Forgiveness is powerful medicine and greatly needed in our culture (62% of Americans feel they need more forgiveness in their lives). When we do not forgive others or even more importantly, our self, we are at greater health risk. People who carry resentments often feeling angry or done wrong by others, disappointed or upset with themselves and can lose their trust in life itself.
These harbored feelings create stress in the body, and switch our nervous system’s fight/flight/freeze system ‘on’ more than is healthy. Medical research shows that this leads to a weakened immune system, increases anxiety & depression, heart rate and risk of heart attack.
The ancient Hawaiian peace making practice of Ho’o pono pono, defined as: To Set Right, to make right, to rectify, to cleanse, to make restitution, is a powerful remedy.
Ho’o pono pono believes that illness comes from anger or unresolved feelings that must be set right in order to heal the health of a person or a dynamic in a family or community.
Growing up in Hawai’i I have a kindred connection with the cosmology that holds Ho’o pono pono. A NeuroImaginal framework hold that energy is everything and everything is energy. This includes feelings, emotions, thoughts and actions we take in the world. When we are out of harmony with our thoughts, feelings, actions/behaviors we can experience disease and experience more distress in life.
The seemingly ‘simple’ practice of saying the four phrases of Ho’o pono pono is really a profound journey of inner work. I like to begin with what is considered the final line:
- I love you (setting intention for right action with the disturbance)
- I’m sorry (truly making amends for one’s part in the wrongdoing towards others or towards yourself)
- Please forgive me (for the ways I have harmed you, or your own spirit)
- Thank you (to the great spirit for the opportunity to learn through this experience and to have this life rich with experience, growth and healing potential)
- I love you (to great spirit for these gifts in life, for the opportunity to learn and grow and for life itself)
New stories begin to emerge and energies lighten as Ho’o Pono Pono works its peacemaking magic through the body and imagery. Feel the softening, find new perspective, feel resolution, new insight and calm in the body and psyche. Forgiveness and the process of setting things right becomes Pono: correct, put right, eased.
What might you honor and heal in your work life or your personal life? Find quiet time and let this process hold you and bring new possibilities to your every day experience.
Dr. Shannon Simonelli is the co-founder of the NeuroImaginal Institute a professional development group linking neuroscience to the arts and experiential healing. She is the brilliant mind, guide and luminary behind CreativeWell Consulting and the Luminous Life Maps™ System, neurologically based creative arts experiences for professional and personal transformation. Shannon has devoted more than 20 years of her professional research, education and practice to designing engaging ways to catalyze change for and with her clients.
You can join the journey online by subscribing to Shannon’s LoveNotes and being part of her online Soulful Self-Care Program: Embodied Creativity: Re-Enchant Your Work Life. View all posts by Dr. Shannon Simonelli / View events at: https://luminouslifemaps.com/products/