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

The Compassion Interviews: Dr. Dan Siegel

Dr. Dan Siegel, professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine, has given 4 TedTalks, authored the NY Times best-seller Brainstorm, and pioneered the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology.

In this interview, we discuss:

  • How compassion and kindness are as important to the brain as the breath is to life
  • How parenting can lead us towards self-compassion and receptivity as opposed to reactivity
  • How being honest and present in whatever is happening is good for ourselves and the world
  • How we can break the vicious cycle of a lack of compassion in men.
  • How compassion can help us embrace the uncertainty of living in the moment
  • Where and why Dr. Siegel gives away for free awareness and compassion practices–www.drdansiegel.com

If you don’t already know who Dan Siegel is, I suggest checking out his website: drdansiegel.com

 

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.

“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.

Monthly Peace Challenge: Peace Child

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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 post is a bit late, but we had some daycare issues this month, which serendipitously gave me the idea for this month’s challenge. Let’s focus on children. How can we teach children to prioritize peace? How did you experience peace as a child? What in your upbringing made you a Blogger for Peace?

20140101-083049.jpgHere are a few suggestions:

  • Post a song, poem, photo, video, or story that will lead children towards peace. Remember the anti-littering campaign featuring the crying Native American? I swear that that commercial is the reason I never litter to this day. Can we create something as powerful for peace?
  • Tell a story about when you were a child and you found/experienced/learned peace. What are your first memories of peace? What images, music, events, people introduced you to peace?
  • Post a practice, activity, tip, or suggestion for parents to raise peaceful children. (You don’t have to be a parent to do this. The Dalai Lama, to my knowledge, has no children, yet he offers advice to parents everyday.)
  • Post photos, images, artwork, poems, songs, or stories by/of/for children that bring you peace.
  • Tell a story about how you would re-parent yourself to make your life more peaceful. What would you tell your 3 year old self to help her find peace in the face of the experiences that are ahead of her?
  • Describe the resources you would give a child to live a peaceful life or make the world a more peaceful place.

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.

 

2013 Bloggers for Peace T-shirt Update:

I have the final count and have rectified overseas mailing problems. Rarasaur and I are finalizing the Peace Cat image, so I hope to order the t-shirts this month and mail them the first week of April. This way, if I don’t get them out in time, I can say, “April Fools!” Sorry, for the delay. Thank you for your patience.

How to Win An Argument

“If you think you are truly enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents”~Ram Dass

I’ve found that my greatest teachers on the path to awakening are my closest family members. The other day  at a family gathering, I mentioned how I attended a seminar with Dr. Dan Siegel who mentioned a new study  that reveals how the college you choose for undergrad has no effect on your future success, happiness, or well-being.

“I don’t believe it,” said my cousin’s wife.

“Google and Facebook will not even think about hiring you if you don’t come from one of the top schools,” said another cousin.

I tried to counter with “you don’t have to work at Google or Facebook to be successful or happy,” but it fell on deaf ears. I found myself getting activated–my shoulders tensed, my heart-rate jumped.

After an antagonistic argument, I felt disconnected. I confessed my frustration to one of my cousins, who said, “every study has a different study that argues the exact opposite.”

I realized that if people aren’t ready to hear something, it doesn’t matter how much research, documentation, or authority you have, they won’t hear it. This reminded me of the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

My biggest realization was that I was egotistically trying to be the teacher to “students” who were not ready. I often make this mistake in blogging, writing, and everyday life. I try to “enlighten” other with my point of view. This might stem from some insecurity or need for attention, but what really matters is to become aware of this tendency and to stop.

I am dedicating myself to “be the change I wish to see in the world” and “preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” I want this blog to be about serving others, not telling them what to do or how to live. Please let me know if I ever start preaching to you in any manner or imposing my point of view as the Truth. You are all my family. You are all my gurus. I appreciate your wisdom and guidance.

{{{Hugs}}} Kozo

This post is for the Monthly Peace Challenge: We Are Family. Specifically, it answers the prompt: “Tell a story about a family event that included “necessary suffering” and healing/forgiveness.”

Check out these other brave posts for peace:

Bad Dreams–A Letter to My Mother

Letter to My Mom

A Letter to Me