Countless articles and books tell us that forgiving others who have hurt or otherwise wronged us is beneficial to our health. While not necessarily condoning or forgetting the poor behavior of others, ideally we want to free ourselves from the weight and stress imposed on our bodies, minds, and hearts by holding grudges large or small. That makes sense in theory, but I’m a pretty practical person. I like knowing how to approach intangible and challenging tasks like forgiveness!
Last October I was feeling somewhat despondent and ended up speaking with a fabulous psychic named Tina Michelle. She really seemed to know what I was going through, and also saw my longstanding non-relationship with my parents. She introduced me to the Hoʻoponopono practice of forgiveness, which is a repetition of the mantra “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”
Tina instructed me to repeat this mantra to myself 3 times a day for 30 days. This meant I was saying it once for myself, once for my father, and once for my mother. She warned me about how it might feel, describing it initially as “being pulled through gravel”, then sticks, and then grass. Eventually it would feel smooth–an indication that the last hooks in me were gone.
Armed with a plan and my Google calendar reminders, I dutifully took my Ho’oponopono prescription. I repeated the mantra in my head during both my morning and evening meditations, as well as mid-day when I was in the restroom and happened to think of it (or after dinner if I forgot in the midst of work day busyness).
Initially, it was pretty challenging. My first thought was, “Why am I asking for forgiveness from you, when you’re the one who hurt me and who I’m supposed to be trying to forgive?” It felt backwards, and a part of me was angry and puzzled at why I had to say things I clearly didn’t mean. Another part of me considered that I may have had some contribution to the negative situation, but since I was only a child at the time, I did this by being open to Louise Hay‘s theory that as souls, we choose our parents and life challenges well before we’re born. This helped me get over some early resistance. Over time, I started picturing each person as I recited the mantra as best I could. Sometimes–even though it was difficult–I envisioned hugging each person (including myself as a child).
Now, I’d never been one for corny-sounding things like psychics or the “loving your inner child” stuff, but I will say the practice did get easier with time. In fact, before the month was up I considered stopping but didn’t (because I’m a pretty diligent rule-follower by nature). I found it got easier still, to a point where I wondered whether I was still doing it right. In retrospect, I suppose that was the transition from glass to smoothness Tina mentioned.
Some time ago I felt inspired to draft an email to my mom, who I intentionally hadn’t spoken to in several years. I figured I could always write it and not send it. However, I did send it and released the outcome to the Universe. Perhaps not coincidentally I sent the email on December 1, after having done the Ho’oponopono practice during November 2011. I hadn’t realized this until just now–at the time, it just felt like the thing to do.
In the interest of helping someone else let go of angst they don’t need, I pass along this story and the Hoʻoponopono practice. May you all find increased health and wellness through forgiveness.