Blindsided by Marianne Williamson

Tyler Durden: “How’s that working out for you?”

Narrator: “What?”

Tyler Durden: “Being Clever”

For the last four days, I’ve been attending a seminar for entrepreneurs. I learned a lot of tips about launching, marketing, networking, and positioning. So imagine how surprised I was when on the stage walks Marianne Williamson.

Marianne re-framed everything we had learned the previous 3 days. Here are a few nuggets:

  • All conference long we had been told that we needed to “add value” before we sold anything to anyone. Marianne said, “There is no added value like the love in your heart.”
  • “The main toxicity in America comes from looking at each other as a ‘potential sale’.”
  • In regards to past mistakes, Marianne said, “Where a bone has been broken it grows back stronger than before” and “The Universe works like a gps; if you make a wrong turn the Universe recalibrates.”
  • “Many of your greatest successes you thought were failures. And many of your greatest failures, you thought were successes.”
  • “Your ultimate career was given to you the day you were born to be who you were supposed to become.”

I was so grateful to be in the presence of this sage. I knew this was an opportunity to get advice from a higher consciousness, so I crafted a question to ask the her.

My question had to do with my purpose in life. All conference long I had been telling people that “I help men cultivate compassion to bring peace into their relationships and their lives.” Whenever I said this, women hugged me, thanked me, and asked me for my business card. Men, however, simply walked away.

I wanted to express this frustration with Marianne, but I wanted to do it in a way that would impress her. Here is what came out when she called on me:

“Thank you for being here, Marianne. My life’s purpose is to cultivate compassion in  men. Your message today reminded me of the Spinoza quote, “We are all cells in God’s body.” I feel like I am a cell in God’s anus. Every time I approach men and tell them what I do, they wrinkle their noses and walk away. Do I keep processing the poop or should I transform into a new cell in the heart or something.”

To this Marianne replied, “You need to change your schtick.”

When I said I didn’t understand, she said, “you know this is a room of support, but even what you said made us all wrinkle up our noses. You need to change your approach.”

I thanked her. And she said something like a joke taken too far does not serve.

I was trying to be so clever that I degraded my message to the sewers of ego. I felt so humiliated. I had finally got to speak to this distinguished spiritual leader and I talked about crap.

But then I thought about her saying, “Many of your greatest successes you thought were failures.” Maybe this “failure” was actually a success. I took her words to heart and realized that I need to be careful of the words I use even if my heart is in the right place.

Last week, I guest-posted at Black Box Warnings. Even though I was writing about compassion, some women were offended by my diction. I was quoting some of the sexist statements that had been used against me, so these weren’t statements that I said personally. Yet just the mention of the words affected others. These two events made me realize that I really need to become more sensitive to my audience and adjust my tone and diction accordingly.

Marianne also told another story about how she was trying to get someone to see her point of view, but this person just wouldn’t listen to her. Finally, a friend reassured Marianne that “he’ll get it, but not today and not from you.” Men will cultivate compassion, but not today and not from me. I need to serve those who are asking for service. So I’ve changed my focus from cultivating compassion in men to helping women make their men more compassionate. Stay tuned.

Although it was a tough day for the ego, it might be a turning point that I look back to with humor and gratitude.

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

Do you have any failures that turned out to be successes? Please share.

To all my dear blogging friends–I have been very busy and am way behind in my blogging. I hope to come by soon and read your blogs. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo


42 comments on “Blindsided by Marianne Williamson

  1. smilecalm says:

    I’ve heard Marianne speak, also. Offers wonderful perspective of the heart, thanks!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, SC. Every sentence she said was a message to my heart. I’m so grateful to have been there. Hope the quotations served you in some way.{{{hugs]}} Kozo
      I got tickets to see Thich Nhat Hanh at Stanford in late October. So excited. I’ll make sure I phrase a question better if I get a chance to ask. 🙂

  2. YES!!! thank you for sharing this moment with us here Kozo. What you wrote resonates with me so much. I believe with Marianne’s help you are onto something that will change lot of lives. Hugs to you 🙂

  3. lauriesnotes says:

