Call Up What Fires You Up
My mission is to empower you to be the man you truly are, so you can live the life you want to lead. The life that fires you up, has you saying “Yes!” to every possibility, and expresses all your dimensions as an individual.
Why men? Let’s face it, men have different issues than women do – not better or worse, just different. We’ve grown up in a culture that idolizes the image of the cowboy, someone who’s a “real man,” doesn’t cry, can do it all alone. We’ve been told stories of how we’re “supposed to be” and what success is supposed to look like.
I see men who are successful by most acceptable measures – great job, nice car, active social life, money in the bank. Yet they have this nagging feeling that something’s missing, they feel vaguely disconnected on a personal and spiritual level, or even dead inside as if they’re just going through the motions of somebody else’s life.
With my specialized training, personal journey, and (I’m told) my Jedi mind tricks, I work with men individually and in groups to rework those stories and the “no’s” they heard throughout their lives, so they can open up to who they really are as a man and call up the fire that creates a life authentically lived.
Here’s why I do this work. Maybe you can relate ….
One day in 2nd grade, I was picked up for a carpool ride with two other kids for our soccer game. My team was playing against the other kids’ team. As I got in the car the two kids said, “We’re going to beat your team because you’re a Jap!”
I was stunned. I froze and couldn’t speak. Whoever the parent was who was driving didn’t say anything. No one to say this was wrong - I was there alone, outnumbered sitting in the backseat while the two kids taunted me by making squinty eyes at me all the way to the game.
This was just the beginning of many years of taunts for being a “minority.” It wasn’t just other kids, it was all around me. The movie Gung Ho, a comedy about an American car plant being taken over by a Japanese corporation, portrayed the Japanese as effeminate and silly. Long Duck Dong as a foreign exchange student in Sixteen Candles further cemented the idea that Asian men were not “real men.”
I only remember one Asian role model - Bruce Lee. It was cool to have him kick ass and have non-Asians looking up to him. But we never saw him save the world. He was never the romantic lead who “got the girl." The Karate Kid may have highlighted my Japanese culture, but I just remember hearing kids repeating lines from the movie with a bad Japanese accent. (I didn’t have an accent and neither did any of my relatives.)
By the time I became a teenager I had developed a chip on my shoulder. I didn’t want to be called “Japanese-American.” I wanted to be called an “American.” I mean, why not? My family had immigrated here in the late 1800s; I was a 4th generation American! However, since I looked “different” I would never be called just an “American.”
So there was the ethnicity thing. Another thing about me that flew in the face of the “real man” code was that I had a sensitive side. I was taught to be a gentleman, open doors for women, be a good listener. I liked to have deep conversations. I had as many female friends as I did male friends. But the message I heard over and over growing up was that this wasn’t "cool."
I never felt like I could be a “real man,” because the role models weren’t like me. I knew I wasn’t ever going to be Rambo or Top Gun or Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Does this resonate with anything you experienced growing up - messages that you got that made you feel different, uncool, not a “real man”?
It wasn’t until I had my first job in Japan that I began to see that I was neither “Japanese” nor “American” but a unique blend of the two. I started feeling more pride for being both. I began to realize the many layers of being a man that are not necessarily defined by ethnicity, the movies, the other kids, or the messages I got from family.
After college, I spent more than a decade investigating myself and my own life’s path, opening up to this redefinition, or reclaiming, of myself as a man – and as a human being. I went through many different types of therapy, life coaching, hypnosis, vision quests and personal retreats, meditation, working and living abroad, shamanic journeying, and most recently, Hakomi training (somatic therapy).
It’s been a journey of freedom, to embrace more fully who I am. I’d spent so many years concerned with doing things the “right” way, playing by the rules - so many “shoulds” to try to fit in. It had tamped down my individuality and the fire inside me. I did work with my “shadow” which I call my inner Tyler Durden (from Fight Club).
More and more, I’ve been reintegrating my uniqueness. I’m bringing back my Japanese heritage and honoring it. I recently designed my own samurai sword and created an invocation ritual around it, starting a new tradition.
I have found what I was seeking, and what I believe many men are seeking: We want to be ‘free,’ to fully embrace who we are without question or apology. Just. Be. Us.
I believe in bringing out our own uniqueness. We do better, live fuller lives, feel more alive, when we express who we really are. Not to hold ourselves back because we’re worried that we’re not going to fit in or be accepted or because it is not the norm. That is exactly what we need. More expressions of the uniqueness and vastness of masculinity.
What does it mean to be a “real man”?
First off, screw that question. I don’t think there is such a thing as a “real man.” That question seems to be more limiting and ostracizing than it is empowering or defining. Instead, I want to explore the full spectrum and expression of masculinity.
This is the cornerstone of my work.
I bring these personal experiences and journeys, as well as my training as a therapist and professional life coach, to my work with men.
Are you in?
Let’s do this!
Professional and Life Cred
In addition to being a Professional Coach and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I continuously build on my professional skills and personal growth experiences.
Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University)
Advanced training in Existential-Humanistic Mindful Psychotherapy
The International Institute for Humanistic Studies
Advanced training in Psychosynthesis
Psychosynthesis Palo Alto
NLP Master Practitioner
NLP Institute of California
Professional Life Coach
NLP and Coaching Institute of California
Pro Skills 1 in Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy
Hakomi Institute of California
Participant of the Legacy Program
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science, Cum Laude
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo