I recently read a wonderful post in the Kindness blog by April V. Walters. It was about *Hoʻoponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Ms. Walters was writing about being with her dying father and how this practice helped her have closure with him. Hoʻoponopono begins with a list of things to say to a dying person, such as: “Thank you.” “I love you.” “I’ll never forget you.” “I’m sorry.” “Forgive me.”
Reading this brought back my days and nights with my mother while she was in Hospice care. We always told each other every day, “I love you with all my heart.” I felt that the rest was understood; in fact, when I search my heart, I know that we both understood that we had forgiven each other our minor faults a long time ago. I also know that, to my last breath, I will never forget my mother.
Ms. Walters mentioned in her post that these phrases aren’t just good to say when someone is dying, but also things that we should say more of in our day-to-day lives. I couldn’t agree more.
I become so interested in Hoʻoponopono that I researched it a little more.
The phrase “I’m sorry” is repentance for anything said or done in anger or hurt. As negative thoughts and actions have a real presence and force, saying “I’m sorry” will help restore balance and calm to both the speaker and to the receiver.
The phrase “forgive me” means just that—to any and all, ask forgiveness and mean it.
The phrase “thank you” is wonderful energy that permeates everything—say it, mean it. We can thank the person for being in our lives and making it better. We can thank God for our health and life. We can thank the Universe for all that it gives us. And so on.
The phrase “I love you” can be meant for someone specific, a group of people, the world, the universe—again, all positive energy positively affects everything.
It is an ancient belief that anger, fear, doubt, worry, i.e., negativity in general; can sicken the body and mind. Actually, researchers have made connections in the last few decades between negative thoughts; anger or fear or worry, and so on and illness. These feelings really can make a person sick; bad feelings held inside are not good for us. The way to cleanse ourselves of these things is to be thankful, positive, forgiving, kind and loving.
That’s one more good thing I’m going to remember. I am adding Hoʻoponopono to my To Do list right along with don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
*Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone.