You can go find your copy of James Brown belting out “I feel good” if you want. My version is more low-key and without the groovy dance moves, but I do feel good. I like to thank ho’oponopono for that. So I’m going to talk about it again. I broke my own heart this past December. I visited my mother in Nevada and we had no fights, no snark, no desire to avoid each other. Decades of being dysfunctional were over. At one point, we sat at her dining room table, talking about my screwed up great-grandmother who managed to ruin three generations of daughters. Mom and I were now talking about how each of us had found a path that led us to healing and forgiveness, and that we now, finally, were the first mother-daughter pair that got along and had no issues. And it suddenly hit me that that is exactly what we had done: We reversed the habits of a dysfunctional family legacy. We grabbed each other’s hand and said triumphantly, “We made it!” The love that had always been there found its voice, and was no longer drowned out by fighting and fears. So when it came time to say goodbye and go back to Norway, I really, really, really didn’t want to.
I still try to convince myself that the pain of leaving someone you want to be with is better than the pain of being forced to be with someone you don’t want to be with, but I’m not sure. This new pain hits me deeper. Still, it is now the only pain I experience, and that is definitely a desirable situation to be in.
Mom showing signage she designed
My grandma told me that when I was a toddler, I happily walked up to people, to complete strangers, all smiles and trust. I have often thought about that person I used to be, and wanted to be her again. Well, I am her now. I have realized that I am no longer afraid of being approached by strangers. I don’t have that “whadya want and what’s it gonna cost me” skepticism any more. I don’t expect trouble, and I don’t expect sacrifice. And I don’t get either.
I do believe practicing ho’oponopono as well as other spiritual practices are at the heart of this new—or is it original?—me. The practice has done as promised: It has helped heal and remove whatever’s in my subconscious mind, tripping me up, letting me repeat past hurts. I now find it easier than before to think well of others and to expect the best.
Now I can use this method to help others. That’s actually what it does: By healing yourself you also help others heal.
Here is a short description of the ho’oponopono method. Simply say to yourself these four sentences together, in any order you want, any time you feel not good, whether it’s a minor annoyance or a major upset: I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. Repeat until you feel something shift. Even if nothing’s going on, say these four sentences. Don’t be surprised if problems resolve themselves and new ones show up. It’s peeling onion layers.
When interacting with others, a quick “insurance” is to say “I love you” or “Thank you” to yourself just before starting a conversation or responding to a question.
View of east side of Sierra Nevada mountains
Other things that make me feel good: Knitting. I get ridiculously mellow seeing projects made out of wool in my Facebook feed. I think that’s way better than liberal friends finding fault with conservatives or conservative friends finding fault with liberals, which Facebook is also full of. I hide those posts and just look at lovely patterns and colors worked by creative hands. That inspires me. Here’s one of my projects: