1) Anna, you are one of the UK’s most experienced Macrobiotic practitioners, please can you tell us where and when you first heard about Macrobiotics and what attracted you to it?
It was late 1970s; Mike Burns, Neil Gulliver, a glorious woman from South America, and Jim Gilmour gave a remarkable four days introduction to “the great life”, in Scotland where I was living. Those days it was the big view of life and covered everything including spiritual healing, and much humour. A while later my first weekend with Aveline & Michio at the CHF – the breadth of the infinite universe, spiral of materialisation – humanity’s levels of spiritual and daily life vibration resonated with me like clear spring water. I was a professional tailor and clothes designer at this time. Thanks to two generations of my family for showing me the natural world since being a baby, where I could listen to trees, examine leaves, grasses, vegetables and insects. We always had animals – coming in and going out of this world. I travelled to continents where my Father worked. They told a few stories of war with no self-pity. For me “One Peaceful World” emerged from this zeitgeist. Respect and learn from all in the universe. Not always easy which makes it so amazing.
2) Where did you study and train in Macrobiotics?
London, 3 levels Kushi Institute training with inspiring teachers from all over the world, and many visits from Aveline and Michio. Working ten years at the Community Health Foundation with great staff, friends, and teachers. This included a few years managing the East-West Restaurant. And also at the brilliant Swiss Kushi Institute that was the Kientalerhof. Then it has been cooking, catering, teaching, events, and classes all over. Caring for family members with dementia and diabetes offered another perspective, one much helped by being a student of the Dharma. Now I’m learning to be older!
3) As well as teaching macrobiotics, you are also a qualified teacher of Okido Yoga, can you tell us a bit more about Okido Yoga and how it can help people?
Master Oki had studied with George Ohsawa too. His background was different and he developed rigorous training to emphasis resourcefulness, observation, cooperation, and service, based on the tenets of Yoga. Work to support one another, to cook, achieve a pose, stretch or relax, walk through the night, share spiritual practice and healing remedies. Harmonize and be active. Saul Goodman taught Shiatsu with some similar ethos, as I experienced it, and it was great
4) And you work as a professional Space Clearer. Could you tell us more about this and how it complements macrobiotics?
It is complementary because we live in a world of vibration and since time began, the maintenance of a clear atmosphere, on many levels, has been fundamental to people from East, West, North, and South. We sweep the pathway for visitors and for ourselves. American Indians left a camp as if no one had been there. Birds keep scrupulously clean nests. All living creatures do. This maintenance requires that we reflect, for example, on our relationship to the land where we live, to our friends and family, and the larger community. That we honour them, learn from them, do not pollute them, and then we are freer. The purpose is to serve this by the use of ceremony, with four elements, sound and beauty, and assist people to tune into the seen and unseen energy and infuse it with light. In this way offering the opportunity to achieve optimum health and happiness for many generations. My training was in Bali, UK, and the USA.
5) Tell us about your current work, any projects, workshops, or courses that you are planning.
I now work with small and intimate groups for the benefit of personal attention and to encourage participants to practice and teach with simplicity and confidence, the possibilities of “the great life” as it manifests in them. We are conscious human beings with intuition, intelligence, and resilience rather than consumers or data. I’m sure they will teach cooking with organic food, gardening, shiatsu, dance, water preservation, do-in, cooperation, healing, yoga, feng shui, nine-star ki, and so on, with knowledge of biodiversity and ecology without anything artificial or poisonous in any form of manufacture!
6) What do you think is the role of Macrobiotic education in today’s world?
It’s so much more than a “role” isn’t it, and I think it is always time to teach the fundamental principles of the great life in a new and down-to-earth way. Embody it, then share and articulate the knowledge, philosophy, practice and exercises in schools, institutes, prisons, corporations, unions, universities, manufacturers, mothering classes, you name it. Each one of us can learn the purpose of our talent, resourcefulness and interdependence; it could be to give a lifetime to grow organic produce, care for the land, for a forest, a river, the ocean, to restore health and unification to people and planet with understanding not greed. Four interesting writers I mention and a picture!
- R.W. Emerson writes “ The world is not painted or adorned but it is from the beginning beautiful: and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe”
- The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
- The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
A picture taken from the Hubble Space Craft: