Guest Post: RARASAUR!!!!!!

Got a letter from Rara today asking me to publish this post because Grayson has had trouble getting internet access. Feel free to re-blog or send to anyone who knows Rara and her plight.

I skyped with a dinosaur!

How I’ve missed this icon on the blogosphere

The Space Between

There’s a cold science to the warm observance of art. Fancy galleries and museums all over the world apply careful calculations to the placement of viewing-benches and lights. It is a detailed symphony of diagonals and distance, measured to accompany the artistry and elevate the experience of beauty. At a certain angle, from a certain number of steps away, even your favorite masterpiece could look unappealing, or downright ugly, or worse–simply quiet. Can you even fathom the travesty of such a fate? To have something silenced by the space between when it could have spoken to you and shared its ageless secrets with the very insides of your soul? Such is the power of distance.

explodingdog.com

explodingdog.com

Anything can look gross from up close, but if you look even closer, most things become wondrous once again. It is an issue of science and the computations required to discover the perfect perspective.

For someone like me, life is as much about the observations as it is about the experiences. (It’s not that I don’t have a little adventurer in my heart–it’s that I have a giant scientist sitting on top of her.) I am constantly calibrating my perspective–growing and shrinking the space between myself and my observations with a dexterity evolved from life-long practice. The decision to look closer or step farther is a crafted science I learned from my father, but the act of doing so is an art I picked up from my mom. I continue to study the science, and act the art into existence. The goal is not to change reality, hide from truth, or eradicate the acknowledgement of all the world’s bad–but to shift a paradigm and to remember that everything under the sun has a place and purpose.

Rara quote

How it affects us on the outside is often unavoidable, but we can control how it speaks to our insides. We can translate it–changing what is whispered into a language that creates our best selves, and a landscape of our best possibility. Language is our legacy, after all–and, much like perspective, is a melody of science and art.

Today, the sun set over me. Her rays warmed the air and her shimmering power stilled the clouds. Fragments of orange and silky webs of red-purple shot around in all directions, kissing the ground with pink light. The sun herself glorified in the show–radiating inward as much as outward–reveling in her great celestial roundness and yawning into her cosmic nap.

Below her, on the dusty plateau around me, a baby jackrabbit chased a pale green apple, paying no mind to the schedules of stars. He tried to capture the fruit, but its size was too great for such small eager hands and it would simply roll away. The little rabbit didn’t seem to mind the chase–the treasured green prize was more than worth a weary hunt. A hundred feet above his tall ears and grand adventures, a bird flew in circles, stretching her wings and enjoying this brief moment of time where her wingspan was larger than the sun. She sang loudly, and her whistled song was about her freedom from everyone and her ownership of all the world. No one contested her tune or argued her claim, because no one could. Hers is a freedom that lives in her heart and an ownership of possibility that lives in her mind–and she is the only one who has power or providence there, in her insides, where the truth of her lives.

I mimicked her whistle and she approved–acknowledging my heart’s freedom with a proud slant of her head. I nodded back and caught another glimpse of the little rabbit. He was focused on apples and even less interested in whistled freedoms than in the mapping patterns of magnificent stars. I let myself absorb the secrets of the Sleeper, the Hunter, and the Singer. It required no shift of diagonal or distance because beauty such as theirs needs no elevation. Anyone who looks or listens will experience full measure of their truths–the sun’s faith in the sanctity of cycles, the rabbit’s dedication to the purity of the present moment, and the bird’s reminder that every soul is as free as it believes itself to be. I filled my mind with their wisdoms and carried the inspiration with me–down the pathway, past the guards, through the gates, and into my prison cell…

where I continued to whistle the song of my freedom.

Such is the power of perspective and beauty.

Love,

Rara

animation of sun

Peace Challenge: Taking Action

B4Peace

 

Many of you have been Blogging for Peace with me for over a year and a half now. I have no doubts that our posts have had an effect on countless individuals in ways we may know or never know. I thank you for all you have done for peace.

Now, I’m going to ask you to take a step further. I am inviting you to take action.

Boys with T-shirt

As some of you may know, I’m launching a new website called RaisingCompassionateBoys.com. This is my effort to bring peace back to our schools where violence, bullying, and viral humiliations have run rampant.

So here is my challenge:

  1. Watch the videos on RaisingCompassionateBoys.com about how to cultivate compassion in boys and ourselves.
  2. Find a boy or group of boys to raise, mentor, befriend, coach, or teach. Some of you may have sons. Others might be youth leaders, coaches, counselors, aunts and uncles, neighbors, or teachers who interact with boys on a regular basis.
  3. Practice cultivating compassion in this boy or these boys on a daily basis.
  4. Role Model compassion for any boys in your presence.

I have no doubts that if a critical mass of adults take on this challenge of raising compassionate boys, we can change not only our schools, but also our society, the world, and the future.

Click here to receive the free videos on raising compassionate boys.

I hope you and your friends and followers will join me on this challenge in whatever form you deem feasible.

With Gratitude,

Kozo Hattori

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.

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

Monthly Peace Challenge: Empathy Blogging

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To help inspire the Bloggers for Peace (B4Peace), we will have a Monthly Peace Challenge. To participate, tag your post with B4Peace and make sure you copy your URL to the Linkz collection. Anyone who completes all twelve Monthly Peace Challenges in 2014 will receive a Free B4Peace T-shirt. Yes, I’ve decided to offer the second annual Bloggers for Peace T-shirt as a prize. I envision a day when we will all gather for a Bloggers for Peace Conference donning our various Bloggers for Peace T-shirts.

Sorry this challenge is a bit late; I’ve been having my challenges finding funds to pay off overdue taxes.

For this month’s challenge, I would like to work on empathy. Empathy is being able to step into the shoes of another and see things from their point of view. I challenge you to empathize with other bloggers this month.

  • Write a post in the style of another blogger. What idiosyncrasies do they have that you can emulate? Make sure you link your post to theirs.  “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
  • Publish a post that is in a completely different genre than you usually post. If you usually post prose, then try poetry, art, photography, video.
  • Post something that is includes quotations from another blogger. Maybe you can expand upon the thoughts of another blogger. Or you can start a conversation.
  • Write a post in the voice of your favorite peacemaker. What if you embodied MLK or Gandhi on your blog? Imagine writing a post in the voice of Bob Marley. What would Mother Teresa blog about?
  • Write a post about empathy. When was the last time you really empathized with someone? How has empathy brought peace into your life.

Don’t forget to link to at least one other B4Peace post and add your post to the Linkz collection. Here is how:

  • Copy your URL to the Linkz collection. You’ll find the link below. It’s the drunk blue frog smiling for peace. Click on it and follow directions.
  • Go visit this site to read and comment on other posts related to this Monthly Peace Challenge.

Let It Go Driver

I got an email from an old surfer friend who watched the video about driving I posted on the homepage of PeaceInRelationships.com. He said that his conversion from an offensive driver to a “let it go” driver saved him unnecessary conflict and anger.

My friend’s comment got me thinking. What if we could be not just “let it go” drivers, but “let it go” humans? What if we could “let go” of all our grudges, resentments, hurts, and offenses?

This reminded me of what Deepak Chopra claims turned his life around. Chopra has said that refusing to be offended brought a peace in his life that he had never felt before. Think about the phrase, “I take offense to that.” Read in one way, this means that you are going on the offense. You are becoming an attacker. Where is the peace in this?

Of course, whenever I think I discovered a new secret in life, I realize that thousands of others knew this years ago.

“Whatever will be, will be”~Rumi

How do you remind yourself to “let go”? Please share.

T-Shirt Love

The Bloggers for Peace T-shirts are in!

Boys with T-shirt

I will start sending them out to all the bloggers who completed all 12 Peace Challenges in 2013 as soon as the lines at the post office calm down from Tax Day.

For those of you who didn’t do all the Peace Challenges last year, but still want a t-shirt, Rarasaur and Goldfish set up a RedBubble site where you can buy one! http://www.redbubble.com/people/b4peace

Peace Cat T-shirt at RedBubbleSo thankful for everyone who has made B4Peace a reality. {{{Hugs}}}} Kozo

Monthly Peace Challenge: (Wo)man in the Mirror

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To help inspire the Bloggers for Peace (B4Peace), we will have a Monthly Peace Challenge. To participate, tag your post with B4Peace and make sure you copy your URL to the Linkz collection. Anyone who completes all twelve Monthly Peace Challenges in 2014 will receive a Free B4Peace T-shirt. Yes, I’ve decided to offer the second annual Bloggers for Peace T-shirt as a prize. I envision a day when we will all gather for a Bloggers for Peace Conference donning our various Bloggers for Peace T-shirts.

As cheesy as it sounds, one of my favorite songs is Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” For this month’s challenge, I want to combine this idea of changing ourselves to change the world with the Power of Intention. I challenge you to post a portrait of your ideal self–something that can remind you of the peaceful being you were born to be. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Post a photo, piece of art, video, song, poem, or story that expresses your true self. It doesn’t have to be on, by, or about you. It could be something like a scene from Gandhi that inspires you to be more peaceful and loving.
  • At Interchange Counseling Institute this weekend, we wrote “self-defining declarations” that consisted of declarative statements that were either true or optimistic (what we wished to be). This statement serves to define and remind us of who we truly want to be. I’ve posted mine below. Feel free to create your own.
  • Post a photo, story, or description of you when you were your best. This might be when you felt the most love and peace in your life, when you acted in a way that made you connect with others, when you felt awe or a connection with nature, God, the Universe, or humanity.
  • Post a photo, drawing, description of who you wish to become. This might be a future self or a role model. Make sure you give us the characteristics that you are trying to emulate.
  • Post anything that expresses you in your grandest form.

Don’t forget to link to at least one other B4Peace post and add your post to the Linkz collection. Here is how:

  • Copy your URL to the Linkz collection. You’ll find the link below. It’s the drunk blue frog smiling for peace. Click on it and follow directions.
  • Go visit this site to read and comment on other posts related to this Monthly Peace Challenge.

 

Kozo Hattori Self-Defining Statement:

Whenever possible I error on the side of love, especially when “disciplining” children.

I treat myself and others kindly even when we make mistakes.

I continue to embody, tend to, and live from the unconditional love, universal consciousness, and godliness that is my true nature.

I release all clinging to “I, Me, and Mine” that appears in the needs to be athletic, attractive, noticed, wanted, and special.

I continue to heal, so that I can heal others.

I follow my heart/direction in the present moment releasing all worries about outcomes, financial security, and what others will think.

I see God, Jesus, and Buddha in the eyes of everyone I meet and treat them accordingly.

I understand that everything that happens in my life is overflowing with the opportunity to awaken if I can embrace the moment without aversion or desire.

I reach out and touch others and myself as much as possible in the form of hugs, tenderness, and presence.

I act, serve, and love like the enlightened being that I was born to be.

 

T-SHIRTS:

The 2013 Bloggers for Peace T-shirts are being printed and due to arrive any day now. If you live in the USA, I will mail shirt to you. If you live overseas, I will contact you about shipping charges. You are going to love these shirts–the woman who took the order said, “Everyone is going to want one of these,” and she didn’t even know what Bloggers for Peace was. 🙂