Peace Challenge: Getting Paid for Posting Peace

B4Peace

Stop School Violence, Viral Humiliations, and Bullying by Raising Compassionate Boys

In response to all the school shootings, sexual assaults, viral humiliations, and bullying, I’m launching an audio series called “Raising Compassionate Boys.” I’d like to do whatever I can to change the culture of violence, rape, and cruelty that boys are indoctrinated in.

I wanted to ask you if you would be a partner in this launch. All that means is that during the week of the launch, you will publish one post on boys, parenting, children, love, compassion, bullying, assault, shame, gender, masculinity, etc with a link to RaisingCompassionateBoys.com

 Fox Sitting

You can also post a review, testimonial, or interview, because…

If you become a partner, I will give you the audio series for free before it is released. This audio series includes a special audio track just for men–it is a track by a man for men about why compassion is important for men and boys. The audio series costs $29.95, so you will be getting paid for posting for peace. Thank you for all your posts and support.
If you are interested, please email me at everydaygurus@gmail.com

A Key to Happiness at Great America

Great America

Still on summer blogging break, but I had a thought that I wanted to get down. The boys and I were at Great America’s Boomerang Bay yesterday.

I forgot to bring a book, so while the boys were playing in the kiddie pool, I people watched. I was trying to empathize with strangers by mimicking their body language and face expressions in my mind. What I noticed is that a majority of people at this theme park were not happy!

Fox smiling with green tongueOf course the kids were happy, but many of the parents and mature adults looked stressed, irritated, or burdened. Truth be told, it was near 100 degrees outside and all the pool chairs in the shade were taken, but we were in California on a beautiful summer day.

So I tried to zero in on people with smiles on their faces. I categorized the happy people into four main groups—singers, dancers, talkers, and sympathetic joyers. Everyone singing and dancing were having a great time. Those who were talking to others also seemed to be enjoying themselves. The happiest people in the park, however, were the ones who were soaking in the joy of others, usually their children.

In Buddhism, we have the four divine emotions—metta (lovingkindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity). I focus a lot on metta, karuna, and upekkah in my daily meditation practice, but I often forget about mudita.

This day at the park reminded me of a few things. First, we have the choice at every moment to practice a divine emotion. Second, there is always opportunities to find happiness through sympathetic joy, especially around children.

From that moment on, I sucked in the joy of all the children playing in the water like a vampire in a blood bank. Actually, the legend of a vampire fits here. Vampires were supposed to be able to live forever by sucking on the blood of youth. I estimate that I’ve increased my lifespan by practicing sympathetic joy with my sons. Even if I don’t live longer, I will live deeper and happier.

I wanted to publish this post to remind me to choose sympathetic joy as much as possible. I hope your days are filled with moments of joy, both your own joy and the joy of others.

Blogging Break

Jett and Fox

The boys are out of school, so we are doing something that many kids don’t get to do nowadays–playing. For the first three weeks of summer, we are going to swim, bike, watch movies, and eat Popsicles, so I won’t be blogging too much.

In addition, after the shootings in Isla Vista, SPU, and Vegas, I’ve also dedicated a large part of my life to spreading compassion for boys. I’m completing an audio series called Raising Compassionate Boys. I believe that compassion is the missing piece that no one is talking about. Everyone is talking about gun control, but we forget that Elliot Rodger killed half of his victims with a knife. If we instill compassion in our boys, there would be less shootings, rapes, bullying, viral humiliation, suicide, and suffering.

I’m also starting a Compassion for Men’s Group. We meet every second Monday in Cupertino, CA. If anyone is interested, email me at everydaygurus@gmail.com

Lastly, I’ve been writing for The Good Men Project. It is a great website that is redefining what it means to be a man in the 21st century. Here are a few of the articles I’ve written lately:

Hope everyone has a peaceful and joyful summer. See you after the July 4th weekend. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

 

Everyday Thanksgiving: March 2014

This is my monthly download of daily gratitude lists. I realized something about gratitude lately that might be obvious to everyone else: gratitude keeps you in the present moment. When you are grateful, you are loving what is. You are not wishing for something in the future or yearning for something in the past.

March 2014

Thank you for enlightenment moment by moment; being cradled like a baby at age 48; repairing mistakes; homemade chicken soup that lasts all week; being able to serve those in need.

IMG_1223Thank you for riding bikes to school; 4 year old Fox still needing to nap in my arms; checking the wind everyday in hopes of flying a kite with Jett; long walks in the woods with Oliver; the emergency help that I was able to provide to Dusty.

