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Email: info@honolulumyohoji.org

Guided by the hope of St. Nichiren, we continue to work towards a peaceful society. Honolulu Myohoji Mission collaborates with Psychologist Dr. Yukari Kunisue, a trained and experienced therapeutic life coach, to offer a safe online space: Dr. Yukari’s Listening Lounge

 


Linda Apo and her sister copyright: Forgiveness Project

 

Linda Apo was born and raised in Hawaii until she became a young adult. Since her parents divorced, she had decided to move with her dad to the mainland USA. A long time had passed until she reunited with her mom and siblings. With Hawaii being a mixing pot of cultures, her mixed-race background was never a target of racial discrimination. It wasn’t until she left Hawaii when she began to experience racial discrimination. 

 

As a way of easing her pain she began to use drugs throughout her teens, committed credit card scam and even ended up stealing in order to support her habit. Later, she made her way back to Hawaii but she was unable to find a stable job due to her inability to shake her addiction. She had several unsuccessful marriages and unwanted pregnancies. She even found herself in jail due to her repeated drug-related crimes leaving her four children scattered amongst relatives. 

 

During my time in Hilo, I met many recovering drug users as a part of my training as a substance abuse counselor. More than half of my classmates at Hawaii Community College were recovering addicts. I met someone similar to Linda on a weekly basis at AA and NA meetings. During this experience, I easily related to Linda’s story. 

 

Due to her own efforts along with support she received from a religious group, Linda came to realize that she was not only a victim of other people’s wrong-doings but also became a perpetrator to other people’s sufferings. She was unknowingly causing pain to her children, parents, siblings, and close friends. By being in and out of prison herself, she increased her burden on society. Linda also found it difficult to forgive people who caused pain to her and her father. On the other hand, what she found more difficult was to admit that she herself, caused pain to others. 

 

The act of becoming aware of the pain we can cause others is seen as a courageous act. By having this awareness, it is important to channel this perspective to forgive ourselves for the things we did, along with the things we neglected to do. Previously, I learned that the word “forgive” consists of two parts: “for” and “give”. The etymology teaches us that “for” means completely, with “forgiveness” meaning give forward completely. As a lesson, we can understand that Linda and the young Okinawan girls took the first step into awareness by understanding our individual power to for-give.

 

Forgiveness Project: 

http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/linda-apo-marilyn-vierra-hawaii-usa/