Change often makes us uncomfortable. Maybe there is a bright side to the unexpected changes that we experienced in 2016. From my observation, there are three things that I believe people did not expect. The first two are global and the last within the global macrobiotic community. First, the British exit from the European Union, the second Donald Trump elected president of the United States, and the third the sudden closing of the Kushi Institute in Beckett. Hopefully these three events will usher in or make way for opportunities that can create huge benefit socially, personally, and environmentally. However we perceive these events, they are wake up calls, and it is an even more urgent time to take action for our collective well-being.

I would like to share with you a simple technique I learned from Michio Kushi that has been very valuable to me over the years.

For closing the year, list ten of the most significant individual and social events, both positive and negative, that impacted you most strongly. It is not necessary to go into too much detail if you do not wish.
For 2017, list ten personal and social goals, wishes, and intentions that you would like to see manifested or accomplished.

The best time to do this is either before New Year’s Day or by February 4th when nature’s energy naturally begins to rise.

Here are three other ongoing things you can do to help bring about desired changes. In the short and long-term, try to imagine how the world would be different with these simple yet powerful practices.

Three Steps to Change the World
How can you receive guidance to heal yourself and the planet?
We are inseparable from nature. We experience and live in complete interdependence with nature. The natural world is a collective reflection of the state of our overall health and wellbeing. It has become obvious that our health is failing, and as a consequence, nature is in trouble.
—The first step to heal the earth is to develop a quiet, open mind through meditation and mindfulness practice. These practices allow us to reconnect with nature and our own intuition. When we open ourselves to nature, nature will guide us. We can connect with and receive inspiration and guidance from nature and those who have passed before us. With these practices, the quiet openness creates the space that we need to receive.

—Take time for our meals. Sit down to eat without doing other things to connect with and recover our appetite for natural and healthy foods. Food is our direct connection to the earth. Our connection is renewed with every meal. It is similar to being in a conversation with someone. When we allow ourselves to commune uninterrupted, the communication is deeper on many levels. Having a meal is no different.

—Eat natural grains, beans, vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits, and pickled and fermented foods along with soups and mild beverages. As often as possible, eat local and indigenous foods (foods globally from similar latitudes and growing conditions). This helps us align with our specific region. When we enjoy local and indigenous foods, we create a direct connection with our locality. The more perishable, the closer it should be to home.

These three methods are simple and powerful ways to nourish ourselves and connect with nature. Furthermore, these methods are available to many, if not most. The unifier between these methods is food and cooking guided by our care and intention. It is how we strengthen and make a relationship with that connection.

Grains are our most traditional food and the strongest unifier. Grains and vegetables naturally complement each other, and provide the most complete nourishment and satisfaction.

We wish you all the best in health and happiness in the new year.
Denny, Susan, and SHI