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Michio Kushi Memorial Services and Reception Update

January 18, 2015


Michio Kushi (May 17, 1926 - December 28, 2014)

We invite you to attend Michio Kushi’s Memorial Service to celebrate his life and influence. The Memorial Service will be held at:

2:00 PM, Saturday, January 31st
Arlington Street Church
Corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets
Boston, Massachusetts

A reception will follow at:

Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel
110 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

The Marriott Hotel is located about five blocks from Arlington Street Church.

If you plan on attending the Memorial Service and/or reception, please RSVP on the http://www.michiokushi.org website. This will provide a way for us to track attendees for space and catering purposes.

To help defray the costs of the Memorial and reception, we are gratefully accepting donations sent via PayPal to “MichioKushiMemorial@gmail.com”. If you prefer not to use PayPal, please contact MichioKushiMemorial@gmail.com and we will contact you with further information.

THE KUSHI FAMILY

Invitation For Your Video Messages in Memory of Michio Kushi

January 11, 2015

YouTube-logo-full_color

As part of the January 31st Memorial Service for Michio Kushi in Boston we invite anyone interested to create a short video recording and message and upload it to Youtube.  Please use the keyword “MichioKushiMemorial” in the video description and add a link to it in the comment section below. We will then compile these videos and try to show them at the Memorial Service in Boston on January 31.

If you are unable to attend the Memorial Services then recording a video message may allow your message to be included.  Even if you do plan on attending a recording will help preserve your message for the future.

Thank you in advance
Kushi Family

Michio Kushi’s Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2015 in Boston

January 9, 2015

Michio Kushi (May 17, 1926 - December 28, 2014)
Michio Kushi’s Memorial Service will be held on the afternoon of Saturday, January 31st, 2015 at Arlington Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Arlington Street Church has special meaning and was chosen because it was one of the first venues where Michio regularly gave free lectures in the 1960s.

Time of service, details about the reception and information on how to contribute to a memorial fund will be posted at the MichioKushi.org website as soon as possible.

If you plan on attending the Memorial Service and/or reception, please take a moment and RSVP online using this form: Michio Kushi Memorial Registration Form. This will help us to better plan for the event.

Thank you for your patience as we plan a beautiful celebration to honor Michio’s life.

Impressions of My Father’s Passing by Norio Kushi

January 7, 2015
Michio and Norio, July 2001 - Photo by Seth Levine

Michio and Norio, July 2001 – Photo by Seth Levine

On December 28, 2014, our father, Michio Kushi, passed away peacefully in a hospital in Boston. On his last day his wife, Midori, and all of his sons, Norio, Haruo, myself and Hisao, were present and were able to speak with him for the last time. Later and after the holidays, on January 5th, 2015, our father’s remains were cremated in a private, family only  service.  A Memorial Service for the public is being planned for Saturday, January 31st, 2015 in Boston.  Details and more information for the Public Memorial Service will be posted here: http://www.michiokushi.org . The following are impressions of our father’s last day by Norio Kushi, my older brother. – Phiya

There are three words that come to mind when it comes to my father’s passing. I intentionally use the word “passing” instead of death, because the death of my father felt much more like a transition instead of finality associated with the word death.

The first word is “magical.” In the same way, during the presence of my children’s birth, there is a magical feeling, this same feeling was present during the dying of my father. Any differences that may have been there between myself and other family members, whether it be with my father or his wife, as soon as I walked into my father’s room, was gone. It all simply dissolved and felt as though it had never been there.

The second word is “beautiful.” As I walked into my father’s room, he was awake, fully conscious and completely aware of what was happening. My father got to say all that he wanted to say and all that he needed to say. In the end, the only thing that mattered to my father, was that there be peace and harmony between all family members, including, of course, his wife Midori. At the moment of my father’s passing, Midori was massaging his feet, he was fully awake, peaceful and happy.