    You are quite inspiring..I’ve been working on my husband for a long time 🙂 I do believe there is hope..Somehow he doesn’t respond to a direct approach.. but he is learning.
    I can’t wait to see where this ends up. And I’m willing to keep working on it. The more inner work I do, the more things seems to shift in my family. I do think you are on to something good.
    Ya, so I didn’t take him to counseling, but I continued to do deeper healing in myself.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Inner work is key, Laurie. I agree with you that men don’t respond to direct approaches. I have a program that I am working on that you might be interested in. I’ll keep you informed. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

      • lauriesnotes says:

        Please do! I’m very interested. My husband is a really good sport.. and I think he would be willing to try something out. Or let me experiment with him. 🙂 We’ve been through a lot together.
        He is a teacher and working on starting a peace/ kindness program at his school as he is moving in to administration. I’m excited about that. There is someone here who is trained in a mindfulness program for schools.
        Do keep in touch! It gives me hope- all of this.

  4. wow, very nice insight .. I’ve for one more than once tried too hard to be witty and completely slid the carpet from underneath myself

  5. Hi my friend! No worries, Like M said the universe is recalibrating your GPS. You are on track with your newfound awareness and helping all of us, along your way. I thank you!

  6. Sun says:

    ouch. hurts the deepest when it deals with the ego. but i like how you show us to dust off the ouch, get up and reset the button – to not give up but simply rethink the plan. ☼hugs, Kozo.

  7. BroadBlogs says:

    I guess the fact that men responded the way they did does suggest that your message needs to change in someway. Which isn’t to say that your goal needs to change. By the response of many men who comment on this blog, you do help to create compassion in men.

    I don’t think that men wrinkle their nose at your blog. The difference is that the blog comes across as humble. Largely, the blog is humble because you mostly share your failures, by the way, which then transform into successes as people read and become transformed themselves, learning from your hurts and your mistakes.

    On the other hand, when you tell men that your life goal is to transform them, you come across as superior to them. That’s why they wrinkle their nose.

    Maybe you could say something that comes from a place of humility, instead. That you are sharing your own struggle of going from a hurt person who hurt people to someone who is trying to learn from your mistakes and learn from others. That might open them up to hearing more. And as they do, they could become transformed.

    Worth a try, anyway.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thank you so much, Georgia. My brother said a similar thing about the tone of my voice. He used the word condescension. I do need to humble myself to my clients and the Universe. I keep forgetting to keep what Zen calls a “Beginner’s Mind.” Might have to do with grad school. haha. Thank you so much for this insight. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

      • BroadBlogs says:

        You’re welcome. I would add that if there’s any sort of goal you should change it should be to create compassion in everyone, and not just men. Without telling everyone that that’s your goal, of course.

  8. NIKOtheOrb says:

    This is most relieving to see that even marketing has begun to include such values as love, humanity, compassion, empathy, the workings of the universe into their approach. This should change the entire field of marketing, as well as, neuromarketing.

    And kudos to you Kozo for learning from your “Failure” and seeing in it a success. The ego can be difficult to overcome, but with the kind of openness and vigilance you employ, it shan’t be a master to your mind and mindfulness. 🙂 {{{{Hugs}}}} Niko

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yeah, Niko, Marianne put a whole new spin on all the marketing, networking, and positioning we had been taught the days before. It changed my whole perspective on business, money, and life.
      I love the idea of neuromarketing for neurotransformation. Let’s get this into practice asap.
      Thank you so much for your continued support and love. {{{hugs}}} kozo

  9. lauriesnotes says:

