Healing My Vietnam War Experience

Ted Kanamori

I know that everyone who sat in front of Divine Mother, experienced the pure unconditional Love that only God can give. I also am very fortunate to have experienced her Love personally. Never ever could I have imagined anyone could love me so much, because I was always searching for that love
my whole life.

I was born in an internment camp in Tule Lake, California at the end of World War II after which my paternal grandfather moved the whole family back to Japan. It must have been difficult for my young parents to survive in a country foreign to them and ravaged by war. Medical attention was mediocre since my father seemed to have suffered constantly from asthma. I contracted diphtheria and almost died as an infant. We lived in Japan until I was thirteen years old, and my memories of my childhood in Japan were not pleasant ones. I felt like an outcast, an American to the Japanese nationals, and an “enemy” to the American military dependents.

We also experienced a lot of disharmony and unhappiness between our parents. My two brothers and I often heard them fighting verbally as well as physically. I also witnessed my father’s infidelity with a live-in maid who did household chores in exchange for room and board. That was very painful and traumatic for me to see. My father was a very abusive man, and he repeatedly put me down, gloating that he was stronger, better looking, and that I would never make it in life without him. He did a lot to destroy my self-esteem. Due to his asthmatic condition, my father did not work much, and he stayed at home a lot. I never felt comfortable around him so my brothers and I would always try to spend as much time as possible playing outside of the house. During those times when my father felt better, he would try to teach us to play baseball, but he was very harsh with us and I can’t remember it ever being fun.

My mother was very kind and generous to us, as was her mother, my grandmother. In retrospect, my mother and grandmother provided my brothers and me with the love and stability we needed. Thanks also to my mom, who worked very hard, and had a good job with the US Navy, my brothers and I were fortunate enough to attend a private all-boys Catholic school. Though our religious backgrounds then differed from our parents, the religious education that we received also provided us with a sense of security and additional emotional support which we needed. My brothers and I had an altar of Jesus and the Virgin Mary in our home, and we would say our prayers there.

We moved back to California when I was thirteen, and joined my father who had returned to California a year earlier. He seemed to have settled down, working hard as a gardener, and he provided us with a nice home. The transition to life in America was difficult for me because I was painfully shy. It didn’t help that the new school I had to attend was co-ed. I still felt like an outcast, not belonging or fitting in with anyone, or anywhere. I felt discriminated against, both racially and socio-economically. Soon, our family structure started to deteriorate. My father, whose health seemed better, started up his infidelities again, and began to dig a huge financial hole with these endless investment schemes that had creditors hounding him. My parents divorced when my younger brother finished high school, and my brothers and I followed mom to Los Angeles. I attended college and worked part-time, but without much direction, getting average grades, and falling behind on class credits. That’s when the Army drafted me, and within six months, I wound up in Vietnam in 1967. It seemed unfair that someone weak and nerdy, and who had avoided confrontations and fights his whole life, could be forced into combat. I served only nineteen months in the service, fourteen of those months in Vietnam, a period in my life I desperately wanted to forget.

My experience in Vietnam filled me with shame because I told this sergeant that I couldn’t make it as a combat soldier. The killing and fighting so traumatized me that I really felt like I was going to lose it. I was thereafter transferred to headquarters and given a job as a supply clerk. I felt I disgraced myself and all the soldiers in Vietnam, and especially a friend who was killed, and another one who had been wounded four times. I couldn’t overcome my sense of failure and guilt for having been removed from the front lines. I kept this episode of my life completely sealed up within me, and I never, ever shared about Vietnam.

After Vietnam I returned to school, and the GI Bill helped me go to dental school. After graduating from dental school in 1975, I took a General Dentistry Residency at St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu for a year and decided to stay awhile because for the first time in my life, I felt I belonged somewhere. I met Gary Umeda through joint educational ventures and we became close friends. Today, he is my dearest friend, and he was indirectly responsible for my meeting with Divine Mother. Gary introduced Divine Mother to Fran, my mother-in-law, who, in turn, brought me to Divine Mother. I met her in 1983. I could see how Divine Mother had helped Fran, and Iris, my sister-in-law. I also wanted to meet her because I knew that Gary was also seeing her, and I had witnessed the positive changes that had occurred in him. From the first moment I met Divine Mother, she immediately made me feel so comfortable, and she understood me more than I understood myself.

