My History with Macrobiotics


My History with Macrobiotics
: It all started in   Mt Sinai Hospital Toronto, Canada September 1977. I , or perhaps more accurately said, my soul was floating above my bed looking down at my sleeping body. The doctors had misdiagnosed an appendix attack. My appendix  subsequently burst and  there I found myself  above my ripped open body with  tubes draining my abdomen below. My new rising reality was such a great feeling¾ free flying, smiling, higher and higher, up an away into the tunnel of darkness… when I heard a voice “What are you doing? –get back in your body-You have work to do.” My startled self squeezed myself back in my body. I woke up the next morning and said to myself:

Ok it’s time to take my life into my own hands. After 6 weeks of tests, an unnecessary exploratory surgery, I was released from the hospital a week before my Birthday Oct 31.

I moved to New York City in March 1978 to pursue my music career and began searching for a Tai Chi Chuan  teacher to help me improve my health.

My History with Macrobiotics

Tai Chi Grandmaster C.K. Chu

After my first 3 years of studying Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Nei Kung  and Taoist meditaion with Grandmaster C.K Chu-practicing 5 hrs /day, I found myself wanting to more about how “Chi travelled through the body. Master Chu was the first person to introduce me to Yin/Yang and foods. He saw me eating  at a buffet and commented how it was good that I was eating  eggs  to balance the yin effect of  the large proportion of salad on my plate.

My History with Macrobiotics

My History with Macrobiotics

Water Ohashi Creator of Ohashiatsu- inspired me to develop Zen-Touch ™ Shiatsu

In order to learn more about meridians and this asian practices, I started studying Shiatsu with Wataru Ohashi.

In 1981 I took my first Oriental diagnosis class and learned about my Sanpaku (condition of the eyes and nervous system) and asked how do I change this both fascinating and scary situation. Ohashi referred me to George Ohsawa’s book, “You Are All Sanpaku” . Ohsawa said you can heal any health condition in 7 days.

My History with Macrobiotics

My History with Macrobiotics

Gepkes Ohsawa- Father of Macrobiotics

So I was now on NO.7 diet- Brown Rice – A very crazy thing to do considering my intensely active physical regime. 2 hrs Tai Chi in the morning, riding my bike from Brooklyn to Manhattan, Cleaning Apartments, practicing drums followed by 3 hrs of Chi classes rehearsing with my band at night and then riding back to Brooklyn. After 3 months my sanpaku was better but not good enough for me. I went to the Kushi Institute in Boston to study Macrobiotics as well. My Friend Barbara arranged for me to stay in one of the 10 or so Macrobiotic “Study houses” where people cooked, discussed and lived Macrobiotics  while studying  at the KI.

My first night there, Michio Kushi –The  Macrobiotic man of the day gave a lecture and Barbara said –go up to him ask and him about yourself. I nervously approached him and said, Mr Kushi is there any light you can shed on my Sanpaku condition. He took my palms in his, looked , smiled, raised his eyes to mine and said- Don’t worry, it will take a long time to change this physical feature. “What you must be more careful of is your love affairs.”

michio-copy

Leading Macrobiotic Founder in America (East Coast)

My History with Macrobiotics
 


We all come from Infinity
We all live within Infinity
We shall all return to Infinity
We are all manifestations of one Infinity

We are all brothers and sisters of one Infinite universe
Let us Love each other,
Let us help each other
Let us all encourage each other
Let us all together continue to realize the endless dream of one peaceful World

 We are always one forever
                                    – Michio Kushi

 

 

My History with Macrobiotics

Later after studying palm diagnosis, what he said made more sense to me, but for now I was confused. The next morning I took a Shiatsu class with Shizuko Yamamoto. WOW!!! This  woman did some dangerous looking shiatsu. I soon understood why when she asked for a volunteer, nobody said anything and some people even hid from her gaze as she selected a subject from the room. She would walk, jump, pull and throw a person’s body until they concluded how strong they must be to survive such a forceful treatment.  It was clear how she integrated her Aikido background into hands on Healing. She took one look at me and said: YOU are too strict. Go out and eat some chicken tonight. Be wider. You are not absorbing the nutrients of your new way of eating.

shizuko-yamamoto-1986-kiental-sui-a

Shizuko Yamamoto Founder of Barefoot Macrobiotic Shiatsu

shizuko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After further studies with her over the years I witnessed how she had a heart of gold. Shizuko loved Macrobiotics. Her students and clients were family for her. She lived in NYC and I would bring my Shiatsu clients to see her. She taught me how to recognize peoples’ health conditions in very specific ways through touch. e.g.  what a fatty cyst in the intestines or ovaries felt like, or how to feel a person’s sensitivity to sugar based on the feeling of their supra spinatus back muscles- skills I never got from Group classes.