    One more thing – My husband doesn’t hear what I am saying.. whenever I try to say I am overwhelmed or needing a break..He says “I’m tired of hearing how I don’t do enough!” We have had this conversation days in a row..and I am shocked that it keeps coming up. It’s almost comical now..and I don’t continue with it. All I want is some compassion. That’s it. I don’t really need him to run around doing a lot more stuff.. I just need him to say “I know.. ” I have said those words. He is closer to getting it maybe. Of course I do this to him in my own way too.
    I’m excited about your work.
    What has helped lately is being a little detached from this kind of exchange. We are able to step back and not continue when we start down an old path. Even if we don’t exactly know what to do. We know not to do what we have been doing.
    One thing I have learned from all this inner exploring is being able to come at things from different you are doing.
    Ya, exciting stuff.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I was just writing a chapter this morning on overcoming these types of impasses. Your husband seems like the perfect candidate to ramp up compassion. I see him as waiting on the compassion launching pad. We just need to give him the right fuel and encouragement.
      The scenario you describe proves how over-rated communication skills are. You and your husband obviously communicate effectively if you can detach from the exchange, but it seems like you are spinning in circles without the compassion piece.
      I am so excited about working together. Part of me wants to reveal what I have planned, but I will just say it is exciting.
      {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  10. Eileen says:

    I think your honesty about mistakes helps more people than anything else you could do.
    We could all relate and relive some moments of our own with your sharing about the failure of cleverness. I wish we could humble ourselves before the universe does it for us! Alas, it doesn’t seem to work that way very often. But getting the point is the point however it happens. Thanks as always, Kozo for the wonderful gifts you give us. Hugs to you too. Eileen

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      “Getting the point is the point however it happens” Love that Eileen. Yes, sometimes I have to keep stepping on my toes, tripping over my own feet, and sticking my foot in my mouth until I finally get the point. Sounds like something is wrong with my feet! Thanks for the compassion. Your use of the word gift makes me feel so much better. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  11. 1EarthUnited says:

    Seems like a watershed moment for you, less schtick more substance. Kozo u’r definitely on the right track tho, keep up the great work and enjoy the process of sharing. U’r awesome! {{{hugs}}}

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Maddy. I’m finally dropping my schtick. I’m so grateful for friends like you that support me as I drop my facades. I don’t know if you saw the comment from Rara below, but it reminded me of your Hakuin post. You, Rara, Marianne are all everydaygurus. I’m so blessed to be in your presence. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  12. rarasaur says:

    I’m excited to hear all the details of your new direction! 🙂 As far as the “failure” of a comment, as the story goes… “we’ll see”. At the very least, she won’t be forgetting you any time soon. 😀

    • rarasaur says:

      I’m having an epic dejavu moment here, Kozo. Have I already sent you the “we’ll see” story before? I just pasted it in, and it looked so eerily familiar.

      Just in case it’s my mind playing tricks, here’s an internet version of the we’ll-see-story in case you hadn’t heard it before.

      An old farmer worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

      “We’ll see,” the farmer replied.

      The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

      “We’ll see,” replied the old man.

      The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “We’ll see,” answered the farmer.

      The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “We’ll see” said the farmer.

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        Love this, Rara. First read this story in Zen Shorts by Jon Muth. Have you read this book? I bet you have. If not, read it to Dave. You guys will have a blast. Then Maddy from 1EarthUnited posted the story as a Hakuin tale.
        Hakuin says, “Is that so?”
        Speaking of children’s books, I am re-reading Le Petit Prince for “research.” I totally forgot about the fox. The Little Prince is going to frame my section on compassion.
        I take it that you got my email about “stopping the presses.” Thanks for your patience and understanding. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  13. Alison says:

    I love your post and I love rara’s “we’ll see” story. You are on the right track. How can you not be when it is something you are so passionate about, and of course the Mystery is giving you all the lessons/tools you need and you are paying attention and soaking it up. Bravo!
    One sentence really stuck out for me, and again it’s about language – “helping women make their men more compassionate”. Well you can’t make anyone do anything and the implied approach is bound to fail. How about helping women to open up to their own compassion and by example show their men, and also helping them create a safe space for their man to be vulnerable, etc. I’m sure you know what I mean, and I’m sure it’s what you intend anyway.
    Much love and encouragement from me Kozo

  14. As much as I think she gave you excellent advice, as soon as I watched her video I couldn’t help but think of Donnie Darko. Have you ever seen that movie?

    Well, if you haven’t…there’s a part in there where someone mentions the same line of Love and Fear and everything being lumped into those two categories. The main character (Donnie) flips out and gets deeply offended because he strongly disagrees. He goes onto explain that there is a whole range of human emotions and everything cannot simply be thrown into those two categories.

