“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.” ― David Richo
It happened last year, when I felt completely and utterly broken that I had a severe panic attack that landed me in the psychiatrist’s office. I knew that it wasn’t a massively debilitating issue, as I had managed my panic attacks before, but I took it as a huge signal that something inside of me needed deep healing.
I found that healing when I was travelling in Ubud, Bali, and went to a cacao ceremony. I initially went for the gong and sound healing part of it, but I came away from the entire 3-hour ceremony feeling light and refreshed, with a strange peacefulness in my heart again.
The one part of the ceremony that touched me the most was when the facilitators asked us to do some partner work by placing our hand on our partner’s hearts and vice versa as we looked them in the eyes. Then they started playing this enchanting song that just had the words, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”
As I looked into the eyes of the person in front of me and felt the vibrations of the song in my heart, I started to cry. At first, I tried my best to hide it, but then my tears continued to stream down as the song played on. I felt deeply touched — by the song, the voices, the affirmations and the look of acceptance of the person in front of me, holding the space for me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the song was based on a prayer from the Hawaiian concept of Ho’oponopono. In Hawaii, the Ho’oponopono mantra is used for gratitude and forgiveness and based on the teaching of “Hurt no one.” It was used as a way of resolving conflict instead of letting arguments and conflict fester.
In the book Zero Limits, Joe Vitale also references this mantra and the way it is used to take responsibility and heal yourself. The concept is that you alone are responsible for yourself and everything that manifests in your world. However, when you use the prayer to heal yourself, you are also healing and influencing others indirectly.
The four parts of the prayers are very simple and powerful:
RESPONSIBILITY – I’m sorry
FORGIVENESS – Please forgive me
GRATITUDE – Thank you
LOVE – I love you
As the song played, I was not only saying this to the partner in front of me, I always also saying it to myself to heal.
The ability to know that I could easily accept and forgive a stranger in front of me made me understand that I also needed to forgive myself for all the past grievances and my victim mentality that I had held onto for so long.
I found that the words allowed me to take back responsibility of my life, grieve over my past struggles, and accept them for what they were so I could come back to loving myself.
Go ahead and try it for yourself.
1. Repeat the mantra daily
Say the four phrases in any order that you want. Say them in the morning after you wake up or as a mantra during your daily meditation. Say them at night before you go to sleep. Listen to it as a song or audio meditation on YouTube. Write it down in your journal.
Do it however it feels right for you.
For example, I like to play the song in the morning when I get up. I listen to it and sing it back to myself or put my hands on my heart to feel it. I sing it to myself or I think about others that I would like to focus on and send my energy to for each different phrase.
2. Walk the talk in your life
I believe it’s not only effective to just affirm the four phrases but to live consciously according to them. Be mindful and think about how else you can bring healing to your own life through your actions.
What if you owned up to everything that you’ve done wrong in your life?
What if you took responsibility for all your actions?
Please forgive me:
What would happen if you truly forgive yourself?
And the other people around you that did you wrong?
How would you feel and what difference would that make in your life?
What if you expressed gratitude for yourself and your life every day?
How would that make you feel?
I love you:
What if you truly loved yourself?
What would you do differently?
3. Heal others
Think about what you could give up now to live a more peaceful and joyful life with the other people around you.
How can you be a role model so that you hurt no one and share that message with your loved ones?
“Just like there’s always time for pain, there’s always time for healing.” ― Jennifer Brown, Hate List
As for me, after the cacao ceremony, I started to let my heart open again. I realised that I had gone to Bali for a reason, and I was there to heal. And that’s what I did.
I had come off my medication. I felt more confident in my ability to handle any panic attack. I had stepped outside of my comfort zone to travel to Bali for a month on my own. I let go of emotional pain and suffering that I had held onto for so long. I didn’t want to be a victim and live an unhappy life anymore.
I went to Bali and I experienced fully all the things I wanted to do. I felt emotions again, big and small. I cried, I laughed, I met new people — people I didn’t know before my trip, but people I felt connected to because we were all there for some sort of healing. And we found it, in one way or another, in each other, in ourselves and mostly in our hearts.