The Art of healing: Hoʻoponopono

life quote

Hotmail delivered an email by a troubled soul I no longer consider as friend, refer to my emotional rant in the article ‘A can of worms’. Technology amazes me, how you can still receive emails from a ‘blocked’ person is one of the wonders of modern society. In this instance however, gratitude is the order of the day.

Her email, as always, was a forwarded email that goes by the subject line: “I’m sorry” and “I love you”.  I must be the only dyslexic in the world who just can’t resist reading a well-written email, even if it is from someone I have officially blocked from my life. What can I say? We all have our quirks; curiosity is mine.

This particular email was so intriguing it warranted a post, for those who are familiar with my musings you know that I rather stay silent than write for the sake of writing, yes all you social media marketers, I am guilty of the number one SMM no-no. I have never been one to conform and my viewpoints are different at best but never run-of-the-mill.

Hoʻoponopono is the ancient Hawaiian belief system that offers cures for a world steeped in pain and sickness. According to Wikipedia, “Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.”

This particular email made references to Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients without ever seeing them, by improving himself. Total responsibility, the belief that everything in your life is your responsibility and not in a guilt tripping depressing way but in an uplifting empowering way.

I am not completely sold on the technique or the results, nor am I convinced of the authenticity of the claims, however what I am intrigued with is the underlying empowerment message. Yes, I am a sucker for inspirational, motivational and downright simple common sense. As a catholic, I can totally resonate with, ‘prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness’.

For the longest time however, I always thought that all the above were for your own mental health. As a proponent of, ‘You have the power to change your past’ I found it quite interesting that I, me and myself encompasses the universe.

The question, ‘what have you done?’ being posed to the parents when any child was ill, really struck a nerve. The fact that one out of my brood of three is perpetually ill might have something to do with it. My counsellor, as my son might have Asperger’s, is always drumming the circle of parenting principles, one of her favourite being, the solution to all behavioural issues with children is to spend more quality time with them. To rejoice in them and delight in them, kind but firm is what every parent should aim for. Screaming, yelling and generally loosing it is my modus operandi, but Libby and I are working on that.

Apart from the fact that if you are at peace with yourself, everyone around you will also absorb that calming presence (a kindy teacher who is confident and calm always has her class attentive to her), the ability to heal others by taking responsibility for them mentally, seems to make a lot of sense. In this world where everyone is harping on their freedom to curse, insult and abuse, a message of peace, harmony, forgiveness and most importantly responsibility might just be what we need in these troubled times.

To heal the world, our community, our families, by first healing ourselves, makes a lot of sense. Every troubled teenager, criminal and war monger needs to be taken responsibility for, we as a community need to step out of our shells, our private little perfect worlds and embrace the troubled, lonely and even the criminally insane with love, forgiveness and acknowledgment. Distancing ourselves form the problem doesn’t make it go away, doing something about it does.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we all make a beeline to the prisons and hospitals; that would be nice, however what we can do is stop this mental demarcation of them versus us. Total surrender and total responsibility, at least mentally for starters, who knows we might just change the world and save it while we heal and love ourselves.

family quote

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Rejection is the new measure of success.

REJECTION

I was reading an article about rejections, Dr Seuss, the beloved author of children’s picture books was rejected 27 times. Just before he lost all hope, an old friend agreed to publish it and it sold 600 million copies. Two things come to mind, one that success is difficult and you should never give up; secondly, the decision makers (editors, publishers etc.) need to find a different line of work.

I have always been a writer and as a child I believed that one day I would see my works published. My educators seemed to doubt my supreme faith, luckily I was never one to blindly confirm. As a dyslexic I can understand their reluctance to envision me at some book-signing event. In retrospect, I must be the only dyslexic who wants to be a writer and loves words; I mean they rarely stay still. However, blessed with an overactive imagination it’s hard not to pen the echoes of strange worlds and capture the spirit of the glorious characters that abound in them. Dyslexia is why you have spell check, and why you enlist the help of friends and family to edit and proof read, not a reason to give up your passion.

For those who have been following my blog, you would agree that my take on life is anything but stereotyped. Some see a glass half full, while others lament a glass half empty, I however rejoice on the glass fulfilling its role and the fact that my thirst can be quenched.

My biggest grouse is with the naysayers of life, the judges, the evaluators, the critics etc. we all cross paths with them eventually to get the joy sucked out of our lives. These qualified analysts claim to have God’s ear, and hence the supreme confidence with which they declare you not fit, not good enough, not appropriate, will never succeed, will never amount to anything in life etc.

