Saturday, April 19, 2014

From human suffering to divine peace, through Ho'oponopono

Many have written me asking for proof that Ho'oponopono "works."  Maybe they're looking for controlled, double-blind studies that do not exist; maybe they're just seeking hope that something they choose to do can truly improve their lives.

I've been practicing Ho'oponopono now for almost 10 years, and have experienced both times of peace and inner turmoil with it. Fortunately my teacher Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len has always been a timely example and guide. He has laughed, cajoled, goaded, offered useful metaphors, and held compassion during my journey.  


This past week something happened that I can only attribute to Ho'oponopono -- being willing to clean even though seeing no outward "results."  I want to share about this here, because it's extremely meaningful to me.  It may also provide some hope for you, if wondering about outward effects of this practice. Yet I also want to protect the other person's privacy. 


I lost a profoundly important relationship many years ago -- through hurt, self-righteousness, and not knowing what else to do.  What began as a loving partnership lasting some 15 years, had devolved into a pattern of disengagement and painful silence.  We had weathered extreme changes in our personal lives and careers, yet had forgotten how to laugh together, support each other, and share simple human affection.  Love got buried under piles of resentment.  


He moved on, but I continued a close relationship with his parents.  In terms of personal support and authentic sharing of life, they were more my parents than those to whom I was born. The time spent with them was sheer grace in my life.  How I even came to live so close to them was a miracle in itself.  (A story for another time, maybe).

For many years I remained embroiled in my anger and hurt though, focusing on how I was "right" to feel the way I did. Despite this, I missed his presence deeply.  From time to time I wrote to him, seeking some explanation for what had happened.  There was never a reply. I worked on myself, eventually owning where I felt I had hurt him.  Still no response.  Over 10 years elapsed.

When his parents both became ill with different cancers, I helped take care of them.  He lived across the country and didn't respond to my communications about their treatments or progress.  I felt devastated to be losing them, and knew he must be feeling something similar.  Yet there was still no communication back from him towards me. 


They passed away in 2004, not long before Ho'oponopono came into my life.  My working with this ancient Hawaiian practice was slow at first, since I knew only bits and pieces of it.  Meeting Dr. Hew Len opened a huge gateway of growth for me -- along with accepting 100% responsibility for my own behavior and "stuff."  With this, my life began to utterly change.

Whenever I would think of this man I had lost [which was often], I would say within: "I love you. Thank you for being in my life. I'm sorry. Please forgive me."  I wasn't really speaking to HIM with those words, but was speaking to the part of me which saw him as anything other than perfect.  This view was a very  heavy and painful burden on me.

According to Morrnah Simeona (who updated Ho'oponopono for modern times), we are all perfect. Only accumulated [unconscious] data obscures our views of ourselves and others.  Using Ho'oponopono cleaning tools and phrases allows our inner child to let go of the data or memories which lead to our painful experiences.  Divinity can then transmute whatever of these are ready to "go" -- allowing divine inspiration to fill the space now "cleaned."  I'm sure layers and layers of "ick" were coming off of me (and perhaps him too?) over those years.  My hurt and feelings of deep unworthiness were lifting also.  Still through most of it, there was no outward sign that much was shifting.


Except that over the past year, I've lost about 45 pounds. More to come, with that.  :-)

Last month sometime, I saw a video which for me encapsulated the profound connections between people -- even after you no longer see them in person.  It moved me, and Inspiration urged me to send it to him.  It reminded me of him, his parents, his sister, and all the times we had previously shared. So I wrote him briefly about this, with no expectations.  The silence on his end continued, and I continued to clean.  Weeks passed. 

And then just last week, he gave a presentation in my town.  I didn't know he was coming.  But he emailed me, and invited me to dinner.

Reading this message from him, time stood still for me.  I wept at my computer keyboard, between patients!  Recovering a bit, I wrote back to accept . . . still in wonder that he would reach out to me at all -- after some 25 years.

When I saw him again, all I felt was love, with none of the previous hurt.  We shared an evening where he talked, and I listened (and cleaned).  I spoke some, but without the need to justify myself. Instead, I could be myself just as I was.  We apologized to each other, face to face.  We enjoyed a nice meal together.  We laughed.  Since then, we've messaged each other several times, and I can be a support to him in what he's going through.  I see all this as the most profound personal "proof" I know that Ho'oponopono brings peace, reconciliation, and ability to be what we truly are.  The previous painful history mentioned above no longer "hooks" my life, and I am free.


Thank you to Dr. Hew Len, Morrnah Simeona, Ho'oponopono and dear Divinity for my new life.  Also, thank you to Fred and Sweet Lorraine (below). I love you.


Peace begins with me,
Pam

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thank You to Inner Children, All Over the World

6 months old, and being cared for  :-)
The practice of Ho'oponopono is a deep one -- and if done consistently, it changes us. It brings us to a place beyond words, where infinite peace and forgiveness dwell.  That, and laughter too.  :-)

One of the most rewarding ways to practice Ho'oponopono is through caring for our own Inner Child -- our subconscious, or Unihipili.  Dr. Ihealakala Hew Len teaches that our relationship with our Inner Child is the most important relationship in all creation.  After all, our Inner Child not only runs our body, but also stores all memories that have accumulated in us through time (including unconscious ones).  When cared for, this Inner Child is a source of creativity and delight; when ignored, its pain shows up in myriad ways.

Many of us forget that such a part even lives inside us.  We're adults who drive ourselves mercilessly with work, responsibilities, and schedules; when mistakes happen, we lacerate ourselves with self-criticism.  We rarely celebrate our accomplishments, instead racing to the next thing on our "to do" list.

No wonder we end up with insomnia, backaches, muscle pain, indigestion, irritability, depression, anxiety, and fatigue!  No wonder so many of us have resentment just beneath the surface of our smiles.  Our Inner Child registers all this mistreatment and neglect, expressing its suffering in symptoms.

What would happen if, instead, we took the time to gently get to know this child?  What if we looked after it, making sure it's regularly loved and nourished?

What if we explained to it the plans for each day, making sure our Inner Child is willing to come along?  Sometimes our Inner Child can warns us when plans need to change.  Also, what if we prepared a little bag each day with things it might need -- healthy snacks, or other comforts?

We as adults, or Mothers (Conscious Mind, or Uhane) can do these things -- and can lovingly show the Child how to release or let go of painful memories.     

Mindfulness or Vipassana meditation has a body scan, focusing on each part.  We breathe into any part that feels discomfort. Ho'oponopono has similar in caring for the Child -- and when we notice a pain, we can realize that this is a memory being held.  We can ask our Inner Child to please let go.  In this way the Child learns to clean moment-by-moment, as problems arise.  With love and care, it can become a willing companion in clearing out these old memories.  And it's needed, because it's only through our Inner Child that we connect with Divinity -- the ultimate source of transmutation.    

I found a little photo (above) from long ago, which shows how the Child responds to gentle care and concern.  In it I'm only 6 months old, and my mother is bathing me in my grandmother's kitchen sink.  I've washed many dishes in that sink -- yet totally forgot that at one time, I fit in there too.  How wonderful to remember, to let go, and to forgive.

There's a loving child inside all of us.  Care for it, and connect with peace.  Try this, next time you have a talk to give, or a deadline to meet.  Take a moment to breathe with your Inner Child, and see what it needs.  S/he just might surprise you with a smile.  :-)

Peace begins with me,
Pam

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ho'oponopono Peace in Every Step

I've recently returned from a week-long, silent Vipassana (Insight Meditation) retreat.

Called "Convergence" and run by teachers and staff from Spirit Rock Meditation Center, it was held at the Angela Center near Santa Rosa, CA.  The "convergence" they spoke of was bringing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) together with the Buddha's teachings in vipassana tradition.  This usually doesn't happen so openly in MBSR courses, even though many teachers have personal experience with Buddhist practice.


My own private "convergence" included Ho'oponopono as well.  :-)


At its heart, Insight Meditation is the practice of mindful awareness in any moment. You can use anything -- breath, body sensations, emotions, sounds, etc. -- as foci of attention.  This tradition recognizes that the mind's productions are often comical and obsessive -- even sometimes tragic because they distract us from current experience.  It encourages us to notice these thoughts and reactions, but not grab onto any of them.  After all, they are not reality.  When our present-moment awareness lapses, we can always come back to the breath -- hundreds of times in a single 45-minute "sit," for some of us!


Ho'oponopono sees our thoughts as simply "data" or "memories," which are laden on top of what we truly are.  They are internal programs which run on their own.  We can't help having them, yet we are responsible for them.  They can also absorb our attention and run us, if we let them.  We can choose instead to "clean" with these memories -- letting them go, and asking Divinity to transmute them into pure light.


There's a simple process for doing this, which we can use in every moment.  It's what Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and many other wonderful Ho'oponopono teachers with IZI, LLC teach at Ho'oponopono seminars.


During the "Noble Silence" held at the retreat, I was able to clean with Ho'oponopono as much as humanly possible for me.  Normal conversation, after all, was eliminated.  Of course, there was plenty of inner conversation needing to be released!  I'm not running out of memories to clean anytime soon -- yet I did experience some times of exquisite inner quietness and peace.


Ho'oponopono and mindfulness tradition share certain qualities, including the gentle compassion held towards the body.   Ho'oponopono tradition holds that our bodies are like our inner child, and need care and concern.  They hold eons of memories and data, which may show up as physical pains, illness, and overall suffering.  In mindfulness meditation there are "body scans," where you gently and without judgment review whatever experiences are present in your body.  It's like asking your Unihipili (Hawaiian Inner Child part) to tell you what it's feeling -- resulting in a more tender connection as you listen and observe.  Since our relationship with our Inner Child is the most important relationship we can ever have, nurturing this through a body scan or mindful yoga feels just right to me.


I love both traditions for their humility, and their care for all living things.  The Lovingkindness meditations found in vipassana are somewhat similar in feeling to the generosity and lovingness of "aloha spirit."   Dr. Hew Len once told me that Aloha means "in the presence and breath of God."  Greeting each other this way is acknowledging the Divinity in both of us.


In endowing all things with a 3-part identity, Ho'oponopono shows reverence for the entire planet -- down to the tiniest being.  As I moved about the Angela Center's grounds on my walking meditations, there were roses, honeysuckle, redwoods, kitties, lotuses, irises, rhododendrons, and lovely grass to enjoy.  In the buildings I could clean with walls, chairs, water, doors, and beds.  The practices of vipassana and Ho'oponopono are universal, and join people together in love for all things.


With love and gratitude to Morrnah Simeona, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len,
Kamailelauli’I Rafaelovich, and all who have shown me the ways of Ho'oponopono. I carry these traditions wherever I go.  They have become my way of life.

Peace begins with me,
Pam    

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ho'oponopono Meets Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe -- in January
Happy New Year, everyone -- especially on this day marking both Martin Luther King's birthday and President Barack Obama's second inauguration.  For me, it's a day of both freedom and peace. 

Maybe all days can have those qualities, if we look carefully.  Still, this one feels special to me somehow.

Some of you may have heard about the several nights of below-freezing weather we recently had in the Phoenix area.  I know many of you live where there's snow on the ground -- but central Arizona is not that place.  We're in the desert, with saguaro cacti and wildflowers galore.  January is usually when others want to visit us -- golf tournaments, horse shows, fancy car auctions -- all in the Valley of the Sun. 


Once the weather predictions came through, people were frantic to protect their plants and outside water pipes.  Nurseries ran out of garden cloth.  Those of us who were slow to alert had to rely on our wits.  The neighborhood became a cacophany of bed sheets, light blankets, and anything our imaginations could muster.

One home's saguaro sported what looked like long red underwear -- on its top!

I rounded up every light fluffy covering I could find, tucked everybody in, and hoped for the best.  It was 5 nights in a row of high 20's -- brrrr!  The days were a little better, in the 40's.  Plumbers were busy all over the Valley, repairing frozen, burst water pipes.

And in my yard, those plants coverings didn't come off until this morning.

I had been worried about the little rose bush I planted last year -- it's called "Our Lady of Guadalupe."  Those of you who've attended a Ho'oponopono training know that "Our Lady of Guadalupe" is also the Identity (or Patron Saint) of Mexico.  So it was perfect that it grow in my yard -- blending both the spirit of a nearby country with my love of Ho'oponopono, in a way.  

The plant's roses are a gentle pink with soft, sweet fragrance.  I have loved roses since childhood, when they grew beneath my window.

So now it was time to see what had happened to it -- in my yard where other things had died in the freeze.  Anxiously, I lifted the rose bush's covering . . . . and the above photo shows what was beneath.  Such a beautiful, welcome surprise! How those delicate flowers survived their temporarily arctic environment, I'll never know.  

I have to tell you also, they're an answer to a prayer. 

Even when we do our Ho'oponopono cleaning, we can forget that Divinity (or God, Spirit, Creator, or whatever other name you might want to use) is really with us, and has not forgotten us.  I have difficulty with that from time to time.  When not fully myself, I unconsciously feel that Divinity only cares for other people, and has left me here to struggle however I can. 


As Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len teaches though, when we do our part (the cleaning) Divinity does Its part (the forgiveness and transmutation of data).   It can be no other way.  

