Welcome to OurBestVersion.com.
My name is Ari Koinuma, and I am a Japanese-born, US-based blogger, musician, and entrepreneur.
This site is a manifestation of my long-time passion to share the rich lessons and discoveries that I draw out of my life.
How It All Started
I’ve always been very interested in psychology and human development. One of my early aspirations was to become a teacher. In my family, I was the oldest of three boys and have always been good at taking care of younger kids. And whenever our extended family would gather, I was the one put in charge of all the kids. So my mentoring/nurturing instincts were honed from pretty early on. I took three classes on psychology in college: the intro, developmental psychology and counseling psychology, which further whet my appetite for knowledge in this field.
Broken and Rebuilt
I would say my own adolescent years were ordinarily turbulent. There were some years where I oscillated between being high and elated and being “depressed.” By that, I don’t mean clinically depressed just being down, insecure, and doubtful about myself and my future. In my extreme lows there were moments where I made sure I wouldn’t go near a knife or any other sharp objects, for fear that I would hurt myself. So perhaps that’s not “normal” occasionally but as I grew these episodes stabilized. I think it was just the case of my having a depression-prone personality.
I met a woman of my dreams in college and got married right afterward and here, life took an unexpected turn and everything I knew about myself and psychology were brought out to use. My new wife plunged into a very severe depression. Over a course of a year or so, she went from a smart and able young woman to sobbing and unstable little child. The most severe stage lasted for about 3 years, though I would say the recovery took another 3 years or so after that for her to reach a “normal” range of stability. This was a brutal wake-up call that really demanded more resources than I really had at the time. I consider it somewhat of a miracle that we lived through it and came out on the other side. My wife has made a complete recovery and today she is a strong and smart woman and a wonderful mother.
Her healing process was not just hers, but mine also. Though I always thought that I was a very self-aware person, I had problems and compromises within my psyche that I didn’t know I had. Our struggle with the depression dug up a lot of scars and made new ones in me, and I wasn’t sure what to do with them.
The Turning Point
In 2003 our first child was born, and I also consider that day to be my turning point. A new life with its built-in unconditional love was trusted into my arms, and as I did my part to raise her, I began to use the parenting process to heal the deep-set wounds inside me at the same time.
My life since then has been a series of dramatic changes, always for the better. My income doubled in 2 years, and still growing fast. We got rid of our debts. Both my wife and I gained tremendous confidence, as we shed all the things we don’t need and learn to focus on the important things. Our second child, a son, was born in late 2006, and we now have a very full life in St. Paul, Minnesota. I feel more confident, strong and stable than ever.
Where My Needs and the World’s Needs Meet
Throughout my adult life, I’ve been trying and failing to make a living as a musician. I now understand why I haven’t been successful at what I always believed was my calling, and I’ve made great progress in removing road blocks within me.
On the other hand, my interest and desire to help other people heal and grow their inner self remained. Now equipped with the first-hand experience and knowledge of a survivor, I feel that I am in a position to make a great contribution in this arena. In the pursuit of my own self actualization, I’ve been exploring a way to utilize everything that is uniquely my own my Japanese background, my love of music, my experience in mental health, and my skills as a web professional.–>
Blogging Delivers My Message
I discovered blogging around 2002-2003, and I did it on and off as a personal diary/journal tool. But even when I was doing it purely for personal reasons, my entries were filled with my observations on life and lessons I drew from them. Then I discovered Steve Pavlina, and from there Darren Rowse, and I realized that blogging can be used as a delivery mechanism of what I have to offer to the world.
As of this writing, I am preparing a plan to build a blogging business to deliver both my music and my writing on the issues of psychological healing and growth, first in English and then in Japanese. OurBestVersion.com is the first initiative that grew out of my new business plan.
My vision is to:
- Realize my potential as a professional musician and blogger, and
- Leverage the knowledge gained from #1 to mentor and empower others to heal, grow, and realize their potential.
My Approach and Disclaimer
Everything on this site is my personal opinion. I am not a professional or licensed therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist, so keep that in mind as you read my posts. I do believe that there is a tremendous value in lay people sharing their personal experience with illnesses and diseases — and depression is no exception. I hope my tales will offer you hope and insights, but do not mistake it for a professional advise.
At heart, I am a very intuitive person. I can and do write from more left-brained, logical point of view, but all the observations and theories originate from my intuition. Because I am an amateur psychologist, it actually frees me up to discuss unverified hypothesis and speculations, much more so than trained professionals. This is also a place where I feel that I have something to offer — instead of having to wait for researches to verify my theories, I can state what I know to be true from my personal experience. If you are a psychologist and need to correct or refute any of my claims, I welcome you to do so.
Take a Walk with Me
Thanks again for reading what I have to say. I hope you choose to stay in touch by subscribing (RSS or email). If you like modern rock, please also check out my music.
I hope you become who you mean to be. Best wishes to you.
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