Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Evan Root
This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.
“Michio”, means “man of the way”. Michio = Man of the way. [In Japanese “Michi” means “the way”]
First off, I’d like to just acknowledge that we’re here for Michio; Michio that lives inside us. Michio that is in each other who’s here as we greet each other; Michio’s work in the world beyond us in all the people who couldn’t come here and now, of course, Michio in the heavens. All here for Michio and I want to thank the family so much for this occasion to do this, not just now but also for sharing Michio with us for all these years. Can you imagine sharing your parents with thousands of people around the world? Sharing the time and then the family giving the community this opportunity? So grateful, thank you.
I first met Michio in 1965 in New York City. I was attending – I was hanging out with Michel Abehsera and Michio was coming to town for a weekend seminar so a friend of mine and I, of course, went there. And what an evening it was! It was the beginning of the rest of my life. It was a small group as things were in those days, maybe six or eight people around a coffee table in a living room and Michio just picked something, I’d forgotten exactly what it was, it was something like a bean on a plate and then he began to talk about it. And then he began to draw spirals on the blackboard and the interrelationship of yin influences and yang influences and the next thing you know across the day, step by step, stage by stage, we were at the parameters, if there is such a thing as a parameter of the infinite universe, and there he left us for the day. We went home. Came back the next day. He took us step by step back down through, right back home to the bean on our plate and *poof*, you know, that was it!
And that’s how we made our way home to our apartment that night, literally jumping, dancing and whooping – the joy exploding in our hearts from the vision that Michio, the beacon, that he broadcast into the world that reached those who were ready to hear it.
I’m sure all of you have some kind of a similar experience to that. So my friend and I, when we left the building, spontaneously started jumping and dancing in the street, twirling, whooping! And that’s how we made our way home to our apartment that night, literally jumping, dancing and whooping – the joy exploding in our hearts from the vision that Michio, the beacon, that he broadcast into the world that reached those who were ready to hear it.
And a while later, a little bit, a few months later, Michel took me aside and said, “Got a call from Michio. They’re getting moved on from Wellesley. They were, you know, they were kicked out of Cambridge and they went to Wellesley and set up a wonderful East West Institute, Aikido Dojo, etc. Next thing you know the Town Fathers, Board of Selectmen, [said you], “Gotta leave town!” So, at this point there was no 24/7 guy around. It was just – family was there – some others had left ‘cause the Institute wasn’t ever able to operate anymore.
So he put out a call, “You know a helper down there by any chance of use?” We went out to a café and he said, “You know Michio needs some help up there. Would you like to go?” I packed my bag and left the next day and showed up here and that was the beginning.
I met the wonderful group of men here today, kids at that time, and the love that exuded from each one of you was just such a welcome that it still warms my heart after all these years. So together we moved and they started the study house at Gardner Road. We started up the Erewhon store. The lectures before they were here were just on bags – the people coming, again half a dozen or so – sat on the bags of grain that were in the side storage room there. And that worked up until a point, until the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) raided the place and we had to be very careful and segregate education from food. Never the twain shall meet.
So, they located that little room on the side there, wherever it is – on the side entrance – sort of an oval table and for the next while a group of – and it began to build, little by little, you know – 8, 10, 12, 14 people around that. And you know, I saw a fair amount of dancing and twirling after those things on the street right here. It was an explosion really for those who were ready for it.
But it wasn’t without it’s difficulties even though they’d been moved, they been moved, he’d been moved from town to town. Gardner Road was always on the edge. We were ready with – anybody who was Japanese visiting was a relative. That way the single house family thing didn’t come [into question] and then all these other people were just visiting and this and that.
But that wasn’t the only thing. They had tabs on us and there was often a plain clothes car parked across the street watching. Some of the community members were even stopped by authorities. The amazing thing was they knew everybody who was involved names was – “What about this person? What about that person?”. And sure enough, Michio, there was a full press to send him out of the country. And it was thanks to Wally Gorell’s father who was very close with Senators. Was he a Senator himself? I can’t remember. But anyway, he explained to a very good friend that this guy had saved his son from a life of that, you know, at that time there was a lot psychedelic action and young people getting into drugs and macrobiotics wasn’t that. It was a way out of that for a lot of people. So that sort of righted the ship.
Anyway, the first year at Erewhon was kind of slow. It took a year before very – I could sleep between customers if I needed the rest – go back lay on the – I’d heard the dingle bell and come up – another person. But one by one more people came and everybody came wanted to help. People came because they wanted to learn and they wanted to help. They wanted to share – this was a dream that was shared. And when Haruo spoke this morning and said about the extended family, it’s the family that lives in that extended dream.
So, as more people came Sanae Restaurant opened up and then people could eat – sort of developed a motor, you know: buy food there, get introduced to it here, eat there, go there, and then Tao Books came in where Erewhon used to be and then it was like a three-way motor. And it was, then Boston became like a school, really. We were here to learn and we were here to help.
Michio was very strategic. He had a plan. It was always kind of a moving target but it was to establish the way of health, the way of peace and the way of life in the age of humanity here on the planet earth. And so, when would meet around the table at night at Gardner Road, there was always a talk ‘til 2am around the table. And it was, “You take Italy! You take Spain! You take…” It was a grand scheme of people who were going to train here. And he always thought that it was up to the Boston group. There were other people teaching macrobiotics here and there in the world – people, students of Ohsawa’s but he said to me, “They are very good, very confident and all but this is up to Boston friends. This world change is up to Boston friends”. So, that strategic planning was for health, freedom and happiness worldwide.
I want to say and I think that it probably goes for a lot of people in this room – at least to some large degree – and that is my own life is completely – he was the most influential person in my life, outside of my parents, without question, except maybe the person who introduced me to him or the person who introduced me to him.
But in another way it was a radar here that was tuning into that and, you know, I was going to get here somehow, just like you were going to get here somehow. And everyone I know now – it’s just like a trunk. I’ve branched out here and there but all of those wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for what happened in the trunk. All those branches belong to the same tree and I’ve got a few little for my family tree – people I have known.
So, thank you Michio for the love, guidance, help and encouragement and, in reviewing my life with Michio for this talk, I had gotten many letters from him. I was amazed how much he put into us. Detailed letters, who’s doing what, I got in Japan. And in every single letter he always said something about loving one another, guiding each other, helping each other and encouraging each other. And as the new ones came along to help them, guide them and so forth. So he had this kind of way of – well, I think it was similar to what Norio said, if anyone read it. He wanted to know that there was peace and cooperation in the family and that the energy was flowing and he always wanted that for us and we have that in our macrobiotic DNA now. S0 thank you for this opportunity, dear family, to speak about the man who changed my life and our lives. Thank you.