Feeling Grateful

Last weekend, I found out that a friend of someone close to me had a stroke. This woman is somewhere in her mid-40’s with 2 beautiful daughters. We went to visit her in the hospital and were shocked to see her partially paralyzed with slurred speech. She’s a pretty spunky lady, so we expect she’ll recover, and we hope she’ll adjust her lifestyle to prevent future problems.

As we left, I stood in the lobby of the ICU and just observed everything happening. Plenty of people got wheeled by, unconscious, with tubes and machines, and nurses dressed all in blue carting them off somewhere. Not only the patients, but also the visitors of various patients, appeared quite overweight. At that very moment, I felt intensely blessed for my health, and blessed that the people I love are in generally great health too. If we could all just take better care of ourselves on a day to day basis, we could prevent so many illnesses.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to have my mother in the hospital from a stroke, especially if I had to go through that as a woman entering my 20’s. It would be devastating. Thank God my parents are both well. I’m sending my prayers for this other mom’s speedy recovery.

I’m rich beyond belief

Monday night, Sept. 26th, 2005 changed me in a profound way. I went to give a private cooking lesson for a family whose patriarch is suffering from cancer. We had our cooking lesson, and I left the house really in a daze. Suddenly, I realized that I have everything that I could possibly need. I have my health, my boyfriend, my friends, my family, enough money to pay my bills and get by. I have a roof over my head and a job with good people. I have people who trusted me for no reason and invited me to teach at their schools or to work in their homes. The stars were brighter, the musical notes more articulated, and the air more quenching. The next morning, I woke up and felt ALIVE. I felt grateful for everything and everyone around me and in my life. There is so much to be thankful for. Thank you to the people in my life who have given so much to me. Thank you to this family for their beauty and lifeforce.

Things that have been happening lately

I can’t believe how long it has been since posting my last message. I have emails to send to people that I’ve neglected…. One of those people, if she’s out there reading, is in Europe! I think about her often, and will write soon!

Where does the time go? Since my last posting, I have been working really hard. I’ve been doing lots of cooking lessons, which seem to be going very well. I’m so encourgaged by the turn out. For example, one that I did in Kailua, HI brought in close to 70 people. I nearly fainted when I “went on stage”. It’s only through macrobiotics that I have come out of my shy clamshell to find less fear about public speaking. I have more confidence, and I also have genuine passion about this topic that I want to share with everyone.

My other cooking classes have been filling up too. These have been more hands-on instead of demonstrations, so the students really get a lot more out of it. Even as an English teacher, I’ve had a strong inclination towards experiential learning.

One of the weekly classes is through the local Adult Education program. The local highschools open up at night for a variety of courses with things like Magic, yoga, Italian, French, ukelele lessons, Tai Chi, crocheting, faberge egg decorating, and pretty much anything else under the sun that you can think of. I love that it’s affordable and accessible to people who can REALLY benefit from wholefoods and macrobiotic principles. Tonight we had our second class, and so far, the students (with all varying ages, ethnicities, and life experiences)again remarked on the ingredients, the changes they made in just one week, how easy the food is to cook, and how delicious they feel the food is. I’m so pleased!

One of my other fun things has been bringing vegan and vegan-macro potlucks to the community. We have the Veg Society of HI and the UH Veg club people attending and a handful of macrobiotic people too. Recently, a sweet and lovely woman named Kaori came from Japan for a short work-related visit. She’s a student of my teacher’s, the Naka’s, and so I got to meet her and spend time at a party. She’s so sweet and wonderful!

The potlucks fill a gap felt by many. Several people remarked to me through the evening how they opt not to go to social events because they can’t fathom the thought of being around meat cooking on the grill…. Or that they find themselves withdrawing from friends they had before and making new friends who share a similar lifestyle. I’m glad that I can offer an opportunity for others to network and share something that we all feel passionate about.

