Feeling My Way to Peace

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears…”–Jimmy Valvano

Last week, I took my wife to see Les Miserableand Anne Hathaway  brought me to tears. (Quick review: Hathaway=Oscar; Jackman and Crowe sounded off key at times, and I’m tone deaf; Tom Hooper revolutionized filmmaking with his skin-tight close-ups) By the end of the film, however, my wife was sobbing, and I was just enjoying the music.anne hathaway

This is not the first time this had happened to me. In college, I took my girlfriend to see Platoon and she almost had to be removed from the theater because she was crying inconsolably during the My Lai-like massacre scene. My response, like everyone else in the theater, was “calm down; it’s just a movie.”

I recently had a conversation with Walkingnoline about how “we use words without intending the actual meaning of the word.” We have disconnected from intention and feeling in not only language, but everyday life.  We watch people get slaughtered on the silver screen and on the evening news without even shedding one tear. Jack Johnson had it right when he asked, “Why don’t the newscasters cry when they read about people who die?”

So for my daily practice of peace, I am going to inject feelings back into my words and my life.

First, I’m going to say the two most important words in my life with feeling. I recently taught my sons a new gesture to make sure that when they gave thanks they meant it. They put their hands over their heart, bow their head and say “thank you.giving thanks Like most parents, I’m a better coach than player. It didn’t take me long to realize that I often say thank you like a knee jerk reaction. So I started using this gesture myself. In this position, you can really feel the words vibrate in your heart.

Second, I am going to allow myself to be moved to tears every day. I used to be a very sensitive and empathetic child. One of my fondest memories consists of sitting on the couch with my mother with tears streaming down our faces watching Little House on the Praire. For some reason, Laura Ingalls always made me cry.

Then I found out it wasn’t “cool” for men to cry. I’ve been trying to be cool my whole life. I’m over it. Let the waterworks begin. I’m going to listen to music, watch films, read poetry, praise God, and hug my loved ones until my eyes water.

I remember when music could make me feel both invincible and vulnerable, sometimes at the same time. The Who “Love Reign O’er Me,” U2 “40,” The Clash “Lost in the Supermarket,” Tupac “Dear Mama.” I used to feel the music in my bones. Nowadays, music is background noise. “Gangnam Style,” Taylor Swift, Mariah Carrey, Outkast. I hear the sounds, but I don’t feel the emotions. The same can be said about films, poetry, prose, and tenderness.

It’s not that the music, films, and books today are weaker in quality. It’s all about focus. I’m going to make it a point to shut everything off and just listen to a song every day or watch a film uninterrupted once a week or lose myself in a book or hug my wife with no ulterior motives.

I’m hoping that these daily rituals will revive that empathic child who cried for others because that child loved with all his heart. For only love will bring peace.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.Photo1(1)

Have you lost that loving feeling? If so, what have you done to feel again? Please share.

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66 comments on “Feeling My Way to Peace

  1. sofiasiberia says:

    Wonderful post, Kozo!
    Ohh the kids in their thankful posture – they are soo cute! Look at the younger one, he is soo absorbed and devoted to it! ❤ Haha really touching! 🙂
    Sorry, Kozo, I don't know your boys' names..:) If you don't mind introducing them, as they are definitely your starts on the blog 🙂

    You know, you gave me one great realization – when we are kids, no matter boys or girls – we cry easily and let all our emotions show, because Love in our hearts still circulate easily!
    It is still not conditioned or restricted.
    And when we grow, we get taught how to strain and cover our emotions. And you were right, together with this we somehow 'learn' to experience less love, and that somehow lowers our empathy.

    I always cried easily as kid at every sad cartoon or movie scene. Then i learnt to hide it and tried to care less for pain or sadness or heroes so that i don't cry.

    Now i often get to babysit my relatives' kids and watch nice movies together. And their sincere reactions reminded me how great it is to be open and not shy of your emotions!
    If your heart can react at anybody else's feelings, even if that's of a cartoonish character, it means you are alive and that open empathetic child in you still lives in there ❤

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Sofia. I started writing this post and took a break to read your post about empathic women. It’s like we were writing about the same thing from two different perspectives–empathic woman, man without empathy, which is why I linked to it below.
      I am so grateful to have you flying next to me.

      In regards to empathic children, my older son, Jett, was watching a Japanese film called Hula Girls with all his aunties. At a sad part of the film, my wife noticed that Jett had tears pouring down his face. He was only 4 years old and the film was in Japanese which he does not speak. I am going to try to encourage this type of empathy in my sons.

      The more I encourage it in my sons, the more I live it in my own life.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Sofia.

      • sofiasiberia says:

        Oh you know this is so wise of you to actually foster your sons’ emotional responsiveness and empathy, as it will help them grow into compassionate young men that will be able to understand tender world of women’s feelings better!
        And will help them have deeper and closer connection with their future wives as well as with their mom when they are older:)
        I think you are a wonderful father, Kozo! God bless.

