost anything – like learning to transform knee-jerk reaction into clear-eyed response.

This virus outbreak may be historical, but it is only hysterical if we let it be.

Stay healthy, my friends.

Walk This Way?

Practice gratitude to feel gratitude. There is no other way.

You cannot give it service with your lips and expect to feel it in your heart.

Let’s ask a few interesting What if questions:

What if what you are talking about is what the Universe is giving you in return? Empty words devoid of feeling?

It is easy to read the wisdom books and memorize the correct terms. I have learned from experience that it is much easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk. Many times, when we say we know something it means that we understand it intellectually, but knowing something intellectually and actually living that way are two different things.

What if you substituted the word know as in I know what gratitude is, with the word live as in I live that way in everyday life…would the statement still be true for you?

This is what I mean – most people say they know what gratitude is, but do they really?

Intellectually I may know that gratitude means living with a grateful heart, but do I live my life with a grateful heart?

What if I am I pretending to be something I’m not?

People who live with a heart filled with gratitude practice gratitude every day, in every way they can. They know its true value.

They practice it so they can feel it. They share it so they can continue feeling it.

What if, in the words of Aerosmith, we were to Walk this way?

Point of Impact

What is the point of it all?

Everyone must find the answer to this question for themselves. The only way to answer it is through living and exploring your precious life.

Approach it with the mindset of a contributor. Consider your potential…what you give may be the catalyst for something wonderful happening in someone’s life. You never know what this means to you until you act.

A perspective that you share may open someone’s eyes, a smile may brighten their day, a kind word may cause them to step back from the brink of oblivion.

You may be the reason that another person learns to be kind because you allow them to be kind to you…

Everyone says, Think big! What impact can I make on a global scale? I want to change the world!

The choice to walk creates the path ahead…

I believe it is important to focus on the point of engagement that is right in front of me…and find the Something Colored Beautiful moments in my ordinary day, those mundane points of impact that I have come to understand as blessings in disguise.

Until we are willing to do that, to be quiet and listen and observe and serve, our ego runs the show. It is our ego that screams, Be important or die!

In this way, it is speaking its truth, because everything is a deathmatch to the ego. Problem is, in its world, everyone dies.

This is what I have found to be true in my life – If I release my need to be important to everyone, I can focus on being important to someone.

I believe it is important to not spread yourself too thin…build your impact one by one person at a time…the people you see before you are your point of impact.

The ego hates to hear that. It hates to be last, or even second best. It must win. If you let it win, this drive will cost you your life, because for our ego even first is never enough.

Engage each person from your power-point, your point of impact. Make every interaction a quality engagement. Whatever flows from that point…if you influence one or grow your impact to reach thousands or millions, you will have built it on a truly solid foundation.

Then, friend, you will have the satisfaction of answering your own question.

Afterthoughts

Can we ever truly heal from the death of a loved one?

I was listening to a radio show on CBC where the author being interviewed was discussing healing. He said he thought that you never really heal from the death of someone you love.

It struck me as a pessimistic perspective. I think healing depends on what healing means to you.

Oxford Dictionaries defines healing as “the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.” This does not mean a reset back to the way life was before the event occurred.

After we experience the death of someone we love, we are not the same person we were before they died. To use the analogy of a wound being inflicted, we experience a deep rend in the fabric of our lives, one that feels like our heart actually has a gaping, bloody gash. It feels soul deep.

This gash did not exist before, so how could we possibly be the same after its infliction?

The way of all things is to be stripped of all things…

When you open yourself to love in this world, you are opening the door to its loss. Argue as we often do, we are neither exempted nor excused from any aspect of living or dying. We all live, and we all die.

Given time, wounds heal. Bones knit, and scar tissue forms. It may be bumpy and not as pristine as before, but we know that once it has healed, the actual site of a wound can be even stronger than it was before the injury. Nature has mechanisms for healing that operate unhindered if we accept this as fact.

The problem is, death is not a fact we are prepared to accept.

There is an appropriate and necessary period for a human being to mourn. This is unique to the character of each individual and cannot (and should not) be circumvented.

Grieving and feeling have a purpose. We need to deeply feel our farewells. The problem with healing from loss lies in our resistance to it.

When someone dies, you are abruptly smashed in the face by their physical absence. This shock happens not only after an unexpected death but even after a prolonged illness or the end of a long and productive life. You discover just how accustomed you were to your umbilical-like energetic connection when you, who are left, can no longer feel it.

Now you are faced with an entirely unfamiliar sensation — an unsecured and unbalanced feeling that will undoubtedly be one of the most terrifying experiences of your lifetime, an experience that may be further intensified for reasons that perhaps you are not aware. It brings you face to face with the naked brutality of your aloneness.

An adjustment period is natural, but we often resist this transition of learning to live our lives without our loved one in it. We hang on to their personal items, their favorite things. We search clothing for their scent; we lie on their side of the bed. We trace their scars in our mind and picture the way they wore their hair… Their little gestures and vocal inflections become overwhelmingly endearing. We visit their grave and talk to their headstone. We cherish these snapshots of them in order to keep them with us, as solid and earthly as possible. You only have to consider the despair you feel when you realize you can no longer recall the sound of that person’s voice to understand this deep resistance.

Through our desperate clawing at who they were in life, we keep the wound open. Deep down we know the purpose of our clinging — we are grasping for some measure of control over a situation that was entirely out of our control. We focus on worrying the wound, on keeping it as open and bloody as it was the first day it happened. We believe that if we keep it bleeding, the person is not that far away.

However, this wound is not fresh. It happened in the past. It could have been a year ago or 10 years ago.