    I guess what I’m trying to get at is, everyone’s opinions are different. While your advice may be helpful to some, another group may not be able to stomach it. The moral of the story is, we simply cannot please everyone.

    Stay true to yourself and do what YOU know in your heart feels right. Don’t let anyone sway you unless you feel absolutely drawn to. & Even then, sometimes taking that advice can cause us to fail. No decision is without some flaw.

    Whatever the outcome, Kozo – I think you are doing great things. My opinion may not count for much, but I say this from a place of caring. I consider you a dear friend and do not want you to feel down on yourself because of these two incidents. There is (obviously) so much more I want to say but I don’t want to cloud up your comments thread with my own vast human emotion. 😛
    Be you, don’t compromise. We are all unfinished works. 😉

    • Professions for PEACE says:

      Wow… Daydreams! What an awesome comment, and I join hands with you in saluting Kozo to ‘stay true to yourself and do what you know in your heart feels right!’ A message that may offend one group could be right on target for another group. Everyone is different. xo

  15. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Well done for putting your ego aside and finding the lesson beneath the chiding! Those were some great quotes, I’ll try to keep them in mind 🙂

    And yeah, your new approach to how you market your message sounds great. The men don’t want to hear about it from some guy, but if the compassion is filtered through someone they already love (their partner) then you might have a much better chance of seeing that change! And the women seem to be receptive to the idea already 🙂

    Go you!

    Hugs 🙂


  16. Professions for PEACE says:

    Kozo your honesty always makes my heart swell with.. how to describe it… well, love and pride for you and your journey. Your honesty is so welcome, and so important for all of us to witness because you are role-modelling how it’s done. How to be humble. How we all make mistakes. How we all occasionally try to be funny or witty and end up on our rumps. I cannot thank you enough for welcoming us into the nuances of your very wise journey, dear heart. You are a very important and loving being in the world and I am uplifted and inspired every time I come here. Biggest happy loving sister-hugs to a kindred traveller. You are rockin’ it! xo Gina

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Gina. Love the sister-hugs. Sometimes rockin’ it feels like a kick in the guts, but it helps keep the ego in check. I was just reading Pema Chodren today and she advises to “refrain from outrageous conduct.” Wish I would have read this before asking Marianne the question. haha.
      {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  17. KM Huber says:

    Ah, thanks, once more, for your honesty, my friend. I spent most of my life being clever–I was one of the best–yet when I finally met myself, I felt nothing for clever is hollow. I have come to believe that our purpose unfolds moment by moment, and the more aware we are, the more we will see. Awareness allows us to try on experiences for what they are and then we release them for what is next. I am so glad to be walking with you. As always, a thought-provoking post.

  18. Geo Sans says:

    from my life
    I’ve felt
    we can never control
    change others
    we can only offer information
    our presence
    and love
    change only comes
    from their choice

  19. djmatticus says:

    Hey Kozo,
    I was chatting with Rara yesterday and she mentioned that you were looking for some guest posts for later this month. Are you still looking? I’d be happy to put something together for you, just send me an email ( with a theme (she said there was a general topic you wanted all the guest posts to cover in their own way) and any guidelines (length, style, etc…).

  20. Amy says:


    I was at the event with you. I met you the day before in one of the activities and my reaction to your goal was the same as you described above for most women. As a woman, I appreciate what you’re trying to do with helping men become aware of how they come across to their significant other.

    To be honest, I was very disappointed in Marianne when she embarrassed you in front of everyone. I realize that was her first time hearing from you and I also realize that you chose the wrong words in that moment. I think she could have handled it more gently and in a more encouraging way. Your intent was not to insult her teachings.

    Anyway, I hope that you continue to help the men. I hope you figure out a way to reach them. I have a guy friend that really helps me with my husband issues because he provides me with “the male translation”. He has helped me several times by allowing me to see my husband’s point of view.

    Stay strong and trust your instincts. You’ll figure it out.


    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Amy. At first, I felt Marianne was a bit harsh, but those were the words I needed to hear. I am revitalized with my purpose. I am also changing how I approach the problem.
      I hope we can stay in touch and work together sometime. Feel free to email me anytime at {{{hugs}}} Kozo

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