Living The Great Life
Looking toward the North is a trait which few Americans possess. Historically, our primary movement has been East to West – from Europe to America and America to the Orient, building a seemingly endless empire. Our secondary movement from north to south, emerged after American (East & West) coasts were settled and well connected through business and commerce. This secondary trend developed a more subtle nature, offering American tourists diverse environments of either temperate or tropical climates. The vast continent of Canada offers us resplendent treasures – snow capped Rockies, pristine lakes, vast prairie land, rugged coastlines, and abundant wildlife. For these natural beauties we busy Americans stop and look to the North.
I am one American who stopped, looked, liked what I saw and decided to stay, to learn more about it all. What I found was a rare and real treasure.
Macrobiotics Canada, Canada’s only fully comprehensive macrobiotic center, is located outside of Ottawa (the capital) on the outskirts of Almonte. This tiny village, originally named Rosebank after the wild rose blossoms, which grow along the roadsides was once a mill community. Today Macrobiotics Canada is located in the center of this village on land originally used for local town gatherings, beside the village church (no longer standing). Trains pass through the east end of the village twice daily, sounding their whistles as a constant reminder that we are all connected!
The pastureland beyond the village limit rolls back to meet the great Mississippi River. No, not the river which Huckleberry Finn rafted upon; but another great river flowing upon it’s own merit. This Mississippi flows to the North. Very unusual! It’s source lies 80 miles S.W. and empties into the great Ottawa River, 25 miles due north.
Just behind Macrobiotics Canada, the Mississippi slow and stately, takes a turn for the wild. The river branches into three veins, dipping and twisting, and bubbling over rocks forming an amazing display of rapids. Only the most skillful dare negotiate their canoes / kayaks during the high spring run-off. By summer the water has dropped to a level, which endears even the most timid to jump in!
The Mississippi has become Wayne Diotte’s greatest friend and teacher, providing him with inspiration, insight and teachings. “The river simultaneously leads and follows; this is its greatest strength,” Wayne has said. One could chew on the meaning of this idea alone for years to come. The Mississippi is the lifestream of Blakeney and Macrobiotics Canada. The best way to understand this river is to swim in her, sit under her rapids, bask on her warm rocks, wade through her shallow pools and explore her islands. Sit… Watch… Reflect… Discover… Breathe… Live…
Wayne was deeply wise in choosing this location. This is th most macrobiotic center I’ve ever seen. Wayne purchased the land in 1970, and built his original home / meditation center by hand out of native pine. He later built a larger addition which currently houses M.C. activities – cooking classes, lectures, consultations, massages, yoga and so much more. To this day through Wayne’s efforts, people still gather on this community-oriented land.
The center looks simple and inviting from the outside and is surrounded by 2 large organic vegetable gardens and wild flowers. Upon closer inspection one begins to notice that the windows of different heights, shapes and sizes are positioned somewhat irregularly. But just step inside! Spend the day, stay a week, come back again and again and you may see what I have seen. What becomes obvious from the inside is that this building is a temple to the natural world (without a spire). The eastern sunrise pours it’s early light into Wayne’s office, the morning kitchen, and family bedroom.
Throughout the day, large southern windows, overlooking the gardens, catch the light for the teaching kitchen and the spacious lecture room. As twilight passes and evening descends, the second story, south and west windows catch breathtaking astral displays. Stay up some night and watch the full moon pass window by window as it rises high, then arcs its way westward to disappear beyond the river. Northern widows are smaller than the southern ones, and placed up high to allow inspiration from the heavens to pour forth… but not overpower. The west windows in the family quarters provide spectacular sunset views, long after students and guests have departed.
During your stay, take a close look at the hand-made, seven-sided stained glass ceiling lamps, etched with universal religious symbols. Search for the five mysterious Golden Om’s! I have found them! Can You? As a student of Iyengar yoga I have a penchant for detail. These noteworthy details of M.C. are vital to understanding what is really going on here. They speak directly and clearly of the forethought, vision, planning, care, and love with which Wayne has designed and built his Macrobiotic Canada Center… and with which Wayne consistently and purposefully designs M.C. classes and programs.
Ask your friends and family whom have attended the varied weekend programs, lectures, health, lifestyle, business and relationship consultations, cooking classes, massages, rebirthing and the annual Summer Study & Fun Camps held over the last 20 years. They will nod with agreement! Ask the staff that returns year after year! Ask Corinne! There is a quality of mindfulness here, unsurpassed by any I’ve seen. Rare enough in modern culture, all too rare in the macrobiotic world. It goes beyond the information gathered in lectures, beyond the techniques gained in cooking classes, beyond the food eaten and enjoyed… spiraling out towards the spirit. What magic happens when friends join hands in song and prayer,,, when humans joyfully connect with one another in a natural environment! And Macrobiotics Canada’s gardens planted in preparation for summer and autumn programs, tended by caring hands. Bountiful harvests turned into life giving feasts by skillful cooks and served to gracious guests whose support and contributions make these programs all possible and worthwhile.
Macrobiotics Canada is a first rate, world-class experience. But do not take my word only, find out for yourself! Experience first hand what macrobiotic living is all about. This is the essence of Wayne’s teaching – living life and appreciating it fully every step of the way. To quote Wayne again, “In order to teach life, you must first live life.” Wayne continues to excel in both. Come and join us for some great ‘Northern Ki”.
Shutesbury, Mass. U.S.A.