Thank you for realizing that we are all enlightened; catching myself un-enlightening myself; having my flyer distributed to an entire school digitally; Rarasaur’s love and direction; the B4Peace Redbubble page.

Thank you for Fox making a rocket out of a cardboard box; Jett wanting to read for 20 minutes a day; Fox sing/narrating whatever he does–“I’m looking for a little ball”; Pediatricians who remember your children; seeing the simplicity of enlightenment.

Thank you for getting authentic with an old colleague; the montessori school that supported my free talk; when my young sons talk to each other–“Hey Jett, it’s daytime”; a week without any television; Bastille’s song “Pompeii.”

Thank you for the cacophony of 4 year olds singing Happy Birthday; flying kites on a windless day; friends surprising us with a free dinner; vaseline mohawks; slow motion basketball with fathers.

Thank you for striking up meaningful conversations with strangers; gymnastic obstacle courses; early bedtimes; consistent routines; ripe papaya from Mexico.

Thank you for The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar; reading 10 books at a time; Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn; hugs for no reason; Guerrilla Counseling.

Thank you for plastic Groucho Marx glasses; TPumps Boba Tea; reading in the park; the clearance, open box HD camcorder I got for 90$; hearing from my dear friend, Lawson.

Thank you for allergy medicine for my sons; Ms Tsai, Jett’s compassionate 1st grade teacher; parents willing to learn; elementary school musicals; a conversation with Adyashanti.

Thank you for the generosity of Rarasaur and Gold Fish; Peace Cat t-shirts; being able to wear whatever I want; re-incorporating my 11 year old self; Gary Hein’s counseling.

Thank you for my sons’ love of Star Wars; Fox playing with the big boys; Pharrell’s song “Happy”; feeling the vitality of youth as a 48 year old; bike helmets for kids.kids on the mat

Thank you for Alfie Kohn’s love of children; research on the detrimental effects of grades; research on the ineffectiveness of homework; unconditional parenting; telling my boys I love them for no reason.

Thank you for every compassionate parent who showed up to the Raising Compassionate Boys talk; 45 minutes of Q&A; all the supportive texts and emails I got after the talk; feeling like I’m doing what I was born to do; Angela for watching the kids.

Thank you for Adyashanti’s myth analysis; realizing the connection between the body and awakening; the new Muppet’s movie; Tina Fey’s subtle comedy; my son sharing his boba tea with me.

Thank you for old fathers beating high school kids in pick up bball; a whole day in the park; rainbow loom; ice chests on a hot day; udon noodles.

Thank you for all the people who want me to counsel them; releasing old body/psychological constrictions; letting the body and the mind settle; Jett meditating for 12 minutes today; my wife’s humor.

Thank you for old cotton sweats that feel like home; all the email subscribers to my Parents4Compassion Newsletter; deepening friendships with strangers; the LeSportsac our generous friend bought for us; teriyaki salmon.

Thank you for clean public bathrooms; TedX talks; everyone on the path to awakening; kleenex after your son sneezes; my wife cooking dinner last night.

Thank you for the “Tell me who you are” exercise I did with Jolana; the invisible people who clean up the streets; an enlightening lunch with Michael; dancing without gender restrictions; liberation from the opinions of others.

Raising Compassionate Boys talkThank you for Jett passing his red blet test; Fox getting to do Kung Fu with Jett; Jett deepening into meditation; all the conversations about parenting I’m having after the Raising Compassionate Boys talk; Dan Siegal agreeing to an interview; the compassion consortium this Friday.

Thank you for chia seeds; teriyaki salmon; ice cream mochi; STRAWBERRIES IN SEASON; farmer’s markets on a sunny day.

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

 

Raising Compassionate Boys Free Talk

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”~Dalai Lama

I’m giving a free talk on raising compassionate boys at the Cupertino Community Hall (10350 Torre Ave, Cupertino) on March 19th from 6:30-8 PM. If anyone is in the area, please feel free to drop by. If you know anyone in the area, send them an invite from the Facebook page.

young boy meditating

This talk will discuss:

  • What is compassion and why it is one of the most important attributes for boys in the 21st Century
  • What modern science is uncovering about the importance of compassion for our health, happiness, and well-being
  • How we can cultivate compassion in our children
  • What daily practices you can start today that will increase the emotional intelligence of your children

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

What is Really True?

This weekend at Interchange Counseling Institute, we were asked to bring in an unanswerable question–questions that seem to ask themselves over and over throughout our lives, that never seem to get a satisfactory answer.

