Tag Archives: peace

Gratitude Prayer and Meditation.


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I like to do a gratitude prayer to the universe in the morning, followed by a meditation. I start off by lighting a pair of candles on a display with stones and an oil diffuser. Then I start an app on my smartphone that plays soothing sounds of water and calming instrumental music.

In my gratitude prayer, I express my thanks for my loved ones, the ability to experience life, useful things I have, the beauty of nature, and much more. Throughout the day, I would continue to be thankful for many things.

I meditate by clearing my thoughts and breathing slowly. After some minutes in emptiness, I envision what I will accomplish for the day.

To practice this, all you need is ten minutes, but you can always go longer. It’s a good way to start your day with positivity and clarity. Sometimes I do a gratitude prayer and meditation at night or whenever I need to stabilize my soul after facing some challenges. There are studies that show how gratitude and meditation practices reduces stress and benefits your overall health. Have fun with your gratitude and meditation practice! Aloha!

20170421_004724#gratitude #prayer #meditation #peace #innerpeace #domesticpeace #worldpeace #buddhism #compassion #love #happiness

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Stories Within Stories


I jumped into my old gun metal truck and drove to my late night hang-out, a coffee shop on the top of the hill above my house, after one of those weeks that furiously flew by. I pulled into the parking lot, and right in front of the coffee shop was a prime parking space that was positioned almost directly in front of the main entrance. I pulled the brake and shut off the engine. While patting the dash of my truck, I sent my thoughts of gratitude to it, “Thank you for taking care of me.” I counted this moment as my tenth win for the day.

I pulled my brief case from behind my seat and exited my truck, locking it with my key. My  remote control had long been discarded in a drawer within my personal office. It’s just something I didn’t care to fix after all these years.

I entered the coffee shop and paused by the display glass filled with sandwiches and pastries so I could pull out my smart phone from my front pocket of my jeans and open the app for the coffee shop, which I used for my transactions since you could get rewarded a free drink after a certain amount of purchases.

“Hey Riki, how are you?” asked Kelly, a cute barista with a mixture of Asian and Caucasian ethnicity who I’ve gotten to know over my many visits. She was always so welcoming.

I walked up to her cash register. “Good to be back at the office.”

“What will you get tonight?” Just as I opened my mouth to speak, Kelly blurted, “Wait, let me guess.”

I chuckled. “Alright.”

She closed her eyes and then opened them with a wide smile. “Hot, medium, Green tea latte?”

“Yes. I swear you have a gift.”

“Well, it’s either that or your hot, medium, plain old green tea. So my odds are pretty good in guessing your drink. Tonight you look a bit stressed and that’s when you go for the sweet stuff.”

“You’re really observant. I have to finish drafting a couple contracts for a friend.”

“Got to get paid right?”

“I don’t know. I only get paid if my friend gets paid.”

A frown formed on Kelly’s perplexed facial expression.

“If the deal doesn’t go through, I get nothing for all the work I do.”

“Damn.”

“It’s the nature of what I do.” If only she knew that I didn’t get paid even when I closed some deals with a couple of former business partners I had. I didn’t fight for anything that was owed to me, I just cut my losses and simply moved on.

I flashed my app on the screen of my smartphone in front of the scanner fronting the cash register. After a “beep” sound, I tapped a button and returned my phone back into my front pocket of my jeans.

“Well, I wish you the best on that deal. Have a productive session.”

“Will do. Thank you.”

I proceeded over to the counter where other customers waited to receive their orders. After a few minutes, my order was called by the barista who made my beverage, a young man named Todd with surfer blonde hair.

I strolled over to my favorite corner of the coffee shop where the counters rode along the windows, and lined up beside it were a number of high stools. I placed my briefcase on an unused stool next to me to my right. I pulled out my laptop from my briefcase and fired it up. I opened up a partial draft of one of the agreements I was working on for my friend. I stared at the words on the screen, which began to blur as I dozed off into another world. When my vision cleared up, I was no longer sitting on a stool in front of the window in my regular coffee shop. Instead, I was leaning back on a black leather couch in the more trendy coffee shop with dimmer lights that I’ve become so familiar with over my eight years of writing and reading this scene over and over.

Across the shop I saw Ken sitting at a small square table in front of Kaylee. He had already given her a chocolate cupcake in his attempt to liven up her spirits. He looked just as nervous as I had envisioned. I smiled and giggled quietly because I knew that he was changing the course of the future between the two of them. If only Ken and Kaylee could know how much a part of me has always been with them. Every bit of their pain has been mine, and every time they’ve experienced joy, I’ve felt it just the same. For it’s through their journey that I’m finding my way. If they can make others feel what I’ve felt, then I’m certain many others will find their way as well.

“Excuse me. Excuse me.”

I snapped back to reality and saw a young college-aged Asian girl standing next to me. “Is it okay if I plug my laptop into the outlet?” she asked and glanced under the counter. I followed her eyes and noticed the outlet just to the left of my leg.

“Oh yeah, sure. Go ahead.” I moved off my stool and stood to the side as she plugged in her laptop and returned to sit at a table behind me.

I got back onto my stool and returned to staring at my draft of the agreement on my computer. The minutes kept changing to higher numbers on my clock located near the upper right corner of my laptop, and still, I didn’t write anything new. “Screw this,” I murmured under my breath. I closed the document and opened up my query letter that was addressed to a boutique literary agency based in New York City. I took out my headset from my briefcase and played the songs from my playlist. I bobbed my head to a catchy song “Something Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay as I proceeded to re-write my query letter.

– Super Short Fictional Story by Jon Riki Karamatsu on March 26, 2016 (This super short fictional story is connected to my first novel that I started in October 2006 and completed in January 2014) –

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How Super Can I Become?


