How to Set Right on the Writing Adventure
No. 120 | By Christine Carron
The writing adventure is going to be filled with experiences. Some that delight you. Others not so much. That’s why a robust set of process and mindset tools is helpful. (All your fab craft skills aren’t much use when you're getting sucked into a vortex of gloom.)
Maybe you find yourself spinning about something another writer said about your work, or are getting down about not making as much progress as you had hoped to make, or you feel guilty for being jealous of other writers’ success.
In such situations, you probably feel out of sorts. Out of alignment with yourself, with your writing, and with the world. One of the best tools I’ve found for such moments is the practice of repeating a set of four sentences:
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.
This practice comes from ho’oponopono, a Hawaiian reconciliation process that means to “set right.” I use it whenever I feel discombobulated or when I’ve experienced or been part of a conflict. The effect of repeating these words (either out loud or internally) is immediately calming.
A Process of Taking Responsibility
I can’t remember where I first learned about ho’oponopono—I’ve since experienced it in many different gestalt type trainings—but over time I became increasingly fascinated by it and how effective it is. I devoured every book and online class I could find about ho’oponopono, wanting to understand its deeper roots.
In her Spirituality and Health magazine article about accessing heritage wisdom, Kalia Kelmenson writes that:
Ho'oponopono is a Hawaiian practice of both forgiveness and of taking responsibility. It is a spiritual cleansing practice that . . . is about freedom, and unraveling yourself from the web of disharmony that you think was caused by others.
In the article, Kelmenson shares insights from Jeana Iwalani Naluai, a native Hawaiian, cultural practitioner, and teacher of Hawaiian healing practices, teachings and values.
Naluai describes ho'oponopono as the practice of being in alignment with yourself, with others, and with the divine. "As we go through life, we are faced with different challenges; we bump up against each other. Through that process, over time, we can smooth out some of the rough edges of life's learning curve. One of my teachers said it means to make right more right."
I love the idea of making right more right—and doing so around the rough edges of our learning curves. Writing and the writing adventure both have pretty steep learning curves, and we keep running into new curves as we grow and progress on the journey. And, yes, there will be many opportunities to bump against others along the way. Sometimes one of those present-moment bumpings is enough to throw us out of our equilibrium.
Other times, a bumping yanks us back into old wounds and patterns that are infinitely more destabilizing then the specifics of the present-moment conflict. In those situations, we are not just wrestling with the tension in front of us but also with hurts from the past and possibly even hidden fears of the future. Ergh.
Ho’oponopono shines in those situations as well. Kelmenson continues:
Ho'oponopono can also be practiced by individuals as a way of "looking at what you have taken in that you have not yet digested." Naluai explains, "When you are feeling irritated with something, it's because you have something you're carrying that is still as of yet undigested. You need to take a look at it and clear it out."
Responsibility as a Path to Response Ability
To regularly renew the grit and gumption needed to stay on the writing adventure, it greatly helps when you take responsibility for your response ability. Part of that process is knowing how to get yourself back to center. Ho’oponopono’s four sentences are a simple, powerful practice of cleaning your energy, digesting the past, so you can move forward with more ease and freedom. It is a practice of both Power and Grace.
In the end, the more tools and practices you have in your writing adventure toolkit, the more response’ability you’ll have when the slings and arrow arrive. Wahoo! You’ve got this!
Kelmenson, Kalia. "accessing heritage wisdom: ANCIENT TEACHINGS LIKE LOMI LOMI AND HO'OPONOPONO HELP HEAL MODERN HURTS." Spirituality & Health Magazine, vol. 23, no. 2, Mar.-Apr. 2020, pp. 36+. Gale General OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A616788886/ITOF?u=wel&sid=bookmark-ITOF&xid=c359b394. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.