When I was first introduced to the Hawaiian prayer Ho’oponopono, I struggled to even say it, never mind practise it. It’s a four part system designed to offer forgiveness and release from memories/energy that is not serving you;
‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’
At the time of our introduction I was unknowingly pretty angry. With some distance now I can totally see this, and understand why. However at the time, I really battled with the idea that I had to apologize for the way someone else made me feel.
Honestly, the audacity.
So I would start with a good intention, choose a memory that was bringing me a particular kind of grief and then begin.
“I’m sorry” – I’m sorry you can’t see how much you’re hurting me, or that you’re hurting and putting it on me. That sucks.
“Please forgive me” – TBH I don’t think I need to ask for forgiveness so we’re going to skip this one.
“Thank you”- Thank you for your time, thank you for listening.
“I love you” – Yes okay easy enough. You’re a person, I’m a person, we love.
I was pretty quick to decide that this practise wasn’t for me. Even though it has come up a million different times as an honoured and respected practice from people I admire, I just felt like my pain was too different or deep to be applicable.
I had a childhood friend who I really really loved. Let’s call her Bee. I thought she was super cool, super interesting, super cute, and had a lot of qualities I admired.
Bee and I crossed paths in weird and wonderful ways in our adult life as well, and eventually were hanging out pretty regularly (with her group of friends).
When the accident I was in happened, I legally had to serve the tenants of the house with a notice of suing. These tenants were also the close and personal group of Bee. I was devastated- we were all students, and I had no interest in suing them. Plus I felt like I was betraying some sacred level of trust. There was a brief moment where it was suggested Bee might need to be served as well and I was sick to my stomach about it. How I could I? I was having a hard enough idea with how this would affect a group of people I barely knew, never mind someone who I considered a dear friend.
Gratefully I didn’t have to serve Bee, but the whole process really shone a light on who I considered to be friends. For the first couple months I had loads and loads of visitors- which I think was both for their healing process and mine. But over time, as the PTSD set in, the behaviour patterns, the sadness, it became very clear who was around to support, and who was not.
Part Four; return of the prayer
It’s been *just* about two years since my law suit settled, 5 years since the fall happened. I can’t even remember the last time I saw Bee, or that particular group of friends. When I moved back to Toronto it crossed my mind we would bump in to each other at some point, but the more time went by, the more I settled in to my new chapter of life in the city.
A few days ago, completely unexpected I happened to be at the same hangout spot as Bee, one of the tenants I had to sue, and another friend from that group.
I think Bee noticed me before I noticed her, because as I did my double take she was already looking at me. In both slow motion and too quick for me to remember, one at a time their heads turned in an equal amount of surprise as we found ourselves in the same space. I was so close to them, I easily could have gone over to talk. But I didn’t. I waved, and then I left.
For the rest of the night I kept exploring,
Should I have gone over and said hello?
Is it weird that I didn’t?
Do they feel sort of weird about this too?
And before I even had time to consciously choose, I was saying to myself “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you”
“I’m sorry” – I’m so sorry we all lived through this incredibly difficult experience. I’m so sorry for the pain and confusion that must have caused you.
“Please forgive me” – I genuinely wish only the best for you. Please forgive me for having to put you in a position that would even question that.
“Thank you”- For your time, for your friendship. For being such beautiful people in my life, and for the experiences you taught me. You will always have a special place in my memories.
“I love you” – You are all such bright, wonderful humans. I see that, and I love you.
As I chanted this to myself, I could feel the confusion and scattered energy start to calm, and then slowly leave.
I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.