Ho’oponopono: how to epically take personal responsibility

Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. . . . .  Hoʻoponopono corrects, restores and maintains good relationships among family members and with their gods or God by getting to the causes and sources of trouble.

~ Wikipedia

Years ago I learned a simple prayer that is supposedly able to heal distress and disease and suffering of all kinds.  “Thank you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, I love you.” Ho’oponopono, to put things right.

Does it work?

I hear really cool stories of amazing miracles happening around this practice. I cannot speak to those, but in my personal experience, I’ve noticed it opening my heart and softening my attitude, which needs softening 😉 But It is exactly in line with the guidance I’ve been receiving about how to address the original wound and its consequences.  Given the amount of suffering that Humanity is experiencing and causing, I think it is worth a try. Here’s a youtube of a chant/prayer/song I just wrote & recorded to help me maintain the focus and open my awareness »»

As I research the origins of this prayer I find that these words are the tip of an iceberg, a condensed expression of a massively rich and beautiful way of living that I wish to be a student of.

The Wikipedia article is really good for learning more, and here is a great article by Sebastien Gendry, a “Laughter and Wellness Expert”.

Much love to you and yours.

Like a Night In The Forest

I find that sleeping on the Earth leaves me feeling one-hearted.

After confusion and heartbreak, needing to find my place in life again, I went to the Forest again.

The campground host at Pine Ridge campground in the Mark Twain National Forest was alarmed when he realized that I planned to hike alone into the forest and set up my camp there by myself.

“That’s allowed, right?” I asked, checking my understanding of National Forest policy.

“Yes,” he answered, and paused. “It gets really dark in there.” And he looked at my Chaco sandals disapprovingly. “Is that what you will be wearing?” When I said yes, he said, “It will be muddy. And there are roots and things you can trip over.”

I reassured him that I would be careful.

“Do you have water? and matches? tinder? a knife?  a tent?”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

I fudged on the last item because I was planning to try sleeping under a tarp for the first time and had left the heavy tent at home.

“A compass?”

I am thinking that he wasn’t trying to be patronizing. Although it seemed kind of odd and awkward at 45 years old to have someone grilling me under that assumption that I couldn’t take care of myself, I decided that I would humor him and tell him that I wouldn’t be going far, just a little ways off the trail.  But he gave me instructions, nonetheless, in how to make a footprint in aluminum foil and place it on my car’s dashboard so search and rescue folks would be able to identify the tread on my shoes and come to rescue me if I required such services. Cool. Although unlikely to apply to my case, I would keep that in mind for longer treks.

“Bug repellent?”

I shook my head.

“I can give you some,” he offered. “The mosquitoes and ticks are horrible.”

I had an experiment I wanted to try and bug spray would get in the way. “No thank you.”

“I will be OK,” I said in a tone I hoped was reassuring.

“The trails are all different from the map,” he offered. People are always making new ones and the old ones get blocked.”

Pause.

“I haven’t been in there for years,” he confessed.

“I see.” He was the campground host, he lived there, and hadn’t been in there for years.

I thanked him roundly for his caring and service and reassured him again that I would not be going far and would be fine.

And I strapped on my pack and trundled toward the deep, dark, muddy, obstructed, bug-infested, unpredictable forest. Alone without a compass or a foil footprint on my dashboard or close-toed shoes, with no bug spray.

Somehow I felt certain that all would be OK, for one night. What could happen?  The host’s fear did not infect me. I wondered for a moment whether it should have, because truly I don’t have a huge amount of experience. Then I shrugged off the thought. Awareness, yes. Fear would not be my friend, though. And I had been camping enough to know that I had what I needed for my own comfort and safety, and would stay true to my word that I would not be going far.

I went into the Forest for reasons that I did not bother trying to explain to the man who was surrounded by a heavily provisioned, nearly armored camp, accompanied by his white bull terrier. Night was only a few hours off, and rain was predicted for some time in the wee hours. I needed that time to find and set up my camp.