So when my heart was in winter, I lifted the blanket and found sweet spring.  It was needed and welcome.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is a lady of peace. In the accompanying legend, the Virgin first appeared to an Indian commoner named Juan Diego -- and spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native language.  She asked him to tell the archbishop that she wanted a church built in her honor.  He tried twice and failed.


And then she produced a miracle.  She bade Juan Diego pick roses in a sterile spot where normally only desert plants could grow. Then she gathered the roses into the Indian's cloak, and told him to present both cloak and roses to the incredulous archbishop. When Juan Diego unfolded his cloak before the bishop, the image of the Virgin was miraculously stamped upon it. The bishop acknowledged the miracle, and ordered a shrine built where Mary had appeared to her humble servant. 

The spot is now a well-visited basilica.

My roses are not as grand as a basilica . . . but they're a reminder of the aloha present all around us and in us, when we're our true selves.  Thank you Dr. Hew Len, for your wisdom, teaching, and laughter.  Thank you also to Divinity, for my own little miracle in the desert today.

Peace begins with me,
Pam

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bomb or Baby? You Choose

You may have seen this photo on the news today.  Patrolling Polish soldiers found this little girl abandoned on the side of a road in southern Afghanistan.

How frightening it must have been to go near the towel in which she was wrapped, no one else around for a mile!  The soldiers knew the risk of hidden roadside bombs along the route to their Waghez military base.  

But they were brave enough to look within.   

They named her "Pola" (after Poland), and brought her to a medical center on their base.  They also bought her some formula and a bib.  :-)

I cannot imagine the pain her mother could be suffering, to have left her daughter this way -- or to have had her taken from her.  Who knows what led up to this infant being left behind?   

Those who practice Ho'oponopono may also find something useful here.  In many trainings I've heard how we so often abandon own inner child, or Unihipili, and do not take care of it.  We may not even realize this is happening.  How this child has suffered inside us, for eons!

Being the container of all unconscious memories plus the runner of our bodies, our Unihipili carries major importance to our survival.  It also connects us with higher aspects of ourselves, linking us directly to Divinity.

Ho'oponopono trainings teach practices for caring for our Unihipili in a moment to moment way. 
It can also be like a "bomb" in our lives, if we don't -- and we'll wonder what happened when situations continue blowing up.  It makes itself known, and we can befriend and love it if we choose.

I often think of people dealing with trauma, who shut off their inner responses to get through the day.  Later there are flashbacks, insomnia, hypervigilance, irritability, and the sense that nowhere is safe.  Learning to care for ourselves -- especially our more "primitive" parts -- is an essential lifetime journey, even without histories of major trauma. 

I salute these Polish soldiers for taking a chance on this little girl -- and giving her a chance too.  So young, she would have died otherwise.  

What about your own inner child?  Is s/he safe inside you?  I'm hugging mine very gently today, while cleaning along with this story.

Thank you Morrnah Nalemaku Simeona, for the processes in Self-Identity Through Ho'oponopono that offer us peace no matter where we are.

Peace begins with me,
Pam 
 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Dalai Lama on Responsibility, Peace, and Joy

Seeing this quote today, I'm inspired to share it on this blog.  It applies to all of us, no matter what our religious or cultural backgrounds might be.

Practitioners of Ho'oponopono also speak of taking "100% responsibility" for everything showing up in our lives.  Next to understanding about one's personal identity and connection with Divinity, this may be the most important concept in Ho'oponopono.  

Yet for many it can be confusing.  It seems to ask us to take on much more than we feel is ours.  What about personal boundaries, after all?  What do WE have to do with riots in the Middle East, or genocide in African nations?

And what about codependency -- a state of blurring between what's ours to do, and what belongs to others?  In codependency, we try to control the alcoholics or addicts in our lives rather than deal with our own issues.  12-step programs warn against taking other people's inventories, and rightly so.

So how do we understand this idea from the Dalai Lama [and his seeming brother in heart, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len] that "everything springs only from yourself"?  How do we work with this in our own lives, without becoming overwhelmed with the magnitude of suffering in the world?

I believe that when we're at peace, we can sense our interconnectedness with all of life.  We are all made of the same stuff.  We share molecules in continuous dynamic exchange.   Dr. Hew Len often tells us that we share eons of memories (or data) too.  A more folksy way of saying it might be: "If you spot it, you've got it!"

And the world can change, the instant our own perceptions of anything within it change.  According to Ho'oponopono, we are perfect beings -- but the data that runs us (and through which we experience life) can be pretty scary.  

