7 Ways to Practicise Peace and Forgiveness

love-in-many-languagesThis post shares 7 peace or positive communication processes.

I didn’t celebrate ANZAC day.I am grateful for those individuals and collectives that practice peace.I am moved by those who are addressing their vulnerability and their desire for control, those that are recognising we can live with and be led by

A dear friend Kelli Hutchison, who shares many conversations with me about parenting, being in relationship, mindfulness, peace, talks often with me about ‘expectations’.

In ‘a bath’ I bathed in this.
In truth I contemplated my expectations of ‘my’ mother, and ‘my’ father, which had a meandering effect of trailing through expectations of; myself (as mother); possible expectations our children may have of me; ‘my’ husband; ‘my’ friends…
This led to me to google (whilst still in the bath I might add) the beautiful in her openness, courage, and generosity, that is Louise Hay.

I was searching for prayers or meditations to marinate the soak. I found this:

1. A 5-Minute Meditation to Open Your Heart from Louise Hay

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Breathe in and breathe out and just let go of all that stuff that is stuck inside you.

This is a special day and we don’t want to carry any old stuff with us.

Put one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. And as you breathe quietly, notice how comforting that feels. Be aware that you can do this anytime and anywhere and take care of yourself.

You can make yourself feel better with simple gestures and your own breathe. How it calms you down. It lets yesterday go. It gives you a feeling of safety. You are here for yourself. And as you release yesterday and even this moment, you allow your full attention to come into this day, this hour, this time. Turn your full attention to this wonderful, wonderful day.

Let your heart open and make room for all the good of the Universe to come in.

All is well.

11133795_809510959117721_2820868227420902103_nI wanted more. I stabbed forgiveness into the terracotta search bar.

In a post named “Exercise: Revenge and Forgiveness” Louise suggests this practice:

“Those on the spiritual pathway know the importance of forgiveness. For some of us, there is a step that is necessary before we can totally forgive. Sometimes the little kid in us needs to have revenge before it is free to forgive. For that, this exercise is very helpful.

Close your eyes, sit quietly and peacefully. Think of the people who are hardest to forgive. What would you really like to do to them? What do they need to do to get your forgiveness? Imagine that happening now. Get into the details. How long do you want them to suffer or do penance?

When you feel complete, condense time and let it be over forever. Usually at this point you feel lighter, and it is easier to think about forgiveness. To indulge in this every day would not be good for you. To do it once as a closing exercise can be freeing.

2. Exercise: Forgiveness

Now we are ready to forgive. Do this exercise with a partner if you can, or do it out loud if you are alone.

Again, sit quietly with your eyes closed and say, “The person I need to forgive is ___________ and I forgive you for ___________.”

Do this over and over. You will have many things to forgive some for and only one or two to forgive others for. If you have a partner, let him say to you, “Thank you, I set you free now.” If you do not, then imagine the person you are forgiving saying it to you. Do this for at least five or ten minutes. Search your heart for the injustices you still carry. Then let them go.

When you have cleared as much as you can for now, turn your attention to yourself. Say out loud to yourself, “I forgive myself for ___________.” Do this for another five minutes or so. These are powerful exercises and good todo at least once a week to clear out any remaining rubbish. Some experiences are easy to let go and some we have to chip away at, until suddenly one day they let go and dissolve.”

I haven’t finished compiling ‘finding about death’ yet either FYI. I would like to report I have been talking about ‘the death of a body or matter” through flowers, reading books and speaking candidly with young people. One five year old at the school playground asked me when our one year old baby is going to die.
I replied, “I don’t know”, and asked her if she knew.
She replied, “When he’s one.”
I said, “How is he going to die?”
She said, “He might be killed or something.”
I asked, “Who would kill him?”
She replied, “The baddies.”
I asked, “Do you know any baddies?”
Her reply, “No.”
“Do you know anyone who’s been killed?”, asked i.
She said, “Yes – the soldiers.”

I wondered at that point who were the baddies of ANZAC?

3. In Sogyal Rinpoche’s tome – The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying on page 185 under the heading “Unfinished Business” this moving practice is recorded:

There is a method for helping to complete unfinished business that I and my students who work with the dying find very helpful. It was formulated from the Buddhist practice of equalizing and exchanging the self with others, and from the Gestalt technique, by Christine Longaker, one of my earliest students, who came to the field of death and dying after the death of her husband from leukemia. Usually unfinished business is the result of blocked communication; when we have been wounded, we often become very defensive, always arguing from a position of being in the right and blindly refusing to see the other person’s point of view. This is not only unhelpful, it freezes any possibility of real exchange. So when you do this exercise, begin it with the strong motivation that you are bringing up all your negative thoughts and feelings to try and understand them, to work with them and resolve them, and finally now to let go of them.

Then visualise in front of you the person with whom you have the problem. See this person in your mind’s eye, exactly as he or she has always looked to you.

Consider now that a real change takes place, so the person is far more open and receptive to listen to what you have to say, more willing than ever before to share honestly, and resolve the problem between you. Visualise vividly the person in this new state of openess. This will also help you feel more open toward him or her. Then really feel, deep in your heart, what it is you most need to say to the person. Tell him or her what the problem is, tell the person all your feelings, your difficulties, your hurt, your regret. Tell him or her what you haven’t felt safe, or comfortable enough, to say before.
Now take a piece of paper and write what you would say, all of it. Then, when you have finished, immediately begin to write what he or she might say in response to you. Don’t stop to think about what the person used to say: Remember that now, as you have visualised, he or she has truly heard you and is more open. So just write, see what comes spontaneously; and allow the person, in your mind, to express completely his or her side of the problem as well.

Search yourself and see if there is anything else you need to say to the person – any other hurt feelings or regrets from the past that you have been holding back or have never aired. Again, each time after you have stated your feelings, write a response by the other person, writing down just whatever comes into your mind. Continue this dialogue until you really feel there is nothing more you are holding back, and nothing more that needs to be said.

To see if you are truly ready to conclude the dialogue, ask yourself deeply if you are now able to let go of the past wholeheartedly, really able, satisfied by the insight and healing that this written dialogue has given you, to forgive this person, or to feel that he or she would forgive you. When you feel you have accomplished this, remember to express any last feelings of love or appreciation you may have been holding back, and say goodbye. Visualise the person turning away and leaving now; and even though you just let go of him or her, remember that you can keep his or her love, and the warm memories of the best aspects of your relationship, always in your heart.

To come to an even clearer reconciliation with the past, find a friend to whom you can ready your written dialogues, or read it out loud by yourself at home. Once you have read this dialogue aloud, you will be surprised to notice a change in yourself, as though you have actually communicated with the other person, and actually cleared with them all the problems you have been having. Afterward you will find it far easier to let go, to speak directly with the other person about your difficulties. And when you have really let go, a subtle shift in the chemistry between you and the other person will take place, and the tension in the relationship that has lasted so long will often dissolve. Sometimes, amazingly, you can even become the best of friends. Never forget, as the famous Tibetan master Tsongkhapa once said, “A friend can turn into an enemy, and so as enemy can turn into a friend.”

4. In the previous post I wrote about breastfeeding which included reference to ho’ oponopono, a practice of forgiveness.

Wikipedia defines it as Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone.”

I practice privately (without a kahuna or family member) ho’oponopono. I call on it, in my role as Mum, who makes mistakes. Ho’oponopono goes like this:

I’m sorry. Forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

We can say this Hawaiian mantra whilst visualising an ‘episode’ we wished was different, one we were ashamed about, felt guilty about. It can help us forgive ourselves as well as gain forgiveness from those we inadvertently hurt.

a-traditional-hongi_masterI’m learning about this forgiveness activity. It starts with me. Can I forgive myself? Once i feel more fluid with forgiving myself, self-love, self-acceptance will it become easier to forgive another?

I have been visiting primary schools, and ‘doing observations’ in the process of choosing a school for our first born. I was curious to see a fluffy cream coloured woollen blankie folded into four and nestled in a woven basket. i broke the rules and got out of my seat to investigate.

5. Here I found a Montessori Peace Process. It read:

* Person with the problem sets up the Peace Area.
*Invite the person you have a problem with to the Peace Mat.
* If you are invited to the Peace Mat you just go.
* Sit opposite each other.
* The person with the problem starts, that means they hold the Peace Stone first.
* You can only speak when you are holding the Peace Stone.

Person with Problem:
1. Explain the situation and how it made you feel. Hand the stone to the other person.

Invited person:
2. Always apologise for hurting the other person and then explain how it was for you and what you would do differently next time.

Person with problem:
3. Thank the person for apologising and respond with how you feel. Say what you would do next time.

Shake hands and together put away the mat and peace stone.

6. This leads me to finish with Marshall Rosenberg’s process of Non-Violent Communication.

The four components of NVC are:
1.observations – The concrete actions we observe that affect our well-being
2. feelings – How we feel in relation to what we observe.
3. needs – The needs, values, desires, etc that create our feelings
4. requests – The concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives

For example, a mother might express to her teenage son by saying,”Felix, when I see (observation) two balls of soiled socks under the coffee table and another three next to the TV, I feel irritated (feelings) because I am needing (needs) more order in the rooms that we share in common. Would you be willing (requests) to put your socks in your rooms or in the washing machine?”

I recommend reading the book as above is the way to communicate your needs, and the book goes in to how to hear and respond to the needs of others.

When we model to our tamariki that all emotions are okay and that it’s behaviour that needs coaching, our children experience love = forgiveness = compassion = humaneness = peace.

I try not to argue with my husband in front of the kids. But i’ve started to wonder if sharing our clashes or differences of opinion are not totally sinister (or inappropriate). Perhaps it could be helpful. Perhaps the process of the “confrontation” followed by “reconciliation” is in fact very helpful (perhaps necessary) for the kids to “be a part of” or witness. This may sound like a scary proposition. I think i’m imagining the parents have skills around how to communicate their emotions e.g. the non-violent communication structure or using “I feel” statements rather than “you are” statements. In saying this “arguing with an audience” could be helpful as we may be more mindful of language, put-downs, violent behaviour. I guess this is all assuming we have a level of awareness when we are in “confrontation mode.”

7. I’m going to finish on a somewhat spontaneous note. You see, i wanted to finish with quoting Robin Grille (Psychologist and author of Heart to Heart Parenting). But I can’t source the exact quote so maybe it didn’t come from him. It did however come from his course i did with some friends that Lulastic and the Hippyshake initiated in Thames, Aotearoa in 2014. It went something like:

There are no ‘bad’ emotions only ‘bad’ behaviour.
We allow all emotion (even the scarey frightening unattractive embarrassing ones).
We coach positive behaviour instead
e.g. We say, ” Are you feeling angry (acknowledging emotion) right now, cos your sister broke your hut? It’s not okay to hit (bad behaviour) your sister when you’re angry. But you can say – I feel angry when you bust my hut, would you be happy to build your own hut or play peacefully in mine.”

I, and as it turned out many other mothers, went to the course wanting to be cured of our own emotional ‘outbursts’. We asked – What happens when our child has a tantrum, and then we start to tantrum?

I think this is a segue for another day. It is a story about ‘the village’. But i will leave you with two sites/articles which came to me as i goggled “no bad emotions”, and are on my to-read-list .

Parenting as a Hero’s Journey. Sigh. A beautiful confluence of my hero Joseph Campbell and Peaceful Parenting.

The Natural Child Project. An article by Robin Grille’s about listening to, acknowledging and inherently accepting all emotion is…


NB: The hongi image is from thomas education and the louise hay from Pennie Brownlee whose facebook posts are life-changing.

I love reading your comments, kia ora for taking the time to share your thoughts

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