My History with Macrobiotics

Since 1967, Bill Tara’s modernized view of Macrobiotics in every day living continues to inspire people globally

 

I travelled between NYC, Boston and Becket to study with Michio and Aveline  Kushi as well as other senior teachers, like Bill Tara, Marc Van Cawenberge, Denny Waxman, Michael Rosoff, Geraldine and Stan Walker, Murray Syder, Bill Spear Steve Gagne and John Mann..

At the very popular Macrobiotic Center in New York City, I sat in on sessions either taking notes for the client consultations with the teachers listed above or acting as a consultation assistant answering questions for the clients after their counseling sessions. Cancer and  A.I.D.S. were the most common symptoms at that time. Michio was surrounded by cancer.  From my perspective now, it seems he would have had to developed high consciousness and health practices to avoid the ill effects of the environment that his life revolved around. “Cancer” perhaps became both a conscious and subconscious Mantra  surrounding the Kushi environment.

A fascinating quality to Michio’s consultations (my favorite of all the counselors) was that he changed his personality for every client. Sometimes he was very stern and emphasized discipline. Other times he was humorous and very light. One East Indian man older than Michio had prostate cancer. After following Macrobiotics, he was in remission. He asked Michio in a timid  little boy’s voice.  “Michio may I have milk.” Michio came over to him, hugged him like a loving mother and said “yes my little Indri (his name) you have been such a good boy you can have a cup of organic milk every day. Indri responded like a little boy who had been given the greatest gift. “Oh Michio Thank-You I am so happy.”

Michio was surprisingly very wide in his recommendations to most people. My earliest almost hypocritical observation was that the books written on Macrobiotics were so “anal lytical” compared to the attitudes  and recommendations of real consultations.  Those narrow diets described in most Macrobiotic Books, were only recommended for brief periods of time. I learned from assisting Macrobiotic Consultations sessions that a narrow diet could shrink tumors in the beginning, but if carried on for too long, the tumors would become too concentrated –too  hard to ever fully disappear. The timing of narrow approaches and widening a person’s diet are very important.

History with Macrobiotics

Another important observation was that eating too narrow for too long made people too sensitive to certain foods. One woman who healed her cancer through Macro recommendations couldn’t even eat a handful of raisins without breaking out in red pimples on her face. Steve Gagne, her counselor, recommended 1 raisin a week for a month, then 2 raisins/week for the next  month and continuing in this fashion to help her body adapt to raisins and other foods as well.

At the time Blue Green Algae was  becoming a popular recommendation(and big money maker) for a couple of Michio’s Senior Counselors. The stricter Macro folk asked Michio, “Is Blue Green Algae Macrobiotic? It too yin!”  Michio rarely replied immediately. Instead he asked for our opinions. After about 20 minutes of  heated discussions around it’s too Yin or too Yang and various other pros and cons Michio said, “Everything can be Macrobiotic. If it helps one’s health and supports their Dream/Life purpose then it is Macrobiotic.”

A student friend of mine was serving coffee and donuts at the local Mr. Donut shop near the Kushi Institute to pay her way through one of the levels.  To her surprise Michio came in and had his favorite Honey Glazed donut and coffee. She had just heard him talk the night before on healthy Macrobiotic food. She approached him and said. “Excuse me,  are you Mr Kushi?” He replied, “yes” and she said:  “I saw you last night  giving an inspiring talk on Macrobiotic food- how can you eat donuts and coffee?” He smiled and replied, Macrobiotics is about balancing food and lifestyle while being being both free and conscious of the effects of our choices.’

My History with Macrobiotics

Michio was also very intuitive. He once guessed   a man’s  exact cholesterol level just by looking at him. At a teacher’s conference, each of the teachers came up one at a time to the front of the room and the rest of us were supposed to offer diagnosis and recommendations.  Adelbert Nelison  came up and said he had been having a rash after some digestive difficulty. Michio asked everyone to look at Adelbert and guess: “What was he eating” Nobody could figure it out. Michio looked at him for one minute and said 3 weeks ago you had shellfish- scallops and shrimp in soup. Adelbert was astonished and said yes it was after a boating trip he ate this and that is when his symptoms started.

