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Huna and the Root Canal
by Peggy Kemp

Six months ago I had a deep old filling replaced in one of my teeth. It felt fine afterward, but recently flared up; it hurt so bad I couldn't eat or sleep for 3 days. I went on a liquid diet and lost 6 pounds. It gave me a new awareness about eating, which was really positive. I often crave salty, crunchy things when I'm not truly hungry. Sometimes I'm actually thirsty and sometimes I'm just bored or have lost focus on what I was doing. I've kept that weight off and lost some more since, which is one of my goals. But that toothache was not the most optimum way to gain that awareness. "I can be aware without being in pain." I continually tell my ku this, but I often end up learning the most about healing under painful circumstances. This can change!

In the meantime, the Hunaquest course was about to start, and I was planning on attending, as well as covering my most important administrative jobs at Aloha International. I had no time to have an aching tooth draining my energy. Serge suggested that as a pulsating inflammation it was likely to be anger-related, so I tried blanket forgiveness. That put me to sleep with my hand cupped lovingly over my jaw near the tooth. At least I slept for a few hours!

I had a funny dream, too. Serge was in it. In the dream I told him that I had been practicing blanket forgiveness and that I fell asleep. He looked at me kind of funny and said "Hmm, most people don't fall asleep while doing blanket forgiveness. Maybe you really are sick and should see a doctor."

When I woke up, laughing, I was in so much pain I couldn't see straight. That pain far exceeded my fear of the dentist. I wasn't sure I could drive my car, but I did. I called the emergency dentist recommended by my friend Fern (who turned out to be a delightful woman), and had an x-ray and got my jaw numbed for 4 hours while I got some heavy-duty narcotics and antibiotics in me. Hey, work on every level, that's my motto. You don't necessarily gain by being in pain. You do whatever works best, and more than one thing if the first thing doesn't work. It eased the crisis symptoms, but didn't solve the problem. The tooth was still sensitive and felt hollow and loose. It just wasn't in harmony. I resisted getting a root canal, wanting to heal it myself, if possible.

One thing it brought to my attention was that I was clenching my teeth at night in my sleep. I was waking up with my jaw clamped down and pressure right on that tooth. Wow, I thought I was pretty cool, calm and collected, but there was some maximum stress present. Meditating on beauty before sleeping helped with this somewhat, but wasn't entirely effective.

Serge suggested the Bowl of Beans technique, since I couldn't think of anything I was really angry at. (See the bottom of the page for the description of the technique.) I didn't even use the "real" bowl and the "real" beans, so I may have partially defeated one of the purposes of the Bowl of Beans, which is to integrate the ku and lono and higher self by doing a physical activity accompanied by a mental statement.

Or did I? I went on a journey to my inner garden, and when I got there the bowls and beans were waiting in the temple. I did it there and all sorts of things bubbled up. I made the statement "I am not angry at anyone or anything." I moved a bean. Nothing. "See, I'm not mad at anyone." I said it again and moved another bean. Nothing. Statement by statement, bean by bean, it came up. I was bone deep angry with President Bush and the United States government over this unjust war in Iraq. I was angry with a "difficult" client. I regretted not getting to the beach more. I wished my mother wanted to move to Kaua'i, so we could be physically closer. I missed my Dad. There was a whole raft of things I couldn't "chew on."

As I returned the beans, one by one, to their first bowl, I blessed everyone, including myself, and asked the Goddesses to help me forgive everything, including myself, and walk in the ways of loving compassion. Then I came back. I haven't clenched my teeth nearly as much since then. Nonetheless, the tooth didn't heal completely. It didn't actively hurt much and I could eat again, but it was sensitive and a little wobbly at times. It just wasn't "right."

It was really swell being able to take Hunaquest again. I am a really busy person; I don't always take as much time as I would like to spend in journeying, meditation, and learning. I work shamanically with clients, but I don't always take the time for personal development. Hunaquest is about personal development, both of your shamanic skills and your confidence and focus, the key ingredients for success in just about every endeavor. I am deeply grateful for this time of being outside on Kauai every day for a week, sitting by the sea or walking in the woods, putting my focus on learning and deepening my shamanic experience - all this with a focus of really opening to all the wonderful possibilities the universe held for me on my path as a shaman healer. Hunaquest can be a life-transforming experience if you are willing and open to it. I have taken it three times now, and each time was different - different issues and questions came up, and each time was powerful in terms of growth and increase in confidence.

One result of this focused week manifested as an opportunity for my sweetheart Matthew and me to live and work at an eco-resort on an island in Fiji. This is an exciting possibility and we've been doing a lot of research around it. One of the items I read about Fiji on the Internet said, "You don't want to have dental work done in Fiji. If you have a problem, take care of it before you leave." That was pretty direct! Take care of that tooth.

Of all activities, going to the dentist rates the lowest with me. I actively fear dentists, no matter how nice they are personally. My ku has been known to take me screaming out of the room when they appear. I have gagged, screamed, cried and thrown punches. I am a "difficult" client. Using Huna and piko piko breathing, I have been able to control this panic and actually sit in the chair without using nitrous oxide gas to half-sedate me. I am really proud of this accomplishment, after 50 years of being phobic about going to the dentist.

After 2 more weeks went by with no improvement, despite using a variety of healing techniques, I decided to have the root canal. I did it this morning. I went in at 8 a.m. and had a root canal with no gas to blunt the edge of my panic. I went in with a firm expectation that everything was going to be just fine, that there would be no pain, that I could handle the whole experience. I breathed, I did Dynamind, and I put my focus on pleasant things that could happen in the future, like living in Fiji for a year. They were very kind to me. They are very nice people. Afterward, the dentist told me that the root was nearly dead, that the root canal and crown were the only things he had to offer in that case, so it had been the right thing to do, from his point of view.

Next week I will get a gold peg inserted and a temporary crown, followed by the permanent crown 3 weeks after that. I'm going to be blessed with two MORE chances to practice Huna at the dentist, and use what I learned at Hunaquest for healing on myself again.

The Bowl of Beans Technique

Have at hand 50 beans (or shells, stones, or similar items - but small and uniform in shape) and 2 bowls. Put the bowls side by side in front of you. Put all the beans into one bowl. Move one bean at a time to the second bowl. It doesn't matter which direction you go, right or left. Each time make a statement. Continue to do this with all of the beans and be aware of the thoughts and feelings that come up.

The Bowl of Beans technique has two (and probably more) practical applications: manifestation and increasing awareness.

For manifestation, the statements might be something like "I know all the answers" (before an exam) or "I know I will succeed" or "I have plenty of extra money, I can afford to donate to others." Continue to make the statement with feeling and confidence, moving a bean each time. If doubts arise, move another bean and make the statement again with enthusiasm.

For increasing awareness, the statement might be something like "I am not angry at anyone" or "I am not guilty about anything." If you do have feelings that are hidden, they will percolate into awareness as you move the beans.

Give us feedback

Try out the Bowl of Beans technique and let us know how it worked for you. We are always interested in receiving feedback and hearing about your shamanic healing experiences. Email:

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