Paid Gig

egg faceI’m still on semi-blogging break, but I wanted to let you in on a few announcements.

First, I got a job writing a weekly column for The Good Men Project! The column is on raising compassionate boys. My first article goes up on Wednesday 7/16 at 9:30 am EST. Come on by and say hello.

Second, I’m curating Stories That Must Not Die for the next two weeks. If you have a story that needs to be told, even if you need to tell it anonymously, please email me at everydaygurus@gmail.com and you can guest-blog at STMND. By the time you read this, I will have a post up there. Come on by and say hello.

Lastly, thank you for coming by here and saying hello during the blog break. May you know peace and joy.

{{{Hugs}}} Kozo

Blogging Break

Jett and Fox

The boys are out of school, so we are doing something that many kids don’t get to do nowadays–playing. For the first three weeks of summer, we are going to swim, bike, watch movies, and eat Popsicles, so I won’t be blogging too much.

In addition, after the shootings in Isla Vista, SPU, and Vegas, I’ve also dedicated a large part of my life to spreading compassion for boys. I’m completing an audio series called Raising Compassionate Boys. I believe that compassion is the missing piece that no one is talking about. Everyone is talking about gun control, but we forget that Elliot Rodger killed half of his victims with a knife. If we instill compassion in our boys, there would be less shootings, rapes, bullying, viral humiliation, suicide, and suffering.

I’m also starting a Compassion for Men’s Group. We meet every second Monday in Cupertino, CA. If anyone is interested, email me at everydaygurus@gmail.com

Lastly, I’ve been writing for The Good Men Project. It is a great website that is redefining what it means to be a man in the 21st century. Here are a few of the articles I’ve written lately:

Hope everyone has a peaceful and joyful summer. See you after the July 4th weekend. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

 

Change Yourself. Change the World.

Many of you know that a lot of my blog posts this past year were inspired by the year-long training I completed at Interchange Counseling Institute. Although I am a professional counselor, I would like to encourage “anyone with a face” to enroll in this program.

In essence we are all counselors. If you have a friend, a lover, a family, or co-workers, then you are often in the role of a counselor.

interchange

image by Don Courage

Last year I took a day-long introductory class at Interchange and a spunky Asian woman who had completed the year-long program told me, “Kozo, I’m not a counselor, but Interchange is the best thing I have ever done for my life. My whole life is better because of Interchange.”

I signed up immediately, and after finishing the program, I have to agree. The wisdom, healing, growth, and experience gained at Interchange have and will significantly change every interaction I have with others for the rest of my life.

Here are my top five reasons to sign up for Interchange Counseling Institute Now:

 

 

1)     Learn to love

Have you ever been taught to love? Most of us have had to figure it out the hard way. Many of us still struggle to love and receive love in our lives. This is something that we are never taught in school, work, or the family—at least, not explicitly.

Interchange explicitly teaches you how to love:

  • How to love your loved ones
  • How to love yourself
  • How to love others, even strangers
  • How to receive love and know when you have received it
  • How to express love beyond the socially conditioned roles we are trapped in

In my opinion, everyone needs to take a course on love. Some get it at church, others through couple’s counseling, but only Interchange covers all aspects of love and how to do it.

2)     You will see magic before your very eyes

The leader of Interchange is a man named Steve Bearman. He is a teacher, healer, wise man, and shaman. I know this sounds odd, but Steve works magic. Every Interchange weekend, he calls people up on stage and within minutes they are sobbing, healing, or exposing themselves.

This would be almost cultish, except then Steve teaches everyone in the audience how to do what he just did. We then pair up and make deep connections that heal painful wounds and open us to a whole new world of love and acceptance.

People think magic only happens in special places with magical people, but magic can happen every day with anyone you come in contact with. You can offer someone a safe space to be themselves by your smile and lack of judgment. You can change the life of your child or your parent with a consistent dose of hugs.

Interchange will make you not only believe in magic, but learn to wield it.

 

3)     You might never get the chance to do this in the future

There is a story about an old sadhu who met the Buddha in a marketplace. “Teach me,” said the old sadhu.

“This is not the time or place. Come to my dwelling later in the afternoon, and I will teach you,” replied the Buddha.

