Awakin Calls » Makala Kozo Hattori » Transcript
Makala Kozo Hattori: Healing Gift of Cancer -- And Life
Pavi: I remember Kozo starting to be a regular presence at the Awakin Circle here in California. I remember that after meditating when it came his time to share in the circle, he'd often share a personal story from his day or his week. And his stories would have us cracking up in one moment and put a lump in our throat the next. I remember being struck by two things and one was that the stories he was sharing were often of piercing moments that had challenged him, stories in which he would share his edges really honestly without trying to make himself look heroic or noble. None of that prettifying of his image. And the second thing I remember was that almost always these stories would lead into Kozo attempting to polish his own rough edges by going into the heart of that difficulty and questing for the transformational gift at its core.
And I think it comes down to that; it comes down to what is our relationship with the obstacles, with the challenges, with those bumps in the road. How do we place our position ourselves in relationship to them? And do we have a sense of how the framing of that relationship is oftentimes more of a determiner of our trajectory than the actual thing itself. That how we approach something has such leverage in it. To me the spirit of which Kozo has approached the story of his cancer diagnosis - the way he’s approached it really holds it. He doesn't gloss over the challenges and yet he doesn't really dwell within their limits. He tries to tell his life like it is to himself and to us. He’s candid about the flaws and the blemishes, and the eternal work-in-progress nature of this human journey.
And at the same time he’s deeply in touch with the deeper possibilities. What does it mean to treat life as a healing gift. To encounter every every event and circumstance in our lives with the trust that it holds healing medicine that can lead to a place of ever deepening love. Not to say it’s easy or happens overnight but to hold that possibility. I feel like that who is Makala Kozo Hattori is. That’s his essence and alongside that he's a father, a husband, a writer, a speaker, a storyteller, and I also want to add when he was five years old he wanted to be Ultraman which I’m assuming is a kind of superhero and when he was 12 he wanted to be a Jedi knight. And I believe he even had stationery that read Obi Wan Hattori. Designer stationery right there!
He is a dear friend and someone whose journey has been deeply influenced by many spiritual traditions and teachers. On this call, I hope we’ll hear him speak more about the profound practice and concept from the Hawaiian lineage that he was born into as well as the inside learning and many shifts that have transpired in his life post diagnosis.
Kozo it is a wonderful Christmas Eve gift to have you here with us on this call. Thank you so much for making the time.
Kozo: Thank you, Pavi. It’s a gift to be here and I mean that in all different ways. Wow. I don't know where you dug up all that stuff. Incredible. I did have stationery that said, “Obi Wan Hattori, May the force be with you.” And thank you for bringing back so many wonderful memories of Awakin Circles and sitting in that circle where I was feeling, “Wow, I don't know if I should share this because it's it's pretty intense. It's pretty personal, and it's pretty embarrassing.” But then sharing it and being welcomed with open arms and just goodwill. That's been a really powerful part of my healing journey—is to be able to expose myself like that and to get love and appreciation and, just care and tenderness and kindness back from the circle. Thank you for that beautiful reminiscence.
Pavi: It’s a circle of gratitude for sure. On this call we have a lot to cover, but I was thinking if we could rewind the tape a little bit and if you could give us a snapshot retelling of your roots and your growing up years. What the key influences were for you.
Kozo: That could take the whole call! But in snapshots, I was a really bizarre kid. My mom and my step dad are both from Hawaii. And they weren’t religious, they weren't atheists or anything they just didn't go to church or anything and when I was a young kid for some reason all I wanted to do was go to church. So I’d go to church with my friends and I’d go to a Catholic church or to a synagogue. I always wanted to go to church and wanted to pray and nobody else in my family did that, so they thought it was bizarre.
And then at a certain point, my mom joined a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple. She’d go every once in awhile to church, but mostly she go to the events you know and do volunteer work and stuff. So she wouldn't go to church every Sunday. So I found a family who drove me to church. I'd wake up, walk across town, and then they’d take me to church and then bring me back and I’d walk back home. I remember the kids in their family looking at me like, “you don't have to go to church and you're choosing to go to church? What’s wrong with you?” And so I just had this very strong desire for spirituality, and then you know when I learned about Buddhism I learned about the Buddha and enlightenment, that planted a seed and that was a goal for a long time. You know to be like the Buddha.
And then at the same time my parents would send me away every summer and Christmas break and Easter break because my step dad worked for United Airlines, so as his children we could fly for free, so they sent me away to Hawaii to spend time with my Hawaiian grandfather and my grandmother. And we we spent time in this place called Nu´uanu which means like higher cool place. It's actually where most of the churches are above Honolulu. There’s a Buddhist temple; there's a Shinto temple; Christian churches. It's like where all the churches congregate. And my grandfather lived there.
