What does David Allen’s business time management program for “Getting Things Done”, or GTD for short, have to do with an ancient Hawaiian shamanic practice? Perhaps nothing on the surface, but they’ve been running together so seamlessly for me that perhaps this meditation will make sense to others as well.
David Allen’s program can look like a cult for the intensity of his following. His instruction gives great detail about managing our lists of projects and actions and finding a way to get everything out of our head and process all our actionable stuff into a trusted system. He goes to great lengths to describe his personal revelations about how best to manage our Treo’s and our Outlook folders. It can seem very technical. Yet all it’s about is clearing our heads so we can have the mental space to make good decisions in the moment. We need to collect our full inventory of things that need to get done so that our heads can be clear. Clear for what? David Allen says for intuition. But also for inspiration.
You might not know anything about this strangely named Hawaiian healing practice. It’s called Ho’oponopono. The apostrophe is a glottal stop, which means you have a short silence by closing the throat at the point of the apostrophe. I first heard about it from an article read at St. Patrick’s hospital in Missoula at their annual Integrative Healing Conference. The article stated that someone healed an entire ward of criminal psychiatric patients in Hawaii using Ho’oponopono without actually seeing any of the patients. He healed them by reading the profiles and cases statements of the patients and then healing in himself what he found in the patients.
This might seem really far out to some. It struck a chord in me, as I am part Hawaiian. And also the spiritual path I’ve embarked on some time ago had led me to see that we’re all so connected through our common genetic ties, our common cultural ties, the planet, the magnetic fields around it, the sunshine we share, that it does not seem unlikely that thought could have tremendous power. If a thought at the right place and time could either cause us to twitch a finger to launch a destructive missile or a donation on the internet to a charity that saves lives, why couldn’t a thought help heal others.
But where’s the commonality between the GTD practice and Ho’oponopono. When I first heard about the ancient Hawaiian practice, it seemed very mysterious. But after hearing a lecture and workshop from the very healer who healed that entire criminal psych ward in the Hawaiian Islands, some of it seems pretty straight forward. Dr. Len Ihaleakala spoke of the process as “cleaning”. The experiences we have had that require healing are simply lingering thoughts that need to be cleaned up and let go. Some of these lingering thoughts are very ancient. But it’s all of our experiences. And what does GTD help us do but to get things out of our head, get our inboxes to zero, so we can have the “Mind like water” experience that David Allen likes to reference from his Aikido training.
This all helps me remember the healing value of getting the flow in my email inboxes and my desk. Thank you Dr. Iheakala and David Allen. I’m going to Ho’oponopono my inbox a bit right now.