Practice This Ancient Hawaiian Custom To Clear The Path To Financial Success
Having grown up and lived in Hawaii, I learned to treasure many Hawaiian customs and ideals. Most stem from traditions of long ago that have been handed down from the tutus (grandmas) to the keiki (children) and become integrated into the social fabric of the islands, resulting in a type of social code. A social code that many refer to as the spirit of aloha.
It is under this spirit of aloha umbrella that a truly powerful and impactful practice resides. It is a practice that enables you to clear away shame, guilt and anger. A practice that restores balance and helps you break-down emotional barriers keeping you from moving forward. A practice that has evolved to effectively address a whole spectrum of mindset issues, from relationships or self worth to success and money.
The practice is called Ho’oponopono (pronounced hō-ō-pōnō-pōnō), which means To Make (Ho’o) Right (Pono). And for added emphasis, the element of “making right” is repeated twice.
Ho’oponopono is about forgiveness.
You may be asking yourself, “what does forgiveness have to do with financial success?” The answer is a lot.
Your current financial situation has been created by your choices, actions and habits around money. Many times, money is used as a proxy, a substitute, for trying to address a certain feeling or to fill an unmet need. These feelings or needs are usually not physical or material, but emotional.
The need to feel successful. The need to feel loved. The need to feel included. The need to feel valued. The need to feel taken care of. The need to feel in control.
Most of these unmet needs stem from your past. An unhappy or unstable childhood. Lack of love or compassion. Parental value systems. A previous failure or misstep. Whatever the root cause, the fact is that these experiences created emotional needs that manifest through money behaviors and dictate your level of financial success.
This is where Ho’oponopono comes in. Forgiveness is the most effective tool you have for healing and addressing these needs, and by association, enabling you to change unhealthy money habits and behaviors. By forgiving yourself and others and by letting go of the past, you clear the path to move forward.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. -Buddha
Holding onto hate, hurt and anger only invites more of the same. You get what you focus on, and without shifting your focus from your past to your future you’re unlikely to move forward, financially or otherwise.
I know, it’s easier said than done. You may be thinking to yourself, “I can’t just forgive xyz…you have no idea what they did to me!”. The fact is, you can. But only YOU can decide if you will.
You must answer the question, “who do I you serve?” I’m guessing it’s not the person who’s wronged you in the past, right? So why would you continue to allow them to dictate your actions and have power over you? If you’re truly serving yourself or even a higher good, the obvious answer would be to take back your power so you can be free to move forward. The answer is to let it go.
It takes courage to let go, even of painful memories. The good news is, that once you start using ho’oponopono, you’ll see immediate results. You’ll feel freer, happier, and more empowered. All you have to do is have the courage to try.
The Practice of Ho’oponopono
The practice of ho’oponopono has evolved from its original format, but the spirit of the practice and its intentions remain. The practice itself is simple to implement. It consists of four key steps that are encapsulated into the following key phrases:
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
Let’s break it down:
I’m sorry – This statement refers to the situation or event that happened. The ancient Hawaiians believed that we are all connected (similar to the universal law of oneness) and that our actions have both direct and indirect impact on our lives and the lives of others. Impacts that can’t be anticipated or foreseen. When accepting responsibility and saying sorry, you are saying sorry for any part you had to play, whether direct or indirect (through this ideal of oneness), in the situation. You MUST accept ownership in order to obtain release.
Please forgive me – You are asking forgiveness for the situation, for the impact it’s had on you, for hanging onto the hurt, for the mistakes you may have made or hurt you’ve caused others. By offering forgiveness, you inherently are also forgiven. This comes with letting go.
Thank you – By saying thank you, you shift your emotions from anger, guilt, sadness or whatever other feeling you have, to those of gratitude. You’re expressing gratitude for the release of the emotion and being able to move on from the experience.
I love you – Love is the most profound and healing emotion you can experience. Much of what we do is driven by our need to love or be loved. Finishing the sequence with this strong emotion anchors the practice and completes the forgiveness cycle. Express love for yourself, love for others, and for the love and guidance you receive.
Note: There are no set rules on the sequence of the phrases. This is the way I have found works best for me, but you can mix them up and play around with it.
Ho’oponopono in practice
Using ho’oponopono is easy. To start, write down a list of people, situations, or experiences where you need to forgive yourself or others. Start with a list of at least 20 items. Things can be as big as a betrayal or as little as feeling guilt over eating ice cream. The key is just to test it out and get comfortable.
Next, think about the event and feel the emotions related to it. I know this can be hard, but you need to surface these events in order to release them. Go through the phrases while thinking about the event, thinking through what the phrases mean. Continue to say them as a mantra until you can release the emotion and feel at peace and able to move past it.
Once you’ve completed the practice for the 20 items on your list, write down 20 more and start again. I use ho’oponopono several times a week in order to eliminate guilt or anxiety and clear space to focus on what I want to create, achieve, or become.
Ho’oponopono is a powerful tool and when used consistently, it can yield tremendous, positive results in how you feel and live. By forgiving the past and clearing negative emotions, you are free to make new choices and create new positive associations. You’ll also be better equipped to eliminate behaviors that no longer serve you because you’ve addressed the root cause instead of the symptom, opening the door to real and permanent change.