So there's a couple of good things about that -- one is it was a very sacred and holy place, but another thing is there weren’t too many kids living up there. So it was pretty isolated; it was just me and my Hawaiian grandfather my brother. I used to hate it being isolated there you know being away from my friends in California and just kind of just stuck. It wasn't near the beach. It was in the high ground. My grandmother couldn't drive so we had to take the bus everywhere. But looking back my grandfather and my grandmother were teaching me deep lessons. All of that comes into play when I was diagnosed with cancer. All that spirituality that I received as a kid, all that teaching, meditation, Buddhism, Hawaiian Spirituality all comes into play. It was like Jedi training for the challenge that I'm faced with today. .
Pavi: I am reminded of the Life of Pi which begins with this little boy in Pondicherry who is so curious about prayer and who just has this desire to taste of all the different practices that are out there. And it’s always a mysterious thing where does that seed of longing come from. What placed that in your heart?
Kozo: Life of Pi is one of my favorite books. And there’s that part where the Imam and the Hindu come up to him and are arguing—over whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim -- and he responds -- I just want to know God. Like I don’t care what flavor I just want to be close to God. Luckily, I had that same experience because I attended Christian Churches, Jewish Synagogues I've been to holy mosques in Morocco and I don’t see any contradictions, I just see it as “Oh okay here’s another path that leads to God - wow! Look this one is flavored with mint tea and this one is flavored with Hanukkah.” I’m very lucky in that nowadays I'm pretty transpirutual: I see the value in all of those practices.
Pavi: I’d like to jump right into the title of this Awakin Call: The Healing Gift of Cancer. That sounds like a catchy title. But what is it that allows you to say that and really mean it? I almost feel like you don’t necessarily start there it’s where you arrive, there’s a process maybe? Would you say that’s right?
Kozo: You know like in the beginning I saw cancer as a gift. Even when was sitting in the room after they did a biopsy and just by the tone of the voice of the doctor when he left a message I could tell. I was like. “Yeah. Something's not right.” So when I went in for the meeting with him and he said,” You know we did the biopsy and you have cancer.” I was tracking my body because I knew that bad news was coming. My heart didn't skip a beat. My breathing was fine and I was thinking that's very curious like how did I get cancer? It wasn’t dread or fear. Wow that’s really interesting- of all the people to get cancer there - I had colorectal cancer I was like -- that’s so bizarre. I eat well. I exercise. I am very thin. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t stress a lot. So I was kind of like - huh that’s interesting. And then as things started circulating around the diagnosis, people started coming forward and offering hugs and compassion, and love and different gifts, you know. My friend came over and brought me a juicer and he went to Trader Joe’s and bought tons of food to put in the juicer. It was beautiful, so I started seeing cancer as a gift. It’s shown me so many different things.
And then what happened was I started seeing cancer as a gift and I guess my purpose or goal was to heal the gift of cancer. And I’d thought I was going to be this vanguard who healed the gift of cancer through natural practice and alternative medicine and offer that healing gift to the world. And what has shifted is rather than healing the gift of cancer, it has changed to the healing gift of cancer. Before I was trying to change cancer. We had this Awakin Call where the speaker said there’s a sharp difference between arrogance and humility: arrogance is trying to change the other and humility is being willing to be changed by the other, and it really resonated with me. Healing the gift of cancer was me trying to cure cancer, and make it go away, and what it has turned into is the healing gift of cancer.
Now I am receiving from cancer and if the cancer goes away or if it doesn’t go away, it’s going to keep giving and I will keep receiving from it. I’m trying to stay in a place of humility and gratitude and that shift has changed so much in my life. I try to remember that cancer’s like a little reminder when I deal with other people in my life, when I deal with elections, when I deal with whatever rather than try to change the other person I try to receive and heal from the gift of whatever's happening. It’s one of the biggest shifts in my life that has made my life so much more peaceful and allowed me to remain with an open heart.
Pavi: For the purposes of the listeners, could you speak a little bit about what you mean by the word “healing”. What does that word mean to you? Because I think sometimes we often mistake healing for curing?
Kozo: Something happened to me last week and it was powerful. Rather than try to find words I'd rather just tell a story. So you know I've been trying to make this tumor go away for a year and a half with diet and all these different things. And I had a sigmoidoscopy a week and a half ago. And although the tumor shrunk, it the kind of morphed and it's moving. And it became really clear to me looking at that sigmoidoscopy, looking at those images, that like, “Hey you know you've tried it for a year and a half to make this thing disappear and it’s not disappearing. It’s shrinking but it's not disappearing and it's actually moving and it could move out. It could metastasize you.” So it just became really evident like in an instant. “OK you're going to get the surgery.” And I looked at my gastroenterologist who's been trying to get me to do chemo, radiation, and surgery for a year and a half and I said, “I'm going to do the surgery.” And when I said that I thought I would have this feeling of defeat or the feeling of like oh you know alternative is conceding to Western medicine, or disappointment. And what I felt instead was just this peace. I'm going to get the surgery. Wow that feels good, it feels like a weight lifted from my shoulders. You know and I was really puzzled by it. Of all the feelings I thought I’d have that’s not what I thought I’d feel -- this peacefulness and wholeness.
And then I was having a conversation with a friend last week and it occurred to me and this is where I apologize for the stark images that came to me. I was talking to my friend and he was talking about past wounds and healing. And I have this image of when I was four years old, and my stepfather who comes from old school Hawaii- and I love my stepfather I mean he raised me like his own child. But he came from a background where if you did something wrong you got what they call “slaps to the head.” You know you got smacked in the head. So I had this image when I was four years old, my stepfather came and and if we did something wrong, he’d grab his belt, take off his leather belt, and he’d pull our pants down like all the way, like our underwear and everything, and he’d hold us up and spank us with a leather belt on our backsides you know, and we'd be totally exposed. That image came up, of having my butt exposed and being swatted with this leather belt.
And I realized, I'm fifty one years old now, so for forty seven years, I've been clenching and protecting and fearful of that exposed backside and just holding on there. And what happened when I agreed to the surgery is I basically surrendered and literally exposed my bare backside to people who I've previously thought of as enemies with sharp knives. And said, “just go at it.”
And there was this deep relief of that clenched fear, that protectiveness and I've had these premonitions of this before. Like I did energy work with this woman once and she said, “You know your chakras are really open and you have really strong energy, and you have strong ancestral energy. But your backside, around your buttocks, it's closed. There's no energy. It's like shut off. And I was like, “That’s bizarre.” This is before the cancer diagnosis and so when I realized that and when I conceded to the surgery and when I surrendered, it's like all of that fear and protectiveness just stopped fighting and softened and drained and there was a peacefulness that I think is forty seven years in the making.
I looked at that child. I looked at a four year old child, and I said, “Oh, my I'm so sorry. I've been clenching you for so long. I've been just forcing you to withstand this traumatic thing for so long.”
And I'd often overcompensate, I’d try to be over tough and try to deny it, and I just went to that child and I said, “It's OK. You know I'm here with you. I don't care who comes, with what instrument, I'm going to be here to not necessarily protect you, but to hold you and love you and comfort you.”
And that’s the kind of thing that I don’t care what the cancer does. That’s a 47-year healing. And that’s not just a 47 year healing; that’s a healing that goes generational, because physical abuse is a cycle that gets repeated and I was actually repeating that on my own children, so that’s a healing that’s going to heal my ancestors, that inner child, my body, and my children and the generations to come. It’s going to allow me to cradle my own sons when they are at their worst state or whatever rather than to shame them or to worst case scenario hit them as well which I was doing when they were younger.
So yeah that had nothing to do with being free of cancer. It has nothing do with curing cancer. What occurred to me at a certain point was my journey is not to be cancer free. My journey is to be free, whether I have cancer or not. And there's a liberation that happened when I agreed to surgery. That has freed me.
In Hawaii we say E kala mai to say I’m sorry, and it means cut me from this—liberate me from this. And I feel like I’ve been kala'd from that. Forty seven years of that intertwining and that gripping it’s now released me and freed me from that. And I don't know what the cancer is going to do, but I'm so grateful that I kala’d that. I'm so grateful that I can live my life now and raise my children now without that gripping and without that generational abuse. To me that's more important than my bodily health. Because that has to do with something I'm going to transfer on for generations.
Pavi: I’ve had the privilege of having conversations with you along the way. And it’s been beautiful to see that really there is a kind of a dance in finding that balance between treating the body as a instrument, and with gratitude, humility, respect and compassion. And yet not getting too deeply invested. Not using that as your only and ultimate metric of healing and recognizing that you know the body is embedded within a much broader master framework. And I've seen you also being very mindful and conscious and thoughtful about the decisions you were making about how to create a circumstance in which your body could do it’s best to find a healing pathway, and at the same time that wasn't what was overtaking your thought process.
It wasn't invested in that outcome. I think it's very easy to inhabit one or the other extreme.
And you know your talk about humility earlier reminded me of one of the most powerful definitions of it that I’ve heard from the writer Doris Lessing and I’m paraphrasing here, but she said humility is a selfless view of reality. I feel like you’ve come through this journey to a more and more selfless relationship to reality.
Kozo: You know to tell true it’s been a dance and at times it’s been a mosh pit and at other times it’s been a more graceful dance. I've gone off the deep end of both those sides You know there's a point where I was like let this cancer take me you. There’s this desire to just be free of this mortal coil. Take me I want to be with God. I want to take the quick route. And then there's there's other times I was so adamant on curing the body that I starved myself on this raw vegan diet and got down to 119 pounds, I'm normally 150, and people were coming up to me and saying, “Kozo, you’re disappearing. You need to eat.”
