Having received such encouraging feedback from my last article “Storyboard of Life” I am going to venture sharing some more thoughts and insights about the nature of conflict and approaches that can bridge differences rather than building walls that perpetuate them.

The last paragraph of that article was a call for action… “If we are ever to create peace on earth as we claim to want, it starts here, with me, with you, being accountable for our feelings and reactions, dropping the stories that feed separation, violence and judgment. We all need to do our part to restore that which is good, clean up our stories, be accountable, make peace, and extend friendship and love, even when it’s hard, for that’s when it counts the most. As Gandhi says, ‘Be the Change you want to see in the world.’ And it will change.”

So how do we do that? What does that action look like? Is it really possible?

What makes it possible is simply being willing to expand our perceptions to include more than our ideas, wants and needs, to consider the others existence rather than focusing only on our own. Take a deep breath. In this space, forgiveness is effortless.

The moment I am willing to see more than what I can presently see, when I admit that my perception is biased to my story and drama, a door opens in me and a new beam of light can enter in and illuminate my vision. But first I have to be willing; willing to let go of my need to be right. Let go of my need to prove and defend my case. Let go of my need to judge and so make myself better than another. I need to be willing to serve love and goodness rather than anger and violence.

Rumi has a beautiful poem to reflect that state of willingness. “Far beyond the reaches of right and wrong, there is a field, I will meet you there.” There is a deep quality of love and humility in that statement. That is what is needed, anything less perpetuates and encourages the human drama of violent action. Take a deep breath.

Are you, who are reading this, willing to go there? To extend your beliefs beyond right and wrong to restore love? To bridge differences that cause painful separation with people, family and friends you once loved and shared laughter with? Or do you need to stand cemented in your beliefs, fighting to the death to prove you are right and only your way and perception counts? The latter is the easy way out. It doesn’t demand any self reflection or work, and is unfortunately the most common trodden path on the planet. Whereas the former demands a lot of work and time to uncover what is not so obvious, to reveal the insights needed to understand ourselves and another.

Guess which action bares the harvest we all hunger for… Are you willing? That is the question that needs to be investigated and answered before any other movement can take place. Make your choice and live by it. For in essence it is all about choice, for which only I am responsible. I choose to direct my inner compass towards understanding or towards resentment and that choice creates the momentum that feeds and creates my reality. It’s very simple. If I am not reaping the harvest I want than I need to take a closer look at my actions and choices that are creating the reality I am in.

If a farmer doesn’t tend to every little detail and every stage of growth in their fields, how can he expect to get the best crop ever? It’s the same principle in human relationships, both with self and others. We are each a garden, an eco system with many sub eco systems, unique and sovereign. I need to educate myself on what best serves the various eco systems within me and those who I am close to in order to respect and take care appropriately so that we can all grow and reap a good harvest. I need to be willing to see that not all eco systems are like mine and stop expecting them to be.

Ho’oponopono is an ancient practice of Forgiveness from Hawaii, a practice that has genuinely helped me to go deeper into the hurts and pains that once clouded my vision that caused me to be hurtful and self righteous unintentionally in response to hurtful events. It’s a form of conflict resolution to keep harmony and peace. The foundation of Ho’oponopono is that all beings are in essence equal and innocent and are acts of Creation/God, so no one is above or below another. We meet in our mutual humanity as equals, which immediately subdues the need to dominate or control another with our judgments and need to be right. The sovereignty and validity of each human experience is respected and honored. Wow! Imagine meeting everyone like that? Where would there be conflict?

Even if someone doesn’t match me and my needs, it is not dependant on how they choose to meet me or not. It’s about me relating to the conflict in me and clearing it. And here’s the kicker from which no ego can escape; that I am responsible for everything in my world, that everything outside of me is a reflection of something in me.

Take a deep breath. There are many layers of understanding behind that statement to explore.

It is the simple understanding that all things in creation are governed by the Law of Resonance and Magnetism. Like attracts like, both in the positive and the negative. If my wound or belief is that I am unworthy of love than I will perpetually attract people that are not able to love me and will perhaps abuse me… my pattern is confirmed and sealed as is theirs. It’s a perfect match. (I speak from experience here!)

For me, that reflection of truth continually empowers me to make the changes I need to heal and create the reality I want by going deep and owning my part in every painful and traumatic experience I have lived through. As long as I am playing the victim and blaming everything outside of me for my woes, I am trapped and will keep recreating the same situations that confirm my patterns and victimhood. Nothing will change. The walls of resentment and judgment will only get thicker. Growth and expansion of my heart is no longer a possibility. If I want love to fill my life I need to create it within me. I need to claim my sovereignty and inner authority to change and affect my life for the better. It all starts with me. My favorite line in a 90’s club song is ‘Love cannot remain as long as you complain.’ Another good one, ‘When you accuse you lose.’ Think about it.

I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank-you.

These declarations are the key to Ho’oponopono. I love you, to the act of Creation/God that is you. I am sorry, for my part in this conflict. Please forgive me, for my hurtful thoughts, actions and deeds that have fed the separation of our hearts. Thank-you, expressing gratitude for the healing… knowing that by this action, it is done.

This is practiced internally as a way to claim our accountability and redirect our focus to a more constructive and loving way of perceiving and resolving conflict within ourselves first and foremost. Then it ripples to the outer. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ Ho’oponopono is a definite clear path we can explore and embody, regardless of faith, religion or creed, to do just that. Try it. Love is always a better harvest. Nourish your garden well. Aloha.