The third word is “gratitude.” Also present in the room was this overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I am grateful for my father and mother selflessly providing for me throughout my life. I am grateful for JoAnne and our children for their unconditional love and support. I am grateful for our family, my brothers, sister for their unconditional love and support. I am grateful for all our friends, who are all as intimate as family and live throughout our green planet. Thank you all for sharing in this gift of life.

One more insight that I want to share is the timelessness of birth and death and that the source of life happening, is not just in the manifest, time based reality, but simultaneously at a much deeper level beyond the intellect. In the presence of my father, I saw the limitations in assigning the time based reality of cause and effect to death. The witnessing of the passing, is a glimpse into the timeless, a reality void of cause and effect.

Thank you to all.

Norio

MICHIO KUSHI [May 17, 1926 – December 28, 2014]

December 30, 2014

Michio Kushi (May 17, 1926 - December 28, 2014)

With great sadness we announce that our beloved husband, father and brother, Michio Kushi, 88, passed away peacefully the morning of December 28, 2014 in Boston, due to complications related to metastatic pancreatic cancer. On his last day, he was fully conscious and surrounded by his wife and sons. He is survived by his wife, Midori, brother, four sons, fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Information about memorial services will be forthcoming and will be posted at the michiokushi.org website..

THE KUSHI FAMILY

訃報

KUSHI INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL 会長である久司道夫が、2014年12月28日 未明(ボストン時間)、享年89歳にて逝去いたしました。 ここに生前のご厚誼を深く感謝するとともに、謹んでお知らせいたします。 なお、日本における「お別れの会」につきましては、決定次第、ご連絡申し上げます。

KUSHI INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL東京連絡先

久司正夫
金久保宏高

http://www.michiokushi.org/

I will be hosting a discussion at the upcoming Kushi Institute Summer Conference August 3-17, 2014

July 31, 2014

KISumConf

I will be hosting a discussion for change on the morning of Friday, August 15 at 11am at the annual Kushi Institute Summer Conference (August 3-17, 2014) at Becket, Massachusetts. Below is the topic and description of the discussion and, if successful, may be extended to the internet on Facebook. For more information about the conference please go to: http://www.kushiinstitute.org/summer-conference/ .  

Discussion Title:

Who are you? Why are you here? What do you want for your life? And…What are we going to do about it, if anything?

Description:

Never more than ever before do we find ourselves interconnected with each other on this “pale blue dot”; this “intergalactic spaceship” known as “earth”, where our personal actions and lifestyles directly and indirectly influence each other for better and worse. With a rapidly growing world population of 7 billion, unrelenting industrial growth, advancements in technology we are faced with unprecedented global challenges that threaten us all.  We live longer but are more sick. The world may be more democratic but economic disparity has never been greater. World war seems less a possibility yet local violence grows and threatens us evermore. Everything is more convenient and accessible but all at the expense of our natural environment. We have greater information in our hands but seem less able to make any change.

 

For most of its recent 70 year history the macrobiotic movement has primarily been focused on addressing health concerns with individual dietary change and food awareness as the key to transforming the world. This effort continues today producing many remarkable recoveries beyond present medical limitations.  Overtime the macrobiotic effort to promote this food-health connection has deepened our understanding and awareness of the interconnectedness of our world.  Yet despite this effort little change in the self-destructive nature of our direction as a human race seems to have been made.

 

We still live under the threat of nuclear warfare. We still depend on oil and other fossil fuels to power our lives.  We are faced with GMOs, factory farms and other unnatural foods. Nuclear accidents, terrorism, mass shootings, racism, political unrest, widespread violence and unprecedented pollution and waste continue to be produced by us and permanently effect our landscape and environment which in turn threaten our future and ultimate existence.  And so, what are we to do about this?

 

It’s a wonderful and great thing to regain your health and help others to regain theirs through macrobiotics, but for what?  That we may all go back and reintegrate into a world and society that is heading towards a certain self-destruction? What are we doing for change really?

 

While social internet media like Facebook allows us to share our thoughts, opinions and criticisms about specific topics, they do very little to bring us closer in a way that allows for us to understand who we are and how we can work together to transform ourselves, our lives and our world around us. Instead, social media comments and forums tend to degenerate into pointless arguments that lead nowhere and change little. Thus, for many of us on Facebook, we are left with endless cat memes, annoying political rants, food photos and George Takei to entertain us while our lives continue unchanged.