So I've been on both sides of the dance and to the extreme. That's one thing about my personality—I go to the extreme. And this idea came to me: You know they say your body's a temple? And so to treat your body as a temple, to to give it nurturing food and to take care of it. In Hawaii, we say ´olu ´olu which means gentleness -- or actually as one elder explained to me, it actually means to treat like a baby. So give it rest, take care of it, nurture it. We say the body is a temple and we leave it at that. We often forget there is a God in the temple. Inside our body inside our temple is this young five year old child God and we have to ´olu ´olu that child God and nurture that child god. And there were times in my life when I pushed my body to the extreme in cancer treatment but also in surfing and meditation. I pushed it to the extreme. And when I was tired I said, “toughen up and just do more.”
And what cancer has taught me is you got ´olu ´olu that child inside because every time you push your body like that, that child is crying for rest or just to be hugged or just to be recognized. So now I'm more gentle with that child, with that temple and more gentle with the child God inside. So if I need to eat something that isn't raw or vegan I'm going to eat it because that's what the child inside wants. And when I feel like I need to sleep ten hours a certain night then I'm going to stay in bed and not going to get up and look at my computer. And that’s been just a wonderful shift of relationship with my body and with that inner child.
And the funny thing, it translates out to my relationship as a father because when I was strict and Spartan with my body, then I transferred that onto my sons. When they’d cry or when they’d be tired, I’d say “that’s why I told you to go to bed earlier last night it’s your fault!” And now I try and listen to them and hear them, and when they're in a tantrum rather than shame them or get upset with them, I try to just treat the tantrum, like “Oh my God I’m so sorry that you’re so upset that you can’t have another piece of candy” and I pat them on the head or something,
And there's an amazing thing that happens where it’s like in quantum mechanics. In quantum mechanics, there’s the idea of entanglement—if you have two particles that are in different places and you spin one the other spins automatically. It’s entangled. And I feel like when I nurture my young sons like that, I nurture that five year old inner child god in my temple. And when I nurture my body and my inner child then I nurture my sons and generations down from them. And it’s been this wonderful shift that has changed my relationship with my children, with my body and with life. One of the wonderful gifts of Hawaii is ´olu ´olu, fun and joy and just hang out at the beach and love it! And rather than be a spartan preparing for a fight to the death, just cruise you know. Just go lay on the beach and enjoy the sun. And that's been beautiful to do that as a father and also an older person. I feel like I’m surrendering to something where I’m not striving as much.
Pavi: I want to come back to the topic of fatherhood in a minute, but before that I just want to use this as a springboard into some of these keys from your tradition that you have drawn on that have opened these really valuable doorways Into the heart of this experience for you. From that rich repository can you give us a sense of some of the other keys from that one tradition that have been really important to you in this time?
Kozo: Yes, first I'd like to say it's not my tradition actually. My family came through Hawaii and goes generations back in Hawaii, but I'm actually Japanese-American. My family comes from Japan. My Hawaiian grandfather is actually my grandfather through marriage. He's my step-grandfather. I'm not what they call kanaka mauli. I'm not native Hawaiian. I don't have any Hawaiian blood in me.
But I was raised in a lot of ways by my Hawaiian grandfather. and they're just came this point fairly recently where I felt like my Hawaiian grandfather, who passed away 25-30 years ago, was coming back to me and speaking to me. He would say stuff like, “Learned the Hawaiian language.”
And I was like, “What? I'm 51, Grandpa. Why am I going to learn the Hawaiian?” Why would you learn Hawaiian? Everyone in Hawaii speaks English. Very few people speak Hawaiian. You go anywhere else in the world no one is going to speak Hawaiian. Why would I learn that?
But he would say, “Learn the Hawaiian language. Learn to count in Hawaiian. Learn this.” He was guiding me in this way. And I was thinking people are going to think I'm crazy. I'm not even Hawaiian. I'm going to be learning Hawaiian and I'm not even Hawaiian.
What I've realized, whether that was my Hawaiian grandfather talking to me or whether that was my consciousness taking a different form talking to me--You know there's this great movie out called Arrival. And in it these aliens come down and this linguist has to learn to communicate with them. What she realizes is that when you learn any other language or any other form of communication, you don't just learn how to speak a different language, you actually see a completely different worldview. You see the world in a completely different way by shifting the words. What my Consciousness or my Hawaiian grandfather was trying to teach me was learn Hawaiian because there is a worldview of Hawaii that is unique and beautiful and powerful that the world needs now.
Probably the most important concept or word in Hawaii is Aloha. Aloha has been commercialized so much that the original meanings were lost. So what I've been feeling into is to really explore the deepest aspects of Aloha. And what it comes down to for me is what they call Kapu Aloha. Kapu mean sacred. It's actually the same word that the word taboo came from. Taboo is actually Polynesian word. The Hawaiian K was originally a t. So kapu is sacred. Kapu Aloha is sacred Aloha which is “I’m going to love no matter what.” If you come and steal my land, I’m going to love you. You come and beat me, I’m going to love you. You come and string me up on a cross, and I’m going to love you.
