Peace is Every Child

peacefox7-year-old Fox wanted a history book for his daily reading, so I let him loose in my bookshelves. First, he grabbed my Bible.

“Is this a history book?” he asked.

“Yeah, it’s a kind of history book,” I replied.

“Can I have it?” he asked thumbing the vinyl cover.

“Of course,” I said.

Then he grabbed A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., but it had too many big words for him.

“Here is a history about a Vietnamese monk,” I said handing him Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Reading the editor’s introduction, Fox stopped after reading this poem:

Peace is every step.

The Shining red sun is my heart.

Each flower smiles with me.

How green, how fresh all that grows.

How cool the wind blows.

Peace is every step.

It turns the endless path to joy.

“Daddy, can I write this poem out?” asked Fox with wide open eyes.

“Sure,” I said thrilled because his penmanship needed work.

Fox carefully wrote out each line. He smiled when he wrote “each flower smiles with me.” I was stoked that he was learning to spell smile, peace, and heart. At the end he wrote “Love, Fox.”

“Can you make copies?” he said as he handed me the hand written poem.

I gave him two copies. On one he wrote, “Merry Christmas. Thank you. To Mrs. Kraemer and Mrs. Grant” [his second grade teachers].

I almost cried. What a wonderful gesture. I am so grateful that he resonated with Thich Nhat Hanh, even though he had trouble reading the name. When I told a friend the story, he asked, “Who is the teacher and who is the student?”

What poem would you have a child copy?

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

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.

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

 

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. 🙂

 

 

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.