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Ten Things Macrobiotic Women Do Well
By Gale Jack

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Over a period of time, macrobiotic women take a lot of flack. Those who follow the standard American diet often look them upon with suspicion or pity. Those who teach macrobiotics quite naturally tend to focus more on diet and cooking rather than a person’s spirit so a woman may come to feel as if she’s doing more things wrong than right in her macrobiotic practice. This article is meant to broaden this view and encourage women to continue what they are doing well.

1) We take responsibility for our health. We may choose to see a doctor, an acupuncturist, a macrobiotic counselor, a chi gung practitioner, a Reiki master or any other health-care person but we view them as co-creators of our wellness and do not give them ultimate power over our well being. We listen to what they have to say or prescribe and choose it or not according to our own understanding.

2) We empower others to make healthy diet and lifestyle choices by educating, supporting and setting an example for them. Instead of telling a child she can’t eat something, we might say, “Yes, you can, but notice that these are the effects that may come (from that particular food).” When we go to a family reunion, we can accept some of the food they’ve cooked with love but set an example by choosing only plant-quality food. We are the first book that many people read (about macrobiotics) and the only one that some will ever read. We have to be what we want them to become.

3) We teach respect for other cultures by accepting and respecting different colors, races and ways of thinking and acting that are different from our own. One of my household members who was testing the limits (as young people do who are seeking to develop their own values) told me that she was in love with a young black man. I responded that I thought that was wonderful—that we should be friends with people from other cultures and seek to understand their views. I teach that no matter how low one is on the rung of society’s ladder (such as an inmate in prison) that we have equal value in the eyes of God and as members of the human race.

4) Macrobiotic women have faith in the Order of the Universe, not because someone gave a lecture and told us that’s how things work, but because we have tried and tested it again and again in our lives and found it to be true in our own experience. For the first ten years I was macrobiotic, people told me not to eat fruit. Now everywhere I go people offer dessert. Each time I am presented with such advice or food, I always take responsibility for doing it or not doing it and see what effect comes. Now I know the effects of excessive and too little consumption of fruit on a person who ate meat for many years. That knowledge allows me to have faith now; experience is the basis of unshakeable faith.

5) Macrobiotic women live lightly on the earth, using personal and home care products that are naturally produced and have a minimal effect on the environment. We avoid excess as much as possible including excessive travel for personal pleasure (note the many beaches that are being destroyed by tourists and all the trees that have been cut down to make way for gargantuan amusement parks.) We consider the impacts of our actions on other people and the environment and live accordingly.

6) We live life through personal experience, not just as a spectator. We paint our own pictures, sing our own songs, make our own music, write and direct our own plays and movies (and/or encourage our children to do so) while at the same time enjoying the creative expression of others.

7) We will not sacrifice our spiritual power for material gain except in the most urgent situation. That is, we understand our power to create health and thought in ourselves, our family and our community by our position as the person at the center of the home, preparing home-cooked meals and supporting the efforts of family members in society. Of course, either male or female or both of them can be active in society, taking on different parts of their mutual vision but one of them must have the home as their highest priority for their family to thrive.

At a recent teacher’s conference, we were asked to write a mission statement. Perhaps I didn’t need to write it at all since I’ve been living my mission for the past twenty years but I wrote, “I am a strong woman who influences the world without leaving home.” After class some women came up to me with an “I’m so sorry for you,” attitude thinking that it was archaic to live your life in the shadow of a man. I’ve never looked at it that way. I always saw myself as the wind beneath his wings, the one who made his work in society possible.

8) We understand the relationship of mental and emotional imbalances to the food we eat and while we at times may be angry, sad, lonely or fearful – day to day we are willing to self-reflect on our condition and make whatever changes are necessary to bring ourselves back into balance. However, it is a mistake to think that macrobiotic people reach a state that is problem-free. We are not exempt from pressures and problems that effect other people; sometimes ours are greater because we’re trying to accomplish larger goals. We only hope that with our understanding of the energy of food, we can remain still at the eye of the hurricane while all else swirls around us.

9) Macrobiotic women have a deep understanding of yin and yang and apply them not only to our cooking but as the magic spectacles through which we can view any problem. For example, one can apply yin and yang to the styles of communication and see that “you” statements, especially “you should, you’ve got to, you always, you never,” are extremely yang and one should be mindful of using these because they create barriers between listener and speaker. Interrupting, finishing someone else’s sentence for them, criticism, making major decisions unilaterally, using hostile humor and other put-downs are all signs of an excessively yang condition. Inability to focus, daydreaming, skirting or avoiding the issues, are more yin styles that preclude effective communication. Balanced conversations are not necessarily all sweetness and light but they do allow for each party to explore their feelings and views on a given issue in a non-judgmental space.

10) We are recovering our yin qualities and skills in areas of self-expression such as painting, drawing, writing, decorating our own homes instead of hiring someone else to do it, and parenting. Even though we were brought up in a more yang style of parenting, we can re-assess and parent our children differently. Instead of trying to control their eating, we can educate them as to the effects of food and how to prepare it. Instead of pushing them in a certain direction, we can notice what direction they like to go in and support them in accomplishing their visions and reaching their goals.

For many years I never felt good about saying how long I’d been macrobiotic because I kept focusing on how incorrect my practice had been during that time. Now having noticed other changes in my values and thinking, I feel more at ease about saying I’m macrobiotic. These are the gifts all macrobiotic women bring to the world. So if you see one of us having a cup of coffee somewhere, please don’t suggest we mix it half and half with bancha, just fuhgetaboutit and let us enjoy our life.

Reprinted from Cybermacro
( used with permission from the author

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