I met my wife Wendy in an office where I worked after the hospital program. We got married in 1978. We moved to Maui where I established my own dental practice. We had two wonderful sons, my practice became very successful, and life was so good. I thought we would live happily ever after. It appeared that what I wanted all my life I had achieved, financial security and a healthy family life. Somehow, though, there was a void and I didn’t know how to fill it. As I struggled to find it externally through sports and hobbies, I became absent to my wife and my children. Wendy and I would come to Oahu from Maui once a month or so to sit with Divine Mother and the meditation group. She would lift whatever burdens we had accumulated from the last time we saw her. I was such a taker then, so unconscious of what she was really giving to me, just content to have her make me feel good. Wendy was at first very needy and required much attention and material fulfillment. She became very attached to our two children, and started to become attracted to other men. When she told me that night in 1990, that she had fallen in love with someone else, I was devastated! I didn’t sleep that night and waited until the next morning to call Divine Mother for help.

As I spoke to Divine Mother that morning in deep despair, I remember her telling me, “God loves you. He is your friend and companion. I love you.” I will never forget those words, but at that moment I didn’t truly appreciate the depth of love I had been given. All I knew was that my burden was lifted and I was able to carry out my work joyfully that day. Thereafter, I continued to plunge in and out of depression for a year or so. During the later part of that year, Divine Mother came to Maui and stayed at our home in Kula. I will always remember those two days as we sat before her, cherishing her every breath and word. I felt like her special child, assuring me of her love, as a mother would when her son is hurt. I felt so uplifted by her visit.

When I sat with Divine Mother for my first one-on-one, she took me to my heart and showed me that she was sitting in my heart. Then she said that Divine Mother wanted to shower me with unconditional Love. At that moment, I felt this warmth and a force so overwhelming that I began to cry like a baby. I have never ever experienced that kind of LOVE before. With every one-on-one with Divine Mother thereafter, I have always been blessed to experience this bliss, this incredible Love. Whenever I share this moment with others and every time I sit before Divine Mother, I become overwhelmed with this feeling of Love, and I am unable to stop crying.

For a long while I was still on the taking end and sitting on the sidewalk. When a newcomer opened her house in Maui to the spiritual family, I was shaken. This became the turning point for me, and with Gary’s help and mostly because of Divine Mother, the dam broke, and my protective walls surrounding Vietnam started to crumble. For the first time, I began to share about my experiences there. Divine Mother really helped me to totally change my feelings about my Vietnam experience. She gave me a one-on-one. During this one-on-one, Divine Mother took me back to Vietnam, and turned my whole experience there into a spiritual one. She helped me to say the mantra for all of the people involved in that war, and my healing began instantly. My shame and guilt were turned into deep compassion and love for all of the people who suffered and died in that war. Later, an old comrade from Vietnam whom I hadn’t seen for thirty years called me. He was ecstatic to find me. As I shared about the burden I carried and how it was miraculously lifted by Divine Mother, he was very happy to know that I had been healed of my scars. He also shared how worried he had been about me all those years.

During all of the intensives that Divine Mother conducted and I was privileged to attend, I discovered so many things about myself. I found that all my life I was weak, tried to please people and let everyone walk over me. From childhood, I tried to get attention by doing chores and being helpful because I felt unattractive and unworthy. At school, I felt so much pressure to please the teachers. I never felt good about myself. I was never smart enough. I struggled with myself for most of my life, and I hit bottom when my marriage went sour and I saw myself as a failure as a father, husband, and provider.

I am not the same person today as I was forty years ago, even five years or even one year ago. Thanks to Divine Mother, my healing has been incredible. My marriage has become stronger, and its foundation is based on loving God first. I have forgiven my wife and been able to develop a deep spiritual love for her that I did not have before. Through all of Divine Mother’s Love, and hard work with my wife, she also has changed so much, and now has greater respect and love for me, as well as for herself. Through God’s grace, we have both become better spouses to each other, and better parents to our children. We now understand each other, communicate openly, and have greater intimacy and closeness than ever before. I am a much stronger person now, more respectful of myself, and I have finally been able to be strong and shine the Light for my family, as Divine Mother asked me to do. I thank God for Divine Mother, for having equipped me with practical tools to take care of myself.

I have also been able to forgive my father, and I now have compassion and understanding for all of the suffering he experienced in his life. I have let go of my desire to have my mother share her life with me, and allow me to really get to know her. I love her and appreciate all that she tried to do for me when I was growing up. I would like to praise God by sharing my life with my children, my brothers, and anyone who needs hope that incredible changes can take place in life through the power of God’s Love. I am now happy for the life I had, for the journey of finding myself, and learning to love and respect my Godself.

​Thank you Divine Mother for your unconditional Love for me. Your gift of Love shines brightly in my heart, and has lit the way to finding myself. I am eternally grateful.