In 2018, after attending an Ayahuasca retreat which I speak about here, and coming off benzodiazepines, I lived in derealization and depersonalization for most of my day.  This was also being contributed to by my sensitivities to food, mold and other chronic conditions I had (some of which I wasn’t aware of). I withdrew into an inner world and would often tell any doctors I went to for help, “I fly away with my thoughts and I’m afraid I won’t return.” This is the only way to explain what was occurring, I had thoughts and often couldn’t seem to stay in the present while having them, I would “get lost” in whatever thought I was having (extreme dissociation). I hallucinated both visually and auditory, I felt extreme terror, couldn’t walk well or talk . I also experienced physical symptoms which had been with me prior to Aya, now more magnified.

Another symptom was watching memories that seemed to have been frozen in my brain, spill out daily and demand I watch them, like a movie. I was constantly reliving past and feeling the exact emotions of that time. In the present, I cried like a child needing someone to help me soothe, raged at anyone crossing my boundaries, begged not to be left alone because of the terror, and eventually gave up trying to get the “support”, I screamed for. No one seemed to understand how severe my symptoms were and trying to explain it with fluctuating speech (lots of stuttering), flying away into dissociation, brain fog and terrible confusion, and  strong emotions just made things worse.  I deteriorated.

I had plenty of time on my hands since I was no longer able to work. There are parts of this time I cannot remember but I will do the best I can in retelling how during this very difficult time I began to find forgiveness .

I laid in bed for much of the time and somehow came across the idea of Ho’oponopono. Sometimes, I was able to read for a bit, though this was a small part of the day. Most of the time it was very hard for me to process and understand what I was reading , and often it would lead to a panic attack. When I was able to, I came across the idea of Ho’oponopono and I began learning about it. (I dont remember exactly how I was introduced to it, but have a vague memory of speaking to someone on the phone).


Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian healing system that was used in the Kahuna Community to resolve conflicts between members. Modern Ho’oponopono was brought to our awareness by a psychologist in Hawaii named Dr. Hew Len, who healed an entire insane asylum in Hawaii by practicing this system.

It was this last part that intrigued me, I felt like I was holding onto sanity, and maybe the Ho’oponopono prayer and practice could help me restore balance. The more I learned the more I prayed,

I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you
I love you

Ho’oponopono is about taking full responsibility for something challenging you are noticing that is affecting your state. Saying “I am sorry”, is taking responsibility for this thing or person that you are noticing, manifesting in your reality. It can be directed inward, to god, to a greater power , or even to the thing or person affecting your state. It is not that important who you are asking for forgiveness. Even though you may not have had anything to do with the thing you are noticing, or you may, it is your perception, and your creation. Everything happening outside of ourselves or within us is a product of the way we think. Saying, “I’m sorry”, helps to “clean” that thought and clear it out of the body leading to peace. It is not that important who you are asking for forgiveness, or who you are saying “thank you ” to, or “I love you”, just expressing this gratitude for the realization that life is a product of thoughts and perception is enough. I had a difficult time at first, feeling like I was being blamed for what others were “doing” to me and this of course activated old feelings of being gaslit.  

During this time I felt very, very abandoned by many people. I had “known” for a long time that the only person I could change was me, and that I had to look to me for support, but in the years I struggled with illness, I felt constantly hurt that no one “cared.” And now, in my bed, faced with a very sick nervous system and body, I had no choice but to begin slowly healing and putting these ideas into practice. Ho’oponopono helped me to begin to see that I had created all these people “abandoning” me, they had manifested in my life from my thoughts, and it was my perspective that they were abandoning me. In “cleaning” these ideas from my very fragile mind, I could find more peace and begin to heal. Sometimes, when I found myself sobbing due to being left “alone”, Ho’oponopono helped to shift this a bit. Even though I was resistant at first and full of anger, opening myself up to it helped me understand that I was not being “blamed” for the harmful things done to me, just responsible for  the loops in my mind that continued to keep certain interactions alive. In other words, my thoughts fed these conflicts.  I understand that it may be very triggering for some, as it was for me, and I often  just prayed to myself, as a way to show compassion. 

This practice came before DNRS, during a very critical time and served as an anchor to hold onto in this extreme state. I think it was my first introduction to neural retraining and feel it can also make a great addition to a retraining practice.

This video was one I watched during this time or sometimes just listened to.