Have you ever gone on vacation in desperate need of an escape … from the cold, your job, some stressful situation at home; other people, in general, or your own funk and boredom – only to find that you’ve somehow managed to pack and tote all of that heavy baggage along with you?
The white sandy beaches and stunning vistas are calling you. But as you slow down and get quiet enough to start listening, all you can hear is the troublesome chatter inside of your head.
Wherever you go, it seems, there you are – along with all of your worries and regrets, fears, anger and resentments; this interior view, not so spectacular.
So you’ve skipped town but escaped nothing. Others may be fooled by your sun-kissed and smiley Instagram selfies; you sense the lie but upload them anyway. Inside, an invisible fracture deepens.
When we find ourselves in this place, overburdened by what we are holding onto, unable to let go and free ourselves to create new happy memories, it’s time to stop and look inward, and do the work to free the mind and heart, and lighten your load, says Dr. Brett Wade of the Ekahi Centre for Yoga and Mindfulness.
To dive in, to begin this work, we must be willing to stare our grudges, transgressions and pain in the face, make peace with ourselves and let go.
On Sunday mornings at the downtown Kelowna studio Brett offers a guided class in a meditation practice called Ho’oponopono – the ancient Hawaiian art of forgiveness. He learned about this technique while living in Hawaii back in the ’90s. The practice of “mental cleansing” was used to help restore and maintain healthy relationships among family members, but had been all but lost to the culture. Then the practice was resurrected in a book that Brett came across while there, called Zero Limits, by Joe Vitale and co-author, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.
Brett was instantly captivated by the story.
Dr. Len, a clinical psychologist, had been credited with healing an entire ward of mentally ill criminals using this seemingly mystical practice of Ho’oponopono. He did this, apparently, without interacting with the dangerous, shackled inmates at all. He would simply enter the hospital every day, cheerfully go to his office and then sit at his desk looking through prisoner files. Over time, things began to change at the bleak state hospital. The patients stopped acting out. Staff stopped going on sick leave. Then, one by one, the prisoners were all released. Eventually they closed the hospital because there was just no need for it.
According to Hew Len, he had “only tried to heal himself” using the ancient healing system of Ho’oponopono by “taking responsibility for the part of himself that had created them.”
He did this by meditating on these words: “I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”
“Like Marconi’s wireless call across the Atlantic, we can make a spirit call … you dial it up and have a conversation through waves. I bring you to my mind and visualize you, which allows me to get on the same frequency as you,” say Brett, who began to practice Ho’oponopono and soon started to experience powerful changes in his own life that helped him to release energy tied to the past and move forward.
“We all have blockages in our life and we all have somebody we have not forgiven,” says Brett. “Ho’oponopono is a form of meditation that is accessible to everyone.”
He knew when he opened up Ekahi Centre with his partner Siri that he wanted Ho’oponopono to be an integral part of the Kelowna studio.
“You don’t have to be religious or spiritual or know how to chant. Regardless of your background, culture or religion the effects are the same. It can improve relationships and provide a sense of well-being and decreased feelings of resentment and anger.”
Since he has been offering Ho’oponopono students have come to him saying they have noticed significant changes in their lives.
“When you start letting go of things it makes a big difference in your life. Whether it’s a cousin or an uncle or whoever, you are carrying it around … and often the other person doesn’t even know you are holding onto it … it’s us who has to let go,” says Brett. “This is a process … but forgiveness can make a tremendous difference in your life.”
These days, we are all the more aware of how much our emotions effect our health.
“We know that our thoughts can cause high blood pressure or obesity, so whenever we can remove negativity we can start to restore the body’s physiology back to its baseline health,” says Brett.
Stress isn’t the problem. Chronic stress is the issue, he adds.
“If you ruminate, your body stays in a state of stress and doesn’t come back down. Now more than ever we need techniques like Ho’oponopono because we know that we can change ourselves,” says Brett. ” The research is so compelling for this. It’s the new medicine.”
Feeling heavy? Got some baggage you want to drop?
Try it out: Ho’oponopono meditation runs on Sundays at Ekahi from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.