It’s been tough lately, hasn’t it?
Between the circus that is the 2016 election cycle, the violence, the terrorism, the innocent loss of life and the prevailing “us versus them” mentality–it feels like the foundation of life as we know it has been rocked.
It feels scary. And disheartening. And infuriating. And powerless.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like these feelings. And I really don’t like feeling helpless to change what is happening.
So I’ve tried to figure out ways that I can make a difference.
Be the Change
I’m not an activist. I’m just not. If you are, thank you. I appreciate you fighting the good fight.
But since I’m not, I need to find other ways.
Instead of peacefully protesting, when I am out in daily life I am being actively inclusive. I make sure to be mindful with everyone I meet. I look people in the eye and really see them. When appropriate, I sit down, say hello and open up to having positive conversation. I am especially doing this with people who are deemed different than me.
I believe in equality for all. Black, white, rich, poor, LGBTQ, Muslim, immigrant—everyone. We are one race: The Human Race. And that is why I try to treat everyone the way that I like to be treated.
There is much more that brings us together than that separates us.
Be kind to everyone you meet. Be especially kind to those who seem to deserve it least, they are the ones who need it the most. If we all did this, think how it would change the world.
Turn off the news
I know that this one is going to rankle some of you. There are many people that believe it is a civic duty to know what is happening in the world.
I’m not sure that was ever true, but today it is important to remember that news is big business and bad news sells. Negative events lead to higher ratings and more money. So the media is encouraged to make things seem worse than they are to make money. And that plays directly into society’s worse fears.
I say, step away. Step away from your computers, step away from the tv. Read the headlines if you must, but the details are only going to upset you.
I will admit that I have been pulled into my newsfeed way too often in the past months and it has negatively affected me. I am recommitted to stepping away. And when I start to feel antsy, I will refer back to Be the Change
Start a forgiveness practice
This is what I really want to share with you today. It is the thing that has helped me the most lately.
What I use is called ho’oponopono (pronounced ho-ah-ponopono) and it is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.
There are religions, gurus and mystics down through the ages that have taught forgiveness and appreciation as the true path. Many believe it is the best way to access the divinity that lies within us all.
I use this practice whenever I start to worry about the state of the world; whenever I start to get angry about politics; whenever I think that people should be doing or thinking differently; whenever I feel stuck or sad or helpless.
When any of those things come up I repeat four phrases in my head over and over:
Please forgive me.
I love you.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. You may be wondering why the apology? I didn’t cause the worlds problems, why should I say sorry?
The idea is that because we are all connected, anything that comes into our lives is in some way our doing. This has nothing to do with blame or fault, it is simply taking responsibility for the world we live in and the things that happen. If we are all one, there is no other and we are responsible for everything–good and bad.
Even if you can’t muster up an apology for some of the bigger tragedies we have experienced lately, you can certainly direct your sorry to someone in your life or something that you have done in your past. That is a great place to start.
Thank you. Say it to yourself. Say it to your body. Say it to the wonderful things you have in your life. Say it often and mean it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I love you. Same idea. I love you to as many things as you can think of. I love my life. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love my dog. I love my friends. I love the trees. I love the air that I breathe. I love the water that comes out of my tap. You get the gist.
These two steps are all about gratitude. And gratitude can be the elixir of life. It can make you feel better about everything.
These phrases soothe my mind and lower my blood pressure. They bring me back to the present moment and instill peace, safety and hope back into my heart.
There is no right or wrong way to practice. Use whatever order suits you. Address yourself, someone in your life, the world, God, the Universe or your dog. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you practice.
I encourage you to learn more about ho’oponopono. You can read its history and the amazing things that have happened as a result of people using it. Please let me know if you have any questions.
I really encourage you to give ho’oponopono a try. Not only will it help you in the moment, but as you continue to offer forgiveness and appreciation to the world, you will be amazed at the things that start to happen in your life.
I use these phrases as my mantra. They go through my head when I meditate, when I walk the dog, when I am cooking and driving. There is much to be healed in me and the world. This forgiveness practice makes me feel like I am doing my part, especially during these trying times.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
In order to change your life, you must first change your mind.