An Ancient Hawaiian Practice for Forgiveness

Image from  the_soulessence

Image from the_soulessence

As humans, we are prone to making mistakes.  At some point, we all mess up--we click send before reading over the message, we say something before thinking it through, we forget to show up, or show up late--and as much as we try to avoid it, sometimes these things happen.

So what do you do when it happens - when you've made a mistake and find yourself sinking into negative energy?  How do you shift your mood and let it go?

This year I learned a simple practice that has become an essential part of my life.  I read an article by Joe Vitale about an ancient Hawaiian practice called "ho'oponopono" Shamans passed down for years.  It's based on the simple words:

"I'm sorry, I love you. Please forgive me, thank you." 

The story goes that there was a prison in Hawaii that was a horrible place to be.  People who worked there often quit because the prisoners were so hard to be around.

Then a Hawaiian psychiatrist was brought in to work with the prisoners.  He began doing his healing work, and suddenly the prisoners were really changing.  People were being released on early leave, and people who worked there saw a huge shift, and began to love their job.

However, the psychiatrist never even interacted with the prisoners in person.  So how did he heal them?

He sat in his office, looking through each file of the prisoners and used the ho'oponopono practice.  "I'm sorry, I love you."

Susan Minarik notes:

According to the teachings of Ho’oponopono (and just about every other system of well-being as well), you are responsible for everything that you experience.  Everything you see, think, notice, hear and feel is a creation of your own mind.  All your reactions and interpretations are of your making, based in memories from the past. 

The psychiatrist was working energetically with each of the prisoners.  The ho'oponopono is based on the idea that we are all responsible for the pain and suffering in the world.  When we take responsibility, people around us begin to heal.

Joe was skeptical of this practice, so he tried it when he got an angry email from a colleague.  Instead of hitting reply he just sat, looking at the email, saying, "I'm sorry, I love you."

An hour later, he received another email from the same person, apologizing for what she had said.

Joe describes:

As long as people hold on to grudges, they will remain unhappy and unhealthy.  The hardest thing for people to accept is total responsibility, yet the door to freedom is opened when you accept it all as your responsibility.  Again, it's not your fault, but it is your responsibility.

I began using this practice often in my life.  Anytime I felt upset, or worried that I triggered somebody else, I closed my eyes and repeated, "I'm sorry, I love you."

When I do the practice, I feel an immediate shift in my energy.  In my softening, I feel any negative energy between me and another person begin to lift.

So, the next time you make a mistake, or feel yourself going down a negative thought spiral, breathe and try it.  Repeat, "I'm sorry, I love you. Please forgive me, thank you." over and over until you feel a release.


It takes courage...

courage-fear-kc baker

From the moment I left my stressed out life in New York City over four years ago to get on a plane and start a new life in San Francisco, I realized how much courage it really takes to follow your heart.

Anytime I have slowed down enough to listen, I have had to consciously learn to release self-doubt and trust in the process.  When I went to India by myself on a one-way ticket with a 6-month VISA, it was the same.  When I started my business with no clients and only a few months of rent in my bank account, it was the same.  When I sang in front of my boyfriend (who is a professional musician) for the first time, it was the same.  And in the times I have felt overwhelmed with so much to do, but have consciously stopped to honor my body, stretch, breathe and make a healthy meal to take care of myself, it was the same.

It takes courage to step back from life and do something that nurtures and honors yourself.  tweet it

And today, I want to tell you:  Self-doubt is a natural part of the process.  When you are following your heart, even if it is to simply take care of yourself, self-doubt will be there.

I recently read an amazing blog post from KC Baker about birthing her baby boy.  As she was in the moment of labor saying to herself, "I just can't do this!"  Her midwife turned to her and said, "KC, you ARE doing this."


Tonight, I invite you to explore your dreams and desires and find the courage within yourself to slow down, let go of the to-dos, and listen to those dreams.

This evening marks the Autumn Equinox, and the first class in my 6-week series, Yin Yoga & Harmonium in Sebastopol.  We will be singing, releasing self-doubt and cultivating courage to follow our heart.  There will be live music for the entire class by Michael Zeligs.   I hope to see you there.

And for those of you who would love to be there, but live elsewhere, join my email list below and stay tuned for a surprise I will be sending to you next week...

Love, Meredith