Friday, April 3, 2015

Revolutionary Common Sense: The Story of Shizuko Yamamoto

Recently, an old macrobiotic friend and teacher, Shizuko Yamamoto passed away. She was 91. I am posting her inspirational story here today via George Oshawa on Facebook. Shizuko suffered from leukemia when she was young, but turned her health and her life around by discovering shiatsu, yoga and macrobiotics. 

Shizuko's search was for a true way to happiness, that is: what is the body? how does the body work? how can I become strong and independent of sickness? how can I use health to accomplish something good in my life? to achieve my dreams?

Here is her story in her own words -

Shizuko in the Kitchen

Transforming Difficulty Into Happiness --- My Life's Journey

by Shizuko Yamamoto

Each individual must depend on their inner strength and commitment to succeed and achieve their goal of sound health and contentment. The following is my personal story. It is an account of my change to a better, healthier way of living. It's a journey that began many years ago.

At one time I was seriously ill. It was when I was in my twenties in Tokyo. My doctors felt that I was very close to having leukemia. I also had vision and eye troubles. I suffered over ten operations trying to correct my eye problem. Even more than the eye troubles generally I just didn't feel well. I was in and out of hospitals for three years. After my hospital traumas I stayed at home, almost hiding out for more than eight years. Because of these experiences I lost trust in western medicine. From my education and upbringing I grew up with a deep sense of trust and confidence in western ways. After my prolonged experience, I completely lost trust in this approach. Therefore I began looking for some alternative. I was committed to change and I knew what kind of outcome I was looking for. I wanted to be healthy.

While I was living at home with my parents I was introduced to shiatsu (Japanese style of finger-pressure massage). There was an older women, a shiatsu practitioner, who came to the house once a week to give my parents shiatsu treatments. She was an honest and sympathetic person. However at that time I hated the idea of the classical Oriental healing arts. My educational background had trained me to reject such unscientific and primitive nonsense. The problem was that because of my eye trouble and its effect on my neck and shoulder I had a great deal of stiffness and pain. I was deeply uncomfortable and complained to my mother. Finally I relented to my mother's request that I take one of Mrs. Fukumorita's shiatsu treatments. It felt so good! She was a nice person so I could talk to her about what I was going through. From this initial experience I began my study of the Oriental healing arts.

Change Begins -- In Japan

The first step began with my reading a book on yoga that was given to me by my aunt. This led me to attend yoga classes After taking these classes I immediately changed my way of life. I began with my diet. I started by cooking brown rice. I completely stopped eating animal foods, such as meat, chicken, and pork as well as sugar. Not eating sugar was very difficult for me, as I have since discovered is the case for almost everyone. I cooked brown rice, a variety of local vegetables, and seaweed. Everyday I would go out and walk a lot. I would do exercises and I began to meditate. In the morning I would open all the windows to let in the fresh air and perform deep breathing exercises for sometime. I practically changed my life overnight. Within one month I felt different. I felt much better.

From there I began to help out and teach at a Yoga training center. I saw many people guiding them with the Yoga exercises that I had learned. The Yoga style that I know has more movement than regular Hatha Yoga. It also includes individual corrective exercises. As I worked with more and more people I could see that each had variations of the same problems. The symptoms appeared to be different. But really the problems were the same. No one knew how to breathe or to move correctly. Each person improved using correct breathing and movement exercises. It was proven to me that if you make simple lifestyle adjustments you can get results. Sometimes students would need some extra help. They would do the Yoga techniques the best they could by themselves but their healing progressed slowly. At such times I would help them with shiatsu. I had taken beginning studies at the Namikoshi and Nishizawa schools of shiatsu. These shiatsu styles relied on the use of the practitioner's hands to do the treatment. While working at the Yoga dojo (training hall) one of my fellow teachers showed me how to use the foot during a partner exercise. After trying it during a shiatsu session I realized that using the feet was easier than using only the hands. I treated my friends with my feet and gradually developed a barefoot shiatsu style that included this foot technique. I never learned about using the feet in a class or school. It naturally evolved.

