Lately my sister will call me on a video chat while she’s driving home in the evening, phone is in the hands free stand on her dash, and as the sun is setting the light that hits her face with the visor down, illuminates only her mouth, cheeks and nose, like a Mask of Light, replacing the disposable or cloth rendition that has been the norm for many lately. As soon as she calls me and sees herself on the screen she says, “Oh! I’m wearing my Mask of Light again”, and then sings, “Maaassk of LLiiiiiight”, right on cue and it’s a fun way to begin a conversation that can sometimes be a relaying of how strange life is now…
As many folks in the states and worldwide are experiencing the stressors of the bewilderment, with the world seeming like it stopped; raging confusions under the surface, identity crisis’ and fears of the unknowns to say the least; many of us are finding (if we didn’t already know) that self-care is ultimately the key to bypassing the emotional rollercoasters. Eating well, inner journeys, outer journeys, healing circles, singing circles, expressive creativity in painting, dance, cooking; these are just some of the infinite ways to develop our modes of self-maintenance. Daily practices are key in tapping into the kindness and compassion that open the flood gates of creating peace in our lives.
Back in the month of March it seemed as if many of us were holding our breaths for things to “get back to normal”. Now, many of us have realized that there is no normal to go back to: the unsettling remorse in conjunction with anticipation for what may come is keeping our nervous systems exhausted; and maintenance becomes vital.
In February, I went to Maui, Hawaii, and participated in a course learning traditional Hawaiian massage, called Lomi Lomi. One of the most important take-aways from Hawaiian/Pacific Island healing practices that I have learned since being drawn to these indigenous traditions is Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono translates as “to make very right” in the Hawaiian language. If you are unfamiliar with this practice, it is a way of clearing resentments and bringing forth forgiveness, within yourself, your family, and your community at large. When we carry negativity within us it tends to leak out and seep into our surroundings, draining our own energy. To clear this and become neutral again, allows our light to shine and allows us to see the light in others as well.
Traditionally used in a family or village setting, I once heard a story that a non-indigenous friend of mine told me from when he was in Fiji. He said, while living in a small village that one day, before going on a hunting excursion the entire village came together to clear any negativity held onto from the past, present, or future through a Ho’oponopono practice. After the ceremony was completed the fishers went out to hunt in their fishing boats. What might normally seem like a stroke of luck, a large shark appeared. The shark circled the boat for a moment and then surfaced belly up, literally surrendered itself to the boat. The fishers knew their ceremony was heard and their efforts appreciated, as they deeply understood and lived in the profound power of the Ho’oponopono practice. With gratitude, the offering was accepted and the fishers collected the shark that the entire village would share.
Practicing Ho’oponopono would originally entail a village or families that could come together physically. Now with contemporary traveling conveniences many communities have individuals who have scattered throughout the world, making the physical connection more difficult. However, there has been consolidated adaptation of Ho’oponopono, which is saying these beautiful words:
“I Love You.
Please Forgive Me.
Written about in a book by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and Joe Vitale, I personally use these four phrases with very tangible intentions and have clear and sometimes immediate confirmation. I imagine I am gazing into a particular person’s eyes, interjecting their name while I repeat the saying, holding the utmost respect for the peace and happiness that I believe every person deserves. Or, I imagine a place bright and clear of negativity. Or a situation, free of pain, full of ease. Saying these cleansing words transforms everything.
Ho’omana Spa on Maui is where I studied Hawaiian healing, and I encourage anyone interested in going deeper with Ho’oponopono, or learning Lomi Lomi massage to look into the courses they offer, as it has changed my life and created a viable income for me while also being able to share an ancient and transformative healing modality.
While on Maui, my kumu (which means teacher in the Hawaiian language) shared with us a Ho’oponopono meditation technique. She began by telling us a story. She said when she was learning the Hawaiian healing traditions (that she is now a masterful teacher of) that she would go to her kumu’s house to practice and learn. Upon arrival, her kumu would ask her everyday: “Pehea ka la?”, “how is your light?” Referring to the light that we have within. It was a constant, daily reminder to check in with herself and clear any negative energy that she may be carrying around.
We all have this light within us.
My kumu proceeded to teach us her Bowl of Light Meditation, which is an adaptation from the Bowl of Light story in the book, “Tales from the Night Rainbow”. With a straight back, sit quietly and become mindful. Close your eyes and enter your own body (you can imagine a drop of water dripping from above your head through your body into your pelvic floor) and with every breath, relax deeper and deeper, slow yourself down from the day and attune to your own frequency.
She began; Imagine inside of you that there is a bowl. Whatever your bowl looks like is perfect, it is your own bowl. Now, look inside of your bowl. What do you see in your bowl? This Bowl is shining your light from within, and for the things that are potentially obscuring your light, imagine them as stones. These stones in your bowl represent the feelings you might be holding onto, those resentments, jealousies, negative self-talk, bad memories: each stone holding a story of its own. Pick up a stone. Study this piece of you. Look at each crevice and touch each crag. Know this stone, and when you feel complete with this stone, with this emotion, then you are ready. You may discard this stone- sending it off with loving appreciation for what it has taught you. You have opened yourself up to clearing, and the light from your bowl can beam through the new space you have made. This is your light! Lovingly remove the stones that have been weighing down your bowl, and let your light shine.
You may close this meditation by sending timeless gratitude into the ether.
This and other daily practices open our hearts. When walking outside to encounter the day, and floating on that physical mask onto your face, remember to check in with your light. Let your light shine from within. This is what we have to share. While our mouth-smiles may be in hiding to the outside world, our inner smile can shine even brighter. Now is a time to put differences aside and shine brighter than ever, to elevate and feel enlivened; and of course, in sharing your light you will inevitably bring others along with you!
Abigail Tirabassi is a star-gazing artist, surfer, traveler, philosopher, drawn to elevating the human vibration through her own healing; St.Pete, FL/Pavones, CR. IG: @scrammby