They are predictable and spend their lives demanding that we, the free-spirited, conform to their rules and reasoning. How do you pigeonhole creativity, passion, and talent? “Too different and silly” the unanimous reason for rejection is what makes the books of Dr. Suess so loved.

How many stories have we heard, of successful entrepreneurs who disagreed with the experts only to start their own common sense line that took them laughing to their banks? What we need is a little bit of Edison in our lives, ‘I haven’t failed 500 times but I have found 500 ways that don’t work’, this is how I remember the quote from childhood but today Google reports it as 10,000 times. The moral of the story still holds true, never give up and don’t listen to the naysayers. Rejections are the hallmark of the greatest achievers; the one commonality being they never accepted it.

 

The best of both worlds!

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I’m 36, a mother of three and until today, 9.30 am, I did not realise that I have it all. Until 9.30 am, I was hassled, stressed and like every other woman who has delivered three children in the span of four years, struggling with my weight. I could go on and on about why my life is far from perfect, the dark circles under my eyes from waking up repeatedly at night to tuck one of my toddlers back to bed, my potty training struggles, my husband who just doesn’t understand, my work deadlines that I just can’t seem to meet, my shelved ambition to be a writer, I could go on…

So what happened? Well, I was as usual in my home office, I write articles for my husbands digital services company, when I chanced upon a very loud conversation between my au pair and my youngest, 20 month old Freny.

Merieke: “Oh Freny what did you do, naughty Freny, naughty!”

Freny: “I pretty, pretty!”

Merieke: “No, not pretty, naughty!”

Freny: “Pretty?”

Laughter all around….

Or an earlier incident when I dished up something exotic to entice my 2-½ yr. old to eat. She took one look at it and screamed, “Dangerous!”

LMAO!

How many women can boast of being able to work and still not miss out on the precious moments with their kids? I work and I probably should mention that as an aspiring writer, writing freelance articles is as good as it gets. My hours are anywhere between 6 to 10 hours a day, all subject to deadlines and my workload.

My husband who I constantly label as unsupportive is the one who gets me this fulfilling job and pays me for it! I get to spend this amount on anything I want, mostly clothes and toys for the kids that are not budgeted for, gifts for friends and family that my husband would consider excess. My kids of whom I never cease to complain about how they are demanding, taxing and the reason why I haven’t had a decent nights sleep for four year straight are the highlight of my day. The happiest moments of my life are centred on them, the day they were born, when they cuddled me and said they loved me or when they pass smart comments.

familyI have what most women wish they did and regret missing out on, time with my kids whilst still working (doing what I love!).  I have never missed any of their firsts, so much so that I don’t even remember to log it or keep a digital keepsake; I take it so much for granted!

As far as my weight is concerned, that’s another story, I am a great cook and I love food! Not a good combination if you want to be skinny! As long as my husband finds me attractive, I really shouldn’t stress on it but I do because that’s what a woman of today does.

That’s what I realised today at 9.30 am, I have the best of both worlds, I am truly blessed, praise God, and yet I moan and I complain. Why? Who has implanted this picture of this unattainable perfect life that my already wonderful life doesn’t measure up to? Who wants perfect? If my kids were absolutely well behaved, always immaculately dressed (meaning actually coming home with the same number of clothing, shoes etc. they went out with!), and slept peacefully through the night; then where would the memories be? Actually, in hindsight I would like the sleep through the night bit!

It’s their idiosyncrasies, their strong will and personalities that make every moment so memorable. The house is filled with laughter on account of their adventures and quirky behaviour. I have a really hard time with my 2-½ year old but when I look at her I see myself at that age. Apart form being an exact copy of me, she is an amalgamation of the strong personalities she has inherited form both sides of the family. It makes me realise what a blessed opportunity I have in the moulding of someone who is poised to do something extraordinary in life.

I am a mom, when did moulding lives and shaping personalities become such a mundane task?

Yes, 9.30 am today was an eye opener that my life is wonderful, and I am truly blessed. No, I do not have a model figure (probably never will), my kids are an unruly bunch, my husband is not perfect (neither am I), we are not rich but we are happy! I read somewhere that happy was originally derived form the meaning ‘lucky’ and wealthy actually meant ‘wellbeing’; both of which I am. At 9.30 am I realised I was rich with happiness, works for me.

by Antonia Rapheal

Where have the villages gone?

