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.

Pushing Mother’s Day

This post is dedicated to my wonderful wife.

0101

Push

 

 

“Push, Push, Push”

Ignore the pain

Overcome the fatigue

“Push, Push, Push”

 

“Push, Push, Push”

Don’t think about the fear

Only you can save this child

“Push, Push, Push”

 

“Push, Push, Push”

Breastfeed, Soothe, Console

24 hours a day, repeat

“Push, Push, Push”

 

“Push, Push, Push”

Homework, face-time, college fund

Never enough at home or in the office

“Push, Push, Push”

 

“Push, Push, Push”

Love your child,

Love your partner,

Love your career,

“Push, Push, Push”

 

I see you, mother, laborer, lover

I feel your pain, your stress, your joy

I bow in gratitude, respect, and love

 

Happy Mother’s Day

 

Love,

Man

EMERGENCY Peace Challenge: Help Rarasaur!

I skyped with a dinosaur!

Rara Spreading Love like Fire

Those of you who know Rarasaur know in your heart of hearts how loving, generous, and inspiring she is. Bloggers for Peace would be a figment of my imagination without Rarasaur who designed both the logo and the Peacecat t-shirt for free.

Rarasaur Peace Cat

Recently, I’ve realized that at every moment, we have the choice to serve ourselves or serve others. Rarasaur spends a majority of her time serving others.

For those of you who don’t know, Rarasaur was falsely charged with a crime she did not commit. With no resources to defend herself, Rarasaur has become a pawn in the criminal justice system.

I am asking you to reach into your hearts and give to help one of the greatest peacemakers in the blogosphere. If you have ever visited Rarasaur.wordpress.com, please donate to her freedom fund by clicking here: http://rarasaur.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/i-didnt-go-to-jail-today-and-other-notes/

bannerI’m also asking all Bloggers for Peace who know Rarasaur to publish a post devoted to Rarasaur that links to this donation page.

We often are unable to see the ramifications of much of the work we do for peace. In this case, every post you publish and every cent you donate has measurable and concrete effects on the peace in the world. Please help Rara now.

May you all find peace and joy. May you be free from suffering. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo Hattori

Everyday Thanksgiving: February 2014

I continue to find joy and happiness in this daily gratitude practice. This is my monthly download.

February 2014

Thank you for Jett yelling, “I wanna meditate” when I said he had to meditate if he wanted to go to the hobby store; sleeping with both boys in a twin bed on a cold night; empathy buddies; Tibetan mandalas; all the everyday gurus I’m surrounded by.

Jett MeditatingThank you for bubbles and balloons for making kids smile; no commercials on netflix; all the interesting people in the mall at 11 AM; Fox kung fuing bubbles; rain during a drought.

Thank you for Rancho San Antonio; radio controlled airplanes; hobby stores; hilly trails; all the Bloggers for Peace in year two.

Thank you for Fox knowing what nunchucks are at 3 years old; green tea with honey; the gift of challenges to help us grow; artistic friends; Dianne Gray back on WordPress.

Thank you for unleashing my hips through dance; somatic healing; self-awareness leading to self-belief; dancing to pop music and not caring how uncool that is; all the love Fox got at his 4th birthday party.

Thank you for Peter Levine; healing trauma; back to back counseling; men’s groups; hijiki cabbage wraps.

Thank you for Osho’s Mystic Rose meditation; healing deep wounds; reconnecting with my ability to cry; completing grieving; a safe space to heal.

Thank you for rain; snow in Tahoe; rain boots; recognizing my distress recording to my son’s crying; understanding the healing nature of crying.

Thank you for Adya’s study course on redemptive love; Dr. Xie’s talk on Authentic Success; Meg’s strength to push me through trauma; snakes; child-like curiosity.

Thank you for Dusty’s suggestion to write out my life story from other people’s perspective; Fox wanting to start Kung fu; doing homework in the park; a sunny day after a week of rain; seeing drama for what it is–none of my business.

Fox with bikeThank you for the Hello Kitty helmet Fox wore at the moto-x park; recognizing that everyone is my guru; Russell’s wise assessment of my life; watching my sons play baseball; free home phone service with obitalk.

Thank you for Jett riding without training wheels; our friends flexibility and forgiveness when our cabin reservations fell through; the woman who cleaned up the glass of the bottle Jett broke; Adyashanti’s Online Study Course “Redemptive Love: The Healing Power of Descending Grace”; recognizing eternity.

Thank you for seeing the connection between we are all connected and self-compassion; seeing cancer as a lack of self-love/self-compassion; recognizing my mother’s emotional detachment as a catalyst for my awakening; the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion, the 1000 hits I got on Richard Rohr’s interview.

