Photo by Kathy McCartney

When you think of Hawaii, so many images come to mind.  White sand beaches, turquoise waters, breathtaking waterfalls, humpback whales, snorkeling, traditional luaus, Hawaiian music, and the beauty and warmth of the Hawaiian people. There is another interesting thing about Hawaii that you may never have heard of.  It is Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian Healing Secret.

The Hawaiian Healing Secret simply speaks about healing ourselves, other people, and the world around us. How do we do this? By forgiving.

Forgiveness is sometimes easier said than done. Especially when the very nature of being human often puts us at odds with this practice. We tend to get angry when someone hurts us, and often hang on to resentments.

According to the great writer Elizabeth Marx, forgiveness is a four-letter word. Love.

But how often do we make the conscious decision to say we’re sorry? How many of us have forgiven a person even though that person has never asked for forgiveness? Why is it so hard to forgive sometimes? Why can’t some people forgive? Do we ever feel happy and healed when we don’t choose to forgive?

These are a few questions we should ask ourselves in order to gain and achieve peace, harmony, and freedom. When we reach this level, then we are completely healed mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Traditional Hawaiians believed that all forms of life are connected. And when you become right with others, you become right with yourself. That’s when Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, a Hawaiian master of traditional medicine came up with a process called ​Self-identity through Ho’oponopono​.

The Hawaiian word Ho’oponopono comes from Ho’o (“to make”) and Pono (“right”). In Hawaii, Ho’oponopono means: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” The direct translation in English is “to make right.”

Ho’oponopono is the ​Hawaiian​ practice of ​reconciliation​ and ​forgiveness​ through chanting the mantra internally or externally, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” It’s a practice that still holds the values of making things right and correcting errors. It is essentially about freedom. Complete freedom from the past. This allows us to reclaim our personal inner connection with love. It can help restore harmony within and with others.

There was once a story written by Dr. Joe Vitale about a Hawaiian therapist named Dr. Ihaleakalá Hew Len who worked, traveled, and presented with Morrnah for years. Dr. Len was said to have cured an entire ward of mentally ill patients by practicing and applying Ho’oponopono in his life.

According to the story, the ward is where they kept the criminally insane. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick often or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It wasn’t a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.

But then Dr. Len studied a patient’s chart and looked within himself to see how that person’s illness was created. As he improved himself, the patient improved. As he healed himself, patients began to heal.

“After a few months, patients that previously had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely. Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.” Dr. Len said.

The amazing results seemed like a miracle. Dr. Vitale, being confused by this process, asked how and what did Dr. Len do within himself that caused those people to change. Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life today, is your responsibility.

In a literal sense, the entire world is your creation. If you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life. This means that anything you experience and don’t like is up for you to heal. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have got to change yourself.

Dr. Len said, “I’m sorry and I love you,” over and over again. That’s all he did. It turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself. And as you improve yourself, you improve your world.

He stated that we all share responsibility for everything we see in our world. By taking personal responsibility for our part and then healing the wounded places within ourselves, we can literally heal ourselves and our world.

Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Love are the only forces at work – but these forces have amazing power. By saying “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you” over and over again to ourselves, to people we have hurt, to people who have hurt and wronged us, to our body, to the air we breathe, to our memories, to everything we hold ourselves responsible of, we free and heal ourselves.

 Video by Kathy McCartney

Repentance – I’M SORRY

As mentioned, you are responsible for everything in your mind, and everything else that is happening around you​. Though yes, most of us would ​likely resist accepting responsibility for everything that is literally happening out there. But you can also choose something that you already know you’ve caused for yourself. Addicted to nicotine, alcohol or some other substance? Do you have anger issues? Relationship issues? Career issues? Family issues? Health problems? Overweight? Start there and say you’re sorry.  


Ask for forgiveness. Realize that you are responsible for everything that’s happening in your life and around you. Just ask “PLEASE FORGIVE ME.” Say it over and over and mean it.

Gratitude – THANK YOU

Say “THANK YOU.” It doesn’t really matter who or what you’re thinking. Thank your body and your eyes for working…Thank yourself, for being the best you can be. Thank the challenges you had and will have. Thank your family, your friends, God. Thank your talents, thank your job. Thank the Universe.  Just keep saying “THANK YOU.”


Say it to your body. Say it to the air you breathe, to the house that shelters you. Say “I LOVE YOU” to your family, to God. Say it over and over. Mean it. Feel it. There is nothing more powerful than Love.

I LOVE YOU my body, for letting me feel, taste, hear, see things. For being strong.

I’M SORRY, to myself, to the people I have hurt, for failing myself too many times.

PLEASE FORGIVE ME, I am asking forgiveness to myself. For whatever is happening in me which is causing a problem.

THANK YOU, for the problems that have manifested in my life, so I have one more chance to resolve and release it.

THANK YOU, for this life given to me, for the opportunity, for letting me see my purpose.

I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you.

 These are a few things you can say. Accept and embrace whatever is happening in your life and take full responsibility for it. As we improve ourselves, we improve the world around us.

Dr. Len explained, the physical is the expression of memories and inspirations taking place in the soul of self-identity. Change the state of self-identity and the state of the physical world changes. When your soul experiences memories replaying as problems, say to them mentally or silently: “I love you, dear memories. I am grateful for the opportunity to free all of you and me.”