Chronic Pain, Illness, Money, Addiction: When You Just Can’t get To Ho’oponopono

Hooponopono wtih words

You may have heard of the Hawaiian forgiveness and reconciliation meditation called Ho’oponopono, which is like a repeated ‘mantra’ that means:

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank You. I love you.”

This is EXACTLY the shift I (and my clients) seem to experience when putting the Reliable Symmetry of Happiness ‘to Work’–

  • Seeing my part with compassion for myself,
  • Willingness to make amends where needed,
  • Gratitude and love for the other– just as they are showing up.

In the same way, Ho’oponopono is said to shift your energy around a situation when you repeat it over and over.  It is lovely; I have used it as have some of my friends, who feel it gives them a big release.  (I have given you two links at the end of this post—a video that says the words with special meditative music and another that sings the words in a number of languages while showing beautiful photos.)

There are many many amazing ways of shifting our consciousness, of becoming present, of praying, of mediating, of using body work or tapping—in short, of observing and ‘turning over’ our situation to a power greater than ourselves and getting our egos ‘right-sized.’

Often, that is all it takes. Stopping. Noticing. Becoming the observer. Acknowledging your true powerless over events and people. Shifting into trusting what is happening.

Then replacing the upsetting mindset you had with another, and sometimes doing a practice that helps the shift integrate into our bodies.

It works, much of the time, for some people.  Especially for those who have done their spiritual homework and have loosened some of the beliefs that were making them fearful or blaming along the way.

But what about all the times it DOESN’T work?

Techniques like this SOMETIMES worked for me—but OFTEN did not. Nor did affirmations or recited prayers.

The words felt hollow and artificially enforced because I just wasn’t ‘there’ yet in my heart; the shifts eluded me because my mind was so deeply caught in the programmed beliefs that were driving my dysfunction.

For those of us who have dealt with chronic pain or illness, for example, it often feels like the ‘enemy’ is inside,

It can be VERY hard to shift a fearful or disgusted or depressed emotional state triggered by the familiar symptoms in our bodies (and the projected future-fear that accompanies those dreaded symptoms).

Even after overcoming most of my co-dependence and attachment to needing other people to change, it felt like my chronic pain and illness were the ultimate spiritual challenge.

And I exacerbated my symptoms or addictive behaviors with the stress of very ‘unforgivingly’ beating myself up for choices I had made.

It was so easy to second-guess that I had only myself to blame for slipping back in a worse condition.

Anyone who has dealt with chronic conditions (including feeling there is never enough money, or being hooked in compulsive patterns you don’t consciously want by a ‘toxic’ person or substance) knows what I am talking about.

Affirmations don’t always work to shift us into that place of forgiving ourselves and others, and feeling thankful or loving for the people and events that can still trigger us.

We have all tried.  If they were going to work on those stubborn situations, likely they would have by now.

So how is what I’m teaching you any different?

It’s not so easy as replacing the thoughts, in these situations, to shift to a new behavior or even to ‘feeling’ the level of forgiveness and connection expressed in that song that would allow a new behavior.

It’s AMAZING when these techniques works (and they often do!)

But what about the times when a terrorizing or blaming thought has you by the throat and you simply DON’T (CAN’T) feel thankful, loving, or wanting to forgive and reconnect with yourself or that unwanted condition?

THAT is where the Reliable Symmetry of Happiness really comes in—once you have applied and witnessed it enough that you know for yourself how the very thing that is ‘left’ to trigger you (even after all this work) is the very thing holding the key out of your pain.

And although you may have gotten huge shifts and instinctively ‘recognized’ what I was telling you as something that felt ‘right,’ it still takes time and sustained practice to live from that new paradigm.

When no affirmations or ‘think this way’ strategies that have worked for others will do it.  This is the time to STOP, and

  • BE with the painful part of you EXACTLY as it is.
  • Then gently, lovingly hold it in a way that lets is know there is NOTHING it could do to make you leave.
  • And when it feels safe enough, you can sit with it and let it inquire into what’s really going on. You can question (with curiosity, not criticism), and literally “undo”—for good– the specific kind of hold such thoughts have on you.
  • Once you know how, you can let them see—for themselves–that this old programming no longer fits or works; it only causes pain.

The ‘lightweight’ situations can be handled by a number of things; but this Work is for that little one.

It’s for the times when you simply CAN’T stop a destructive thought by saying ‘just don’t go there;’ when you CAN’T just watch an Ekhart Tolle video and get the shift; when you CAN’T just walk away from a person, circumstance, or substance.