“No. Teach me now. What if I die before this afternoon? What if you die? What if the confidence I have in you right now disappears? Teach me now,” insisted the old man.

The Buddha sat him by the side of the road and within minutes the old sadhu became enlightened.

I’m not saying that Steve Bearman is the Buddha, but he is an amazing teacher. This might be the last year he decides to do Interchange. Or he might get so big that you might have to do Interchange online in the future.

I met a woman who hugged the guru Amma 21 years ago in a small room in Palo Alto with just 70 other people. Last month, I “donated” my chance to hug Amma because 2000 people had come to see her at Stanford University.

Right now, you have the chance to spend some quality time with Steve Bearman at Interchange. In the past few years, Interchange has grown, mainly by word of mouth, from 20 people to 150. Who knows what it will be like in the future.

Steve got to know all 150 of us this year. We had opportunities to counsel with him, hug him, dance with him, and cry with him. I’m not sure if this will be possible in the future.

4)     World Peace

The motto of Interchange is “Change Yourself. Change the World.” I couldn’t agree more. You know that I am a strong advocate for peace. Bloggers for Peace is my attempt to bring world peace into reality.

I can honestly say that I am a more peaceful person after Interchange. I spread more peace. I live more peacefully. Something about the teaching, community, and support one gets at Interchange transforms us into agents of peace.

As many bloggers for peace have attested, if we really want world peace, we have to create peace in ourselves. Interchange cultivates that inner peace.

5)     Free stuff

Books: When you sign up for Interchange, you get a lot of bang for your buck. On the first weekend, you will be handed a bag full of books that will change your life.

Some of the books you may have never heard of, like Radical Honesty, Unconditional Parenting, or Riding the Horse Backward. Other authors might be more familiar like Krishnamurti, Marshall Rosenberg, or Martin Seligman. Either way, these books will change who you are and how you think.

Counseling: You will also be required to do 50 hours of either counseling or clienting. This is powerful. Going rates for psychotherapy are $125-$175/hour. I have to say that the counseling I received at Interchange had much deeper, long lasting effects than any other counseling I’ve had in the past. You might also be chosen to be counseled by Steve on stage which is priceless.

Touch: At every Interchange weekend, you will be encouraged and gifted with free massages, hugs, hand holding, or cuddling. Some of you may be resistant to this, which is exactly why you need to go.

Humans are social animals who need nurturing touch. Our society prohibits much of this touch due to fear of inappropriate touch, homosexuality, and neediness. Thus, in our touch deprived society, many of us don’t get to be fully human.

Interchange will help you get in contact with all aspects of your humanity and feel good about doing it.

Obviously, I’m one satisfied customer, but I’m more than that. I’m an advocate of change and peace. I truly believe that Interchange will transform you and our world in positive ways. Sign up now.

In full disclosure, if you sign up for the Interchange Year-long Program and mention my name, I will receive a finder’s fee. If you feel uncomfortable about this, don’t mention my name, but by all means, SIGN UP NOW.

Everyday Thanksgiving: May 2014

Just got back from the Greater Good Gratitude Summit where we spent a whole day learning about the benefits of gratitude. From better health to Olympic gold medals, gratitude is proven to be one of the most important practices we can incorporate into our lives.

May 2014

Thank you for my brother, nephew, and parents coming to Jett’s soccer game; Jett almost scoring 4 goals; superballs; sunscreen; water balloons.

Thank you for giving up on being cool; RSA animated videos; Fox wanting to play golf; bbq pits at parks; tamales.

Thank you for the joy of getting toy airplanes out of trees; rip sticks; riding on BMX tracks with Jett’s 16″ bike; reading about Atlantis today with Jett; another article published by The Good Men Project.

Thank you for a paying client; sharing an office with my wife; the power of movement in counseling; another transformative session with Gary Heine; freedom.

Thank you for Rara being safe; all the support we are generating through blogging for Rara; protective custody; realizing how the Universe spreads light to the darkest places; Rara getting over 250 likes on her post about being falsely accused.

Thank you for Fox saying, “Ok, Fine!”; realizing that that is a mantra for life; Evangelist calls with The Good Men Project; all the smiles I’m getting from other parents; a deep talk about the importance of emotional intelligence for our children with another parent.