A joke from my husband over a delightful dinner with friends got me rattled into a passionate speech about our loss of village culture and the impact it has on our youth. My husband, a perpetual toastmaster, had us all guffawing with his jokes when one particular ‘joke’ plucked a nerve.

A 1960 versus 2012, Johnny helps himself to some leftover firecrackers from guy Fawkes and blows up a wasp’s nest.

1960: wasps die

2012: bomb squad arrives, parents and siblings taken into questioning, Johnny charged with domestic terrorism… the details are a little lost on me. This set the pace, but the following one really touched a nerve.

Johnny falls down while playing and hurt his knee, Ms. Mary (I think) his teacher gives him a hug and helps him up.

1960: Johnny goes on to become a great football player.

2012: Miss. Mary is charged for inappropriate contact and subsequently dismissed from her role as teacher and Johnny is made to undergo five years psychological counselling and ends up gay.

 

While I understand that this world in not safe and the threat of sexual child predators and terrorism is very real and as a mother of three I appreciate the social concern to protect the vulnerable, but I cannot condone the extent at which this protection has exceeded. While this is a rather extreme portrayal of the current political correctness culture and government national security protocol, it might end up a reality in the not too distant future. Our continual ‘evolution’ towards a more socially, morally and culturally policed human race will no doubt be our undoing.

 

Is it really wise to replace all acts of humanity with a cold and distant politically correct decorum? To incarcerate every juvenile mistake with life debilitating consequences is taking things a little too far. I remember how as a child while walking down the street I would come across an old ‘aunty’ yelling at the town rowdies, “stop your tom foolery Johnny or I’ll be dropping by tonight to have a chat with you father.” Johnny would immediately stop his ‘actions’ and sheepishly apologise and even help aunty with her shopping bags.

Everyone knew everyone and cared about each other. The grand Aunties and uncles had implicit authority to reprimand youngsters on sight and parents had no choice but to take responsibility for their young. No foster homes just the community pitching in to help whichever family was on the brink of collapse. I remember making rounds with my mum to visit some strange family just to inquire as to how they were coping with some terrible loss that was alien to me.

Peacemakers abounded at every alley and gossipers who kept track of everyone’s whereabouts in a strange way policed the morality of the youth and vulnerable adults. The politically correct stalwarts of 2012 would be appalled at the dictator ship attitude of the grand aunties and uncles, the blatant disregard of personal privacy of the gossipers and the social norm accepting such behaviour. No, it was far from perfect, nothing human ever is, but the village community spirit reinforced humanity in each and every one of us. We were subconsciously programmed to forgive, harbour love for our neighbour, concern that had to result in action and to always expect to be judged, all this invariably strengthened the resolve to be good. The only draw back being that the social authority figures, your grand aunties and uncles, had to be decent, caring individuals. They could ruin lives and breed disharmony if they were anything short of decent humans. However, there was an invisible control, public support that prevailed only for decent individuals keeping this prominent role out of reach for undeserving individuals.

The dawn of the 21st century destroyed the village community spirit, with the death of the last grand Aunty and uncle began the slow and painful death of humanity. Horrific incidents of abuse, rape, and molestation became the norm instead of the exception, freedom is unbiased, and it can free both the victim and the hidden predator.

Freedom without morality is the advent of hell on earth. The demand for political correctness and liberal thought gave birth to the impersonal, irrelevant and absolute disregard for the community spirit. Blind justice cannot and should not replace compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Robots and even animals can be cold, cruel and indifferent, only humans have the ability to sacrifice, motivate, help, and most importantly forgive.

Evolution is not about being politically correct and culturally tolerant, it is about inspiring greatness, practicing humility, serving mankind selflessly and learning from suffering. In the past, our medieval ancestors, glorified the honourable and venerated saints; today we debase these heroes and saints as liars and charlatans, insisting that it is very human to live to just to satisfy one’s needs and do as one pleases, a human birth right.

Often, as I visit an aged or lonely neighbour, I am asked what joy could I possibly get from such an interaction. I cannot put in words the sense of comfort I receive when I engage with the elderly, listen to their sincere advice or hear of their wonderful anecdotes. It’s the only time, apart form when I play with my little children, that I actually ‘feel’ human, connected of sorts with some great cosmos. Perhaps this is what is missing from all those troubled youths or those suicidal individuals, the inability to feel belonged, cared for and part of this great human race?