    • Today I dared myself to watch those humane society commercials instead of flipping the channel. They will now be receiving ten dollars a month from me.

  2. Kozo, you have hit on some very big goals here. I absolutely love that Valvano quote and it still inspires me every time I read it. Our society has made it undesirable for a man, to not only cry but to show their emotions at all. I hope that your goal to be moved to tears is a positive experience for you!
    Jonathan

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks so much, Jonathan. I’m glad someone remembers Valvano. He was an extraordinary individual. I contributed to his foundation and they sent me a tape of that speech. It makes me cry just watching him say those words.
      Thank you for opening your heart to hear my words. Thank you for reblogging as well.

    • Kozo says:

      Jonathan,
      I’m trying to figure out how to follow your blog. I clicked on the Twitter button, but it just sent me to twitter. I want to follow you, but don’t know how. Let me know.

      • Kozo, I have two blogs, one on wordpress.com which I use to follow those I like and things that inspire me, and I have a blog which I host which is at http://www.jonathanhilton.com. This site has all of my writing on it. To follow me the best option is to follow me on Facebook, I just started a page at , https://www.facebook.com/jonathanhiltonwriter . you can sign up there. I will check all of my buttons and I will remove them or fix them.
        Thank you so much for your interest and keep writing, it is very inspirational.
        Jonathan

  3. No answers… but I get ya, Bro. I hear ya.

  4. oliviaobryon says:

    Here’s to not trying to be cool anymore! 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Right on, Olivia. That means so much because you are teaching kids who are right at that age where they get caught up in cool and lose empathy. {{{Hugs}}}

  5. Claudia says:

    Beautiful post. Almost moved me to tears. Thank you. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Claudia. Would love to have you join Bloggers for Peace, especially since your word for the year is “Peace.”

      • Claudia says:

        I would love to join. I will make sure to blog my first peace post and links before January ends and add the badge to my blog. 🙂

      • Kozo says:

        WooHoo, Claudia, is the newest Blogger for Peace. Welcome, welcome, welcome, Claudia. Don’t forget to tag your peace posts “B4Peace” so all bloggers can read them.

  6. Kylie says:

    Laugh, think, cry… yes! That is what we are here for!

    This brought tears to my eyes. The pictures…wow.
    My two-year old learned the baby sign for thank you and please, and he still uses them even though he says the words. I hope they last.

    Thank you for this post.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Kylie. I love baby sign language. Kids are so expressive that they need more than words. My younger son is two years old as well. Look forward to sharing stories, smiles, and photos.

  7. electronicbaglady says:

    My son told me that the reason we lose the intensity of response is something to do with brain chemistry. (We were talking about the excitement of hearing a new band – and I was moaning about how derivative modern music is, like a proper old codger).
    So all we need do is reconfigure our brain chemistry and all will be well
    I’m starting with more chocolate. I can listen to any rubbish so long as I have chocolate 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      I would have loved to hear that conversation about modern bands, EBL.
      I read that chocolate stimulates the same endorphins as love, so I’m with you, chocolate for peace. 🙂

      • electronicbaglady says:

        Chocolates for Peace! OMG! It’s a New Movement
        I’d buy that at Alice’s Restaurant 🙂

  8. sarahneeve says:

    I’ve never stopped crying, sometimes I may just catch the end of a show, cartoon or film and the tears just seem to flow. My husband laughs, saying ‘not again’. But he doesn’t mean it, he’s a softy at heart, too.
    Thank you so much for reminding us that we are but mere humans, with all the trappings included. And yes, that was a heartfelt thank you. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      I felt it, Sarah. Thank you [hands on heart, head bowed]. Don’t let men fool you; we are all softies at heart. Now getting to the heart, that is another story. haha.

  9. Russell Bradley says:

    Kozo
    Joe Strummer loves you. and so does every other Clash City Rocker.

    “I’m all lost in the supermarket, I can no longer shop happily.”

    Every thing is telling you that is so, which is why the pain of disbelief is so hard.
    The old way is no way at all.
    Silence will silence that pain, when you look right through it.

    New peace blog. It has a question you might like to ask yourself.

    http://peacelovewisdombliss.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/are-you-awake/

    • Kozo says:

      Glad someone remembers the magic that was Joe Strummer. Thanks, Russell. I feel so honored that you reply to my posts with a post of your own. Thank you.

      • Russell Bradley says:

        Thank you so much for commenting on the post , please do so as many times as you like , we are all in one schizophrenic material reality being polarised in to opposites. Yet the wave and the particle and the understanding of Niels Bhor’s Quantum Entanglement allow us to tangibly see ourselves as one. The unseen interconnected path to revealing the cause of not only our own pain but the worlds. Every answer that is felt in the heart elevates one , every answer that comes from the Ego brings suffering.
        This is also another question that is at the heart of peace .
        Both yourself, Tomas and Alia have so much to offer and are going to expand this year, that connectivity is establishing itself now more than ever. Its not a strategy, not a plan to put in action ,it is consciousness in operation, It will do the work one just has to meet it with honesty.
        http://peacelovewisdombliss.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/what-does-being-healthy-mean-to-you/

  10. Being mindful of even the smallest details is definitely the way to stay connected with our humanity and our emotion. Lovely post.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Michelle. The great part about it is that we have control. It is within our control to be mindful of small details, so we can stay connected with our humanity if we put our mind towards that goal. Yay.

  11. An very interesting post here Kozo, as someone who tears up when movies are “moving me” I see now that my reaction is because I get emotionally involved in the action portrayed on the screen.

    I also have now a viewpoint from a male side, as I can see Sweet Son slowly stopping to be the emotional child he was to this “cooler” self he wants to portray…
    Interesting to think about it.

    Can he still be sensitive and become a man or is it one or the other??

    • Kozo says:

      Great question, Anyes. Society definitely pressures men to desensitize. Military training is all about desensitizing. Homophobia doesn’t help either since boys who are sensitive are often branded as a “sissy.”
      I believe that women are our saviors. Mothers, sisters, wives, and lovers can bring empathy back into our hearts. See Sofia Siberia’s post below about women with empathy.
      {{{Hugs}}} to you and your empathic son.

  12. diannegray says:

    I remember many years ago an ABC anchorwoman in Australia began sobbing over a news story. She was quickly taken off air and replaced with someone else for the rest of the news broadcast. There was a lot debate over whether she was ‘capable’ of continuing to work as a journalist. She is an amazing woman and quickly had her own show and never did news broadcasts again because of this outburst. We need more people like this – I don’t know how they can report some things and not be touched by the trauma.

    I love Jimmy Valvano’s quote.

    Big {{{hugs}}} to you today, my friend 😉

    • Kozo says:

      Great story, Dianne. I want to see a man cry while reporting the news. It touched my heart to see Obama break down when reporting the Newtown shooting.
      I am so blessed to be surrounded by empathic women like you, Dianne. Maybe that is why you are such a great writer–you can experience life through the eyes of another.
      {{{Hugs}}} back. Never can have too many hugs. 🙂

  13. I feel the same way about music on the decline. Maybe we’re just getting old….Neeeh, the youngins music is terrible. 😛
    & Crying is always ok! Man or woman. Never let anyone tell you otherwise!

    • Kozo says:

      There is still magic out there in music. Alicia Keys can bring me to tears, so can American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez.
      Thanks for the encouragement. I think I feel comfortable crying in front of women. It is the men that make me “front.”

  14. P.S. That is a beautiful photo of your little ones. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, DDW. I wish you could see them do this in public. People are thrilled that they take the time to thank them with a heart-felt bow.
      When I do it, they look at me like I’m strange. Guess I’m not cute anymore. 😦 haha

  15. merbear74 says:

    I cried when I saw Bambi as a child. I haven’t stopped crying at sad movies. I feel emotions all around me, all the time. It can become exhausting. But I wouldn’t want to trade my sensitivity for anything. When I feel myself slipping away, I listen to Abbey Road. It’s an emotional experience for me, and I don’t question why. Then I hug my husband. (I would hug my daughter, but she’s almost 16..not cool mom) 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Haha, Merbear, “not cool mom.” I’m going to hug my boys until they are old enough to fight me off.
      Isn’t it amazing how we have entire albums that we seek solace in. Most of my younger cousins have never even owned an album, much less listened to the whole thing in one sitting.
      Thanks for the comment.

  16. […] post for Bloggers for Peace is inspired by a photograph taken by my childhood friend, the New Zealand actor Yvette Parsons. She […]

  17. Dieu says:

    Your post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Diana Vreeland: “Without emotion there is no beauty.”

    I think anyone who shows their emotions is infinitely beautiful. I happen to be a person who loves sad movies. There is something so cathartic about having a good cry. I think you are exactly right to set an example for your sons to let them know it is okay to show emotion and sincerity of emotion. Too often society tells us men are weak if they cry or show vulnerability.

    • Kozo says:

      I love that quotation, Dieu. I agree with you that there is something powerful about being moved to tears. I really think this connects us with all of humanity which engenders peace.
      P.S.
      Reading your poetry often brings a tear to my eye. {{{Hugs}}}

  18. Sunshine says:

    i don’t know where to begin…so touching to see parents raising children to empathize and think. maybe you should start a school. seriously. the cool thing is, you are teaching by example and what better way to learn anything but by good examples. you know what i think? even if all our blogging efforts to achieve peace only makes a small impact, by you leaving a love and peace legacy with your children would be far greater a success story since you worked at what you were called to do…raise up the next generation to carry on in your footsteps. yep. that is true success. 😉

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Sunshine. I agree. If we can just plant the seeds for peace, we will have succeeded. I believe that ideas grow exponentially over time. Our little band of bloggers might just be able to generate an idea that will spread and grow like a peaceful falling snow. {{{Hugs}}}

  19. 1EarthUnited says:

    Hey Kozo, you’re such a good dad! Teaching your kids to be grateful and really feel it in their precious little hearts *sigh*, they will grow that love and seed the world with loving kindness. Life comes full circle as your vision of Peace on Earth becomes a new reality during your old age. I bow to you my friend. 😀

    • Kozo says:

      Dear Maddie,
      You moved my emotions with your words “precious little hearts,” because that is how I see my sons–small, precious, and full of love. Thank you for your beautiful words and feelings. {{{Hugs}}}}
      p.s.
      I’m not that old,yet. haha

      • 1EarthUnited says:

        I meant love returning to you in the future LOL – from everyone in the world due to the love and grace you’ve planted in your kids today; you’re seeding the world with love through your kids. I see your point also, you’re receiving “love dividends” from your kids every single moment… that’s why u’r the luckiest man on earth! 😉

      • Kozo says:

        You, too, Maddie are receiving love dividends from so many people everyday, including yours truly. Isn’t that a wonderful way to think about success and happiness–in terms of your love account rather than your bank account? Thank you for being one of my favorite love vendors. haha

  20. KM Huber says:

    As always, wonderful post, Kozo. It is ironic that in the digital age of immediate access to one another, we are lazy in our language. I catch myself at it all the time but thanks to blogs like yours, I redouble my efforts.

    Also, thanks so much for starting up “Bloggers for Peace.” My first Thursday Tidbit post will feature your marvelous idea and link back. As a tidbit is a choice bit of information, peace seems the obvious choice.

    Karen

    • Kozo says:

      Yay, Karen, Thanks for joining the cause. I am wishing you peace and equanimity during your time of loss. I have been realizing lately that oneness does not just include humans–it includes everything. I honestly believe that Cooper is one with us as we speak. He is at peace and for peace. {{{Hugs}}}

  21. This is beautiful! I am going to take on bowing my head and holding my heart when I say “thank you.”

    Just joined Bloggers for Peace! Love the beautiful space on this blog!

    • Kozo says:

      Yay, Spiritual World Traveler. I hope to meet you one day and hold my heart, bow and say thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting and supporting, especially Bloggers for Peace. Love your first post.

  22. LyannV says:

    This was a beautiful post; thank you for sharing 🙂

  23. Kozo you are amazing. A true healer in our world. It is truly simple, the steps we can all take to be more in touch with our heart, our spirit, and to let the tears brighten our eyes when we allow ourselves to really FEEL something. Lately I’ve been asking myself ‘What brings me joy?’ and of course I am referring to soul-enriching, heart-touching joy. I’m still working on it, but expressing gratitude is one of those things. As is hugging my loved ones tight. God bless you, dear heart. Coming to your blog always brings me joy! I send you and your beautiful family my loving cyber {hugs} today and everyday.
    ~Gina

    • Kozo says:

      Gina,
      I can answer your question easily–you and your blog bring me joy. I can feel the real love and hugs oozing out of the computer screen. I feel blessed to spend part of my day with wonderful souls like you. {{{Hugs}}} until we meet in person. Love, Kozo

  24. This is a lovely, thoughtful post. The picture of your sons with hands crossed over their hearts to say thank you moved me to tears in the same way both movies you mentioned moved your wife and college date.
    Well done.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Marylin. I’m glad you were moved to tears. I really believe that if we are able to get in touch with our emotions, the world would be a much better place. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  25. Dave says:

    Ironic, you bring up many points I can relate to, including men aren’t suppose to be emotional with tears. The mass murder at the school recently had my emotions somewhere they haven’t been in a long time with tears. The thought brings them forward, again.

    On to other things. I have nominated you for the Reality & Shine On Awards. See my post regarding acceptance if you so desire. Some participate in the blog award process, and some don’t.
    http://groovydocs.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/giving-one-anothe/

  26. Sophia says:

    The Austrian born philosopher Ludwig Joseph Johann Wittgenstein wrote:
    “The limits of my language are the limits of my world. All I know is what I have words for. You cannot enter any world for which you do not have the language.”

    and

    “If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.”

    Your post reminded me of these quotes. Without the appropriate emotional language we are unable to enter into the emotional world. Not just the words, but the meaning behind the words. If we spoke and embraced the language of emotions, indeed we would perceive a much more expansive world uninhibited by cultural restrictions on who can and cannot cry or a genuine expression of love and empathy. Thanks for sharing your post Kozo.

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