 

However, the opportunity presented in gatherings like the annual Kushi Institute Summer Conference is one that offers a unique time to emerge from behind our computers and gather in-person to meet new and old friends and self-reflect together and ask ourselves the most basic and fundamental questions which define ourselves and course of our lives. Who are we? Why are we here? What do we really want to do with our lives? and…What can we do collectively that we do not seem to be able to accomplish as individuals?

 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 
This event is a discussion and not a lecture. It is not about answers but about possibilities and it involves participation.  My intention is not present information as an expert in any field but address concerns which effect us all and to facilitate a new conversation of possibilities.  We are all in this together

Macrobiotics and Beauty

March 3, 2014

(Note: This article was written for the March 2014 issue of the Russian Magazine, “Vegetarian”  and has been slightly edited for this blog.)

Still image from "Twilight Zone: Eye of the Beholder" (Click the image to view the episode on Hulu)

Still image from “Twilight Zone: Eye of the Beholder” (Click the image to view the episode on Hulu)

Eye Of The Beholder

When I was young many years ago, I was greatly impressed by an episode of the television show, “The Twilight Zone”, that was entitled, “The Eye Of The Beholder”, which was taken from the familiar phrase that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  Only 25 minutes long, the show left me with an understanding about the relative nature of beauty that I have never forgotten to this day.

(Spoiler alert!) The show depicted a woman in a hospital whose face was completely hidden by bandages.  In the background you could hear the whisperings of the nurses and doctors expressing their shock at how ugly and horrific the woman’s face was.  With the camera fixed on the woman’s bandaged face, coupled with the fearful comments of those around her, the suspense escalated to a point where you, as the viewer, were fearful to see the horrible ugliness that lay hidden under the bandages and yet you had to see her face, which would undoubtedly be revealed at the end.

When the time came to reveal her face slowly the bandages were removed to uncover, to your great surprise, the face of a beautiful woman. Why, then, were the nurses and doctors saying that she was ugly? The final end was that the nurses, doctors and everyone else in that world had horribly disfigured faces and that she was the only normal looking person, by our standards.

Beauty Is Relative, All Is Relative

The lesson I learned from that TV Show was that beauty is relative.  What I consider as beautiful may be different than what everyone else considers as beautiful.  I might think this person is beautiful while someone else will think that another person is more beautiful.  I might think the mountains are beautiful while someone else may prefer the seaside.  My perception of what is beautiful is different and relative to everyone else.

Not only is my perception of what is beautiful different from everyone else, it also changes depending on circumstance and time and this is true for everyone.  Like the changing trends in fashion, our notion of beauty is constantly changing in relation to our changing world circumstances.  Thus, what we may find as beautiful when we are young might seem ugly to us later in life and vice versa.  I might think certain type of person is beautiful at one time but then find them to be ugly at another time. I might enjoy rock music in one moment but then prefer classical music in another.  Our tastes and preferences and what we think is beautiful are always changing as time moves on.  This changing view of ours not only applies to beauty but to all that we perceive and understand in all areas of our lives.

Yin and Yang

This dynamic changing view of the relative nature of, not just beauty, but of all things that we perceive is understood in macrobiotics as the dynamic interplay of yin and yang.  This dynamic dance is not just limited to our relative perceptions of beauty but encompasses all of our experiences and all phenomena.

In this universe everything is changing and moving and is relative to us and everything else.  Day turns into night, summer into winter, beauty into ugliness, wealth into poverty, strength into weakness, love into hate, life into death and so on.  This dynamic dance is the dance of Yin and Yang.  Thus, as the TV show depicted, a beautiful person by our standards, can be ugly in the world of ugly people.

