An Interview with Evan Root

Basic Alchemy – A Necessary Piece

by Deborah Murphy

It’s all in the title I would say…..I had always wondered what this strange sounding Programme was…but not for very long. As far as I was concerned this was something that you did as a side dish and was definitely not part of the main course. Throughout my 11-year ‘training’ period with Concord Institute it was something I had not been invited to do and it was not something I was going to do. It was not an essential part, like Power, Intent and Evolution or HeartSpace and so on. Until this time, when it was put to me, that it was potentially a missing piece in my education and training in relation to transformation.

The origins of the meaning of the word Alchemy, from Greek and Latin traditions are to ‘separate and join together’. This is indeed what goes on in the Programme. The whole intention of the Programme is to give the participant a ‘basic’ understanding of the essential principles behind macrobiotic and oriental thinking and to apply that to every day living and contributing to dayto-day health and healing.

Michael Rossoff, delivered his knowledge to us, which is full and deep – you just know, its in there right to his bones – in relation to the body, the mind, the whole being in a gentle and humorous way, and from a position of having no idea really what I was in for, I began to be drawn in and then excited by the ideas of the energy channels of the body, the relationship between the organs of the body, the pressure points that are critical in releasing blocked energy, the energetics of food
and the way nature is an integral part of how we live in the world. Indeed, I really got how, understandings one’s self, in one’s life is really a matter of energy understanding and how Concord Institute is really about supporting people in having a really healthy flow of energy.

It was like being back in education on occasions and unusually, it was a programme that felt right and proper to take notes and write down understandings to refer back to. In this programme, as never before, I got clear why meat, dairy and sugar are foods that are to be carefully balanced and considered in relation to one’s diet. I was particularly shocked, that my ‘snoring’ problem was probably a problem of ‘too much phlegm’ – produced by too much sugar – and that my ‘inherited’ bunion’ (cannot believe I am sharing all this) was in fact where the energy travelling in my body had been affected by too much sugar. It is quite shocking how in this class of 16 people, this precious knowledge was being shared and yet it seemed at that moment everywhere else no one seemed to know how damaging the lifestyle choices being made were.

I found myself thinking about my family throughout the programme and how they ate, what we cooked, the different energies of my children. I was particularly concerned about my teenage son, who had developed a keen interest in sugar, coca cola and sweets, which he had not had before. I was struck by how I could understand the current movement of energy in his body and also with urgency wanted to know what I could do. I sat with Michael during lunch – noticing his almost wrinkle free face and smooth hands – “looking great”, I thought, for his age – and asked him about my son. He very clearly said there was nothing I should do to make him change and that he had to develop his own relationship with what these things did and how they made him feel…. However, what was really lovely was understanding that the massage my son and I share regularly during the evenings ‘the reciprocal’ as we call it, was very similar to the Shiatsu massage that Michael taught us by weaving it into to the course regularly, except now I could add some pressure points that I had learnt. I have done this, and my son really benefits, his energy being very ‘yang’. How lovely to see that this has naturally woven itself into our evening.

The understanding of the yin and yang concept is so enabling and gives a power and possibility to choice in relation to food. I love the blend of one’s body, one’s environment and one’s particular daily living requirements and challenges that integrate to inform what we put in and what comes out, to put it bluntly. I love the way the energetic understanding of human beings makes for a more impersonal understanding of what is happening. I just love the way it all comes together for me. The programme really brought it all together. Regular bodywork sessions, learning techniques to breathe and move to support health during the course further informed my understandings of the disciplines that keep one really connected to life.

Arriving home from Basic Alchemy, I was inspired, enthused and committed to developing further my relationship with the energetics of health, particularly with food. I went straight to my health food shop and re-stocked with seaweeds, miso, tempeh, and some medicinal food such as umoboshi plum paste. The health food owner, saying, “you always did like that Japanese stuff”… That first night, with complete ease, I cooked aduki bean stew, braised tofu and greens, also providing a chicken dish for the meat eaters. Not that I have not cooked like this before, it just occurred very differently.

Amazingly, magically, the whole family opted for the first choice, to the point, that people began to get upset, at the possibility there was not enough to go round. Everyone loved the first choice and the whole lot eaten and I was so delighted I had to text Sheila, that in all my years of training I had never had the whole family eat a whole meal made like this! This all happened without me even trying. The intent was obviously very clear! So, from being a programme, that was way down at the bottom, almost invisible to me, Basic Alchemy moved to the point I was clearly ready to see, the integration of all I had been involved.

Thank you Concord Institute.

Visit the Basic Alchemy page to learn about our upcoming programme.