Ho’oponopono- 4 Phrases to Get Yourself Unstuck

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So yeah Ho’oponopono…. besides being fun to say, what the heck is it? In a nutshell, it’s an ancient Hawaiian practice that consists of 4 simple phrases that you repeat every day as a way to clear your mind. I t is a mental cleansing and setting things right through restitution and forgiveness. Now, if you are a Ho’oponopono purist, please don’t beat me up for such a simple summary. I’m here to lay things out in a non-threatening way, to allow little dips into the water with no big, scary agenda filled with a bunch of “musts and shoulds.” Any tool that someone decides to use for self-growth can be used at the level that he or she needs it. Nothing is written in stone, experimentation and tweaking are a-ok and encouraged.

Ho’oponopono is something that I heard about over the years and I always rolled my eyes at it. Mainly because, you know, when the slick marketing “gurus” catch on to something- even something pure and wonderful- it always gets so contorted and blown up into hot air. Everyone’s trying to find their special angle to sell it and make it extra fancy. Joe Vitale, of The Secret fame, is the one who really put Ho’oponopono into the spotlight. And, well, let’s just say that Joe is a bit hard to take sometimes. He is one of those over-the-top internet marketers who is always sell! sell! sell! big! big! big! You know, the one standing in front of his big mansion and fancy car. Once you get past all of that, Joe absolutely has a lot to teach.

He came to Ho’oponopono after hearing a story of a doctor who agreed to take a position in a state mental hospital that no one else would touch. The patients in the ward for the criminally insane were the worst of the worst and seemingly beyond help. Enter Dr.  Ihaleakala Hew Len. He arrived at the facility and refused to visit with the patients. Instead, he took each of their charts and spent his days holding each chart and repeating the four phrases of Ho’oponopono: I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you. I’ll repeat, that this is a simple overview of the practice. Obviously, Dr. Hew Len is very advanced in his practice and knowledge. Well, miraculously, the patients started to improve. The entire energy of the facility improved, inmates were released or changed to other wards. When asked what caused the patients to change, Dr. Len said, “I was simply healing the part of me that created them.” 

What? Yeah, Ho’oponopno goes DEEP. As in everything you see is your creation. As in the entire world, the good, the bad, and the ugly- that’s you. Chew on it for a bit, but don’t get stuck here. You can reap a lot of benefits from practicing Ho’oponopono at about a 10% understanding level. When and if you want to go deep, it is there for you. But for now, let’s just dip our toes in.

I watched an old seminar that Dr. Len did where he and Joe Vitale used a whiteboard to show the cleansing action of Ho’oponopono. Your thoughts, your opinions, all the things you call facts, your environment, the whole darn world are constantly filling up that whiteboard. As you repeat the four phrases of Ho’oponopono, you erase a little at a time. While the goal is to get to complete emptiness which is where the divine is, even getting just a small section cleared opens up space and will create amazing shifts.

I love you.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

In its simplest sense, Ho’oponopono is the repetition of these four phrases. You can say them in any order that you wish. you can say them out loud or in your mind. Dr. Len says that you do not need to pull up emotion with them, but I do. I began by directing the phrases at the universe. “I love you”- sent out to the big, vastness of the universe. “I’m sorry”- not focused on any one thing but a feeling of the world, my ancestors, of taking responsibility for it all. “Please forgive me”- speaking to the universe and sincerely being open to full forgiveness. “Thank you” again, to the universe and pure gratitude for the forgiveness, the love, everything.

Again, though others will tell you differently, there is no right or wrong here. You will take the phrases and you will find what starts erasing that whiteboard for YOU.

ho'oponopono prayer: I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

An option as well is to only say, “I love you.” Those are three really powerful words. Just say the words and send out love. Send it way out into the blackness of space. What I find every single time I do this, is even as the words are forming in my mind, the love is already coming back and enveloping me.

Ya’ll this is big. If you are stuck in stuckness. If every damn thing you try is just too overwhelming. Get cleaning! Clean your whiteboard and I’m telling you, you will feel sparks and tingles and peacefulness and calm and all the good feels like you haven’t felt in years. Or ever. When you clean, you make space for the divine. Source energy can finally get those important messages to you.

We all have an eraser incorporated within us, a delete key, but we forget how to use it. Ho’oponopono helps us to remember the power that we have to choose between erasing (letting go) or reacting, being happy or suffering. It is only a matter of choice in every moment of our lives. –Mabel Katz, The Easiest Way

I list Ho’oponopono as one of my top 6 mega super ninja mind warrior tools for the superstuck because it is accessible. It is gentle. It is something you can do throughout your day with no pressure. If you feel like you just don’t have the mental energy to do anything to help yourself, get out one simple “I love you” and that is enough. There is so much talk about being disciplined and making yourself do things, but I’m here to tell you that when you are in a bad place, forcing yourself to meditate or say affirmations will only make you feel worse. Because you’ll declare that you failed and have more proof of what a mess you are. When you are there, just start with “I love you” and create even just a tiny bit of cleared space.

After a while, I did sometimes use my practice to work on specific issues. I would think about the thing that was troubling me before I started and then, kinda sorta direct the phrases to the problem. How’s that for a clear explanation? The best I can explain it is like an eye exercise I do where I focus both on something near and something very far away at the same time. I’d have the issue in front of me while also seeing into the blackness of the universe. Of course, you could bring your focus closer and only focus on the person or problem at hand. Many people report surprise phone calls or apologies after this type of practice. For me, it just helped me to let go and clear up a whole bunch of space that I was using to go round and round about how hurt I was.

I’ll leave you with a few resources to get a better understanding of Ho’oponopono. Just, please, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Start with a simple, very basic understanding. Try it. Feel what sparks you, what helps you, and follow that. Learn more as you need to, not because you feel like you need to have a PhD in order to get started. Start now with a deep breath and an ” I love you.” That’s my go-to when I feel myself spinning and I need to return to the present moment. It’s my go-to when I need a bit of space and everything else feels like too much.

Ho’oponopono Resources To Get You Started


The Easiest Way (affiliate link) – Mabel Katz has a wonderful book that is just enough to get you started. If you thrive on boatloads of overwhelm from too much info, this is not the book for you.

Zero Limits (affiliate link) by Joe Vitale and Dr Hew Len. This is the one that really brought Ho’oponopono to the spotlight. There is some really REALLY great info in this book but, it comes with the grandiose fluff of Joe. For me, it was worth it, but it is definitely not for everyone.


Understanding Ho’oponopono is a FREE 4 day course from Mabel Katz. She is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject and has many advanced coursed and seminars, many with Dr. Len. This free course is more than enough to get you going.

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