Sunday, November 29, 2009

Clear the Past & Open to Your Present and Future NOW

By Amy Phillips-Gary

I've been knee-deep in celebrations lately. My two sons' birthdays fall within 8 days of one another in November. This means a lot of parties, cake, presents and fun this time of year in my family.

It also usually means a lot of dredging up the past for me.

As we mark their birthdays, I have this habit of recalling my perceived mistakes around each of their births and early years-- as well as my many missteps as a mom over my sons' past 15 and 11 years, respectively.

I also tend to get stressed out and worn down in the course of all this party planning, cake baking and...yes, especially regretting and self-castigation.

In fact, I believe that the inner “work” I am doing re-living the past and my self-judgments about what I think I did wrong is far more draining than wrapping presents and blowing up balloons!

The double-whammy with this limiting habit is that I can get so wrapped up in the past, I miss out on fully enjoying this present moment.

Do you ever feel bogged down by your past, yet you can't seem to let it go once and for all?

There's absolutely nothing wrong with remembering the past or waxing nostalgic periodically. I don't even think there's anything unhealthy about recalling the births of your babies.

Troubles arise, however, when we use these memories as an excuse to beat ourselves up a bit-- or a lot. We can quickly become stuck in the past when we continue to re-play it in our minds. The feelings come crashing into the present and feel oh so real.

When I fall into this backward-focused mode, I often amp up the intensity even more by becoming angry with myself for continuing to carry around this old and over-played angst!

At that point, I am further stuck and continuing to miss out on the wondrous the moment that's happening right now.

Meet your unresolved past with love and forgiveness.
In their book, Zero Limits, Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len introduce readers to a powerful practice called Ho' Oponopono* that helps clear the past and tap into limit-less divinity.

This is a specific technique and I've not taken the Ho' Oponopono training (though I would love to at some point). But I have read Zero Limits and, based on what I have learned so far, I incorporate my basic understanding in my own life with wonderful results.

The premise behind Ho'Oponopono is that we are all 100% responsible for not only the lives we've created, but we are also 100% responsible for correcting the “cancerous thoughts that create a diseased reality.”

We can choose to use a premise like this to beat up further on ourselves. Or, we can choose to use this premise as an invitation to offer forgiveness to ourselves and then release the past as well as beliefs that are keeping us stuck.

Repeating the words, “I love you, I'm sorry, Please forgive me and Thank you” is one way to do this type of clearing.

It was (and still is to some degree) uncomfortable for me to repeat words that remind me of an “I've sinned” kind of admission. But, with Ho'Oponopono, there is no emphasis on or call for doing penance.

Instead, it's all about acknowledging what you are thinking or what you have done and focusing your attention on what Vitale and Hew Len call “cleaning” on the feeling, thought or issue.

As I celebrate my sons' birthdays and a flood of memories come to me-- some of which are filled with regret or disappointment in my own self-- I can consciously “clean” the ones upon which I get stuck.

I can repeat to myself “I love you, I'm sorry, Please forgive me, and Thank you” in relation to painful thoughts and even the past events that feel unresolved. And, in the process, the thoughts, the pain, the judgment eases and releases.

What is left is an openness and a freedom within which I can create the joyous celebration of life that I choose.

*According to Joe Vitale and Ihaleakala Hew Len's book, Ho 'Oponopono is derived from an ancient Hawaiian technique. It is defined as a “process of letting go of toxic energies within you to allow the impact of Divine thoughts, words, deeds and actions.”

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