The process of "cleaning" in Ho'oponopono means owning the fact that our experiences may be skewed, and that only Divinity sees things as they truly are.  In cleaning, we're taking care of our own experiences -- no one else's. We can accept all opportunities to let painful data (skewed experiences) go -- with the help of Divinity.  

Ho'oponopono holds that if we don't do this, ALL our suffering will only increase.  The Dalai Lama states this very succinctly also. 

Additionally, taking 100% responsibility allows us to be our truest, most powerful selves rather than victims.  But if all that happens to us is everyone else's "fault," we can never be anything but victims.  In this sense, taking responsibility brings great freedom.  We can clean, and receive divine inspiration that moves us into perfect action, joy, and peace. 

I don't know whether the Dalai Lama and Dr. Hew Len have ever met in this lifetime.  But I'm sure we're all sharing the same molecules, memories, and opportunities.  And it warms my heart that their messages are so very similar.

Peace begins with me,
Pam   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ho'oponopono Cleaning: Which Tool For You?

Many people think that in order to do Ho'oponopono properly, we must direct our cleaning efforts towards particular problems that arise in our lives.  Examples might be traffic jams, financial crises, health issues, or arguments with family members.

I used to think this too.  Thus, I wanted to know specifically how to "clean" with whatever problem was happening, when it was happening.   What particular process or tool should be used for each?


More importantly, I wanted to know exactly "what" I was cleaning with at any particular time -- in order to pick the right tool, of course.  And if I was doing it well enough, the problem should clear up, right?  :-)


I must have thought my intellectual mind was in charge of things, even though I had many times read Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len's article, "Who's in Charge?". From that article:
 
"Memories replaying dictate what the Subconscious Mind experiences.

The Subconscious Mind experiences vicariously, mimicking, echoing memories replaying. It behaves, sees, feels, and decides exactly as memories dictate. The Conscious Mind too operates, without its awareness, by memories replaying. They dictate what it experiences as research studies show . . . . . The Subconscious Mind and Conscious Mind, comprising the Soul, do not generate their own ideas, thoughts, feelings and actions. As noted before, they experience vicariously, through memories replaying and Inspirations."
This means that the thoughts we're "thinking" aren't coming from us; they're either old memories replaying, or Divine Inspiration.  We don't know which, at any particular time.  But, I know which one I'd rather have directing me! 

Depending on how you look at it, this makes life either extremely disconcerting, or extremely freeing.

If we never know which thoughts are which, how do we know what to do? How do we know when to use strawberry, "I love you," or "light switch," with a given situation? 

Also, this arrangement means that we may not be cleaning with what we THINK we're cleaning with, at any particular time.  Layers upon layers of complexity, and eons of added "stuff," are going on behind the screen we're focusing upon.  Divinity knows, of course, and we don't.

We could get really obsessive and upset about all this.  But the more freeing alternative is simply to recognize we don't know -- and clean no matter what shows up.  We can ask Divinity for "how," and do it.  

"I love you" is elegantly simple for this purpose -- or anything we're guided to do.  The choice we're making says it all.

If we work with this idea, then whoever or whatever appears in our lives is there to be released -- whether we'd objectively call it a "problem" or not.  

After all, as Dr. Hew Len is fond of saying: "A problem is only a problem if we say it is."  Maybe these events, experiences, interactions, etc, are just opportunities to make amends.

The other part that's freeing about this, is not having to worry so much about all those Ho'oponopono cleaning tools and what they're "supposed" to do.  Yes, we receive a whole manual of them in Ho'oponopono trainings.  They each have their history, and might appeal at different times. It's wonderful to have choices that bypass the conscious mind. 

But the bottom line is that in choosing to use any of them, we're allowing Divinity's help rather than persisting on our own!


Blueberry, Strawberry, Gingersnap, Candy Cane, Thank You, Hawaii . . . . all are simply ways to begin the process.  And this can go on no matter what happens. Constantly.  I believe it starts with intention, and re-deciding 10,000 times a day or more, perhaps.  It's a pathway to freedom from entanglement in whatever has gone before.

Peace is the result -- the peace that passes understanding.  

A rare opportunity to listen to Dr. Hew Len and Kamaile Rafaelovich talking about "Being in the Right Place" is coming in a teleseminar this week:  8/30/12 at 12 noon Hawaii time.  This is an MsKr Conversation -- and if desired, you can register here:  MsKr Conversation 047 

I have really enjoyed previous conversations, and plan to listen in with this one too.   If inspired, please come -- and bring your strawberries, blueberries, or other cleaning tools of choice.  Most of all, bring your open heart.

Peace begins with me,
Pam