My friend turned me on to this practice. It is a Hawaiian practice of forgiveness and gratitude. This is the wording and it is like a mantra:
- I am sorry.
- Please forgive me.
- I love you.
- Thank you.
On the surface, this seems like a pretty simple practice. It is. But is has profound results. (read more about ho’onoponopono here.)
Gratitude is a practice, which means there will be ups and downs. Same thing with forgiveness. It’s when you’re “down” that you – meaning me – need it the most.
This is also a forgiveness practice, something that is really hard for me, since when I feel aggrieved, the last thing I want to do, is forgive someone. I want them to suffer terribly. But so far, the only person suffering has been me. This reminds me that other people think about me, much less than I think about them. Fodder for another post.
So, back to the Ho’onoponopono. The idea here is to picture the person you’re mad at, or who is mad at you, and say out loud or silently, the mantra. Super. Hard.
The first time I tried this, I actually thought blood would run from my eyes, so I modified it, saying the words to the Universe in general. Eventually, I was able to visualize the person, and say the words. This is what I mean by a practice. Modify something until it works for you, then take it where you need it to go. Don’t be a sheep, take control.
I modified the Hail Mary because I like the rosary my dad gave me – there’s some science behind the tactile action of passing a bead though your fingers, and chanting. I just felt I worded things better, for me.
Yes, I am a control freak, but it works for me.
Back to Ho’onoponopono. I took mom to the ER Sunday and while we were there, there was plenty of time to repeat the words. Like, four hours of time, which is actually pretty good considering our usual stay is upward of six hours. WIN! It kept my mind occupied and in a place of compassion and patience, both for my mom and for the staff. Mostly it stopped me from returning to the “rut-thinking” that gets mad at my siblings for not caring about our mom.
So here’s another benefit, when you feel yourself returning to the broken record – “no one helps” “why me” – try this forgiveness practice. Eventually you will rewire your thinking and it will not be automatic that you return to the broken record thought process.
Finally, whenever I can, I offer this practice to myself. In the end, we tend to most hard and condemning of ourselves, and often we are projecting our own wounds onto others. In this light, I offer myself forgiveness and gratitude. After all, so far I’ve survived 100% of my worst and crappiest days.