“What do you never seem to be able to get (e.g. love, rest, a sense of purpose), though you put considerable energy into trying to get it? What always seems missing? What questions about how to be a person have caused you frustration over a long part of your life? What about yourself can you just not figure out? What challenges seem to pop up in every relationship you’re in, or across social interactions? What problems in a specific relationship won’t go away no matter how much you work on them?”–from Interchange Counseling Website.

We then wrote these questions on a piece of paper that we hung from our necks. Most people had questions like “Am I enough?”; “Am I loved?”; “Who am I?”; “How can I trust others?” “Do I exist?”

Maybe it was because I had done some deep re-parenting work at the last Interchange weekend, but my questions were more spiritual: “What does sex have to do with higher consciousness?” “What is consciousness?” In a small group, I workshopped my questions down to “What is really true?”

what is true sign

my tattered and tear-stained sign

After all 140 of us had our questions around our necks, we walked around the huge room and stood in front of each other silently, randomly. Our leader, Steve Bearman, informed us that our questions often pointed to interrupted development during our childhood. So we were to imagine each other as children and try to extend the love and resources others needed to heal.

For some reason, everyone who I stood in front of started crying. One woman who wore a sign that said, “Can I be trusted?” began to weep. I imagined her as a little girl wanting to be loved. “Oh, my sweet child, you can be trusted because I have nothing but love for you,” I thought. I opened my arms and hugged her softly as she sobbed.

Most of these people were complete strangers. I thought that they could psychically feel my thoughts and feelings that I had for them. It wasn’t until the exercise ended and my sweatshirt was full of watermarks from tears and runny noses that I realized what might have just happened.

When people had a question that had to do with being loved, being worthy, being enough, being deserving, they looked at my question, “What is really true?” and they felt deep inside themselves that they were loved, worthy, enough, and deserving.

When we really delve into what is true, we see and feel love.

So I ask you, my dear reader, what is your unanswerable question and what is really true?

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

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.

The “I Need Your Love” Myth

The boys have the week off, so we decided to go to my parent’s cabin in Tahoe. After inviting 3 other families to join us and confirming the dates with my mom, I almost screamed when I found out a few days before departing that my mom had given the cabin away to some friends from Hawaii.

Reading the remorseless email from my mom, I felt the same dismay I experienced as a child when she stood with her arms crossed while my step-father beat me. Luckily, I had just returned from a weekend at Interchange Counseling Institute devoted to trauma. During the weekend, I had released any need for love from my parents.

My Dad before going MIA

My Dad before going MIA

Working through my childhood traumas, I realized that I did not need the love and approval of not only my mom and step-father, but also my deceased father. In one exercise in somatic healing, I role played with Meg, an intuitive and powerful woman counselor. She played my father who was leaving for his second tour of duty in Vietnam. I gripped her legs with all my strength begging my father not to abandon me.

“Don’t leave me, Dad. He’s going to beat me,” I pleaded desperately.

Meg wedged her free leg on my shoulder and tried to wiggle loose.

I tackled her and screamed with anger, “Daddy, why are you abandoning me?”

The three year old me could not have understood my father’s obsession to be the first Asian American General in the US Army. My child-like mind hadn’t experienced the kind of trauma that had blindsided my father when as an American citizen, he was imprisoned in the Internment Camps during World War II.

Looking back, I understand why my father felt the need to die for this country. In a way, he sacrificed himself for me and my brothers, so that we might some day be completely accepted as Americans.

“I love you, son,” Meg whispered as she stopped struggling to escape and chose to embrace me.

After the 30 minutes of struggling, tackling, crying, and loving with Meg, I felt lighter. A space opened up for me to love my father in a way I hadn’t since I was three. Experiencing these insights in both mind and body set me free from reacting to old distress patterns.

My mother’s decision to allow my step-father to physically abuse my older brother and I might have been born from similar trauma. Her decision to withdrawal emotionally from her sons might have been a self-preservation strategy born the day my father went missing in action in Vietnam.

I choose to love my mother, father, and step-father regardless of the decisions they have made in the past. I choose to love my country regardless of the decisions it made in the past. True freedom lies in loving the present moment without resentment from past events.

It occurred to me that being “born again” might refer to becoming one’s own father and mother–from releasing the people who happened to bore us from the socially constructed illusions of what makes a good parent. I love my parents, but I no longer need their love or approval. As cliche as it sounds, I am my own man.