Self-awareness and Beauty

Once we see and understand the relative nature of the universe and how everything moves in a dynamic dance of Yin and Yang then we understand that beauty is not fixed. With imagination and practice we can change our perception of what is beautiful.  For example, when we put ourselves in another person’s shoes then we can imagine what is beauty from their eyes.  The writer of the story of TV show did just that.  He imagined a different world where ugliness is considered beautiful and beautiful as ugly. 

Using our imagination in this way not only helps us understand the relative nature of beauty but also the causes and limits of our own perceptions.  We begin to see that our view of beauty has been influenced by the culture and environment in which we were raised.  If we were born in another country with a different set of values then we can easily imagine that we would see beauty in a different way.

If we were born in the center of Africa then we would understand beauty differently than if we were born in Northern Europe.  If we were born in the Far East then we would see beauty in different way than if we were born in the West. If we were a different species of animal then we would see beauty in a completely different way than as a human being.  The extent of our imagination is unlimited.

In this way, we realize that who we are and how we perceive beauty in our world depends upon our environment.  This includes the natural environment, our home, family life, local community, society and the times in which we are living.  We understand that our perception of beauty is based on how we were raised which is a function of our environment.

Universal Beauty

andromeda_galaxy_400After we realize how different we all are from each other we also begin to notice our similarities.  We notice, for example, that all humans, animals, plants and so on experience life here on Earth in more or less the same way.  The motion of the earth influences us all in the exact same way as it moves through space. The entire Universe is like a giant constantly moving river that we all share.  We are born in it and from it, we live inside it and we die in it.  We are a part of it and it never stops.  This river is can referred to as the order of the universe.

This Universal order has a natural pattern and shape. We observe it in the shape of giant spiral galaxies, in the movement of the planets, in the waves of the oceans, the swirling patterns of clouds and in the life of plants, animals and our own human form.  It is naturally beautiful and pleasing to our eyes when we see it.

Nature is Beautiful

All life, as we know it, depends upon a very delicate balance of conditions that are found only on Earth.  If our home planet were any closer to or further away from the sun then it would be lifeless.  Yet, where it is now, life flourishes in infinite and wondrous variety. It is nature, as we know it, and it is beautiful.

When we look at nature there are several qualities we can identify as beautiful.  We can say that all things are beautiful when they are:

1.   Asymmetric and Unique

When we see things that are symmetrical we intuitively feel that it is unnatural.  Nature is asymmetrical and expresses itself uniquely in different things. Mountains would look strange if they were all the same shape and height.  Rivers would look strange if they were all straight without any curves. Trees would look strange if they all were exactly the same. Even we would look strange if we were all the same. If the left and right side of our face were exactly the same then we look strange.   It is because our left side is slightly different from our right side that we look “beautiful”.   It is our asymmetry and uniqueness that make us beautiful.

2.  Dynamic

Nature is always moving.  It is dynamic and alive.  When we see something as moving and changing, (even if it is a still photograph or painting) then it appears beautiful to us.  We cannot explain why it is beautiful, but like a waterfall or crashing waves, what is dynamic and moves is beautiful.

3.  Harmonious

When things move in harmony and come together effortlessly, as if they were carefully planned, like a well-rehearsed dance, then it appears to us as beautiful.  Even if they are loud and sudden like lightning storms, and tidal waves, there is beauty in them. Things that are disharmonious and clash together appear ugly to us.

Human Beauty

Taking into consideration all of the above points we can look at our own beauty.  We understand that beauty is relative and is in the “eye of the beholder” yet we also intuitively and universally recognize beauty within each other and ourselves.  When we see someone healthy, dynamic and alive we naturally find him or her to be attractive and beautiful, regardless of who they are and what they look like. We find healthy laughing babies to be attractive and beautiful.  We find young children happily playing to be beautiful.  What is clear is that we find humans to be most beautiful when they are happy and healthy.   Furthermore, we are most happy and healthy when we are living in harmony with nature.  Macrobiotics means to live in harmony with nature. This means we are most beautiful when we are practicing macrobiotics.

