“How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

Fox wanted to play golf today, so we went to the chipping green of a local golf course. There was only one other golfer on the chipping green who seemed upset that we were disturbing his practice. He mumbled somethings under his breath when Fox screamed, “I hit it in the hole, Daddy!”

Fox Golfing

Fox minding his own business

Finally, he said in a stern voice, “Go back to China.”

Normally, this would have set me off because:

  • I’m 4th generation Japanese American, so even if I went “back to China,” I wouldn’t know anyone or how to speak the language.
  • My father died for this country on his second tour of duty in Vietnam.
  • My maternal grandfather worked his whole life for the US Postal Service in Hawaii even though he was an engineer because his supervisor threatened to have him and his family sent back to Japan if he ever left the Post Office.

But this time, I barely lifted an eyebrow. I kept focusing on Fox’s joy and happiness.

“I can’t stand these…”

I’m not sure if this comment was at our ethnicity or our age because I had stopped paying attention.

More than anything, I felt compassion for this angry individual. I thought about all the ways, he was making his life hell:

  • He was turning a beautiful day at the golf course into a battleground.
  • He had forgotten the sympathetic joy of watching young children play.
  • He hadn’t learned to appreciate the gift of cultural diversity in America–the Pho restaurants, acupuncture clinics, tai chi in the park, and cricket in the schoolyards.

I noticed two things as he huffed off the course:

  • I felt no animosity or activation in my sympathetic nervous system. My shoulders were relaxed and my mind was at peace. Even now as I write this, I am very calm and objective.
  • 4 year old Fox had no idea what had just happened. He was too concerned with chasing around the white balls that were “so awesome.” He was simply minding his own business.

I really feel that my meditation practice, Interchange Counseling, Bloggers for Peace, and authentic blogging towards self actualization are having a profound effect on my psyche and my spirit.

Later in the day, I teared up singing the chorus to Bastille’s song “Pompeii”:

But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all?

And if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?

How am  I gonna be an optimist about this?

Optimism in the face of certain destruction. That is the kind of redemptive love that I want to embody. I want to take all the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” so that no one else has to suffer. I want to embrace the racist, sexist bigots and tell them that they are loved.

Call me a dreamer, but I know I’m not the only one.

Thank you for reading, smiling, and sharing.

Do you still tear up singing pop songs? Which ones? Please share.

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35 comments on ““How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

  1. Jami says:

    Bless you. Thank you for this post.

  2. rarasaur says:

    This is wonderful! (Fox is so adorable. I love the picture… it shows his focus on the moment. 🙂 )

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Rara. I’ve learned a lot from you and your family on how to treat people. I also love the photo, but i love all photos of Fox and Jett. 🙂 {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  3. electronicbaglady says:

    You are amazing, you know!
    Reading this made me wonder about how people display their prejudices. I have had very similar experiences in public when out with little children but based on my being fat. It seems like it is socially unacceptable to hate children so people displace their rage into something they are “allowed” to be prejudiced about. Not sure what that says about us as a society but…
    [[[Hugs]]]

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Great observation, EBL. Funny how people experience rage in relation to children. Also, interesting how we are “allowed” to be prejudice about anything. So much beauty and love out there; it is a shame people spend their time in rage and prejudice. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  4. You have truly stepped up to a higher level of consciousness, my dear friend. I only aspire to reach this level myself someday. You’ve helped steer the path for me, but I’m still at the bumpy part of the road.

    Racism like this still makes me incredibly angry. Although, I have to admit, reading this & soaking in your positivity towards this man’s animosity sends me some powerful & forgiving thoughts.
    Maybe I’m only mad because I simply cannot understand racism or maybe part of me doesn’t want to. It too, though seems to be born from anger & misunderstanding – so maybe I’m part of that same bad cycle. I’m only feeding the fire by getting angry myself.

    As you can see, you’ve definitely got my wheels turning. (In the most positive way, of course.) Maybe I’m one step closer to accepting people like this & feeling compassion for them myself. Someday, maybe…I just wish hate like that would all disappear.
    Call me a dreamer too, friend. 😉
    {♥}
    & For the record, there are a few pop songs that make me tear up, but you’ll have to dig through my Card Castle for that. 😛

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Love the honesty and introspection here, J. I don’t understand racism either, but we don’t have to understand to love unconditionally. I’m sure Jesus didn’t understand his persecutors on the cross, but he still forgave them. All I can say is that I feel so much better when I don’t react, when I stay in love. A friend also pointed out to me that I also set a great example for my son. {{{hugs}} kozo

  5. how sad for this man. as a native american i have been called a savage by a christian woman when i answered her question honestly. she of course wanted to know if i had accepted jesus. i am careful not to use the truth as a weapon, however, there seemed no reason not to be truthful here. some would have been offended by her response. i felt sad for her and later had a bit of a laugh about it.

    anger as you know will not help in a situation such as this. there in lies the problem though, what will help? i commend you for doing the best thing for you and your darling son. this man would have felt good if he had gotten the opportunity to ruin not just your day but your son’s. you denied him that pay off. i am proud to say i know you and that you are not just a blogger for peace, you are a man who walks the walk.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Sandra. I find it odd that one of the key teachings of Jesus was inclusion and unconditional love, yet some use his name to differentiate. I’m doing my best to connect rather than judge. It is moment by moment challenge, but I am already seeing peace in my life and heart. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  6. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I am glad Fox had such an awesome day. That picture is great, you can see how much joy he has right there!

    That person likely kept running their mouth because you didn’t respond. Sad for him, that he carries around such hate and ignorance. How great that you are using this ugly moment to find a positive and be true to yourself.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Great point, S. Finding the beauty in the darkness, the diamond in the rough, the silver lining seems like an essential part of happiness and well-being. Yes, Fox had a great day. Then again, everyday is “awesome” for Fox. 🙂 {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  7. KM Huber says:

    “Optimism in the face of certain destruction” says it all for me, and in those moments that compassion flows out me rather than anger, no one suffers and everyone gains. As Thich Naht Hanh says, “the essence of the good, the beautiful, and the true” is not only in each one of us but always accessible. That and such lovely posts as this one give me great hope. Well done, my friend. Karen

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Funny you mention Thich Nhat Hanh, Karen, because I was just thinking about his poem “No mud/no lotus.” This muddy situation really did bear peaceful fruit. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  8. karen says:

    You are my hero! I strive to be at your level of consciousness. Your actions are so important for your son. Thank you for sharing this experience because it helps me reflect on how I channel my feelings of anger when someone is not so nice. I need to feel compassion and love toward them first. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks,Karen. One of my biggest motivations to become a compassionate man is to set an example for my sons. What I am finding is that compassion makes me peaceful and happy. Such a nice surprise. {{{hugs}}}Kozo

  9. ucworcester says:

    Beautiful! Focus on goodness, embracing love in it’s present form, everything else is a distraction and a waste of our precious time in this world.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      So true, ucw. Life is too short to concern ourselves with the silly stuff. What was most important was that I got to spend a nice peaceful morning with my son. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  10. diannegray says:

    I absolutely love that song, Kozo. As for the ignorant man – it is certainly his loss as he’s missed out on meeting two wonderful human beings. What he said was cruel and unjust and you’re reaction was amazing. I love the way you not only talk the talk you also walk the walk. Sending you mega {{{hugs}}} today 😀

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I had a feeling that that song would resonate with you, Dianne. It has an Aussie feel–kind of like Hoodoo Gurus “Leilani.” Thank you so much for the mega {{{hugs}}} I’ll pass them on to my sons. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  11. 1EarthUnited says:

    Hey congrats my friend, u’r enlightened to the degree of liberating u’r mind & spirit from karmic conditioning. Feels good to be free! Way to go setting a wonderful example for Fox, u’r an awesome dad, and Fox is the cutest little golfer! 😀

  12. Robert says:

    You’re an inspiration Kozo.

    >

  13. tw says:

    I’ve learnt that the best thing with individuals like this is to feel sorry that they are so unenlightened rather than angry that their ignorance attempts to attack us. Change takes time and I remain hopeful that in time these biases, prejudices and misconceived ideas will be a thing of the past, much like the enslavement of black Africans. It is painful while we endure but by enduring rather than reacting we shine a light for positive behaviours to prevail.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Wow, Tracy. “but by enduring rather than reacting we shine a light for positive behaviours to prevail.” Wish I would have read this earlier this morning before I reacted to something in the home. You are so full of wisdom and peace. Thank you show much for shining your light on this humble blog. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  14. We have to learn to do, as you did—live with callous people and not let them take our joy. Wonderful story and the best part…your little one never knew what happened, he was happy happy happy. I’m smiling BIG smiles, my friend.

  15. lumar1298 says:

    Glad you didn’t let the ignorance of one spoil your lovely day…. Much peace and love, Lor

  16. I am so impressed with your lack of reaction on the golf course. So impressed. You’ve come a very long way since I started reading your blog (maybe a couple of years ago now, don’t remember how long it’s been). It is both a pleasure and an honour to be on this journey with you Kozo.
    Love from me
    Alison xox
    PS there’s a generation of Australian and American women who potentially lost their fathers in WWI, their husbands in WWII and their sons in the Vietnam war. It was my mother’s generation, and although she lost none of them I’m sure there are some women who lost all three. An Australian woman, Judy Small I think her name is, wrote a song about it. It always makes me tear up. Just heartbreaking.

  17. Indira says:

    Wonderful post. Your kid is adorable.

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