I’m using those examples because it crosses traditions. It is the same ahimsa that Gandhi talked about. It is the same love that Christ talked about. It is the same unconditional love that the Dalai Lama talks about, but it is Kapu Aloha. To remain in Kapu Aloha no matter what. At a certain point in my journey, I realized I have to Kapu Aloha cancer. Cancer is here threatening to take this body away, threatening to take me away from my children, threatening to end my life early, and I still have to Kapu Aloha it. I still have to love it. I still have to unconditionally open my arms to it and `olu `olu it (nurture it like a little child).
One of the Hawaiian elders Auntie Pilahi Paki said in the 1970 Governors Conference, ".in the next millennium the world will turn to Hawai`i in its search for world peace because Hawai`i has the key ... and that key is Aloha." She predicted that. I'm here with a lot of people, a lot of kanaka mauli, Hawaiian blooded elders, who are just sharing Aloha because the world needs it.
Donald Trump needs Aloha. He doesn't need our judgment. He needs Aloha. People who are doing crazy things don't need our judgment, they need Aloha, Kapu Aloha. Cancer doesn't need to be poisoned--chemoed or radiated--it needs Aloha. That is my daily practice, and I'm grateful for it. Even though at times, I feel really odd. I talk to these Hawaiian elders. They call me Makala--the Hawaiian name my grandfather gave me. They say, "Eh Makala, whose your Hawaiian ancestor?"
And I say, "Oh, I'm actually not Hawaiian."
They say, "What?"
So sometimes I feel like, "Wow, why am I doing this? I'm not even Hawaiian."
But they practice Kapu Aloha, so they say, "What? You're not kanaka mauli (Native Hawaiian)? Eh, but you get big Aloha. You get big heart, bra. So I'm going to teach you."
They practice Kapu Aloha, so they don't say, "Oh, you are not Hawaiian, so I'm not going to teach you." I haven't had that experience. I have had these powerful elders say, "I love what you are doing, Makala. Keep doing it, and here is something to help you on your journey." And they know I'm not Hawaiian, and that is Kapu Aloha.
Pavi: It makes me think of that these are such limited identities that we have in these mortal coils. When you know, as science tells us, that we all race back to a common ancestry. We've never been just one thing or one place. So these affinities that you feel or that people feel for different places or traditions that may not have a rational explanation on the surface. You are probably more Hawaiian than you think. [laughter]
Kozo: [laughter] We all are.
Pavi: What does that even mean? I think of Pancho. These boundaries that we have drawn on the map are so arbitrary. There is a Universal spirit behind it.
Kozo: It is funny because I have these Hawaiian Healing Circle conference calls. And one of the attendees is Kunal, a beautiful young Indian man who is actually in India right now. He calls in and he has this accent, but he says, “You know, Kozo, although I don’t look it, I feel like I’m Hawaiian.”
And I said, “Eh, if you got the Aloha, you’re Hawaiian.”
There are a lot of people who are kanaka mauli with the blood lineage, but they don’t have the Aloha. They are still fighting. I think the heart of who we are, not just Hawaiian but everyone, the core lineage is love, is Aloha. And if you can tap into that then everybody is your brother and your sister, and not just humans, but the planet, the Aina (the land), the animals, the spirit animals. For me, those Hawaiian elders really inspired me and set the precedent for me because what I didn’t realize is that when I set up this dialectic between alternative medicine/natural medicine and Western/allopathic medicine, I was not practicing Kapu Aloha. I was actually creating this war, this conflict. Natural medicine vs. allopathic medicine.
So when I agreed to the surgery, that was when I dropped those lines, erasing that line in the sand. And then just accepting it all, embracing it all, and returning to Aloha. I’m going to love my surgeon.
One of my Hawaiian elders just the other day who is dealing with some healing issues in the hospital said to me, “Do you know what shifted for me, Makala? I started treating everybody on the medical stuff like they were my best friend. If the nurse came in and they were having a tough day and they were yanking me around, I treated her like she was my best friend. I tried to have Aloha for every single person on my medical staff.” She said, “That was so important for my healing journey.”
And I realize when she said that that I was treating my oncologist, my gastroenterologist, and my surgeon like they were my enemies. I was thinking, “Screw you. I’m not going to do what you say. I’m going to do this.” I was treating them like enemies.
