by Al Rodee
Part 1: Introduction: At an early age, many of us are taught by well meaning care givers like parents, older siblings, teachers, clergy, grandparents and other authority figures that we “should” be different than how we feel or who we are.
Some of us feel this negative energy in utero as mom is afraid of being a parent, has an abusive partner or parents or simply doesn’t want to be pregnant when she is.
As we grow up our unique experiences inform us, socialize us, to suppress our feelings, feel not good enough or to be responsible for the feelings of others. The other day I heard a woman say to her 9 year old son “When you don’t live up to your promise to me you make me feel bad”. Suddenly this young boy is made to feel responsible for his mothers feelings when clearly it is her decision and responsibility to manage her own feelings.
Miguel Ruiz, who wrote “The Four Agreements” calls this human domestication. Children grow up to become adults who live their lives based on incorrect information. Within the hearts of these adult children is a conflict. One part says “I am living my life in a way that doesn’t feel good” and the other part says “this is the only way I know and it must be true because mom (dad, nanny, sister, brother, clergy, teacher…etc) told me it was the true way”. “And besides they lived their lives that way so it must be true”.
Byron Katie in “Loving What Is” (www.thework.com) talks about inquiry. Asking yourself “How do I know that thought, idea, feeling or story, is true?” “If I turned it around and reversed the thought how would I feel?”
Learning how to love yourself is simple but it isn’t easy. You need to question your beliefs and discover which ones are absolutely true and which ones make you feel bad. It either feels good or it doesn’t.
Some of us are challenged in this quest as we have suppressed our feelings for so long we don’t know how we feel. The simple way to begin getting in touch with your feelings is to breathe. Conscious breathing in itself is an act of loving yourself. In the practice of Ho’oponopono (Ho! op’ono pono) we use the Breath of Ha.
Breath of Ha:
Inhale through the nose for a count of [I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you]
Hold for a count of [I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you]
Exhale through the mouth, making the sound of Ha for a count of [I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you]
Hold for a count of [I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you]
Repeat this 7 times.
You are now ready to do Ho’oponopono, to heal yourself, to correct what is wrong within you, to forgive yourself and all others who you believe may have harmed you in your life and allow healing energy to come to you from the Cosmos.
Part 2: Forgiveness: Loving yourself begins with forgiveness. As we judge others we judge ourselves. There are no others so we need to recognize that when we compare ourselves to someone else we are saying “I am not good enough “ in some way. Or when we think someone has harmed us and judge them for it or feel angry toward them or hold a grudge toward them we are making a painful attempt to be separate from them. Since we are all God’s children and connected through Universal love, disconnecting from any other person becomes more painful as we get farther and farther away from them through hatred, anger, fear, guilt, shame, frustration or any other negative emotion. The only painless emotions are love and gratitude!
So the first step in forgiveness is to make a list of who you need to forgive before you go any farther in this story. Put yourself on the list. Go ahead, you really do want to learn how to love yourself….yes?
Before you begin go back and do the Breath of Ha again.
Prioritize the list from the smallest hurt to the most painful. Include mundane ideas like the guy who cut you off in traffic or the “lazy” checkout person at the grocery store. Leave yourself for last.
Begin with the first person on your list and bring their face in to your mind’s eye and feel how you felt when they harmed you. Remember, if you can, a specific event that represents that harm and imagine that he or she came to you as a messenger from God to help you heal and you simply rejected the message as unwanted. You took the message personally and you decided to be offended. That person, who was once 3 years old and had life experiences that informed them through their subconscious feelings and ideas about life came to you with a message from God and you rejected the message. As you sit with that feeling say: “Please forgive me, I forgive you too” for as many times as you need to to feel a positive shift in your feelings toward this person (for me this is usually 3 times or less but it will be different depending on how committed you are to holding on to your anger toward someone). When you feel the shift repeat the prayer: “I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you”.
Revisit their face in your mind’s eye again. Remember the event or incident and feel if you feel differently toward that person. See them as a child and imagine what their life might have been like when they were growing up. You are looking for the feeling of compassion toward them. Do not fight the feeling of compassion toward someone who you feel has harmed you. If you have not yet forgiven them for the one incident, repeat the exercise until you know you have forgiven them for the incident. If there are other incidents with this person repeat the process until this first person on your list is deeply and completely forgiven in your heart.
Once that is complete, go to the next person on your list.
Do not attempt to do all this work at once. Forgive one person at a time until you feel completely at peace when you think about them. Gratitude often shows up; this is a good indicator that you are ready to move on. Notice if you feel strangely lighter and calmer, both in general and about the person you forgave. Then repeat the process for the next person on your list. Check off each person as you go.
The reason we start with the smallest hurt is; it is easier to forgive someone for something small than it is for something that feels big. You will notice the benefits and you will become prepared to do the bigger work as you practice. The art of learning how to love yourself is a daily practice. It will take some time but not nearly as long as it took you to learn how to be hard on yourself and judge others.
Forgiving self: Often, you are the most difficult person for you to forgive. As you have been judging “others” there is a part of you that doesn’t feel good about it. Your Divine inner child is unconditionally loving of all of God’s children (including you) and you are distancing yourself from that love. The person most harmed when you blame someone else for your experiences is you. Taking responsibility for that is unimaginably freeing but can be very scary at first. This is one of the reasons we leave self to last on the list.
This process must be done from the heart not the thinking mind. You must be in a feeling place for this to work.
While you can forgive yourself all at once for all things you negatively judge yourself about, it is useful to pick one small part of you to forgive before you begin the process. Something that feels relatively small compared to other perceived transgressions in your life.
Begin with the Breath of Ha; seven rounds; then, repeat this prayer from Mornah Simeona, a kahuna lapaʻau (healer in Hawaiian) who developed the modern version of “Self Identity through Ho’oponopono”:
”Divine creator, father, mother, son as one…If I, my family, relatives and ancestors have offended you, your family, relatives and ancestors in thoughts, words, deeds and actions from the beginning of our creation to the present, we ask your forgiveness…Let this cleanse, purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies and vibrations, and transmute these unwanted energies into pure light….and it is done.”
Repeat as often as necessary until you feel a release. This release appears in the form of a sigh, yawn or calm feeling in the heart area. For some it may show up in the stomach or groin. This may take some time. You are worth it.
If no release comes forward cross your arms across your chest and speak to your inner child who loves you without condition and is waiting for you to notice him or her. Repeat this prayer (it is called cleaning):
I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.
Stay in a quiet, meditative state, repeat Mornahs prayer again. Look for that feeling of release. When you receive it ask inner child this question with meaning:
“Would it be ok for me to forgive myself?”. If you hear a small voice in the back of your head, listen to it. This is the voice of inner child who is directly connected to your Divinity. If this voice comes from the front of the head it is likely your ego talking to you. If you hear doubt and sarcasm it is ego. If the answer is loving, playful and approving it is your inner child. Inner child doesn’t need to forgive you. Inner child knows you have done nothing wrong but knows you need to forgive yourself and will always say “yes” or “of course” or “I have been waiting for you to ask”.
Once approval is received then create one final meditation prayer that goes like this:
“In honor of my inner child, mother, father, all ancestors back to the beginning of time, siblings, lovers, partners, friends, colleagues, children and other descendants, acquaintances, my Spirit guides, Angels and Divine creator, I deeply and completely forgive myself this (insert here whatever it is you have chosen to forgive yourself of) Let this cleanse, purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies and vibrations, and transmute these unwanted energies into pure light………and it is done ”
Do 3 rounds of the Breath of Ha. Once this is complete notice how you feel. To release other “perceived transgressions” repeat the process as many times as necessary. This process always works as long as you come from your heart. You can not “think” yourself forgiven. We are not human doings we are human beings. Beings of light and love and emotion.
Part 3: Noticing:
Our purpose in life is to love all that is. Our Divine Creator, Source Energy, Universe, Yahweh, Adonai, Jehovah, The One, or, simply, God, is pure love. Our job is to become that. It is truly freeing to even imagine that level of transcendence. The problem is we start out learning at an early age that we have a problem, that we aren’t enough, that we “should” be offended by someone or something. Events occur that cause us emotional and physical pain and we resist the pain. In resisting the pain we reject what is happening in any given moment and we suffer. Have you ever met anyone who went through their entire life without suffering? I haven’t. Some people never transition from suffering and go through their entire lives unhappy, sick, exhausted, angry or whatever emotions they are stuck in.
Our purpose, our job, so to speak, is to learn how to love all that is and transcend the suffering as it shows up. If you are reading this and learning about your Spiritual journey you have been blessed to be a seeker of Spiritual transcendence. One of the first parts of that journey is noticing that you want to make a change from unhappy to happy and joyful. Once we recognize that noticing is important we can make a conscious decision to become our own witness. Ekhardt Tolle‘, in “A New Earth”, speaks about the noticer within us as being closer to our Divine selves. The simple act of noticing how you feel and how you are reacting separates you from your destructive, controlling ego and pulls you back toward Creator. In the moment of noticing you become a witness to how you feel and are acting. From the vantage point of consciously noticing you can take positive action……isn’t that exciting?