Thank you for white snake lotus movement meditation; changing meditation pillows; Letmerun; teaming up with Ashley at letmerun to spread compassion; being on the Rebel Alliance of compassion for men.

Thank you for Jett’s koala diorama, origami; RSAnimate; understanding purpose, autonomy, and mastery; living purpose, autonomy, and mastery.

Thank you for Alfie Kohn on NPR; having too much to say about raising compassionate boys; Fox wanting to get a bike and helmet for me for my birthday; poetry as gifts; stamps.

Thank you for Temporal Thermometers; children’s Advil; staying at home with my feverish son; Sadhguru’s wisdom; Kumare.Sadhguru

Thank you for BBQ at my parents; hanging out with my cousins; a visit from Dr. Harry Edwards; rice crispies made with salted caramel; wiffle ball in the park.

Thank you for Mother’s Day dinner with my wife; chazuke; ume; $1 ice cream at McDonalds; hot summer nights.

Thank you for high fives with Vaibhavi; Wind in the cypress trees; a long talk about surfing and life with Lawson; Sadhguru videos; getting Ender’s Game DVD from the library.

Thank you for group processing; Kathy’s advice that everything will be ok eventually; Don’s power and softness; Laura getting raw about sexism; Mood Meter sessions with Jett.

Thank you for not getting over-involved in Jett’s soccer practice; playing wall ball with Jett; Bro Alerts; not reacting to getting no reaction from others; recognizing that aversive thoughts are an opportunity to deepen into compassion and equanimity.

Thank you for realizing the importance of mindset; finishing another track of the Raising Compassionate Boys Audio Program; Fox wanting to take a new way to school everyday–partly to spend more time in the car with me; a snail mail letter from Rara; vegan fruit pie.

Thank you for Fox’s “rainbow slide” watercolor painting; Father Richard Rohr’s two hour talk on silence; NVC empathy buddy training with Oliver; all the disrespect I receive to teach me patience and compassion; Vietnamese Garlic Noodles.

Thank you for Jett’s music performance; the joyous courage of children who haven’t been told they aren’t good enough yet; all the time I get to play with Jett and Fox; push up popsicles that don’t drip; my boredom with luxury.

Thank you for Robert Bly; taking initiative on the Good Men Project Men’s Groups; ancient wisdom hidden in myths, tales, and stories; Lisa Nicols talks; peace in Isla Vista.

Fox with AviatorsThank you for Boomerang Bay; aviator sunglasses for kids; pocky sticks; Harvey Jackins and Re-evaluation Counseling; lifeguards at public pools.

Thank you for Jett asking “Is that bad karma?” when someone stole his birthday gift in front of the restaurant we were eating at; three tables representing 3 generations of Hattoris at a Memorial Day lunch; silence; realizing all parts of my life are connected although they seem so different; all the brave men and women SERVING our country in the armed services.

Thank you for Roma telling me to speak from my toes; seeing embodiment as connection to everything; realizing that humility is the path to uncertainty which leads to freedom from knowing; more articles getting published by The Good Men Project; Esalen.

Thank you for Conversations with Compassion with Paul Ekman; Paul Ekman as an agnostic and psychologist admitting that the feelings of peace he experienced sitting with the Dalai Lama were “thick, palpable, and mysterious”; being invited to give a workshop at Bonfire Heights; Fox crying because he didn’t get to hug and kiss me goodnight; Dr. Doty giving me a hug.

NOT Getting Hugged by Amma

Amma at StanfordOn Monday, I went to a Conversation on Compassion with Amma at Stanford. Here are a few highlights:

  • “Compassion is the most important factor in life”
  • “Compassion is the first step.  If we can take that step courageously without fear then everything else will follow spontaneously.”
  • “When we have compassion then all the decisions we make and the actions and their results that follow will have a special beauty, spontaneity, and power to it.”
  • “Human’s calculations can always be wrong. But decisions taken from compassion and actions that are compassionate can be never wrong because compassion is a law of nature.”
  • “When we give up the individual mind and tune to the universal mind which happens in compassion, then we can never do anything wrong because it is not us acting, but it is the universal power. Compassion gives us the ability to tune into the universal power.”
  • “When love attains perfection that is when the flower of compassion happens.”

 

After the conversation, Amma announced that she would give darshan to all the attendees (near 2,000), but she asked that only attendees who have never received a hug come up so Amma could have time to hug everyone who wanted one.

Since I have been getting hugged by Amma since 1999 and I was wearing an “embrace the world” t-shirt that I bought at Amma’s ashram, I knew that I should remain seated, but I REALLY wanted to get a hug from Amma–especially when I saw that they were giving large gift bags to all who received a hug.

Unfortunately, during her talk Amma said that there are three types of people.

  • The first type of person–what they get they eat.
  • The second kind of person–what they get they eat and they also try to take the other person’s food and eat that as well.
  • The third kind of person–whatever they get, they eat a part of it then give the rest to others around them.

I knew that if I went to get a hug, I would be taking from someone else, so I forced myself to refrain from getting a hug.

But something wonderful happened. As I watched Amma hug others, the craving and jealousy drained out of me and was replaced with sympathetic joy (mudita). I saw the glowing faces of the people walking off the stage, and I could feel their joy and gratitude which somehow became my joy and gratitude. I got a taste of the universal mind and power that Amma was talking about.

It was the best non-hug that I have ever received.

Have you ever felt empathic joy? Please share.

 

Related Articles

http://everydaygurus.com/2013/06/03/embracing-the-world

http://everydaygurus.com/2012/11/14/free-hugs-hug-for-freedom

 

 

Hey, Silence

Hey! Silence.

Hey! Silence, I see you.

You are the space between the notes in a symphony resonating in our souls;

the skipped heart beat when our child stops breathing;

the caesura that connects the poet, the speaker, and the listener with God.

You absorb all insults, gunshots, and explosions, yet retaliate with acceptance and Truth.

You are the infinite forgiveness in a moment of reflection.

You are the words worth listening to when this poem is over.

You are…

 

This is a post for the Monthly Peace Challenge: Empathy Blogging. Some of my favorite bloggers are poets: Geo Sans, Dieu On The Grass, and Bodhisattvaintraining. This is my attempt to blog some poetry for peace.

“Guru is a four letter word”

Yesterday, I had a double guru experience. My son was home sick, so I couldn’t work. Instead, I finished watching a documentary called Kumare.

kumare

Here is the synopsis of Kumare:

“A provocative social experiment-turned-documentary, KUMARE follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he transforms himself into a wise Indian guru, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith. Instead, he finds himself forging profound connections with people from all walks of life — and wondering if and when to reveal his true self. Will his followers accept his final teaching? Can this illusion reveal a greater spiritual truth? Winner of South by Southwest’s Audience Award, KUMARE is an insightful look at faith and belief.

Watching this film simultaneously engendered doubts about gurus and inspired me to the spiritual powers of ordinary humans. Vikram Gandhi sets out to pose as a guru, but ends up transforming others lives, as well as his own, in the process. Still, I felt a bit jaded.

Then last night, I attended a Conversation on Compassion at Stanford University. A guru I had never heard about named Sadhguru eradicated any doubts I had about spiritual leaders, enlightenment, or gurus.

sadhguru at Stanford

Interestingly enough, Sadhguru started the talk by explaining how he entered spirituality as a skeptic, much like Vikram Gandhi.

“Even if one has the wrong intentions, but travels the right path, one will find the truth.”

Sadhguru acknowledged the skepticism around gurus: “Guru is a four letter work.” He explained that a guru is merely a “live roadmap,” not meant to be worshiped. He also assured everyone that when we are dealing with what is inside us, no one is better than anyone else. We might be in better physical shape than others or more intelligent, but when we look inside, we are all the same.

What most impressed me about Sadhguru was his insistence on serving others (although he didn’t see it as service since we are all one).

“If we do not do what we can do that is a disastrous life.”

“If your heart is full of love, then you can never do enough.”

Hearing these statements, I immediately thought about Rarasaur. It is my duty to help Rara. I will continue to send letters, love, and what money I can afford to help her out.

I hate to personalize this guru juxtaposition, but I couldn’t help but see it as a call and response. I started the day with some doubts, yet within hours those doubts were quickly abated. Part of me feels like I was calling on the Universe to show me a sign, and almost immediately the Universe answered. Coincidence? Serendipity? Destiny? It really doesn’t matter, because I’m a believer.

Do you believe in destiny, serendipity, or fate? Please share.