I’ve been making some waves in Honolulu with macrobiotics. People overall have been extremely willing to listen…. Even those who are not so interested wnat to come to the potlucks and partake in the gourmet vegan food made with love and friendly conversation. Like Hiroyuki taught me, a strong headwind (obstacle) can suddenly change and become a tailwind!

My dear friend

Originally uploaded by macro808.

My long-time friend, Reni, came all the way from Japan to Poultney, VT for our conference. It was so great to be in her aura again. I love her so much! When life gets rough, and people look at me like a counter culture weirdo, I can count on her to bring me back to reality. We share the same language, yin and yang.
Thanks for your friendship, Reni.

Zen Retreat Leader

Originally uploaded by macro808.

When I was in Japan, I met Danjou-san, the amazing and incredible monk who tends Saijouji temple near Hiroshima, Japan. He came to the American Macrobiotic Summer Conference and he blew me away. This man is magical and talented. He played guitar with the band, chanted for all, danced to his heart’s content, and despite language barriers, talked with whomever he could. He’s such a wonderful person.

Summer Conference 2005

I just got back on Sunday,July 31st, from the 21st Annual Kushi Summer Macrobiotic Conference. My flight landed in Albany, and my wonderful friend Julie picked me up and took me back to her house where we hung out for a couple of days. It was so great seeing her, spending time on her property, and also with her family. She has two boys that are loving and affectionate, so I got lots of hugs, which was wonderful. One day we spent at the lake BBQing, swimming, boating, and eating lots of summer foods. It was a perfect summer day. They are always really kind about trying to accomodate my macrobiotic diet. Julie even made brown rice and veggies for me for breakfast. I was so happy.

Upstate NY is just gorgeous with vast amounts of space that blew me away. After living in Japan and Hawaii, seeing all this space and the huge homes was novel and exciting. The planter baskets, corn fields, and long stretches of empty road on a hot day were breathtaking.

She dropped me back off at the airport in Albany, where I took a shuttle to Poultney, VT. This was my second conference, and my first experience as a volunteer. My job was to work in the cooking classes as an assistant which meant lots of prepping veggies and making sure that the teacher had everything he or she needed. There was a lot of work, so there was little time to attend sessions. One great part of the cooking classes was meeting and assisting Michael Marcus, the owner of Bizen, a restaurant in MA. He’s a sushi chef, and makes wonderful creative sushi. Other good teachers who I assisted were Warren Kramer, Dawn Black, and Chef Sato. All had interesting information to teach the students, and made delicious foods. There were many other teachers, but I wasn’t able to work with them directly. Someone taught the most delicious steamed cake I have ever eaten. One would never have guessed that it wasn’t baked. Steaming cakes and cookies is much better for one’s health than baking. Baked flour wreaks havoc on our intestines! (I’m happy to say that I avoided the baked flour in the cafe successfully. That place has wonderful baked goods and food in general. It’s a true highlight of the conference.)

When I did have time outside of the work, I spent it going to the teacher’s conference, where I got to network with a lot of people, ask questions, and feel inspired by the great people there.

I also got to know several people just through volunteering and also through meeting them at meal times. I made some great new friends. That was wonderful too. Paige and I took one free afternoon to swim in a nearby lake. We had such a dynamic conversation. She is a dynamic, intelligent, beautiful person who reminds me of a cousin of mine (also dynamic, intelligent, and beautiful)!

The food they served all the 500 attendees was quite good and now that I am back home, I feel relaxed, my skin is clear, and other bodily functions are running smoothly. A macro diet is just amazing! It transformed me in just about one week and brought me back to center again.

Who knows whether the conference will be at the same place next year or not, but the town itself is very quaint, comfortable, and fun. The main street has everything you need, from the post office, to the pharmacy, wine shop and deli, used book store, laundromat, library, gas station, grocery store, antique shops, etc. It’s all green and lush, and people have flowers overflowing from planters lining the entire street.

If you have a chance to go to next summer’s conference, I highly recommend it. I can’t wait!