Trembling without love.

How super can I become?

Losses become wins.

– Jon Riki Karamatsu, 2/23/2017, Haiku #54 –

Here’s a song “Forever in Silence” by Solstis that helped to bring out my emotions and words to this Haiku poem, which I was able to write in seconds.

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The light is so much brighter when we’re in the dark.


The light is so much brighter when we’re in the dark. For it’s darkness that makes us appreciate the light. The challenges of life and the evils of humankind should make us even more grateful for what positive things we have in our lives, and the many good people there are among us. Let the force of darkness motivate us to maximize our daily practice of love and compassion.

Sending my warmest aloha,

Jon Riki Karamatsu

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Tim Ferriss on Depression and Thoughts of Suicide.


Linked below is an article on depression and suicide by Tim Ferris, an entrepreneur, investor, author, and podcast host who has studied and practiced self-improvement strategies and techniques that we can all incorporate into our daily lives in our quest for happiness. He is well known for his book “The Four-Hour Workweek” and his latest book “Tools of the Titans” is in the market.

All of us from time to time will face challenges that will make us sad, hurt, disappointed, and even angry. However, Tim Ferris, like my other favorite entrepreneurs/self-improvement coaches James Altucher and Marie Forleo – they encourage us to practice daily habits that make us positive and productive human beings.

In this article, Ferris wrote: 

Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.

Here are some of my coping mechanisms for making it through the day:

1) Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. E-mail is the mind killer.

2) Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh like this) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper.

3) Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.

4) For each item, ask yourself:

– “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
– “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”

5) Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.

6) Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.

7) TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.

8) If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.

9) Physically MOVE for at least 20 minutes each day. Go for a long walk, lift weights, take a free online yoga class (YouTube), anything. Ideally, get outside. I was once asked by friend for advice on overcoming debilitating stress. The answer I repeated over and over again was: “Remember to EXERCISE daily. That is 80% of the battle.”

10) Follow a diet that prevents wild blood sugar swings. This means avoiding grains and refined carbohydrates most of the time. I follow the slow-carb diet with one cheat day per week and have done so for 10+ years. Paleo also works great. Don’t forget to eat plenty of fat. High protein and low fat can give you low-grade symptoms of rabbit starvation.

11) Schedule at least one group dinner with friends per week. Get it on the calendar no later than 5pm on Monday. Ideal to have at least three people, but two is still great medicine.

12) Take a minute each day to call or email someone to express gratitude of some type. Consider someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time. It can be a one-line text or a 5-second voicemail.

Congratulations! That’s it.

Those are the rules I use, and they help steer the ship in the right direction.

Routines are the only way I can feel “successful” despite my never-ending impulse to procrastinate, hit snooze, nap, and otherwise fritter away my days with bullshit. If I have 10 “important” things to do in a day, I’ll feel overwhelmed, and it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day. On the other hand, I can usually handle 1 must-do item and block out my lesser behaviors for 2-3 hours a day.

And when — despite your best efforts — you feel like you’re losing at the game of life, never forget: Even the best of the best feel this way sometimes. When I’m in the pit of despair with new book projects, I recall what iconic writer Kurt Vonnegut said about his process: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.

Tim Ferris’ link to his article is here: https://www.google.com/amp/tim.blog/2015/05/06/how-to-commit-suicide/amp/

“Failure” and “success” are both wins because we made an effort to embark on a journey by working on an opportunity. What makes “failure” and “success” both a win is when we appreciate what we’ve learned, the skills we’ve developed, and the people we’ve built relationships with. So even on our hardest day when we feel worthless, like Ferris wrote, we can list the things that are making us anxious, and choose to work on that one thing that would make us feel accomplished for the day and make all the other things on our list less important or easier to knock off later. Exercise, meditate, write our goals down, listen to music, take a walk, spend times with positive friends, or do an activity that will boost our happy chemicals and make us feel more accomplished. The small wins and accomplishments mean a lot, because when we achieve many of these small wins, we will eventually achieve the huge wins! On our goods days, we could rack up a dozen or more wins a day, but on our toughest day, even if we just make an effort to accomplish one very important task, that is a super huge win – huge! 

Sincerely,

Jon Riki Karamatsu 

 

 

 

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2017 New Year’s Jodo Mission of Hawaii President’s Message


 

2017 New Year’s Jodo Mission of Hawaii President’s Message

Dear Members,

Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu! Wishing you a Happy New Year! For 2017, my wish is for you to be filled with happiness a great majority of the time.

In a perfect world, we could wish for happiness all of the time, but when we think about it, without some suffering and challenges, life would become boring and we would not have the experiences that make us appreciate life even more. When we fail, we appreciate our efforts and all the ups and downs, so when we do succeed, it’s oh so sweet and wonderful. Even the impermanence of life, the fact that our time is limited in this living realm, encourages us to appreciate the present moment, so we cherish our time with our loved ones, work passionately on projects that excite us, and absorb the beauty of nature such as the sun setting into our beautiful blue ocean. We develop a deeper gratitude through our understanding of impermanence so even when we lose a person we love; we are able to generate positive energy by all those wonderful moments we shared with that person, and it’s this energy that encourages us to live life the best that we can with the precious time we have before us. Thus, suffering and challenges can be a fuel for our happiness through our practice of gratitude. When you combine gratitude with all your positive practices of the Eightfold Path – Right Understanding, Right Purpose, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Endeavor, Right Thought, and Right Meditation, you will be filled with joy.

With Warmest Aloha,

Jon Riki Karamatsu

President of Jodo Mission of Hawaii

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Guns Make It Easy


 

Guns make it easy.

Anger can pull the trigger.

It can’t kill your love.

– Jon Riki Karamatsu, 12/27/2016, Haiku #52 –

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