Do you ever find yourself returning to the same incident in your mind over and over again? Maybe it happened an hour ago, 2 years ago, 20 years ago, maybe even in childhood? You find yourself returning to the scenario, often spinning tall tales about how it could have been different, how it could have been avoided, what you should have said, how wrong the other person was. You find yourself feeling resentment towards another person or yourself. No matter how hard you try, you find it difficult to let it go.
Forgiveness is a natural remedy for resentment, regardless of how unnatural it may feel. The word forgiveness can conjure up some strong emotions. There is a misunderstanding that forgiveness means that we should release someone for doing something that may have even been a horrific act. That we make whatever they did OK. Forgiveness is NOT for the other person. It is absolutely NOT to make whatever they did OK.
Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. It is the gift of freeing up the valuable space in our minds that could be used for something constructive like solving problems, being present with another human being, feeling joy or creating dreams for our future. It also frees us up from returning to those emotional and physiological feelings that just don’t feel good in our bodies and that can often be harmful.
I didn’t always know this. As a matter of fact, I thought I had been “practicing forgiveness” for many, many, MANY years. I couldn’t figure out why the resentment never really went away. I now understand that forgiveness is a daily practice. As long as we are breathing, we have something to forgive. It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion. We peel back a layer only to see that there is another layer behind it.
In the process of breaking apart my own life some years ago I learned some invaluable tools for forgiveness. I had the good fortune of practicing my new tools on a person in my life with whom I was experiencing quite a bit of resentment. Whenever this person came into my awareness, and at the time it was a lot, my throat would become constricted, my shoulders would drift toward my ears and I would begin to feel a defensive shift in my body, it was quite uncomfortable. I realized one day, after I had been practicing my new tools daily, that I didn’t have that uncomfortable feeling as much anymore. It was a marked difference for me. It felt as if a weight had been lifted from me and I was able to see this person in a whole new light.
Ho'oponopono is one these practices. It is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is simple but powerful. It involves saying the following 3 phrases quietly in the mind, repeatedly. Sometimes it takes a few rounds to feel the shift and sometimes it requires many. Done regularly, it can change your life!
“I AM Sorry…Please Forgive Me”
“Thank you…I Am Grateful”
“I Love You”
By saying I’m Sorry…Please Forgive Me, I am acknowledging judgement and asking forgiveness for this judgement.
By saying Thank You…I AM Grateful, I am expressing gratitude for the opportunity to clear resentful thoughts.
By saying I Love You, I am generating a sense of joy, happiness and abundance.
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