Practicing Ho’oponopono

I do not buy into the philosophy that everyone who shows up in our life is there for “a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” but maybe sometimes it is true.

Lately I’ve been talking about a woman in dance class who seems to be my character “Deb” from Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare come to life. Like my fictional Deb, this woman acts as if she is in competition with me, and her behavior follows the typical pattern of a narcissist. First, she tried to control me with patronization. When I put a stop to that, she tried to crowd me both physically and with small torments. When that didn’t work, she tried to turn the teacher against me. She made a couple of tactical errors there. First, the teacher and I are friends, though it might not seem like it at a casual glance, because she does not pay particular attention to me in class. Second, Deb started to forget herself and make disrespectful comments to the teacher.

Now Deb is aligning herself with another woman, and in doing so, is changing that woman’s attitude toward me.

If it weren’t such a ridiculous and stressful drama, I’d feel sorry for Deb and her need for attention, but it is not my responsibility to fix her, if that were even possible. Nevertheless, she remains a problem.

A new blog friend left a comment yesterday: Why is there always a Deb? And it does seem as if there is always a Deb bringing a dark energy with her. Another friend said that if I quit dance class because of this woman, another Deb would show up in my life.

Which makes me wonder if perhaps this woman is in my life so I can learn how to deal with the Debs once and for all. I have to admit the idea of never again having to deal with a Deb sure is a pleasant one, so I should try to get from this experience what I can.

One of the many reasons I took care of my father after Jeff died was that I wanted to resolve my old problems and lingering issues with him. I knew there would come a time when I was alone and needing to start a new life, and I didn’t want to start that life with any baggage from the past. It worked. By looking after my father, by reversing the parent/child roles, all those conflicts gradually disappeared. There were no father/daughter conflicts at the end, just a dying man and the woman who was there to help him pass out of this world.

Could there be some of this going on with my “Deb”? Am I supposed to learn how to deal with folks like her without reacting to their machinations? Or am I just supposed to be able to see the pattern and do with it what I will?

I do know that when I was younger such situations confused the heck out of me because I could not understand their fixation on me, their insistence on competing despite my dislike of conflict, their tendency to push me around when I did not fight back, and their attempt to get people to see me as they did.

Being honest with myself, as I try to be, I’ve explored the possibility that the problem is with me, but now, even if it is true, I no longer want to admit any culpability, which could be a step in the right direction. That I can see the pattern is perhaps another step. Knowing I can’t fix her is possibly a third step. The fourth step, maybe, is learning to step outside the confrontation so that it doesn’t affect me so much. If so, I have a long way to go, because this situation, like any conflict and unfairness, raises my hackles.

Today, in an effort to overcome the reaction to the energy she spews out, I tried to practice Ho’oponopono around her.

Ho’oponopono means “to make right,” or “to rectify an error.” Dr. Haleakala S. Hew Len says, “The intellect working alone can’t solve these problems, because the intellect only manages. Managing things is no way to solve problems. You want to let them go! When you do Ho’oponopono, what happens is that the Divinity takes the painful thought and neutralizes or purifies it. You don’t purify the person, place, or thing. You neutralize the energy you associate with that person, place or thing. So the first stage of Ho’oponopono is the purification of that energy.”

How you neutralize that energy is by repeating four phrases to yourself: I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

So, that’s what I did today. It didn’t make any difference, but we’ll see.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

16 Responses to “Practicing Ho’oponopono”

  1. LordBeariOfBow Says:

    Look down your nose at her, sniff loudly, and turn away, that’ll fix her! Bugger the 4 phrases, why waste time

  2. Wanda Hughes Says:

    It might take more than one try. The purpose, as I understand it, is to mean the phrases, to concentrate on the words and the emotions behind them and not the person. There IS always a Deb. Learning how to deal with them is a worthy goal. I send you success in getting this deb behind you.

  3. Steph Says:

    You could just keep calling her Deb and drive her mad!

  4. S.E.May Says:

    If nothing else, it will indeed restore calm in you. I can’t help but wonder what the Deb’s of this world get out of this? All that negativeness that they spew out has to be so toxic and exhausting.

    Hopefully, my black humour won’t be too macabre here, but I feel like you’ll understand. When you spoke about seeing your father out ( which was lovely by the way) my mind went to you helping Deb on her way as well. Since I write thrillers I couldn’t help but go there . 🙂

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I doubt the Debs think they are toxic. If you call them on their behavior, they are honestly shocked at how badly you are treating them. They never seem to see that they are the instigating factor. They hide their many small cruelties under a laugh and a “just joking,” and maybe they really do think it’s all in fun. Until someone does it to them.

      As for your black humor — maybe you can answer a question for me. Deb was a character in a book I wrote who didn’t show up in my life until after the story was written. I considered writing another story to kill her off, but how can I do that when she is already dead? (Which makes me wonder if our so-called “real life” is the afterlife where all the characters we killed off come. If so, what book were we in before we too were killed off?) So how do I put Deb get back in the book and out of my life?

  5. Kathy Says:

    I agree that these personality patterns will continue to appear until you finally deal with the situation properly. I used to find myself repeatedly hanging around people I had no interest in until I finally stopped the behavior. I also had a pattern of Narcissists in my life until I finally ended those. After awhile, there aren’t many people left – lol! I finally realized I prefer to be around people and not with them. That discovery has been so satisfyingly freeing. I have a feeling you’re similar and why losing a soulmate is so devastating!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, it’s why losing Jeff was so devastating. When I was with him, I didn’t have to go out seeking companionship as I had done these past few years. I think this is the end, though, of trying to be with people. It doesn’t work. As long as I get something — anything — from dance class, I will continue going, but then that’s the end of even trying to be around people. I’m not that desperately lonely anymore. In fact, I am finding that I am a lot less lonely when I am by myself.

  6. mickeyhoffman Says:

    A teacher told me once that if you don’t like someone, go out of your way to treat them as you would treat a friend, “be nice” as he put it. To my great amazement, it worked. We don’t change others but we can change ourselves, I guess, is the lesson I learned. Also, if someone is really treating you badly, it’s quite amusing to see their reaction when you don’t give them the expected response.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Another woman suggested being nice, and I tried that, but Deb seems to be so caught up in herself, she was impervious. I will get through the next few weeks as best as I can, and then after my trip, try again

      As for the trip — I am looking forward to seeing you again.

  7. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    Seems like there are more than enough “Debs” to go around. Sure, maybe they show up for a reason or maybe our own issues attract them, but all I can do is keep trying to fix me, much less those who bring their dark energy to my door.

    Ho’oponopono is good, though. Let’s hope it helps.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s what I’m trying to do — fix me. Maybe it’s me I should be saying those four sentences about.

      I have no interest in fixing anyone else, especially older folks whose issues from childhood still rule their lives.

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