When I came to the edge of the woods, I paused and asked for permission to enter.  I learned this practice from a man I met on Maui  years ago. He and his community members always asked permission when moving between one place and another. From land to sea, sea to land, open land to forest, they would ask the guardians of these places at the transition points whether they could enter, and they heeded the response.  This was important, he said, and that lives were spared by the way of listening that told them when it dangerous and when it was safe and they were welcome to be part of the life that moved and breathed and played in a place.

The Forest welcomed me, and I stepped in and felt the presence of living things all around me like a hug. Moving quietly, meditatively down the path at first, I felt the conversational part of my mind trying to narrate what was happening, what I might write about later. The listening place inside called me to still my mind and drop my attention into my body. As I walked I noticed many brightly colored mushrooms in the pine and oak and juniper forest. Some I recognized as edibles — chanterelles, elkhorn, boletes; some I knew were poisonous, and many I did not know.  I asked, and none were to be food for me, so I admired them and walked on.

After a time, I noticed a break in the undergrowth off the trail to my right and I felt pulled to go in that direction. I went up and over a small ridge and there on the other side a little ways, I found the spot.  Two trees, just the right distance apart with nothing growing up between them, no dead branches overhead. Nearly level. I could stretch a length of paracord between them and pitch the tarp in a triangle, two of the planes above and one of them below me. I set down my pack and got to work. Darn, I forgot to bring stakes, would need something else to secure the edges of the tarp against the possibility of wind, should the prediction of storm become reality. Using my knife, I made some stakes from forked branches of juniper, which proved to be very strong and just the right shape and size.  In a short while I had everything sorted out. I had a light dinner and then packed all my food and things that needed to stay dry in a dry bag and hoisted it up on a branch with a length of paracord, some distance away from my sleeping spot.  There was still enough daylight for a short hike.

The forest was beautiful. The pine grove at the trailhead had given way to maple, hickory and oak with some juniper, dogwood, redbud, sassafras.

I explored down some trails that branched off and rejoined others and got enough of a taste to know that I’d like to come back and explore more in the morning.  I returned to my camp and settled down, and that is when the mosquitoes found me.

It was time to test my skills.

A couple of years earlier I had been sleeping out under the stars in the desert near Albuquerque with my sister Tami. This was a fantastic treat, not just because I love the desert and love being with Tami, but also because she happens to be a masterful astrologer who weaves the stories of the cosmos and the human psyche together in ways that enchant and astonish me with their relevance to my personal journey.

Our fun was nearly cut short, however, by a horde of mosquitoes that we hadn’t expected. A torrential downpour had broken a long drought just a couple days earlier and the mosquitos were ready for the opportunity, but we were not. Our sleeping bags were way too hot to hide in but the mosquitoes had us alternately cowering in the heat and sweat and coming out to yelp and swat and retreat again.

We weighed our options. We were nearly miserable enough to consider trekking back through the desert to the car and going home, but that would mean about half mile in the dark through rattlesnake and scorpion territory. I decided to have a “conversation” with the mosquitoes and ask if we could be left alone.

I might have imagined this, but I think they thought this was funny and got more loud and ravenous, and increased in number.

I expanded my focus to the area where we were staying and asked the guardian spirits of the place whether there was anything we could do to negotiate some respite from the hungry multitudes. The answer came that the mosquitoes were responding to imbalances that we carried.

I asked whether SoulPath clearings would help us come back into balance and got a resounding “YES”. So I declared my intent to work. I asked for a break from the mosquitoes so I could focus, and to my relief, they left us alone. I began the work. In the dark, with no paper or pen, drowsy and uncomfortable. I found it extremely difficult to stay focused, but when my I drifted, a tiny whine brought me right back to attention. When the session was complete, the mosquitoes returned. Another session? I heard “yes.” So we did another clearing. And another. Then, miraculously, a cool breeze picked up and wafted the mosquitoes away and we slept.