I continued my search of alternative healing methods with the study of Seitai. Seitai is a system of guided self-corrective exercises. This study was accomplished with Hidea Noguchi. His techniques are very effective.

I began to incorporate martial art principles into my style after my study of Aikido. Aikido was founded by Mr. Ueshiba and is considered a unique martial art. Through this study not only was I exposed to technical skills but also to universal principles of how nature functions. Realities such as the illusion of conflict and the unification of opposite forces deepened my understanding about the nature of reality.

This further helped to develop my shiatsu style. I found the corrective exercises of Yoga particularly useful so I combined them with shiatsu treatment. The two together achieved a much greater response than either one alone.

Fundamentally my initial search in Japan led me to the understanding that the foundation of the macrobiotic diet coupled with corrective exercises and shiatsu had tremendous power to cause change within an individual and the alleviation of suffering. For me this was a revelation. Especially considering my original outlook seeing natural healing techniques as foolish and a waste of time.

The Change Continues -- On To America

For the next ten years I applied myself to understanding traditional healing methods. While I was pursuing my studies of the healing arts in Japan I developed a holistic beauty school. People would come and be introduced to macrobiotic foods, healthful cooking, yoga, and exercise as well as beauty tips such as facial treatments and cosmetics.

The school was developing nicely when my teacher, Mr. George Ohsawa suggested that I could be more useful working in America to spread macrobiotics. I carefully considered Mr. Ohsawa's point of view and decided that he was correct. I would go to America. My purpose for coming to America was, following Mr. Ohsawa's wishes, to help promote macrobiotic activities. At that time I didn't have any plans to do shiatsu treatments. After I arrived in New York there was some legal trouble regarding macrobiotics. Consequently there were not many activities going on. Because of this I decided to work with Gloria Swanson, a famous film star, helping her with macrobiotic cooking. From Gloria Swanson's job I got another job working in a macrobiotic restaurant. While working in the restaurant some employees would complain about stiff neck and shoulders so I would quickly work on them for a few minutes and apparently they felt better because soon I was being asked to do many treatments. The employees would come to me and they told their friends who also would come for treatments. The fact that I was giving shiatsu spread by word of mouth. It was soon after that I began to earn a living from shiatsu.

Developing My Shiatsu Style

My treatment style had developed to include both the skills that I had learned from schools in Japan that primarily used the fingers and hands, plus the foot technique from my time at the Yoga center. These two styles along with the technical additions that I invented while working on the people of New York and the use of the macrobiotic diet became the "Barefoot Shiatsu" style.

New Yorkers are hard working people who tend to eat large amounts of beef, pastrami, hot dogs, eggs, and other animal source foods. This excessive consumption of animal protein together with their stressful mental work and lack of physical exercise produces exceptionally stiff, tight bodies. I developed a technique that is specifically directed toward addressing such inflexible conditions.
Technique wise from the beginning I would put a great deal of energy into giving a treatment. As time has progressed and I have seen tens of thousands of patients, the technique has become simpler and simpler. I have always taught this holistic style of treatment that includes diet, breathing, and corrective exercise with shiatsu. Before there were any macrobiotic training schools many young people would gather at Michio and Aveline Kushi's house in Boston and I would spend time sharing my experience with them. We did this many times. I was always treating patients and teaching students what I had learned. Later as interest grew large seminars were developed to share shiatsu with the public. Now many years later this information is being taught around the United States and in Europe. Shiatsu continues to grow and is sought after by many people.

Though I had many physical and emotional troubles, they were all healed. After I made the profound change to macrobiotic living principles my problems were cured. With these changes I developed more of a positive outlook. It has become easier for me to look on the bright side. When I was sick everything appeared negative to me. As my body healed itself I was able to do more work. I became involved in many interesting activities. I was able to forget my personal troubles. I soon began to feel good about things again.

After 40 years of living in Tokyo with my parents and friends, life gave me an opportunity to start over. It started with my practice of yoga and macrobiotics. It has continued with my move to the United States. This process initiated my new life. Before that time I had hardships with my illnesses but I never really had to work hard nor to depend on myself. To break away from my old ways and start a new life really felt good to me.

Following Nature

I feel that human beings who are in really good condition, those who are healthy in body and mind, will naturally have a positive outlook. Even if the environment is difficult and there are many hardships we can have a positive outlook. When your body and mind become weak everything looks bad, even if you are in a great environment. Everything is in a moving balance in nature. As we all belong to nature we aren't supposed to have many troubles. If we are healthy, we are able to cope and adjust to the challenges that inevitably affect us all. We have to follow nature's order to survive. When we violated nature's order trouble is sure to come. Most people however, never realize we are part of nature. My experience has proven the truth of this to me. To fundamentally change for the better we must learn from nature. We have no choice. If you don't have the will to change, your life is finished. You won't die right away but you will never change and your physical and emotional miseries will remain. Is this the life you were born to experience? If we as human beings cannot understand the simple message that we belong to nature we will be incapable of curing physical or emotional troubles. Nature created us. We cannot control nature. The key here is "how to discover what is nature's order." As humans, we have lost this sense. We must be able to feel it. If we can practice self-reflection, meditation, and even honest talking to ourselves, we will discover that we are part of nature. Nature is in us.

Much of the illness that exists today can be traced back to lifestyle. The number one cause of death is heart and vessel disease. This illness is practically 100% avoidable with dietary modifications. Although all scientific evidence points out this fact it has not been acted on by either the medical nor lay communities. I suggest that common sense action be taken immediately. This stance appears to be revolutionary. It may be revolutionary as it meets the current needs of a serious problem in an innovative, untried manner. It is my desire that individuals within society take it upon themselves to make appropriate changes. To take a stance individually and act upon it with logic and reason, particularly when it is outside the norm, takes courage. If society is to continue without extreme financial and emotional burdens, significant change must occur. The numbers of people afflicted with serious illnesses are ever increasing. A fundamental and rapid change to preventive health care and holistic techniques is essential to turn around human kind's race toward degeneration. The solution is simple and it can be done.

In one of his poems American poet Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference".

Lima Ohsawa (left) and Shizuko Yamamoto on the occasion of Lima's 88th birthday

You may remember Lima Ohsawa from my previous post These Are My Mothers
I would also like to post the following poem about Lima Ohsawa, "Mother of a Revolution," from my poetry book Atlantis, about the United States possibly being another Atlantis. 

Mother of a Revolution
(for Lima Ohsawa)

Catholic children are afraid
of the dark
after they say their prayers
and turn out the light,
they lie with one eye open


that the night will assemble itself
into a shape
that a sliver of light will grow
and grow
until it becomes an angel

or worse, Jesus
kind and sorrowful
or, most undeniable, His Mother
giving, her palms outward

these horror-struck
children, know,
they will be touched, no longer, innocent
if they see a vision
they must cast away their toys
leave cartoons behind forever
to fast and walk the earth barefoot
they might suffer torturous deaths
from which terror they must not cry out
or deny God, ever

so was I in awe when I was introduced to my Mother
she didn’t speak a word of English
she came all the way from Japan
and it was a big deal that she had stopped walking by
when she saw me
that she was being introduced
in hushed, hurried tones
by her little translator
to this thin, Catholic child

Now, I had spoken to her many times before this
in my heart,
asking, “Mother, you are far from me, but
I need help. What should I do for this ailment, or that?”
And, I could see her, as plainly as I did in front of me,
she held her hands across her lap, and said,
almost before I’d finished my prayer,
“Eat more brown rice.”
And, her r’s would roll like l’s, ever so gently

Now, she took both my hands and stepped toward me! Unheard of!
She was the Mother of a Revolution!
I was a nothing
the translator was silent
I waited for her to speak
I smiled, uneasily
My Mother held my hands
I tried to pull them away!
(I didn’t want to give up my toys! My pretty things!)
She pulled my hands back to herself!
to her hara
she looked, determined, into my eyes

What I would have given for the little translator to speak!
My home is in the eyes of my Mother
not a day goes by I do not visit them
and ask, “Mother, what would you have me do?”

What were you telling me? small brown eyes
most unremarkable 
elegant Western dress from fifty years ago
nylons, shoes
not even a kimono to help me

was I supposed to teach?

I taught, I kept my toys few,
my heart pure, my eyes and ears open
I embraced poverty
I know, my great sin,
I kept myself hidden from the world

“Mother, what would you have me do?”

only one thing remains

only one thing
the baby that was inside me
was that all you were trying to tell me?

that she would return to God?
am I that small?

is that all, when the personal life is dead?
when the axis will shift
and we will perish,
gasping mouthfuls of earth like the dinosaurs

tell me it was bigger, tell me I was bigger!
and I will be more comforted
the sucking up of oceans, the cracking of glaciers
tell me it was planetary, tell me it was destiny
the explosive creation of a star, no, a galaxy!
easily mistaken for

an embryo
a grain of golden grain

©PatriciaGoodwin, 2015

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its powerful sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the troubled 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. She has also written three books of poetry, and many articles about organic foods, macrobiotics and the dangers of GMOs, which can be found on her webiste

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Underinflated Balls



nets nearly 600 arrests before 

2015 Super Bowl

"As part of the "National Day of Johns" sex trafficking sting, spearheaded by the Cook County, Ill., Sheriff's Office, police said that they captured hundreds of men and women attempting to hire prostitutes through websites such as and Craigslist. Police also said they rescued dozens of women who said they had been forced into prostitution…" READ MORE 

Is this still a man’s world or what? 
Why are they still talking about underinflated balls? Why? Because they’re not really talking about underinflated balls, they’re talking about money. About men making money. About men losing money.
I don’t want to talk about or hear any more about underinflated balls.
I want to talk about the under-aged sex workers men will be bringing in to Glendale, Arizona for the 2015 Super Bowl.
It’s hard to be ahead of the times on this one. The trouble with statistics is that you have to wait until after the fact to gather them. I have no stats on how many child prostitutes will be unwillingly brought into Glendale next weekend. I do have stats on previous Super Bowls, however: an estimated 10,000 women and minors were brought into Tampa, FL for sex at the 2009 Super Bowl. The numbers for actual arrests are almost comical by comparison – “One human trafficker was arrested and jailed for advertising a 14 and 18-year-old for $300 on Craigslist as a ‘Super Bowl Special’.”
            The Super Bowl may be the Las Vegas of sports events, sex, drugs, alcohol, whatever happens here, stays here, but for the young women who are forced into sex trafficking, it’s no picnic. Most of the men who pay for sex are married with the children, have good jobs and are obviously earning enough money to buy a Super Bowl ticket, travel and pay Super high hotel rates. They will return with no regrets to their wholesome lives after engaging in vacation sex with a child. The child, however, will regret each moment she is forced to have sex with anywhere from 25-50 men every day she (or he) is at the year’s most prestigious event. Makes one wonder about other events – say the political Conventions, I don’t want to single out a political party here – or any other such event you can imagine.
Good people, I have found, do not like hearing about this situation. Good people like to concentrate on the game itself, on the wholesomeness of this family sports event, on having enough snacks and booze for their friends and colleagues at their Super Bowl party. They didn’t even want to see Janet Jackson’s pink nipple - that was too shocking! So, it follows, that during the game no one wants to think about a little girl chained to a bed, shot up with heroin to keep her docile, trained to not gag by an older girl, trained by an older girl to act sultry or scared – most of the men want scared – if I go on about this, you’ll blame me for telling you. How can you say such things?
            How can you ignore them? How can you eat your snacks and enjoy the game knowing that women and children are going to be hurt afterward – for fun?
            You need to know about the damage group. The damage group is made up of the girls to whom men are allowed to do anything they want, usually involving horrible beatings and torture while performing sexual acts. In the documentary Playground by filmmaker, Libby Spears (now streaming on Netflix) about sex trafficking in the United States, one official commented that some of the acts they were seeing he couldn’t describe, against children so young, that no normal person could look at them without being disturbed. Officials blame easy access of child pornography on the internet for the increase in more extreme sexual acts. Users have become dulled by the nightmares they've witnessed there and are looking for more and more perversions.
Most people think sex trafficking is a problem found only in other countries. That’s simply not true. The United States has 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged sex workers; most of them are runaways or captives who were forced into a life of prostitution. Take the example of Debbie, an A student from a good family in Phoenix, AZ who was abducted from her driveway at age 15, held at gunpoint in a dog kennel, given dog biscuits to eat, forced to have sex with multiple men, raped by her captors for sport, stuffed into a drawer under a bed where she was found by police 40 days after her abduction. She was lucky. Most abducted children are never found.
Here is a quote from Gregg Abbot, Texas Attorney General: "The Super Bowl is one of the largest human trafficking events in the United States."
If you click on the NBC News link, the page says, “We're sorry. The text content of this page is no longer available.”
            But I found it: in a great article by USA Today’s Rick Jervis about efforts by Texas law enforcement to meet the challenges of what was expected to be going on underneath the surface glamour of the 2011 Dallas Super Bowl: "The Super Bowl is the greatest show on Earth, but it also has an ugly underbelly," Abbott said. "It's commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children said, “Each year, 100,000 to 300,000 American kids, some as young as 12 years old, are exploited in the sex trade. The traffickers use the Super Bowl and other large events such as the World Cup to ply their trade. The traffickers try to seize that opportunity to do business.” Traffickers are making money by exploiting children and their co-conspirators are men, most often family men, who are literally lining up to purchase sex with a child.
            Back to underinflated balls. How appropriate. Because that is exactly the kind of balls men have who need to abuse children, who need to scare little girls, who need to force children, who need the perversion of having sex with a toddler or younger - oh, yes, it’s too awful, and too true. Maybe strong women have scared them. Maybe the media has shown them too many sexual images of girls and boys at younger at younger ages. Maybe the easy access of the internet is to blame for the increase in cruelty and perversion. Probably. The sheer number of these easily available, horrifying acts have dulled the senses of perverts who now want more and more aberrant acts performed. But, that’s no excuse. Child prostitution is as old as time. Children are easy prey for monsters. Who knows what horrors existed in ancient Rome or medieval China. It’s always, always, always the same – it’s bullying. Men who need to hurt a very small, very helpless person in order to feel large.
            Men with underinflated balls.

©PatriciaGoodwin, 2015           

What you can do:
If you suspect trafficking, CALL the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: a toll-free 24-hour hotline at 888-373-7888.

Give as much as you can:

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The first thing I saw Tuesday morning when I woke up and turned on the laptop was that Robin Williams had killed himself. I passed Denial and went right into Anger. What the fuck is going on? Philip Seymour Hoffman and now another dear genius? I guess on paper, intellectually, I agree that anyone has the right to kill himself or herself. But, emotionally, I’m hurting more than I realize. I just can’t shake my sadness at the waste of such creative, vibrant lives.
I don’t write this post lightly. I never write lightly, even if I make fun of myself. It is not easy for me to say these things. And it is especially hard to come out with these truths in the face of our shared loss in the deaths, both very much suicides, of Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The idea of just not wanting to be here any more, the quality of life issue, has gotten me down more than once. Who wants to be in this world where people cannot stop killing each other? Yesterday, I saw a picture of a toddler with three rifles pointed to his head. Who cares what is was about or which side was which? Who wants to live in that world? It’s horrifying! To say it’s depressing is an understatement. (This photo turned out to be posed. It’s still disgusting. And, since we know atrocities like this pose are actually happening, the posing seems both moot and representative.)

I get depressed because the bees are dying or because Bill and Melinda Gates have invested in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault along with Monsanto Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Syngenta Foundation and the Government of Norway to create a doomsday seed collection, when I know they are really busy destroying our food supply and cornering the world’s seeds for some kind of horror movie agenda. Now, that’s depressing. There are moments in the middle of the night when I really do panic, not for myself, but for mankind. For God. For Nature. Nature doesn’t care; she’ll adjust, even if she has to turn earth into the moon for a while. But, God. The loss of all He created? All He gave us? Such an act is beyond evil. I feel so sad about it, so very sad. The only thing I can do is to continue to champion organics and hope organics can survive. But, I don’t get depressed. I fight. I feel a very powerful sense of responsibility to keep on. As a writer and an artist, I must go on. I believe in the responsibility of the artist – to his talent, to God who gave him his talent, to the people who love him - to keep on - to never, ever squander his gift, not on drugs, not on laziness, not on fear. Not on depression.
When I look at celebrities, people we think “have it all,” people who have “made it,” the severe suffering and panic is obvious: they are people who stuff their faces or breasts with plastic or some other substance foreign to the human body; starve themselves in a land of plenty; workout till their muscles and veins strain out of their arms and legs; shoot heroin; shoplift; drive fast; guzzle pills or alcohol and limp off to rehab over and over. I can feel how lonely many celebrities are, especially geniuses like Williams and Hoffman. Depression, again, seems like an understatement.
However, as a macro, I know that depression is quite often the result of dehydration and constipation. In the coffee shop I go to, one of the kids who works there told me, “I used to get so depressed after drinking the coffee (dehydrating) until I started drinking a tall glass of ice water along with it. Then, I felt completely different.” Just in case you thought a kid with colored hair and a nose ring couldn’t teach you anything. Water is the only liquid that can hydrate you. Prolonged subtle dehydration, that is, not getting enough water every day for a long time, from drinking too much alcohol or other dehydrating liquids such as coffee or tea, soda or mineral water, working too hard, traveling, forced-air environments, smoking, medication side-effects, stress or - just plain not drinking enough water - can interfere with the function of the body’s organs causing problems that may be attributed to other causes and treated with more medications. Problems like muscle spasms, hamstring injuries, heat exhaustion, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, weakness, lightheadedness, kidney stones, rashes, gout, even dementia have been noted in people who do not get enough water. 
Robin Williams would have been the first one to rant on depression being caused by constipation. He would have made it funny, though it’s not funny. Constipation is brought on by the American diet of too much sugar, meat, saturated fats, trans fats, dairy, white flour, baked goods and salt in combination with lack of exercise, not drinking enough water and chemicals and drugs of all kinds, whether prescribed medications or recreational. The more medications your doctor prescribes for your depression or for other health problems, such as Williams' heart medications, the more chance you have of being constipated and depressed. Medications make your intestines lax; in turn, you feel heavy and burdened. You have a hard time getting “fired-up” about things. Reinvention seems impossible, while, in reality, reinvention is ALWAYS possible.
We all know about the endorphins released by exercise. Endorphins create positive feelings in our minds and bodies. And I’m really not preaching when I say that exercise can erase depression. I know Williams had a difficult heart surgery which he himself said was so traumatic, he found himself, in recovery, weepy and vulnerable instead of strong and powerful. My husband had heart surgery and he has made lots of healthy changes since. I've seen my husband's improvement first hand and it is very inspiring. I am 63, Robin Williams’ age when he died. I am overweight. I hated to exercise – until I did – now I cannot do without the sense of strength exercising gives me in my muscles – in my legs, my belly – I can feel power in my waist when I move, a little push from inside pushing me forward, more energy, more strength, encouragement, power, the opposite of depression. I can now get out of bed without suddenly grabbing my back or tottering on unsteady legs. I was getting to the point where I could not turn in bed, not from the weight, but from complications from the weight – muscle cramping, poor circulation, weakness. That’s depressing. Most people would give up. But, as a macro, I knew, I didn’t want to go backward. I had some bad habits that were bringing me down. Oh, yes, even macros can make mistakes. The only way was forward. I started to exercise, just a little, then more and more, and the rewards were - and are - greater as the exercise increases. Not just energy, but good positive energy from the good, positive functioning of the body.
An athlete I know once told me, “I can’t tell you how big my bowel movements are after I run!” I asked her, “Where is it all coming from? You’re so thin!” She said, “I don’t know, but it sure comes out!” I said something silly like, “You better run home fast!”
Alicia Silverstone has tried to tell people about how “effortless” her bowel movements are since becoming vegan. Of course, people just laugh at her. What does an actress know about health? Try it sometime. Try being vegan for a while and see if you can get depressed. Leafy green vegetables, vegetables that grow up. These will keep you smiling. Robin Williams would have been the first to make a comedy routine out of it.
There’s a great episode of Two & a Half Men in which the young boy, Jake, is depressed and grouchy. After enduring Jake’s rude remarks and slouchy attitude for a while, the maid, Berta, hands him a jug of prune juice and says, “Here, drink this! The whole thing!” The next time we see Jake he’s back to normal, laughing, joking, eagerly running out to the beach. Berta tells his father, “All you feed him are pancakes and pizza, whaddya expect?”
Can constipation kill? John Wayne had 40 lbs of fecal matter in his intestines when he died. Elvis, whose favorite food was a bacon/peanut butter/banana sandwich, had 60 lbs. of feces inside him when he died. Certainly, these two cases are severe. I don't know if Robin Williams was anywhere near this condition. However, even being slightly constipated can slow a person down and cause other difficulties. Catherine Zeta-Jones' favorite comfort food is a spam/corn flake sandwich. I heard her tell this to an interviewer. As a macro, I can see the results of this eating in her skin. We know she is bi-polar; she's been to rehab more than once for this disorder. She's an amazing, talented, beautiful actress; it's hard to see her having trouble of any kind. According to macrobiotics,  the above mentioned snacks are a recipe for constipation, depression, and other complications.
It’s hard for people to believe that depression can be caused by something as simple as constipation and cured by something as simple as relieving your bowels. We want to think we are depressed about something important. And, we are: death, loss, war, human suffering, our own pain. But, we cannot come to grips with the world and our own pain unless we are reasonably healthy. As a macro, I do not believe that some people are so depressed they cannot be helped by positive diet and lifestyle changes or so far gone they cannot help themselves. As long as you can cook and chew, you can change. If you think you’re too depressed to cook, you are lying to yourself. You have to help yourself if you want to change. Help yourself.
I’m still angry. Angry with Robin Williams. Angry with Philip Seymour Hoffman. It also hurts me to think - they were working when they died. When I think of all the talented people who never get to work, or older actors and actresses who cannot find work, I get really angry with both Williams and Hoffman. One of the things I admired most about Robin Williams was his ability to reinvent himself. He was a crazy-great comedian. He was a brilliant serious actor. His work in the movie, One Hour Photo blew my mind. He was beyond amazing in the Law & Order, SVU, episode, Authority. They say Americans love a come back. I want to say come back, Robin. Come back, Philip. At the very least I can watch them over and over on film. I don’t need to tell you which films. You know.
Yeah, I’m angry. I’m also sad. I’ve always told my daughter, “No matter how bad things get, please remember how amazing you are. And, you never know what’s coming around the next corner. Someone as amazing as you will know how to take advantage of the next possibility.” Robin Williams took advantage of those possibilities over and over. I don’t know why he finally ran out of hope. But I can tell you I’ve seen it many times: a healthy lifestyle change can make a tremendous difference to what may seem insurmountable difficulties. You may not believe it can be that simple. But, it is.
And that makes depression even more tragic.

CNN: Dr. Amen discusses Robin Williams’ depression and the healthy benefits of diet and lifestyle changes.

***Update: We now know that Robin Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease when he died. According to macrobiotics, Parkinson's is a degenerative disease of the nervous system that is caused by long term eating of extreme yin, in the case of yin Parkinson's (shaking) and long term eating of extreme yang in the case of yang Parkinson's (seizing-up). He had been taking more medications for this condition, compounding his depression. As a macro, it is painful to hear this news because Parkinson's can be prevented, controlled, and often reversed with healthy macrobiotic changes.  It seems every day brings another sadness about Williams' death. Even Koko the gorilla who met Williams mourned him. She speaks over 1,000 words and overheard the staff talking about him. She remembered him. He had made her laugh when a gorilla friend of hers passed in 2001. Now, I realize, nature is mourning too. 

Impromptu Robin Williams Memorial at the Boston Garden bench from Good Will Hunting.
These tributes were most likely washed away by Wednesday's rains, making them even more poignant.

©PatriciaGoodwin, 2014

Patricia Goodwin is the author of many articles on GMOs, organics, and other subjects. These articles and her books may be found on her website at Books on Amazon: When Two Women Die and Dreamwater.