During that time, your situation has evolved, but for some confusing reason, you may find that the fond memories do not satisfy you. Your mind keeps rolling back to the moment when they died. The situation is multi-layered; you may believe you wish to heal but perhaps do not recognize the contradiction of your words and your thoughts as you continue to replay and relive the moment of their death in your mind.

Your efforts to heal as well as to keep the wound open and bloody have been partially successful. A scab and some scar tissue have formed in some areas (you may be able to function on a superficial level), but your continued efforts to keep this wound open has opened the door to disease. The wound has festered, and when you are alone, you know the full brunt of its infection.

There comes a time in the healing process when you become tired of feeling sad. This is normal. It is not a betrayal of your loved one’s memory. It is the mind’s natural mechanism that allows you to move on and live — to create healthy scar tissue. After all, you are still alive.

When you are faced with this feeling, you have to realize that what you are doing is not working.

There is a distinct difference between mourning a death and celebrating a life. We must come to the point where we understand that we are not honoring either life (theirs or ours) by this suffering.

Do you continue to mourn the person’s death, or do you instead celebrate his/her life? Does their memory bring tears through loss or tears through smiles?

You have to consider that perhaps you have deliberately kept the fond memories at bay (and therefore denied your loved one’s life force or energy from once again blending with yours) because you cannot let go of who they were in life.

Where is the joy that their presence brought to your life if every time your mind accesses the memory of that person you become sad? What is more important to feel and share as their legacy?

Each time you are reminded of this person, the energy you generate through these thoughts serves to feed or to starve your own life force as well as that of all whom you encounter.

Healing is hard work. This presence of mind does not happen easily. It involves actively letting go, and, as I stated before, this takes time. Be kind to yourself, and let the days go by as they will. Feel and deal with your grief and loneliness in order to heal.

Remember, healing does not mean you will be the same person you were before their loss. Healing can mean you are a better person now because you knew and loved them.

It is the experience that, once you know, you will never forget, nor should you forget any aspect of their love and the gift of that person’s influence in your life. You simply train your mind to recognize the nurturing memories and gently substitute them for the sad ones whenever the sad ones come along.

I have found it beneficial to write down some of the happy stories about my loved ones and share them with others. It works just as well to keep them private and to read them in the times when you cannot seem to let go of your sadness.

Healing: the process of making or becoming sound or healthy A-GAIN. Wouldn’t that make your loved one smile, thinking about what they have given you?

Healing from death is honoring the life of the person you love through the way you choose to LIVE yours.

Excerpt from, Saving Your Own Life:  Learning to Live Like You Are Dying by Paula D. Tozer

Living In The Gap: Embracing Emotional Maturity

How does a person go from confusion to clarity? From restlessness and distraction to serenity? From conflict to peace? From noise to silence? From angst to joy? From entitlement to gratitude? From selfishness to service?

This transformation is the result of embracing learning and change.

I think that explaining the changes that happen when a person reaches emotional maturity is not as effective giving the person a means to obtain it.

 

Emotional maturity, for me, is what I term as living in The Gap (a state of inner space, not the store!). Viktor Frankl called it the space between stimulus and response.

The Gap is that split second between when something happens and our reaction to it.

 

  • Our senses to register it as having happened (stimulus)
  • They send signals to our brain
  • We sift through our mental database for a similar experience and choose the best possible reference. We remember what we did before, or what we have been taught, or what we saw someone else do in a similar situation (even someone on TV).
  • We to apply to this situation (response)

When we act from memory, when we remember a similar experience and act from it, we call this reacting.

Athletes work on their reaction time, repeating the same action until it becomes what we call Second Nature. Doctors and pilots and musicians and parents and factory workers and dancers, like Tom Cruise in the movie, Cocktail, practice their moves until they become so smooth, so easy, it is like they always knew how to do this thing.

But they didn’t. Even with natural ability, they still had to learn the moves. And it took years, even decades, to master this skill.

Living in The Gap gives us access to First Nature. This is who we are before we become domesticated, shaped, molded, and folded into a predictable version that is acceptable to mainstream society.

The original Big Sky country, First Nature is a space where the wildest, most courageous, curious, creative, and passionate hearts roam free. It is a space of calm, and quiet. Time becomes null in this void. It is Sanctuary.

It is where the most honorable and compassionate part of us, the part I call our Constant Traveler, awaits.

We must come to our Constant Traveler’s space. I learned that attempting to draw her “out here,” into the world, breaks the connection.

I spent decades catching only flashes of her…being with her just long enough to know it was possible but never being able to stay for more than an hour or two. I spent years yearning for the delight of this place that I knew existed but in which I couldn’t live…until Viktor Frankl taught me through his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, about the space between stimulus and response.

I began to extend the time in between when something happened and my reaction to it. It was hard. It hurt. I had to bite my tongue, as my Irish grandmother would have described it, and wrestle with my feelings over what I believed to be an injustice.

But I wanted it more than anything. I had to desire peace more than I desired defense.

I studied the work of psychologists Carl Rogers and William Glasser, and teachers like Jiddu Krishnamurti, Wayne Dyer, and Alan Watts, as well as other great thinkers and teachers. Gradually The Gap began to expand.

The Gap is the space where I learned how to shut my mouth and listen.

Emotionally mature people value The Gap above all else. They use time wisely. They take the time they need to consider an appropriate response and do not let the drama of a situation drag them from this sanctuary.

Essentially, it is where the subject learns to be the observer by positioning you, as A Course In Miracles describes it, above the battleground.

This is how life has changed for me. I am no nobody’s guru, but I do enjoy living in The Gap.

Try it on and see if it fits you.