So what is the positive action you can take? What can you do in a moment once you have noticed that you are not very happy or feeling positive? Take responsibility for 100% of everything that is in your awareness at the moment and love it (not your fault but is your responsibility to love it)! This is where you say: “How can I love something that is causing me so much pain and distress?”. Remember that everything happens for a reason and everything is of your creation. You came in to this life to have this exact experience and you are having it. If it wasn’t meant to be it wouldn’t be happening. As you find fault with it, as you suffer with it, as you blame yourself or others for it you continue to feel in tension with who you are….a loving, open hearted, allower of all that is. Notice that tension and forgive yourself.
Celebrate the noticing: Once you have noticed how you are beating yourself up you have choices. You can beat yourself up for forgetting to notice that you have been beating yourself up or you can celebrate that you noticed, forgive yourself for forgetting and move forward in celebration. People who continue to suffer throughout their lives never stop beating themselves up. They may mask it as anger toward others but remember, there are no others, and as we judge others we are really judging (beating up) ourselves.
If you are in the first phase of practicing noticing it may be difficult to remember to notice and to remember to forgive yourself and begin celebrating noticing. As I said before this process is simple but it isn’t always easy. Old habits can be stubborn but if you persist and remember to celebrate every time you notice, the celebration itself will reinforce the noticing and soon you will have created a habit of noticing and soon after that you will have created a habit of celebrating and soon after that you will be free to move in to Joyous Service!
Joyous Service: It doesn’t get any better than that! When you take responsibility for all that you are and all that you experience, with love, gratitude and forgiveness in your heart, you suddenly want to share it. Operating from a place of joy is really contagious. People want to meet you. They smile at you. They share with you and you are free and easy in their presence. You have unique insights from your suffering past and those who share similar experiences and memories will seek to rise up to your vibrational level and have a part of what you have. You have so much of it that you can freely and joyfully share with anyone and everyone. People heal themselves in your energy and you feel lovingly powerful and fear is a thing of the past.
Does this mean problems don’t show up any more? No. Problems show up just as they always have but you have a new way to look at them. Think about this. Before you discovered noticing you practiced resisting “problems” whenever they showed up. At some point you learned how to notice the problem and forgive yourself for beating yourself up. In order to discover joyous service you need to know that the problems are truly gifts from Creator. What seems like a problem becomes an opportunity to love yourself, forgive yourself and celebrate you. All problems = opportunities to heal! All this time you thought problems were problems and should be resisted (this includes everything even physical pain and illness like cancer). Now you have the opportunity to take them as life lessons, love them as such, allow them to just be and love yourself for allowing them to flow through your life leaving behind a message that you came here to receive and heal. Be joyous when the problem shows up! It is what it is! Allow it to be an opportunity to clean whatever it is inside you that needs to be cleaned.
I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.
Synopsis: Step by step:
The Art of Loving Yourself:
- Get out of your head and in to your heart
Practice the Breath of Ha
- Forgive others
Begin with the easy ones first then move on to those who have “harmed” you the most
- Forgive self
Begin with small transgressions and finish with the big one…whatever that is for you
Practice Breath of Ha
Practice Mornahs Prayer
Continuous cleaning: I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you
- Take responsibility for everything that happens in your life; both good and bad.
It is of your creation.
You came in to this life to have the experiences you are having.
Everything happens for a reason
- Notice when you are beating yourself up or judging other people or world events as being “wrong”
“I came here to experience this feeling or event and I take responsibility for it happening”
- Celebrate the noticing. It is easy to beat yourself up for beating yourself up. Don’t go there. Forgive yourself again
- Practice noticing and celebrating until it becomes the new you
- Be of joyous service. See problems as opportunities to clean and heal your life.
Other things to facilitate the process.
- Give back: Once you have transcended suffering you will be moving in to joyous service. “Act as if” you already have. Volunteer in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, tutor children, spend time in a hospice unit talking to the dying and practice loving all of God’s children through volunteering.
- Be grateful: Write down what you are grateful for and read it over and over. Add to it every day. Pick a specific time every day that you will review and contribute to your gratitude list. Include really small things like a flower or a stranger who smiled at you. Perhaps you drove to the grocery store without incident and manifested a great parking space. Practice being grateful for those who bother you the most. They bring you the greatest opportunity to transcend suffering. This will help you forgive them when you decide you are ready.
- Pay attention to animals: Dogs especially already know how to love us without condition. Take a page from their book and be more like them. My dog was never mad at me for being home late for dinner. If anything she was happier to see me because I was back home with her. I always felt better just by being loved by her.
- Live in the moment: If you were to walk through the woods asking the animals what time it is the answer would always be…..now. Live in the moment, moment by moment. You can not change the past and you can not predict the future. Loving what is in the moment is pure joy.
You will never fail at this if you persist and don’t give up. Some people get frustrated or have trouble getting out of their heads and in to their hearts. This is where I may be of joyous service to you. If I can be of any help along the way please feel free to call on me for coaching.