“Each moment is a precious expression of something vast and ungraspable.” (Kazuaki Tanahashi)


Shiatsu and Calligraphy (by M. Ichikawa)

Shiatsu & Calligraphy – witnessing the breath of nature 

In my practice of Alchemical Shiatsu, I am dealing with the different layers of the human body-mind (physical, emotional/psychological, spiritual). My energy body work starts with perceiving physical matter and their physical confinements (the shape of the body, the skin, the energetic expression through posture and movement, structural elements of the body…). From there it takes off into the non-material world where space emerges. This space can have temporal, spatial and energetic qualities. For me, it feels like a consciousness of place, not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but rather the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form.

As the japanese kanji for the space in between, the MA (間), it consists of the symbol for gate/door and the moon shining through, MA is not something that is created by compositional elements only; it is the energy that emerges while experiencing the material world.

“Thirty spokes meet in the hub, 
but the empty space between them 
is the essence of the wheel. 
Pots are formed from clay, 
but the empty space between it 
is the essence of the pot. 
Walls with windows and doors form the house, 
but the empty space within it 
is the essence of the house. “ (Lao Tzu)


Looking at calligraphy, we first perceive the written character/s, but the beauty and divine nature of the art work unfolds through its harmony within and the relationship to the outside. For me, this is when the MA comes into play. The arising energetic properties of the “in-between” enable us to sense far beyond the visible: zooming out from the interface where structure and space meet and open up to the elegance of all possibilities. We very well might encounter the breath and the body-mind of the artist at the time of the painting.

“when a line is alive, you always 
feel the breath of the artist  
as well as the breath of the brush” 
(Kazuaki Tanahashi)


As with my Shiatsu, in my calligraphy I experience an open system where I allow flow to take place. Neither the brush, nor the medium where the energy manifests (usually paper) is a confined space but just one part of the whole, where overall expression can take place in form of the visual materialisation of the energetic flow. But the flow has no beginning, no end, it derives from beyond, in the nature of the divine, propagates through the artist, through the brush and lands somewhere on the medium, where it becomes visible before it again leaves the medium and continues its journey into the non-material world. As in each Shiatsu treatment where I try to be open to allow the miracle of each moment unfold, my brush work emerges from a dance in mystery led by the rhythm of breathing in and out. Thus, each outbreath, each brushstroke, allows for the expression and release of tension and emotion thereby creating a space where healing can take place. Working with concepts relevant to human existence and nature, the spectator is invited to connect to and to participate in this healing experience.

“the unpredictable and the miraculous can be found within” (Kazuaki Tanahashi)

click to proceed to the calligraphy gallery