As a shamanic practitioner and

spiritual counselor, I have noticed that every year around mid-November things get very somber in my office as many of my clients prepare and fortify for the emotional tumult of going home for the Holidays. Let’s face it, asmuch aswe are often happy

to see and spend time with our loved ones, our families of origin often contain a history of dysfunctional dynamics, bad memories, shirked responsibilities, andwildly different political and social views. We carry around these long-standing and habituated resent-

ments and grievances withmany of our loved ones, and holiday gatherings can become an energetic soup of negative psychic free-radicals, unspoken acrimony and rancorous sub-text.Often, the bestwe can do is try to keep things “pleasant” or pretend that we have forgotten past ills. Butwe can also use the power of our mind to change our relationships in new and better ways. There is a wonderful and transformative spiritual practice

that comes from the shamanic traditions of Hawaii called Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono uses the power of love and for- giveness to release pain, negativity, and limitation. The seed meanings of the different syllables of this word indicate what practicing Ho’oponopono can do: ho‘o is “to make,” and pono means “rightness,” or “true condition of nature.”Ho‘oponopono restores problems to pono (rightness), and as the repetition of the word pono suggests, to make them doubly so. Amore colloquial definition of Ho’oponopono is “to clean

it all up.”As the shamans teach us, our thoughts alone can affect and change reality howsoeverwe choose.And, just by doing the practice ofHo’oponopono silentlywith ourselves,we can create a positive energetic influence that will bring about real and beneficial change that starts to “clean up” even the stickiest of family dynamics. There aremany different family traditions ofHo’oponopono

that come from the Hawaiian Islands. Over the years, the practice has been transformed into different variations, all of which can be effective. Ho‘oponopono has continued to evolve because the overall intention of the practice (using love to release negative memory patterns) is so universal in terms of practical healing, that it was easily adaptable into many forms. The version that I am going to share with you is a solitary prac- tice that directs healing and love toward others and to ourselves. You will find that whether or not you decide to share with

your familymembers that you have done this practicewith them in mind, they will still feel its effects. The results will likely be a subtle shift in your holiday gatherings - a renewal of your relationship with your loved ones, an unconscious invitation for forgiveness and mutual understanding, and a sense of bringing your relationships into the clarity of present time. Here is one way to practice Ho’oponopono: Find a time and place when you can be alone, quiet and

undisturbed. Begin by allowing yourself to relax and to go inward. Close

your eyes and take a few conscious breaths. Breathe in and be aware of it, then breathe out and be aware of it. As you breathe, feel yourself sitting inside your body. Relax and open your heart.

24 • • 845-359-6902 Decide what family member that you want to work with;

that person in which you have long-standing resentments, feuds or fears. In your mind’s eye or your inner vision, picture them sitting on a stage or platform directly out in front of you. Now, imagine that above your head, there is a sphere of

luminous healing light hovering above you. This light could have a color, or it could “sparkle” in some way. The most important thing is that you imagine that this ball of light contains the essence of divine love. Don’t worry if you are just using your imagination, your imagination is all that you need to do this effectively. Now, invite a beam of light coming from this sphere

emanating above you to enter into the crown of your head. Let this lightmove downward into your face, your body, your heart, into your arms, and out your hands. Open the palms of your hands toward the familymember that you are working with and imagine that all that healing light is being sent to themand that they are receiving it. Intend that this light heal and bring good- ness to your family member in whatever way is right for them. Now, silently and with as much sincerity as you can, tell

them, “I forgive you. Please forgiveme too.” As you continue to send them healing light, repeat these words a few more times, and really try tomean them. Even if you’re not sure why you are asking them to “forgive you too,” just do it anyway. Now, imagine that in-between the two of you and above your

heads that there is a shining blade of light. Invite this blade of light to move down between you as it cuts and severs all past history of resentment, anger and fear. As the cords of your history are being dissolved by this luminous knife, feel a sense of renewal and rebirth, let this blade move all the way down until it disappears under your feet. See the person in this new way and let themsee you clearly

too - fully in present time with a sense of starting over again. Tell them one more time, “I forgive you. Please forgive

me too.” Open your eyes. When you encounter the familymember that you have done

Ho’oponoponowith, reaffirmyour intention for forgiveness and a renewal of your relationship, and keep your eyes open - because doing this practicewill help themstart to see you in this new way too. Aloha.

shamanic practitioner.

Jonathan Hammond is a spiritual teacher, counselor and A graduate of Harvard University

and the University of Michigan, He is a Master Teacher in Shamanic Reiki and holds certifications in Cherokee Body- work, Huna and Ho’oponopono. He has worked alongside shamans

in Mexico, Brazil, Bali, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Hawaii. His first book, The Shaman’s Mind

– HunaWisdom to Change Your Life is available where books are sold.

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