• Narelle

Ho’oponopono - An ancient Hawaiian art for problem solving

Updated: Aug 6


Forgive me if you are more of a scientific problem solver. This post is a little more “crunchy granola with a hint of green smoothie”. It leans heavily toward the spiritual side of our being. It is worth a read and if you are game, worth a try, particularly in our current times when anxiety, uneasiness and irritability are dominating our thoughts and feelings.


Ho’oponopono (Ho-O-Pono-Pono) literally translates to “correct a mistake” or “make it right”. It is an ancient Hawaiian art of problem solving and is used to resolve conflict, get rid of bad memories and remove negative feelings (see what I mean, when I say this is needed right now).

It involves 4 different phrases and stages:

Repentance - “I’m Sorry”

Forgiveness - “Please forgive me”

Gratitude - “Thank You”

Love - “I love you”.

You see when negative things happen our mind works to blame others or circumstances outside ourselves. It wants to remove the responsibility away from ourselves and onto others.

But everything we think or feel our that happens to us involves us. We participate in it. How we perceive the world and events that happen is shaded by our perceptions, our fears, our desires and our past experiences. We are responsible for what we think and feel - good and bad.

Ho’oponopono “cleanses” each moment we err in thought, word, deed or action. It allows us to free ourselves from our past and our bad memories, feelings and experiences. It enables us to forgive others but most importantly, forgive ourselves.

You don’t need to believe in a god. Your don’t need a religion. You don’t need candles, a smudge stick, purple velvet clothes and a connection to the spirits. You don’t even need to be good at meditating. You just need to say out loud:


“I’m Sorry”

“Forgive me”

“Thank You”

“I love you”

You can focus on a specific situation or a person that has upset you. You can focus on something you have done that needs forgiveness so you can move forward. You can focus on something that happened in the past or is happening now. None of the ‘how’, ‘who’. ‘what’ and ‘when’ matters. It is all about letting go of the negative emotion associated with the event. You are owning your negative thought or emotion, asking forgiveness for holding on to it and then replacing it with gratitude and love.

Like I said, this one is a little esoteric but there has been a small study done where Ho’oponopono was associated with a statistically significant and clinically significant reduction in mean blood pressure. So if nothing else, lower blood pressure is handy to have in times of stress.

I love this mantra and have regularly used it over my years to clear past memories, hurts and things I have been holding on to that really do me no good. I use it when I feel stuck or really pissed off with someone, something or myself. Over the past few weeks I have shared this technique with many clients who are feeling isolated, unsure, irritable, and angry. There is a general feeling of an underlying dread. And given this situation is so out of our control, this presents a perfect opportunity to release negativity we may be holding on to help us feel calmer.

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