I would think, “Ha Ha, the tumor shrunk. You said it wouldn’t shrink. You don’t know what you are talking about.” I had this arrogance, this separation. Since I agreed to the surgery, I love my surgeon, oncologist, and gastroenterologist. I'm going to walk into that surgery room and I'm going to love every single person who is part of that team because regardless of how we have different ideas about how to heal the body, every single one of them there is there to help me heal--is an angel to help me heal. And I'm going to treat them as that. That is Kapu Aloha. That is what my Hawaiian elders were trying to teach me. That is what living life of Aloha is. Even just saying allopathic, is like saying haole in Hawaii which means white person. It actually means a person that does not have breath or spirit. But it is a separation thing, like “Hey, you are a haole, a white person who stole our land.” But the deep Hawaiian elders are like, “Hey, I love haoles. I love everybody.” There is no separation. 1:07:03
Pavi: So much of what you talk about and what you have done with your life is really in service. You've been part of hospice care for a remarkable 94 year old woman. You've experimented with unconditionally washing the feet of the homeless. You volunteered at Karma kitchen. You created these healing circles that you offer as a gift. I'm just wondering in the process of this last year-and-a-half of the journey with cancer, how has your relationship to service changed? Are there any new ways in which you've come to understand service?
Kozo: Yes. For a long time service was something that I did to build merits. for me it just wasn't to build merit it was that I felt bad about the things that I've done in my past so I was trying to reconcile that. Hi Grandpa is really selfish in my life before. I was a surfer. I just cared about myself. I didn't think about others. I treated people poorly in my past relationships. I actually was hitting my son when he was young. I was thinking, “i’ve got a lot of bad karma. I’ve got to make up for this. I’ve got a lot of bad energy.”
So I thought I'm going to serve I'm going to help serve. Every time I served I thought that will take care of when I treated this person poorly. It was this type of exchange which is funny because one of the core values of Servicespace is from transaction to trust. But I was using Service as a transaction.
What I have realized in this process and in this journey and doing service is that living in Aloha, being Aloha means that Aloha always serves. Love always serves. that is the only reaction love has is service. when somebody slaps you across the face, love looks and goes how can I serve this person, and turns the other cheek.
When my kids are screaming, “Daddy I hate you. You won't buy me this,” in Target, and and I can't get them out of Target. Love says how can I serve this child right now. And I get down on my knees and I just hug them.
See anything for example when somebody cuts me off in traffic, I think how can I serve this person. What is the best way I can serve them? it has turned for me rather than a transaction into just a response, and immediate response. And I know when I respond with service I'm in Aloha. I know when I respond with service I'm in love. And I know when I respond with service I feel amazing and it doesn't matter what is going on with in my world--everything is great. And I know when I see something that is calling for service and I don't serve it, and I think, “you don’t deserve my service. You are yelling at me,” it causes suffering. It causes conflict.
You know the other thing? It causes the other person to suffer. If somebody is yelling at you and you don't serve them, they get even more upset and they suffer more. So you're not only causing yourself suffering, You are exacerbating the suffering of somebody who is suffering. It is the opposite of compassion. So for me it has turned into this natural way of staying in Aloha, staying in love. And I know when I'm in it and I know when I'm not in it. And I love that about service. You don’t go, “Hey, I wonder if I’m serving or not.” You know when you are serving and you know when you are not serving. So what is this great litmus test that says are you in Aloha or are you not in Aloha? Are you practicing What You Preach or are you not practicing what you preach?
So for me service has been a wonderful gift that keeps me in Aloha, that keeps me in love, that keeps me whole and in unity. In Hawaii say lokahi which is unity, but Auntie Pilahi Paki said, “Lokahi doesn’t really mean unity, it means unbrokenness.” The one on serving I'm keeping that unbrokenness. If there is brokenness, I am mending the brokenness. But when I'm not serving I'm not in unity. I'm burning bridges. So that is how the shift has been for me. And it is so simple. You wake up everyday and anything that arises all you have to do is ask yourself, “How can I serve this?” And from their life just becomes a gift.
Pavi: I like how you say it simple. And it is it's so simple, but it's also one of the most challenging things we will ever do. It is not rocket science. It is the opportunity and the challenge. The blessing of it is that is so accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. We just have to see it.
Deven: Such an inspiring conversation and so enlightening for me as well. Thinking about the conversation, reminded me of a book that I read almost 12 years ago that talked about mind-body healing, self-awareness, and relaxation response. One of the things that she had developed in her book is at the end of the day all of the feelings and emotions that you have fall into two categories: fear or love. Compassion, kindness, service, and helping others are all channels for love. Anger, frustration, worry, tension, stress, there is a fear behind it. it is about detecting what is the source of fear and accepting and embracing it. Kozo, you are doing it and it is so inspiring to see you do it, as well. How do you deal with your fear? Or do you have fear anymore?
Kozo: It is interesting because we just had an Awakin Circle where they talked about moods-- negative emotions and breathing through them and dropping a little positive emotion to disperse them. While I was listening to that reading and while I was listening to the shares, I thought, “My experience has been very different lately.” I understand the idea of having fear and love. Having negative emotions under fear and trying to shift from the negative emotions to the positive emotions, but that is not Kapu Aloha. For me, whatever arises I embrace that.
