Macrobiotics Loses a Friend

by Patrick McCarty


Our dear friend and teacher Aveline Kushi died July 3, 2001. She was 78 years of age. (see Boston Globe article.)

Those that had the good fortune to know and study with Aveline were lucky indeed. Her knowledge and smile were an inspiration to the many thousands of students over the years that knew her. As the recent Boston Globe article states, Aveline was instrumental in the natural foods movement in the United States. But she was much more that. She was involved in the development of those students who flocked to her. Her influence went even further than her students. It went as far as the United States congress. Upon Aveline's passing Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio honored Aveline in the Congressional Record of the 107th Congress. (for complete text.)

Some years ago I had the good fortune to travel with Aveline in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. At each seminar location she enthusiastically and gracefully presented macrobiotics in such a down-to-earth yet elegant manner. Just to watch her stir a pot filled you with peace and possibility. Her slow precise movements, graced by her usually present traditional Japanese garments added an ambience and sentiment that excelled beyond the power of foods. The tone and vibrational quality that radiated from her during her presentations left little to the imagination about if Ki existed or not. You could feel yourself being bathed in some subtle energy while observing the meditative experience that was the class. And when it was over and you sampled the small tastes that were given to the students you always wondered why your food was never as flavorful nor as satisfying.

In one particularly humorous class, Aveline extolled the virtues of natto (fermented soybeans that are sticky and strong smelling, that either you love or hate). She mentioned that natto was particularly good for women so they could experience the joy of sexual union as natto affected the vaginal mucosa in a positive manner making sensation more pleasurable. Her apparently shy and private attitude toward sex delighted and amused the class. Yet she did such a great sales job on the product that when I went after class to the nearby natural foods store to shop for some items and was waiting in the check-out line I noticed that every women (obviously having just attended Aveline's class) had several packages of natto in their baskets!

Aveline supported and encourage all of the people that she met. She never stopped learning and exploring new avenues of health and spiritual practices. Her mind was always open to what the universe could provide.

We will miss her greatly.

The Kushi Family asks that in lieu of flowers, please send donations to:
Aveline Kushi Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 7
198 Leland Road
Becket, Massachusetts 01223