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Mind, body & soul

"Journeys to Wellness" symposium will offer a variety of ways to achieve balance in life

By Pat Gee

LAST UPDATED: 1:40 a.m. HST, Aug 24, 2013

Going to church, temple or any house of faith on a regular basis may take care of the soul, but the Rev. Wally Fukunaga, founder of the Sunrise Ministry Foundation, said his organization is trying to "broaden the landscape even more" and give the spirit a playground in which to frolic.

"We need meditation, exercise, whether it's yoga or tai chi. We need laughter, music and dance. We need a lot of stuff" to achieve "that wonderful balance of our mind, body, spirit and community," Fukunaga said.

For the third year, Sunrise and other interfaith ministries are sponsoring a "Journeys to Wellness" symposium Oct. 5, offering eight workshops on creative expression, forgiveness, healing with music, spreading joy with magic, meditation, reiki and hypnosis therapy. The event is designed to appeal to a variety of religious and cultural preferences because "everybody grew up a little different," and there are unlimited ways to achieve balance in life, Fukunaga said.

The Rev. Teruo Kawata, former conference minister of the United Church of Christ, will give the keynote address on "The Healing Power of Gaman," based on how he and other Japanese interned during World War II survived the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona. Fukunaga said "gaman" is the Japanese word that means "to persevere or to endure."

"Wellness has so many different possibilities, and one of them is that which pertains to not giving up. Don't let anything that happens to you, whether it's cancer, or whatever ailment it might be -- no give up! And know that there's something inside of us that has that will to live, that will to overcome, not only to survive but to create.

"That's how they built those gardens, and community centers, and other stuff going on. They didn't allow for the fact that they were being oppressed or thrown into what amounted to be a prison to determine who they are, but they decided to create their own destiny," Fukunaga said.


As an example of alternative ways to achieve wellness, Alan and Rosemary Goto will lead a workshop on the "Journey of Reiki," the Japanese technique of laying on of hands to bring relaxation and promote healing through energy. After introducing the basics of reiki, they will offer a five-minute treatment to anyone who would like to experience the various sensations of heat, coolness, vibrations or deep calm commonly reported by recipients.

"Generally, people get extremely relaxed. Reiki bring balance to their body, and when it's balanced, the body can heal itself," said Rosemary Goto, who treats patients at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children as a volunteer. She said reiki is meant to "complement what the doctors are doing."

"I never go into it with the intention that reiki is going to cure this person, ever. It brings healing, but not necessarily curing. Reiki will go to the root cause of why they have a condition, and it could be physical, mental, spiritual or emotional,"•Goto said.

"I'm a Buddhist; however, reiki has nothing to do with any belief systems, including religions," she added.

Husband Alan Goto said he gives himself reiki treatment before falling asleep every night.

"My first exposure to reiki was as a child when I'd go out and get hurt or get a bee sting or something, and immediately run home, and my mom would do a reiki treatment on that owie or whatever. I didn't know anything more (about reiki) than that.

"To a greater extent, I guess it was just Mom's love for me," Goto said. But the result was "relief, less pain and less swelling."

For Alan Goto, also a Buddhist, the most important aspect of reiki is that the energy involved does not come from the individual. "The energy comes from the universe and we're like conduits, like (garden) hoses. As the practitioners, we're not in control of where it goes, how it heals or how it calms. The wisdom of reiki does that."


Arna Johnson, a quantum healing hypnosis therapist since 2010, will lead a workshop on "The Journey of Paying Attention to One's True Self." A former photographer, Johnson is also a kahu (specialist) in Hawaiian lomi lomi massage.

"Among other things, I clear blocks of energy in people's minds, bodies and spirits, including homes and businesses through lomi lomi, the practice of blessings, quantum healing hypnosis therapy, feng shui and 'dissolving the ego' workshops," she said.

At the October event, Johnson said she will take a look at ways people can shed negativity to live happier, healthier lives.

"There are different kinds of blocks of energy that we create in our own environment through our thoughts. We tell ourselves that we're not good enough, we're not rich enough, not pretty enough, skinny enough, and the list goes on and on. And our bodies feel it and believe it as well, therefore creating illness,"•she said. "It affects our physical body, the space around us; it affects how we walk through our world because our decisions are based on lack and fear."

Professionally Johnson has conducted more than 100 hypnosis therapy sessions. "This is where your higher self answers all the questions that this individual has brought," she said.

"I actually get to have a conversation with your higher self during the sessions. It's different from your conscious mind. This other voice comes through and we are beautiful beings of light. This is in our soul; our spirit is all light," Johnson said.

"We are quieting that ego mind chatter, and as we do that, we become lighter and lighter and lighter, and we become direct channels so that the spirit world can work together with us. The divine spirit -- meaning our God, meaning our kupuna, our aumakua, our ancestors, all those who have come before us and are here to help us, they can assist us to make better, empowering choices," she said.

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