Spring is making its presence felt in the orchard. The peaches were the first to bloom, a few weeks ahead of the rest. Then the blood plums and nectarine closely followed by my favourite, the quince. A quince tree in blossom is spectacular. The leaf buds open first and create a green nest for the blossom to sit in. Now the prune plums are beginning to flower and the apples and figs are opening tender green leaves. Spring is in full swing even though we have yet to receive the nourishing rain that the garden is waiting for. It has been a drier than usual winter, with not one drop of rain since the beginning of July. The upside is a continual string of mild cloudless days and crisp nights. There is always an upside.


The big news at Ningendo is that the mats are down in the dojo & it has had its first taste of aikido. Very, very exciting. A dream held for more than twenty years has come to fruition.

I’ve not long returned from the 10-day crescendo of the Shamanic Midwifery course I’ve been studying this year. Shall I simply say that it was big? This was Vision Quest, with 35 other initiates at Mt Seaview in NSW. A group this size creates a powerful container, or what our teacher would call ‘circle as shaman’. Indeed some magic happened in that circle that bares testimony to that claim. The gifts of this work? I am certainly still in the integration phase but I know that I have seeded some deep changes this year. Some of these are already yielding fruit; others I feel will be some time off, yet I feel that the fruit still to bare will be ambrosial in nature. May these gifts serve my wider community also …


Since the winter solstice we have created what we call our ‘Deep Immersion Program.’ Due to the problem (or benefit) of isolation, it is not practical for many to visit us for a shiatsu or counselling session. Problem creates opportunity, and we have developed a program where clients who wish to work in a more intense way have the opportunity to spend three, five or ten days receiving a variety of therapies tailored to their specific needs. Clients also experience a lifestyle that is deeply connected to the natural rhythms of the day. This program has been specifically designed for those who wish to make major lifestyle changes or who are trying to go deeply into patterns that are no longer supporting good outcomes in their life. This program requires a serious level of commitment to change in one’s life.

Our offering of solitary retreat time in the hermitage and live in studentships (uchi-deshi) continues to be a highlight for us as we give & receive from some beautiful travellers passing through.

We attended the 2017 shiatsu therapist’s association conference on the gold coast just last weekend and very much enjoyed reconnecting with our shiatsu community. Such a beautiful way to connect with people is through touch. It eliminates the need for explanation and bridges all manner of differences with simplicity and eloquence. A contingent of Japanese people led by master Nagai with deep roots in Oki-do yoga and shiatsu shared ‘bone warming’ techniques. They afforded a great opportunity to practise my Japanese as well as imbuing us with their warmth and humour.

Wishing you all a beautiful spring equinox,
Annica & Russ


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