A Forgiving Walk

I walk for exercise. I walk on a busy street in Ottawa, Bank Street in the Glebe, because the sidewalks are clearer in the winter there than elsewhere.

One of my frustrations is that cars coming out of the side streets often ignore me as a pedestrian and block the crosswalk that is designed for pedestrians who are making their way across the side streets. The drivers are so intent on seeing whether there is car traffic moving back and forth on Bank that they forget or ignore the pedestrian traffic.

I’m good at being righteously indignant. I also have a strong belief that Ottawa, and cities in general, should make it as easy as possible for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users to get around the city. So my fear of the cars coming at me from the cross streets is accompanied by my righteous indignation because these unthinking drivers are making it dangerous for we pedestrians. Both my fear and my indignation lead to ANGER!

A few days ago I was preparing for a coaching session with a client. One of the processes I was preparing to work on with her is the Ho’oponopono Healing process which is a forgiveness process.

Saying this mantra:

I’m Sorry
Please Forgive me
Thank you
I love you

is a way of forgiving myself for my part in the hurt to myself or bad vibes or whatever the negative situation is. That’s all and that’s a lot. In saying these four phrases we are calling in, what I think of, as a healing energy. Others might call it Spirit, The Creator, etc. It is a way of surrendering and admitting that each of us creates our own reality, in small but significant ways.

I surprise myself when I say or write these words because I’m not religious in any conventional way. I do believe that there is much we humans do not understand about the magic of the world. When I consider the immense complexity of the spruce tree growing outside my window for example, I know there is much about my world I can’t explain. I saw it grow from a seed that happened to land there. How could that seed become a tree? We don’t know the answer.

Think of how complex that is.

Just as we don’t know how our sincerely saying:

I’m Sorry
Please Forgive me
Thank you
I love you

helps me let go of hurt and pain when something negative happens to me. We don’t know how calling in the healing energy of Ho’oponopono can heal negative feelings.

Now let me finish my story about my walk. I had been literally shouting at drivers who barged onto the cross walk just as I approached a cross street.

But when I started studying the ho’oponopono process I began to question my aggressive self-righteous behaviour. So the next day on my walk I was much calmer. And only in retrospect I realize that not one car encroached on the cross walks as I approached them and several cars did come to the intersections at the same time as I did. I was not even aware of the difference in the way drivers were acting until the evening of that day when I reflected about this whole episode to my men’s group. It was only then that I realized what a difference my different behaviour/attitude seemed to make.

So, I really benefited from my changed attitude. I really benefited from living the forgiveness or trusting way of Ho’oponopono.

I know each of us can. Much love. Thank you. Please forgive me and I love you!!

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Happy Places

According to Richard Florida in his book Who’s Your City? [1] The following seven factors are critical to community satisfaction:

  • A good place to raise children;
  • A good place to meet people and make friends;
  • A place with physical beauty;
  • Good schools;
  • Parks and open space;
  • A safe place;
  • A good place for entrepreneurs and new businesses.

Also, based on a cluster analysis of all 26 separate dimensions of community satisfaction in the Place and Happiness Survey, the study found three clusters of factors to be key to our happiness in communities:

  • Smart and vibrant:
    • Local universities and colleges
    • Arts and culture
    • Vibrant nightlife
    • Availability of job opportunities in one’s field
    • A good place to meet people
    • A good place for young college grads, singles, entrepreneurs, artists and scientists
  • Aesthetics and liveability:
    • Physical beauty
    • Parks
    • Open space
    • Playgrounds and trails
    • Climate and
    • Air quality
  • Equity:
    • Affordable housing
    • Manageable traffic patterns
    • A good place for seniors and the poor

The author points out that these things are not frills.  We expect them from our communities.


[1] Florida, Richard, Who’s Your City? Vintage Canada (Random House) Toronto 2009 p 193,194.