What I found happens, for example, when I experience anger. I've spent most of my life trying to control my anger either through meditation or through Aikido or through all different kinds of ways, trying to control my anger. As somebody who was physically beaten as a child I had a lot of anger. So I spent a lot of my years trying to control that through breathing and all these different things. And then when I got angry I felt really bad about myself. I’d think, “Why didn't you breathe deeper?” And I’d get angry at myself for getting angry. so I was increasing the anger.
Lately what I've been feeling into is more like, “If I'm going to get angry, I'm going to embrace that. I'm going to love that” What has been happening in my life is that if I have an emotion I don't judge it as good or bad. I don't put it in that category of fear or love. I just let it run through me and what happens is that when it runs through me, like anger for example ,when it runs its course, it pulls out of it love. It is almost like a tea kettle blowing off. When all the water is gone, all that is left inside the tea kettle is love. It's this wonderful thing. I let that happen a few times and I don't get angry anymore. I'm able to stay in love.
The same thing with any emotion. I just embrace it, and love it. And when it runs its course all that is left is love. And I have the same feeling about this tumor and cancer. I'm just going to love that thing. I'm going to love it and love it and love it. And let it runs its course. And if it runs its course and it's courses is to take this body away, then that is the cost of Kapu Aloha. Sometimes you have to love until you are no more. Well, you are never no more, until your body is no more. But I have a feeling that if I love it and love it and love it, it will run its course and all that will be left there is love. So it is kind of the shift where I don't really define things as good and bad. It is like the Rumi poem that says there is a field beyond right and wrong, I'll meet you there. I don't see them as good or bad. I just love them, and let them run their course. And recenter in love, in Aloha.
Deven: Wow, so well said, Kozo. It reminded me of another call we had 6 or 8 months ago, Pierre Pradervand that Pavi moderated. One thing I kept is that my heart is covered with honey. Looks like your heart is covered with honey as well.
Kozo: Pierre Pradervand is one of my deepest guides and healers. Pavi, I love that conversation you had with Pierre. I think of Pierre Pradervand daily. Just 2 weeks ago, I was supposed to go to Awakin circle and I kept having to go to the bathroom. it was getting close to 7 p.m. and I kept having to go to the bathroom. And I was thinking “What's going on I'm not going to be able to go to meditation.” At a certain point I realized I couldn't go to the meditation Circle that I would have to pass. And I was sitting on the toilet and I thought, “God dammit. What is going on?” I either thought or said that. Then I thought of Pierre Pradervand and I went, “No, not God dammit, but God bless it. I don’t know what is going on, but God bless it.”
I blessed not being able to go to Awakin Circle. I blessed having to go to the bathroom, and that felt amazing. It felt like the universe was teaching me a lesson: It's not so much that you go to Awakin Circle and sit for an hour and share your circle wisdom. It is that you bless whatever, wherever, however you are, even if you are sitting on the toilet. Pierre Pradervand just gifted me with that. It was wonderful.
Deven: I will say that we are holding space with Awakin Calls, And we all can reflect and share stories and nurture ourselves and the ripples follow through and resonate in so many different ways. I'm going to read the reflections we had from one of our members Nancy Ward. the seats are really getting nurtured and the ripples are flowing.
Nancy Ward: ”As a person with a cancer diagnosis I also see it as a gift. It has been an amazing journey for inner transformation. After and while using many different healing modalities, I've come to the conclusion that this is not so much a physical, but a spiritual journey and healing path that we are on. I'm learning more everyday, Although I'm still undecided at times at what the next step in my healing Journey will be I'm still completely at peace.” So well shared. And so resonant with what you are developing as well.
Mike Ludgate: I'm enjoying this talk about Aloha and healing and wholeness and love. I guess my interest is what your sense is of the Role that Grace plays in sustaining the healing Aloha state. in our Limited Brokenness and Limited human capacity In the sense of Brokenness that comes from just being human. We Are Spiritual Beings having a human experience is and that Human Experience incorporates the sense of Brokenness and imperfection in that humans state of experience. So when our limited human capacity requires that which is greater then the common vulnerability that we have as a human being. So to sustain that sense of aloha in that human space, you have mentioned sometimes that you kind of dropped out of that and fall off track and then you cut yourself and get back on. I guess I referred to that as what some people call Amazing Grace. Somehow something else bumps you back to where you need to be in to the aliveness place once you find yourself outside it. we are all kind of in the Stream of healing and then all of a sudden we are not. What is it that gets us back on track, the Aloha track?
Kozo: I love that. The Aloha track. such a beautiful and Powerful question. thank you so much. I've had experiences where I was singing Amazing Grace and I just broke down into tear.--“to save a Wretch like Me.”
In my experience it is all grace. The universe is showering us with Aloha, with healing,with awakening, with love constantly. It is all grace. And what we do is we ignore it. Or we say, “No, I'm going to heal this. I'm going to heal this cancer. I, Makala Kozo Hattori, with all my wisdom and all my book reading and I'm going to search the internet and I'm going to heal this.” And we go into the separate state.
What I have experienced is that when I just release and go into that space that Nancy was talking about in her share where I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know how to heal this. I don't know if this treatment is going to work. I don't know if I'm going to be here in the next year. And we go to the space of surrender: I don't know: I trust you, Universe; I trust the grace that you are bringing, then grace flows through us and it is very simple to stay in that Aloha track, But when we go into the space of I know better; I can do this; I don't need anybody else's help, we get into this illusion that we are doing it all on our own. That is when we close ourselves off from the grace that is always there. Rather than say, “I'm going to do this on my own” I said, “I'm going to open myself up for surgery. I'm going to take the surgery.” That was me admitting to myself that I can't do this on my own. And now I feel the grace of Western medicine. I feel the grace of the Divine. I feel the grace a healing of what I was talking about the 47 years of gripping my backside. I feel all that grace just flow through me when I surrendered. It is almost biblical which is wonderful because it's Christmas. Jesus on the cross first said “My God why hast thou forsaken me?” In that there is a “me”--that I deserve not to be forsaken. And then it shifted into “Father forgive them they know not what they do.” Into a space of service and get myelf out of the way so grace can flow through me. That is a wonderful question and it is a powerful one for a healing journey but is also a powerful for living in alignment with the divine.
Mike Ludgate: Yes it almost seems like you are talking about there is my truth, your truth and the truth. and there's a shift of the truth of the non-self Get you out of having requirements The things the according to whatever the brain wants or one's thoughts. And you get into this other Zone Where you are holding space with the wholeness that holds me. it is almost like you pressed the hyperspace button what the wholeness that holds me. And that is the healing zone.
Kozo: That is the Aloha Zone. That is the all. What I had to realize at a certain point is that there's my truth, there's allopathic medicine’s truth, there is your truth. and the Truth. You can't know that. Part of us wants to know the Truth, so we can say, “I know the truth and you don't.” But you can't know the Truth. You can't know the whole truth. You just have to surrender and say, “I don't know I can't possibly conceive of this. I can't possibly have the consciousness of the whole universe.” And when you do that, you have the consciousness of the whole universe. By giving up any remnants of your truth or my truth or any little T truth and just surrendering, you become the vessel or you become the instrument of the Truth and you actually embody it without knowing it. I know this sounds confusing, but this is just what I've experienced. I don't know. I don't know anything about healing or surgery. But when I just released that I don't know then this truth comes through me and everything becomes really clear. And it's not mental. In Hawaii we say it's in your na`au it's in your guts. It's visceral. It's deep inside of you. It is wonderful. When you can feel that in your guts, when you feel that relinquishing of my truth and you feel the whole Truth, that is grace. I can't think of any better way to be in existence than in grace.
Pavi: We have a couple of questions that came in online. Mish from New York says, “I'm wondering if our beautiful friend Cuzzo might share with us his surgery date so we might hold him, his loved ones and his surgical team and our Collective light that day? We love you, Kozo.”
Kozo: Wow, I love you, Mish. I miss you. Yes, so it is January 12th, Thursday at 11 AM PST. I am a strong believer in energetics, so I welcome any positive vibes, Aloha, or holding sacred space or lokahi--unbrokenness-- in that period. Not necessarily just for me so the surgery goes well, but just so that we can gather. And we can hold space together at a certain time on a certain day. So January 12th at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Supposedly the surgery is going to go 3 and a half hours.
Deven: One more Reflection from Albert: Rowe “Thank you. The energy that comes from your sharing remind me of the lines:
I never feel more given to
than when you take from me –
when you understand the joy I feel
giving to you.
And you know my giving isn’t done
to put you in my debt,
but because I want to live the love
I feel for you.
To receive with grace
may be the greatest giving.
There’s no way I can separate
When you give to me,
I give you my receiving.
When you take from me, I feel so
By Ruth Bebermeyer
Thank you and Aloha.”
Deven: Such a beautiful reflection. Thank you Albert for writing that down. As we get closer to closing this call. Kozo, what can we do or how can we help you in this journey of Aloha that you are living and spreading so beautifully?”
Kozo: Obviously, service space, awaken call, and everybody you share this space has given me so much on the healing Journey, to my family in all different kinds of ways. All the different forms of capital that we talked about. So I'm just so grateful for that.
But I did want to offer one thing, not so much what people can do for me, but maybe just a reminder. And that is just be gentle with yourself. I think that is one of the biggest lessons that cancer has taught me is for me to be gentle with myself. I find that when I'm gentle with myself I'm gentle with others. The world can use a lot more gentleness. I know a lot of times, myself included, when I do service or try to change the world, I tend to be pretty Spartan and adamant and push myself to the limits. I'm just reminded to be gentle and to get rest when we need rest even if we have a transcript that we have not transcribed for two weeks and we are late in submitting it. Be gentle with yourself. and I really believe when you're gentle with yourself you are gentle with me and that is going to heal us all.
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