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.

Wise Women of Cyberspace

I’ve met many wise and wonderful women online while struggling to find my way through grief, women who gave me the courage to do what was necessary — accept the pain, feel each emotion as it arose, and somehow find a way to live with it. One such woman and I would talk on Facebook about grief now and again — she was three years ahead of me in the process, and had found a new direction in her life, which gave me hope that someday, I too, would manage to find peace and even renewed life.

She posted one of her comments from our conversation on her blog today, Patience, Wallowing and Defragmentation, and explained how the lessons she learned while dealing with grief have helped her in dealing with health issues.

The conversation she referred to in her blog took place two years ago, but that wasn’t the end of our discussions. Just a couple of months ago I wrote: “It is sinking in that I couldn’t make him well when he was alive, and I can’t keep him with me now that he’s dead. As much as I hate his being dead, in a way, it has nothing to do with me.”

She responded:”That’s the toughest part — realizing that their death has nothing to do with us and that we are all, while connected through a web of energy, uniquely created beings following our own individual path. Regardless of how connected we are to some people in some ways, their path is theirs and ours is ours.”

It’s this knowledge that his death belongs to him and my life belongs to me that has helped me move beyond my mourning. My grief for him cannot make him alive once more, cannot change one facet of his life or his death. Of course, I had little choice in my grief — it came from somewhere so deep inside that I’d never know such a place existed. Grief still wells up on its own now and again, but I don’t try to hold on to it, don’t try to hold on to the past, don’t try to hold on to him. And perhaps, that takes the most courage of all — letting him go.

Lucky for me, I had such a wise woman giving me counsel.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram 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.

When You Lose the Person Who Connects You to the World, What do You Become?

“When you find that one person who connects you to the world, and that person is taken from you, what do you become then?” —John Reese (Person of Interest)

John Reese might be fictional (at least I assume so; I had never of Person of Interest until I saw this quote) but his question is one many of us bereft are pondering. When that one person is first taken from us, we wonder how we are going to survive. We never figure it out, but still, the days pass, then the weeks, months and years, and we realize that somehow we did it. We survived. Then the question facing us is what do we become.

I’m still waiting to find out the answer. So far, I seem to be just . . . me. Sadder, but me. I keep hoping that grief will bring some sort of mind/soul expansion that will allow me to become . . . well, something other than the same person I have always been. I hope for wisdom, perhaps a glimpse into the eternal mysteries, maybe a greater understanding. But so far, such experiences remain beyond my grasp.

I am trying to re-establish a connection to the world, though. For a long time, I felt as if I were balanced on one foot, the other suspended above the void. Occasionally I still have that stepping off into nothingness feeling, but mostly I’ve been trying to concentrate on actually being on Earth. To notice my connection to the world. To feel the ground beneath my feet. To be aware of my breath mixing with the air around me. To feel the wind against my face and the sun against my back. All these things connect me to the world whether I feel connected or not.

During the past few days, I’ve noticed that I’m letting go of the past, or at least feeling an easing of its grip. I haven’t wanted to let go of the past because in the past I was loved. I had mate — a life mate, a soul mate, a play mate. In the past I wasn’t alone. Nothing can bring back the past, and to be honest, I don’t want to bring it back. In the past, my mate was miserable, in pain, dying by inches every day. But without the past, or my connection to the past, what will I become?

Or is that the wrong question? Perhaps the important question is not what I will become, but what will I be at any given moment. If I try to live each moment as it comes, whether it comes with tears or a smile, with heartache or peace, then perhaps all these moments of being will lead to becoming.