It seemed Michio was his most inspired during the spiritual seminars. He would lead discussions an topics like “what is fear? How to die? What is the yin/yang explanation for how fish could come from rain. Why is the sky blue? He always elicited  answers from the participants instead of just giving us information.

One night we were assessing the “Gospel according to Thomas” while comparing it to the Tao te Ching and Michio would ask us what the different phrases in the book meant if one considered Yin/Yang philosophy.

At one point he diverged and began talking about the different  personality characteristics of Thomas, Mary Magdelan and the other disciples. I assumed he was using intuition in stating these very specific details. A friend who was more curious than myself, asked Michio after the discussion how he knew so much about these people. He replied” I was there”

My History with Macrobiotics

Adeline Kush~her common phrase “so delicious” is imprinted in my Macrobiotic memory

While Michio was somewhat of a wizard-like inspiration, Aveline Kushi was more like the earthy  wise woman. When she chanted in a group, her voice infiltrated all the different frequencies of the group. She was so powerful. AND such a great cook. She loved to inspire people to make healthy creative dishes. Her cooking classes were so motivating because of her radiating enthusiasm for the deliciousness of well prepared Macro dishes.

My History with Macrobiotics

Seeing Lima Ohsawa, Aveline Kushi and Shizuko Yamamoto together was an experience that lives in me forever. Lima’s stories of her and George Ohsawa in Africa with Albert Schweitzer, curing infectious diseases with miso soup, grains and Macrobiotic fare were miraculous. She reminded us of Macrobiotics simplicity by saying that,  from the natives to Ohsawa himself, when people got sick she always asked “Do I give Yin or Yang?”

My History with Macrobiotics

Macrobiotic Matriarch Lima Ohsawa and Barefoot Shiatsu Founder Shizuko Yamamoto

My History with Macrobiotics

 

My History with Macrobiotics

Cornelia Amhara Macrobiotic leader on West Coast

These women along with Cornelia Aihara embodied the essence of both powerful will and feminine receptivity.

I had brief but very important lessons with Herman Amhara,  and some of the following teachers after I moved to the West Coast.

My History with Macrobiotics

My History with Macrobiotics

Herman Amhara West Coast Macrobiotic Leader

 

My History with Macrobiotics

Noburo Muramoto Macrobiotic Pioneer in California-Author of best selling Book -Healing Ourselves

My History with Macrobiotics

Noburo Muramoto, who fathered 2 beautiful girls after the age of 70 and continued to make miso and other traditional Macrobiotic products  commercially in his home in Vista CA where we had many potlucks until his peaceful death wrote Healing Ourselves -a classic and perhaps my favorite book of Macrobiotic literature.

History with Macrobiotics

Cecil Levine- Leading Macrobiotic Counselor Teacher in Los Angeles

Cecil Levine who carried the Macrobiotic message to Los Angeles and was often criticized for her diligent practice of Yin/Yang, was for me a blessing of open mindedness (outside the realm of food preparation for her wide range of clients). She was so dedicated to helping people heal themselves as she did (from leukemia). I remember how receptive she was to what I thought she might have called my “Yin” style of Shiatsu. On the contrary she was a sponge for Zen-Touch™ Shiatsu.

My History with Macrobiotics

Michel Abehsera who edited Healing Ourselves with Noburo Muramoto and authored Zen Macrobiotic Cooking as well as many other Macrobiotic books brought another color to Macrobiotics. He contributed a strong influence in New York,  France and Israel. Rather than teach Macrobiotics, he initiated discussion and shared  stories ranging from different views on food, lifestyle and culture to monogamy and polygamy within Macrobiotic  philosophy. Similar to Michio, he instilled the spirit of self discovery.

michel-abehsera History with Macrobiotics

Michel Abehsera- Macrobiotic Innovator, Author of Zen Macrobiotic Cooking

I am so grateful to have experienced the wisdom of these teachers first hand. This wide range of influence has helped me and the people I influence  to cultivate intuition into Macrobiotic practice.
While many of the original Macrobiotic teachers have passed on, their spirit lives within me and and in writing this article I realize that I have been and will always dedicate my life to pass on the experiential learning style that was shared with me by them.