And when you can’t affirm over the thoughts that desperately believe they NEED to be right. The ones that are telling you:

“The is the way it IS” (bad) or “This is the way I need it to be.”

Long-term patterns become long term for a reason—they are hard to shake. They are rooted in very deep, very well-meaning coping strategies that get formed– and re-appear– when we are most vulnerable.

When Are Affirmations a Form of Violence?

I often say that “Affirming Over” those vulnerable parts of ourselves can sometimes be a form of violence to that part of us that is STILL believing the stressful thought.

It’s up to you to be the judge of when that is. When you feel worse that you ‘aren’t getting it’ or its temporary; the same story comes right back.

Even some of the most loving kinds of affirmations implant a mind-made version that our black-and-white intellect tells us will be a better thought to than the ‘bad’ thought we have—and yet part of us knows we can’t know what works for the highest good.

It can be like suffocating or pushing away that part of our psyche that is holding tight to that thought; the deeply grooved neural networks simply CAN’T shift just because you or someone else tells it to believe a different thought, no matter how good your intentions are or loving the method is.

The thought was programmed to believe it is there for our own good—in fact, it is asserting itself with the tenacity required to ensure our very survival (which it believed it was doing when it came up with the thought).

These ‘little ones’ are often expressed via pain in our bodies, or fear-driven ways of living in scarcity, or compulsive behaviors (that we truly CAN’T stop because they are driven by the power behind these thoughts).

These innocent decisions we made at some point, just get LOUDER and STRONGER and more DEEPLY ROOTED over time; they start to over-function as they collect evidence that their world-view is correct and life isn’t safe.

But It’s Held in My BODY!

As a result, our conditions become progressively worse if we don’t have an effective way to truncate the original thinking.

But , the patterns held in our minds and playing our in our bodies, beliefs, and behaviors—can be completely re-written.

Sometimes in the space of a SINGLE INQUIRY, a huge driving thought or underlying belief is seen through and loses its hold on you for good.

While you come away with a whole new way of thinking (or not thinking) about your situation, it is not based on an overlay or external prescription.

It is arrived at from within, and is ‘tailor-made’ to the healing needed by that little part.

YOU are the hero you’ve been waiting for (as Katie always says).  And what you do when you inquire is to restore a way of seeing that is in alignment with who you really are.

Then history going forward from that point, and the ‘cellular memory’ of the traumas that prompted the decision, also gets ‘un-done’ when we go back and see through that original thought.

It is affecting our bodies in the here and now NOT because of something that happened back then, but because the thoughts that got carried forward from that moment bring with them the same or even intensified reactions in our bodies.

SO undoing it now–and when possible following the thread back to who you would have been in all those painful moments along the way if you had never come to believe such a thought–allows the true shift to ‘not knowing’. It puts us in the humble place where our bodies are no longer feeding themselves the chemicals created by our emotions.


It can—and will—happen for you if you can stay with this.

Stay with me, via the rrr group or individual intensive, if it’s resonating with you at all.

Why? Because it takes some time, and the undoing of more of the thoughts.

Your body is still set up to receive the adrenalin and other emotionally-based chemicals you’ve been shooting up when you believe your thoughts (see movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know” for a scientific and dramatic enactment of how that works).

Those chemicals signal tension, they curtail immune function, they re-program the cell receptors for digestion and other functions into receptors to receive ‘anger’ or ‘fear’ chemicals.  Our aging and chronic conditions are based in just that, the gradual loss of those original functions for a mind-created physiological reaction.

That’s why aging, pain, and chronic conditions can turn around in a big way once you know how to release the hold of your thinking.

It’s a new world.  And it goes well beyond your relationships to people—all the way to your relationship to your body, money, your compulsions.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand this. It’s all about the doing–not the theory.

And I have many more tricks for the DOING up my sleeve than just The Work.  As one woman said after our first session:

“For several reasons, I asked Shawn if we could use a method other than The Work on that particular evening (I love The Work, but wanted to try a different method). Whatever that method was that was not The Work indeed “worked.” And I have confidence that she’ll be able to help me heal from the remorse and shame of knowing that I had sabotaged love.”

As my Sunday gift to you, here are the links to the Ho’ Oponopono video and an email about working internally with pain.  I wrote it to the woman about who inquired about working with me for the first time soon, but needed some help with her pain for a long drive this weekend.

If that’s something you are struggling with, please feel free to write or call me.



PS–Here are those links I promised you!

PAIN WITHOUT A NAME (and how much to work with me?)

Ho’oponopono  Singing Video

Ho’oponopono with Words and Binaural Beats