Physical Beauty

When we understand the Order Of the Universe and its relative nature, we understand that real beauty is more than just appearances.  Appearances are fleeting and even deceiving.  Wearing make-up, changing our hair, exercising our bodies for appearances, are all temporary and superficial measures to look more beautiful for specific circumstances. They may work sometimes for a specific moment but beyond that they do not last.

True physical beauty is based on health, which, in turn, is based on what we eat and how we live.  The health of our skin, hair and nails, is a direct reflection of our health and specifically the health of our digestive track.  While we can temporarily hide a blemish or a pimple on our face with make up the only way we can get rid of it permanently is by changing our health, which means changing our diet and lifestyle.  Poor hair quality is a direct reflection of the quality of our intestines.  To create beautiful and strong skin and hair we must create a beautiful and strong digestive system.

We must change our inside in order to change our outside.  To do this we begin by changing what we eat and start to eat in harmony and accordance with nature.  This means we must change what we take in from the outside to change our inside, in order to change our outward appearance. This includes the following:

1.  Eating whole natural and traditional foods

2.  Eating according to season

3.  Eating according to geography

4.  Eating human food which includes, whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables and fruits, cooked and prepared according to our environment and season

5.  Eating traditional homemade fermented foods

6.  Reducing or avoiding animal foods including meat and dairy foods

7.  Reducing or avoiding all processed foods including sugar, white flour, and other commercial foods.

8.  Eating less, chewing more and being more sensitive to the effects of foods

The way to physical beauty simply means to become a natural healthy human being again. To become human again we must eat human food.  Human food are those foods our ancient ancestors ate that made us into human beings and include whole grains and modern vegetables, cooked and prepared in traditional and ancient ways including fermentation.  By shifting our diets in this way, we create a closer, dynamic and more harmonious relationship with nature. This is the relative dynamics of Yin and Yang and by understanding it we can change our health and become beautiful naturally.

Psychological and Spiritual Beauty

In addition to physical beauty, we must also concern ourselves with psychological and spiritual beauty. Changing our diets will make us healthier and will improve our physical beauty but we must also develop our psychological and spiritual beauty.

Psychological beauty is love, kindness, compassion, generosity and forgiveness.  Nothing is more beautiful than to see gentle caring and love between two beings like a mother nursing a child, or two young lovers together, or the compassionate and courageous acts of a stranger helping another person.  These acts are beautiful to all of us.

Psychological ugliness is war, violence, aggression, selfishness, extreme behaviors, ignorance and arrogance.  It is also know as insanity. We are horrified when we see images of war and violence and cannot even look upon such atrocities.  Abusive behavior toward another person and oneself is ugly to look at.  Guilt, shame and fear are also very ugly.  These are all unhealthy and extreme emotions, behaviors and actions that are created by unhealthy situations.

Spiritual beauty is simply gratitude, humility, honesty, patience, understanding and unconditional love. Spiritual ugliness is arrogance, being closed minded, lying and being deceitful to oneself and others.

To become psychologically and spiritually beautiful, we must first take care of our own physical health and beauty by eating and living closer and more in harmony with nature.   Then we must strive to develop ourselves through continuous and daily exploration and self-reflection.  We must seek out friendships and company that support and nurture who we are and our vision and dreams.  Lastly we must remember our own insignificance in this vast and amazing Universe that is always changing and moving; of which we are a part of and made from.  In remembering our insignificance and humility let us always be grateful for this most wondrous journey and opportunity that is our life, through which we can experience all the beauty in the Universe.  Our expression of gratitude and unconditional love is macrobiotic beauty.

Macrobiotic Beauty

Macrobiotic beauty is to be healthy and happy.  It means to eat and live in closer dynamic harmony with nature.  It means to understand the relative beauty of the every-changing universe.  It means to joyfully play and actively explore life.  It also means to self-reflect upon our own thoughts, behaviors and actions and constantly seek to develop ourselves.  It means to remember and appreciate our insignificance in this vast infinite universe.  It means to always express our gratitude and unconditional love to all for the wonderful opportunity that is our life.  Such a person who embodies all these things will appear to be the most beautiful person in the world.  This is macrobiotic beauty.

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