Thank you for the Lojong saying “transform all mishaps into the Path”; Russell Bradley’s reading; finding eternity in the present moment; a loving dinner with my brother’s family; children’s love of ladybugs.

Thank you for clarity on the meaning of my life; seeing a Path devoid of win/lose, better/less, and duality; confirmation that I am on the right Path; Richard Rohr’s ripples of peace and tranquility; a heartfelt talk with a high school friend.

Thank you for sunny days in the snow; gortex; snow saucers and a steep hill; the awakening of our true selves in the presence of children; screaming, giggling bunches of friends flying down a snowy slope.

Thank you for Circus Circus; 1$ Arcade Games; Cheesy cheap stuffed animals that make kids smile; not needing to gamble anymore; king-sized hotel beds with the whole family.

Thank you for Vietnamese food in Reno; unnecessary shuttle rides that put kids in awe; warm sun with icy cold air; sleeping in until 9 AM; text messaging to coordinate rendezvous.

Thank you for catching up on Rarasaur posts; playing pickup basketball again; city planners for making parks available to all for free; my sons playing with original legos and using their imagination; Jett’s chattiness before going to sleep.

Thank you for the amazing synchronicity with the Adya study group; Shari’s hook meditation; Rick Hanson’s timely reminder of patience; Sandy telling me about Enneagram; Fox playing playdoh all by himself.

Thank you for releasing money; enjoying the ride of life through the rear view mirror; Fox’s gentle kisses; talking about awakenings with Laura; Judith Blackstone.

The Meaning of [My] Life

The Universe has been conspiring lately to help me realize what the meaning of my life is. It started a few months ago when I posted a Beautiful Blogger Quotation from Broadblogs.

Hurt people hurt peopleI followed this post with a corollary I came up with.

healed people

After starting Bloggers for Peace and counseling clients at PeaceinRelationships.com, I realized that I am a healer. The more I heal myself, the more I am able to heal others. Blogging helps me heal myself, so I can heal others. In addition, when others heal, they become healers–they stop hurting in both senses of the word. Thus, ripples of healing extend out in ways we can’t even imagine.

Then, the amazing Rarasaur commented on my post “How to Win An Argument” with some career guidance:

direction and love image

So I’ve set my direction as a healer who has healed himself with love. I believe in my heart of hearts that this is what I was put here to do.

Have you discovered what you were put here to do? How does blogging help you in your life? Please share.

What is Really True?

This weekend at Interchange Counseling Institute, we were asked to bring in an unanswerable question–questions that seem to ask themselves over and over throughout our lives, that never seem to get a satisfactory answer.

“What do you never seem to be able to get (e.g. love, rest, a sense of purpose), though you put considerable energy into trying to get it? What always seems missing? What questions about how to be a person have caused you frustration over a long part of your life? What about yourself can you just not figure out? What challenges seem to pop up in every relationship you’re in, or across social interactions? What problems in a specific relationship won’t go away no matter how much you work on them?”–from Interchange Counseling Website.

We then wrote these questions on a piece of paper that we hung from our necks. Most people had questions like “Am I enough?”; “Am I loved?”; “Who am I?”; “How can I trust others?” “Do I exist?”

Maybe it was because I had done some deep re-parenting work at the last Interchange weekend, but my questions were more spiritual: “What does sex have to do with higher consciousness?” “What is consciousness?” In a small group, I workshopped my questions down to “What is really true?”

what is true sign

my tattered and tear-stained sign

After all 140 of us had our questions around our necks, we walked around the huge room and stood in front of each other silently, randomly. Our leader, Steve Bearman, informed us that our questions often pointed to interrupted development during our childhood. So we were to imagine each other as children and try to extend the love and resources others needed to heal.

For some reason, everyone who I stood in front of started crying. One woman who wore a sign that said, “Can I be trusted?” began to weep. I imagined her as a little girl wanting to be loved. “Oh, my sweet child, you can be trusted because I have nothing but love for you,” I thought. I opened my arms and hugged her softly as she sobbed.

Most of these people were complete strangers. I thought that they could psychically feel my thoughts and feelings that I had for them. It wasn’t until the exercise ended and my sweatshirt was full of watermarks from tears and runny noses that I realized what might have just happened.

When people had a question that had to do with being loved, being worthy, being enough, being deserving, they looked at my question, “What is really true?” and they felt deep inside themselves that they were loved, worthy, enough, and deserving.

When we really delve into what is true, we see and feel love.

So I ask you, my dear reader, what is your unanswerable question and what is really true?

Thank you for reading, smiling, and/or sharing.