When I speak to people of macrobiotics and its ability to help support the body as it heals itself, I find they zoom right to the last chapter and say: so, what should I eat to heal my diabetes/cholesterol problem/cancer/asthma…and so on.
The fact is that macrobiotics is not just an easy fix for health issues. It takes more than popping a few ume plums, and calling me in the morning. The typical macrobiotic diagnostic process is an fairly extensive one, where I seek to understand my clients in their various contexts – work, family, friendships, lovers, enemies. Their loves, their hates. Their dreams and their nightmares. Their highest aspirations. Their deepest fears. The extensive questionnaire which takes at least 2 hours to complete looks at:
1. The emotional state, current and potential
2. The personality, – his ideals, views of life, his character
3. The constitution – both physical and mental
4. History of ailments suffered, past and present
5. Recommendations – what changes must be made (diet, lifestyle, outlook) to bring the person back to health
6. What highest aspirations (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) can be aimed for to achieve happiness
7. Encouragement – what support is required for the person to develop his or her endless possibility to achieve happiness
So you see, it is never just a matter of the physical with macrobiotics. It is a holistic view of health that the macrobiotic counsellor strives for, for the benefit of the client. And because it is such an involved process, I feel that it is important to cultivate in the client a sense of excitement and interest about the journey they are about to embark on when they begin macrobiotics. So I work with the whole person, not just with their pancreas, or their liver, or their spleen. Everything the person is and everything they want to be is in the frame and must be considered for a proper diagnosis.
This is why, when macrobiotics is applied well, words such as ‘hope’ and ’empowerement’ and ‘healing’ come to be associated with the practice.And also why when I talk to my patients, I sometimes simply ask: how do you feel? The field is open for a response – unhappy, depressed, fantastic, full of energy. All of these are the symptoms that have to be considered. And sometimes, I don’t recommend food. I simply ask people to wake up earlier, and take a walk just as the sun is rising, breathing deeply and slowly of the fresh morning air, as they move through the early morning silence. Sometimes just eating the food is not enough and one needs to access other healing aids, such as simple nature.
As I practice macrobiotics, I am continually being made to feel awe at the wonder of the human body and its ability to find what it needs to heal itself. The body is hard wired to heal itself and if we just gave it half a chance, it could do just that. The trick is to be able to understand what your body needs, and why.
This is the other part of the counselling process – to help people understand enough of macrobiotic theory to be able to adapt elements of macrobiotics to suit their needs as they heal, and their bodies become stronger. To empower and equip them to work with their own bodies for the rest of their lives for better health – and stronger living, on every level.