I am continually  inspired by the interest of Macrobiotics in Czech Republic where I now reside. America, where Macrobiotics was once so popular has almost completely lost its original  interest in this lineage of healing that is so dear to my heart. I am amazed  how so many people in Czech Republic seem to embrace Macrobiotics  almost in a karmic memory way, as if the consciousness of the teachers mentioned above has migrated to this beautiful country that still senses the benefits of and expresses the importance of seasonal natural living. See Resources in Czech Republic

 History with Macrobiotics

            Some of my Conclusions on the Macrobiotic Way

  • Macrobiotics is a flexible and highly sophisticated system of applying food and lifestyle principles that is best studied with teachers of experience . Use books for supplemental purposes.
  • Intuition combined with acknowledging the 7 levels of 1) Dis-ease, 2) Vital Health and 3) Consciousness will create practical guidance for integrating Macrobiotics into daily living.
  • All diseases and their Cures are manifestations of a distortion in the natural flow of the Forces of Nature (Yin/Yang and 5 seasons)
  • By changing the energy flow through different foods, their preparations and lifestyle, disease disappears and Vital health results.
  • There are no bad foods. Each food has energetic properties that when understood can be used to enhance the development of our Dreams and Life Purpose or not.
  • Grains (both a seed and a fruit in one Whole istic form)- with their almost magic like effects, nourish the body mind and soul perhaps more than any other food.
  • Our teeth are designed to eat 5 Parts Grains, Nuts Seeds (Molars) x 2 PARTS VEGETABLES & FRUIT Incisors), 1 PART Flesh (CANINE)
  • Eating according to indigenous foods (locally grown) nourishes the people who live in that climatic and Geographic zone with health and appropriate life force. E.g. Eskimos who eat bananas will get symptoms because of the cooling effects of eating a tropically indigenous food.
  • All diseases are the body’s healthy response to motivate healthy change and the evolution of one’s soul- the greater the dis –ease the greater the potential change/evolution
  • Physical functions of the body/organs and systems have parallel associations to behavior e.g. 1) Low blood sugar caused by a constricted and heavy pancreas influences a person to feel “heaviness” in their life circumstances and relationships and vice versa.  2) Liver works quickly –over 450 different functions every minute. When our Liver is compromised we feel frustration and anger because our plans are proceeding too slowly.
  • VITAL HEALTH is created through challenging ourselves:
    PHYSICALLY (improving Food Exercise Sleep)
    EMOTIONALLY (feeling more comfortable with being uncomfortable and vulnerable. Using emotions instead of them using us to create closer loving relationships.)
    SPIRITUALLY Developing and using/following intuition more than intellect- even when the intuitive messages bring up fear and doubt. Surrender,- breathe- let courage show the way.

My History with Macrobiotics

 International School Of Healing Arts, is a spiritually based interfaith 501c3 non-profit public benefit organization located in both San Diego, CA USA and Prague Czech Republic. ISOHA presents the work of it’s founder, Seymour Koblin.
Since 1981 Seymour has been an international educator traveling to numerous countries Inspiring the Path of Holistic Health.
Since 1989, Seymour has also participated in founding several schools that are either using or have at one time used his original San Diego, CA name- “school of healing arts”.
In 2014 the 30 year established San Diego state approved “school of healing arts” changed it’s name to International College Of Holistic Studies/ICOHS. Seymour was the founder of these healing schools and others.
Seymour departed from ICOHS in 2015 and formed a new spiritually based 501c3 non-profit organization called International School of Healing Arts based in San Diego, CA and Prague Czech Republic. The Idaho New Leaf,  Manchester-UK Kiev-Ukraine and Moscow– Russia schools also use “school of healing arts” in their name.
These schools and others are separate entities. They have no legal or educational tie to each other. Note: Owning a name that has such broad generic words in the title may lead to ambiguity for some especially on the internet in googleyahoobing or other search engines.
If you have any questions about any of these different schools that come up in searches please contact seymour@isoharts.com.

Seymour

 

Recent Posts
Showing 4 comments
  • Lena Garner
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your life has touched so may and will touch so much more to come. I am looking forward to seeing you in April. Love, Lena

    • Seymour
      Reply

      Hi Lena
      I am so touched that you continue to be in my life- Love always, Sey

  • Julie
    Reply

    Great read, Seymour. Thank you. Inspiring!!!

    • Seymour
      Reply

      HI JULIE, I am so touched by the number of people who in some form (mostly facebook) commented with such inner passion and appreciation for my article on the Macrobiotic root. It is important for all of us who know that essence to, in our own way continue the feeling of that lineage. Modern times-the phone/web world has no connection to that type of study and learning….and when they are exposed to it by people like you and I, something “clicks” and deep healing is the result- stay in touch- Sey

Leave a Comment