Bart Bloemers is one of the team members and the torch bearer of the European Shiatsu Congress 2020 to be held in Amsterdam. Bart has organized other shiatsu events such as the Shiatsu Proeverij, is a shiatsu teacher and is the coordinator of the ‘Shiatsu Centrum’ in Amsterdam. We ask him if the organization of the ESC gives him stress. He laughs, “No, not yet.”

Text: Mark Vroonland | Translation: Magie Lee

Are you an entrepreneur following Taoist principles?

“I wouldn’t describe it like that.”

Then how do you do it?

“I know how I get from A to B. You would say that’s easy. Only in reality it’s difficult to keep it simple. Moreover, as expected, things goes usually differently. So it’s crucial to be adaptable, to go with the flow instead of trying to keep in control.”

“My grandfather used to say: “Do as you say, then you’ll always tell the truth.” This applies to me whether I’m walking to Santiago de Compostela or organizing the European Shiatsu Congress. You start heading towards your goal and enjoy who and what meets you along the way. The puzzle pieces come together; it takes form. Body and spirit come together. What I do is flow with the moment and let the outcome happen.”

And what are you doing in this moment?

“We’re in the middle of this Corona crisis. So just like everyone else, I retreat to my family. Stay in the Water element although it is spring. That creates a strange dynamic.”

What do you mean?

“I can identify with Mike Mandl’s Corona article. That is a language I understand. He called Corona a wildfire. The overheating of nature and society. Out of necessity our society stays in the Water element. It is important that we quickly return to the centre, to the Earth element.

Corona will stick around for a while. What impact does this have on myself, on the congress, for shiatsu? I don’t have the answers, but these are interesting questions. We have to adapt. And the best place to do that is in the Hara. From here we can move forward again with fresh creative Wood Energy.

“Do as you say, then you’ll always tell the truth.”

Is online shiatsu an answer? Wouldn’t we be overlapping with aura-practitioners?

“In shiatsu body and spirit come together in the touch. The connection is essential. What you call aura, is the spiritual and energetic part. There is now time to investigate this further. Although I cannot imagine that we will never touch each other again. The need for touch only grows in this period. The world is waiting for shiatsu! Therefore, it’s extra important to be grounded at this time.”

How do you ground yourself?

“I start my day with Qi-gong exercises, make sure I eat healthy and don’t go online too much. I work in the garden and walk a lot. It’s good for the Earth element and in a few months I’ll have lots of salad.”

Are you the torch bearer for the European Shiatsu Congress?

“Honestly I don’t know who the torch bearer is. As an organization we agreed that we would have our own space, to independently negotiate things. That was essential. We tried to use that dynamic to do the right thing. I’m looking forward to celebrating shiatsu with all in Amsterdam.”

Why is Amsterdam a good place for the congress?

“For the same reason as the 2017 Congress in Vienna, it brings shiatsu to the people. That’s why we organized it in a prominent place, otherwise you’d just attract the shiatsu community. The desire is to put shiatsu on the map. Where better to do that, than in the middle of the city?”

You mentioned earlier that the European Shiatsu Congress is in puberty. What do you mean by that?

“Honestly speaking, I think the congress has outgrown the Kiental. Thanks to the potential of its founding fathers and the love of all the founding mothers, it’s become a truly European congress. By founding mothers, I mean all those that contribute to the ESC: the trainers, volunteers, attendees. The congress is maturing and i think it is ready to explore Europe – Germany, Spain or England. Spread shiatsu!”