And then when I was nearly well rested, the prick of a tiny proboscis woke me up again. Dang! Please??? But I opened my eyes, and looked around. It was nearly dawn. I got up and stretched and looked up and saw the most beautiful, huge full moon getting ready to set over the ridge to the West. In just a few moments, the sun would be rising over in the East. WOW! I would have missed this if not for the mosquitoes. I roused Tami from her sleep and we both savored the spectacular view.

Message delivered, the mosquitoes mostly left us alone after that point.

In the Missouri forest in the middle of July, the air is thicker and stickier than it is in New Mexico. I had bragged about the Mosquito Miracle, but part of me still wondered if it was just luck. Biting things do seem to mostly leave me alone now, so long as my head space is good and I’m not indulging in monkey mind. But I haven’t given the mosquitoes a real opportunity in a long time.

What would happen tonight? Would I be paid back for my bragging and reminded that it was a negotiated, temporary truce, and not my ability to dominate the situation?  Just in case, I had brought a thin cotton sheet. I wrapped myself in it. But again the heat, along with the desire to drink in my connection with the beauty all around me had me peeking out, then putting the whole top half of my body out, in line with the hunger of the tiny flying biting ones.

And they did come, but not in the numbers that the campground host had warned me about. I asked the guardian spirits of the place whether I could have protection and they said yes, but that I would need to do my work to come into alignment with the energies of the Forest.

I relaxed and expanded my focus, and as I did, I felt at home, deeply so. I did a clearing and the mosquitoes all but left me alone.

Dropping deeper into relaxation, suddenly there was a rush of a message coming through with urgency, in what sounded like a group of concerned feminine voices. “You must never, NEVER come to the forest alone like this without an invitation.”

I was startled and taken aback. I asked if I had done all right this time, and they reassured me that I had, but made sure that I knew that all the love and Home vibes I felt were not automatic guarantee of safe passage and that I needed to make no assumptions about my welcome for future visits. The Forest was love, yes, but it was ruled also by the principle of Eat or Be Eaten, and I did not automatically get special treatment. I must be very clear about my intent while in Forest, not haphazard or careless in any of my ways during this visit or future ones.

Coyotes jibbered and yowled off to my left, a few ridges over. I thought about the difference between being sealed up in a tent and pretty much open to anything that might like a snack, which is how the tarp suddenly felt.

I asked if I could be protected, and the answer was yes. But the sense of being lulled into romantic complacency as well as the sense of being on top of things was definitely gone. I realized that I had not been called into Forest to retreat from uncertainty and struggle, but to learn another culture’s ways of being self-responsible for meeting my needs and staying within balance. My status as a student who needed to keep on her toes was established.

It would be a long, busy night.

Another response to a suicide urge

A thunderstorm is rumbling toward me now. It is mid-morning but the sky has been getting progressively darker.

Sitting on the porch I can hear the birds singing — a sudden flash followed by a crack of thunder: the storm is nearly overhead. I still only feel a hint of droplets on my legs.

I find myself fantasizing about a bolt of lighting Continue reading

The Wetiko Quandary

The dream: There are several groups of elegant and beautiful peoples from different cultures. Dramatically diverse in the way they look and dress, each of these groups holds in common a tradition of greeting people from other groups with gift giving of the very best they have to offer, and with celebration and feasting.  This creates abundance and prosperity and celebration of diversity, friendly alliances and creative, dynamic interplay. Continue reading

not-your-mama

Friend Nature?

Nature and I were chatting while I was driving through downtown. It occurred to me that we humans often refer to Nature as “Mother”, and I asked whether Nature saw themselves in that role.

“No!” came the response.

“Teacher? or what?” I asked.

“We are most delighted with the role of “friend”.

But . . . how could this be? I thought. Nature gives me . . . everything.

“What on earth could I give back?” Continue reading