By Tim Tunks
I love living in my southeast corner of Ocean Park. I enjoy a walkable neighborhood with century-old artisan homes, shops, and small businesses nearby. After 45 years here I have come to know several shop and business owners, some of whom share occasional lunches with me at one of the interesting restaurants within a 10 minute walk. I often poke my head around certain stores just to tell them the joke or riddle of the day.
After Kari Morioka opened her KM Crystals shop around the corner from my house, I stopped by to greet her and introduce myself as a longtime neighbor who wanted her interesting shop to thrive as another local asset. Showcasing hundreds of different crystal objects, some in their natural earthen dies and others fashioned into pretty shapes, she has created something that is so much more than just a fancy gift shop.
My own relationship with crystals began when I built my first crystal radio receiver with its tuning coil – a roll of discarded toilet paper neatly wrapped with fine wire. This was my Cub Scout project almost 70 years ago, and it revealed the resonant properties of crystals when I adjusted the “cat’s whisker” for better reception.
I told Kari how her crystalline surroundings warmed my heart with memories of my mother’s collection of natural crystals lined on her windowsills. She smiled and said, “You know, there are so many different reasons that bring people to the store. but they usually all comment on how good it feels here. And that really means a lot to me.
She became fascinated with crystals of all kinds not too long ago and developed a sensitivity to the energy they stimulate. Originally from Hawaii, she emigrated east to earn two degrees from Harvard University, then returned to her old high school. Kari’s intention was to become a school counselor, but her former dean encouraged her to spend a few years teaching first.
“By getting a taste for being with students on a daily basis, I found my home,” Kari told me. “I have been a teacher for 25 years, a career that has given me a deeper understanding of the importance and value of history. I have gone from teaching a subject to discovering personal and universal truths through the sharing of our lived experiences.
“How did you get from that career to where you are now?” I asked.
“The pivotal decision in my life was to move to Los Angeles in 2006 and attend a massage school. There I learned the relationship between my mind, my emotions and my physical body – quite simply – our bodies tell our stories. stories. Our biology is our biography. As a massage therapist, I learned how our bodies reflect our histories and life experiences. My later studies in craniosacral relaxation with Jorei and Reiki, two traditional energy healing practices Japanese people, taught me to recognize and honor the energies of people’s stories and to hold space for the energies to unfold and unfold. I became a subscriber to the understanding that everything is energy and our choices determine how our energy is expressed. I took what I learned and adapted it for the middle and high school students I taught.
“I loved it,” she continued. “Everything in my life seemed to have led me to do what I was doing. The school gave me the opportunity to work part-time with some lessons in the morning. It really opened the door to possibility. I I found an outlet in Westwood and set up shop there. It was wonderful. I sat in a circle in the morning with my students and sat in my crystal sanctuary in the afternoon. The location of Westwood didn’t provide lasting sales, but it did provide experience, community, and yes, sharing more stories!People came and shared their lives with me, and I shared mine with The combination of these two worlds was magical.
“And what brought you to my part of the world?” I asked.
“I decided to move somewhere that would give me more exposure. I knew I wanted to be in Santa Monica, but I didn’t know where. I was driving by one day and saw a sign on the I felt my shop would complement what already existed.I moved in March last year on a Wednesday and the following Monday we had to close due to the Safer-At-Home order.
“I had time to set up and nurture the energy that I wanted to share with the public. By the time we opened our doors in July 2020 and people felt comfortable going out again, the shop felt great. He felt ready to be shared. The best advice I received for preparing for the opening was from my wife: “Feed the store’s conscience. Everything else will fall into place. And that’s what I did and continue to do every day. I ask to be grounded in love, gratitude and service – to tune into the energy of the shop and go from there.
“And the crystals?
“They too hold and tell stories. They are a vibrational expression of what happened millions of years ago. The wisdom they offer is nature’s gift to us. Some people are in tune with their energy, others simply love their beauty. Either way, there is a shared experience. Crystals help us return to our natural state of love and well-being,” Kari explained.
Sensing a bit of skepticism in my manner, she added, “I have a friend, a scientist, who doesn’t believe in the metaphysical aspect of crystals. She underwent surgery and a mutual friend suggested using crystals as part of her rehab. She accepted my offer to pair two crystals. While she won’t outright admit the crystals played a role in her recovery, she said she did notice that she felt better. Adhere or not, ultimately the laws of nature will govern the flow of energy.
Over several months I offered Kari advice on lighting and display devices – design and lighting was my profession until I retired. We worked together and it was a most satisfying experience for both of us.
Kari added, “My community continues to grow and the stories continue to be shared. It was an absolute joy getting to know the neighborhood personalities and learning their stories, especially you, Tim. And thanks to your creativity and expertise in lighting and design, the shop is beautifully illuminated and the crystals are displayed in a unique way. I know the light that helps show their beauty will ultimately broaden the scope of crystal stories and help people be with themselves.
KM Crystals Shop is located at 3006 Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica, 310-775-1285, kmcrystalshop.com