Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Grammy Award winner Omar Akram says TM brought him closer to his source of creativity

June 26, 2013

Enjoy this great interview Christopher Caplan conducted with Omar Akram, published June 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm in RYOT Reports. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how Transcendental Meditation freed the creativity of this Grammy award-winning composer and recording artist, and the respect he has for David Lynch and the David Lynch Foundation.

Q&A: Omar Akram, first Afghan American to win a Grammy, talks Transcendental Meditation

Omar Akram, 2013 New Age Music Grammy Award Winner

I recently sat down with Omar Akram, the first Afghan American to win a Grammy award to learn a bit more about his creative process. He has been referred to as a cultural diplomat by many, and the musical equivalent of Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, in that he is (gradually) mending cultural differences between war-torn nations through art. His recent article on The Huffington Post bespeaks of a well traveled life in which he has mingled with Cuban dictators and contributed to peace in the Middle East. What’s particularly interesting about Omar is the way he uses Transcendental Meditation in his creative process, as well as his support and admiration of the David Lynch Foundation.

Q: When and how did you first discover Transcendental Meditation?

I began using TM about 5 years ago. I was going through some creative blocks, so to speak, and a friend of mine suggested it. I’d known about it for years, but I had never taken the time to try it. I started to meditate slowly, and after doing it a few times, I got hooked.

Q: How has TM helped your creative process over the years?

I think it definitely brings you closer to the source of creativity. I feel this way almost every time. I remember David Lynch was talking about it. He said it was like “searching for the big fish,” or in other words, reaching deep down. I can reach deep down inside of myself and get to the big fish — that big creative idea. That’s what it’s all about, the big creative idea, and TM helps me find this.

Q: Have you tried other forms of meditation?

Yes, I’ve tried straight meditation, on and off for many years. But five years ago I became a lot more serious about it.

Q: How do you feel about David Lynch’s recent advocacy of TM?

I think what he’s doing is fantastic because he is really trying to get it out to school kids and to people that have never been exposed to it before. I think that once people try it, I mean really try it, they realize how beneficial it is.

Q: How do you think TM can help children and students?

One thing that I know is that kids sometimes have a hard time focusing on anything. Especially nowadays because they are being bombarded with so much media. I think it’s really helpful for kids once they give it a chance. They learn the value of meditation and focus. It will be hard in the beginning to understand what they’re doing, but with proper guidance they’ll learn. I think that not only will it help them become more creative, but they will improve in all aspects of schooling and self-esteem.

Q: Do you use TM when you are in the recording studio?

I try to do it a couple of times a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. It has been really helpful both with creativity and dealing with the stress and deadlines of my upcoming album, “Daytime Dreamer.” It kind of sets the course of my whole day. Once I’m in the studio, I like to take a few minutes, but it’s hard to do it during the day, and that’s my routine. When I do it the morning it helps me focus for the whole day, and shift everything so I have a clearer sense of what I need to do. In the evening I can absorb everything that I’ve done, and refresh my mind all over again.

Q: What do you see for the future of TM and its continuing acceptance in the mainstream?

I think the more people are exposed to TM the more they’re going to realize the benefits of it. A lot of people are not aware of TM, and that’s what David is doing, he’s going around and introducing it to a lot of people that otherwise would never be exposed to it. The more people are exposed to it, the more practitioners there will be, and I think it’s going to be huge. Guys like David Lynch are pioneers in that. I have nothing but respect for him, especially with what he’s doing in schools. I think it’ll make a huge difference.

posted by Omar Akram. Check out his blog: www.omarmusic.com.

RYOT NOTE: Transcendental Meditation not only helps to reduce stress, it also helps with clearing the mind and allowing people to be more creative. The David Lynch Foundation provides millions of dollars of free services every year, implementing these scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities for at-risk populations and communities. See other related articles on David Lynch from RYOT posted at the bottom of this article, and click the gray box to learn more, donate and Become the News!

You can read more about Omar Akram’s background and musical influences in this PRWeb press release: Grammy Award Winning Artist Omar Akram Becomes Latest Entertainment Client to Join YM & Associates PR Marketing Firm at Beverly Hills.

Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi

June 9, 2013

This wonderful interview is also available from on Vimeo. Retired TV journalist Ted Henry conducts interviews with spiritual people for Souljourns. Last month he interviewed Prudence Bruns Farrow. You can also see the interview on their Vimeo channel: http://vimeo.com/67166559. Here is their introduction to the video:

From the very beginning Prudence Farrow Bruns recognized an added layer or texture to her life, a spiritual dimension that would take her deep within.

She was among the first in the West to become initiated into Transcendental Meditation and in the mid sixties she traveled to Rishikesh, India to learn to become a TM teacher. Her own teacher in India, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who is credited for bringing TM to the world.

In India with her at this time, her sister and acclaimed actress, Mia Farrow, The Beatles, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Donovan and others.

Prudence and her husband, Albert Bruns who is also a TM instructor, live in Seagrove along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida.

The interview was recorded in Seagrove, Florida in May, 2013.

See this related BBC news item: Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela. And this video: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM.

Fairfield Artists and Musicians Share in Iowa Gold

June 9, 2013

“Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” (Field of Dreams) But as Jane Roman Pitt would answer, “Yes, it’s Iowa.” And this is her version, along with Ken West, of what makes their new music video Iowa Gold a heaven on earth.

Fairfield singer/songwriter Jane Roman Pitt and Iowa landscape photographer Kenneth West combined their talents to create a beautiful music video called Iowa Gold. Jane wrote and sang the song. Ken contributed his photographs and produced the video. Tim Britton engineered and produced the music. Musicians were Arthur Lee Land, guitar; Lauryn Shapter, violin; Paul Fauerso, piano; Tim Britton, bass; and David Hurlin, drums. The result is this beautiful video, pleasing both to the eye and ear; heart and mind. http://www.iowagoldsong.com

Iowa Gold–Jane Pitt & Ken West

Iowa musician Jane Pitt and photographer Ken West have collaborated on the amazingly beautiful video, Iowa Gold. Jane is an award-winning musician and Ken’s award-winning photography has been featured on IPTV’s Iowa Outdoors and at the National Center for Nature Photography, America’s first and only center devoted exclusively to nature photography. Ken’s photographic work is featured on the Iowa Byways website.

Ken and Jane are offering use of this video to us. The Iowa Gold video can embedded into any Audio/Visual presentation directly from YouTube. Iowa gold can also be enjoyed at either Jane or Ken‘s websites. There are no fees or contracts for the use of this video. It is their simply their gift to the Governor, Mrs. Branstad and the state of Iowa. The song was officially honored by the Iowa State House of Representatives, and has been enjoyed by schoolchildren throughout the state.

Here is Jane’s description of the video, which you can also see and Like on her IOWA GOLD Facebook page.

“The song ‘Iowa Gold’ came to me as I was driving through the Iowa countryside one day. I’d just been visiting a big city, and my appreciation of the simple beauty and richness of the landscape flowed out in this song. Award-winning photographer Ken West has perfectly captured the beauty of the Iowa landscape with his collection of photographs of Iowa’s Scenic Byways, commissioned by the Resource and Development Councils of Iowa. … I hope you enjoy this love song to Iowa!”

For highest quality select 720p HD setting and expand to full screen.

This music video is intended solely for noncommercial use promoting the beauty of Iowa and its scenic byways. Use of this music video, including resale or other commercial use is strictly prohibited. This music video may not be reproduced by any means, whether in its entirety or in part, without the written permission of Jane Roman Pitt and Kenneth West.

All Photographs © 2009-2011 Kenneth West, except for the following two photos: Pacific Ocean Photograph © Jeffrey Banke | Dreamstime.com, and The New York City Uptown Skyline Photograph © Kropic | Dreamstime.com

Organizations or Individuals interested in licensing this video please contact Ken West kwest@ioscapes.com

News Reports on the Iowa Gold Song

Listen to Talk of Iowa’s interview Jane and Ken on Iowa Gold and Wisconsin Heroes. Download the MP3 of the show.

In 1911 “The Song of Iowa” by S.H.M. Byers became Iowa’s official state song.  The lyrics “You asked what land I love the best, Iowa, tis Iowa, The fairest State of all the west, Iowa, O! Iowa, From yonder Mississippi’s stream…” were set to the tune “O Tannenbaum.” Songwriter Jane Roman Pitt thinks Iowa can do better.  She has written a song called “Iowa Gold,” and now Pitt and photographer Ken West have put together a video that showcases Iowa at it’s best.  The video is part of their campaign to make “Iowa Gold” the state’s next official song.

The Des Moines Register’s Kyle Munson’s mentioned Jane Pitt and her song, Iowa Gold, in his report on the opening day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The Heartland Youth Choir sang the first choral rendition of the song. Here is an excerpt from Kyle’s report, Munson: Weather receives early blue ribbon:

Then there’s Jane Pitt from Fairfield. She wrote the song “Iowa Gold” 25 years ago during a drive from Detroit as she relocated to Iowa, inspired by our state’s “surprisingly rolling hills.” A quarter-century later she was able to relish the first public performance of her folk-tinged song as sung by the 32 young voices (grades 1 through 12) of the Iowa Heartland Youth Choir.

Could this become a new state song? (The official state anthem, Samuel Hawkins Marshall Byers’ “Song of Iowa,” was written more than a century ago to the tune of “O Christmas Tree.”)

KTVO’s Laura Simon reports collaboration of composer and landscape photographer to showcase Iowa.

Fairfield Ledger reports: Local artists present ‘Iowa Gold’ to governor, state fair

Click here for a free mp3 download of Iowa Gold. Here are previous posts on Ken and Jane: Ken West and his unique landscape photographs are featured on IPTV show Iowa Outdoors and Lady Lullaby Sings Welcome Home to Love and Dance Like The Wind.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin inspires M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules to Live By

June 2, 2013

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin Inspired M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules To Live By at the University’s largest graduating class.

In true David Letterman-style, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin presented the M.U.M. Class of 2013 with his top-10 list—Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By. Senator Harkin gave the Commencement Address after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University and inspired everyone with his humorous wit and down-to-earth wisdom.

Senator Tom Harkin receives an honorary doctoral degree from M.U.M. President Dr. Bevan Morris.

Senator Tom Harkin receives an honorary doctoral degree from M.U.M. President Dr. Bevan Morris. / Ken West Photography

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin received an honorary Ph.D. from Maharishi University of Management before delivering the Commencement Address at the start of M.U.M.’s Graduation exercises, which took place last Saturday, May 25, 2013, in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge.

The University’s 38th Commencement graduated its largest class ever of 334 students from 54 countries, out of the 88 represented on campus. The Class of 2013 included 251 graduates and 83 undergraduates. Check this link to see a menu of videos from M.U.M.’s Commencement 2013 http://www.mum.edu/commencement-2013. See the full PRWeb press release here bit.ly/17bxT6k for more details.

Senator Harkin was awarded a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa degree for his extraordinary lifelong service and compassionate and progressive leadership for the state of Iowa and the United States of America. He has served in the Senate since 1985 and also served in the House of Representatives from 1975–1985. He is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and is the seventh most senior Senator overall.

In his introduction, M.U.M. president Dr. Bevan Morris said, “We honor you for a lifetime of service to the State of Iowa and the United States of America, and your compassionate and progressive leadership. You have recognized that the quality of American life is shaped by the quality of American education.”

He said that Senator Harkin has been a very good friend of the University and greatly enjoyed all his visits here. “He has given us advice and encouragement for all the University’s programs—for natural methods of prevention of disease, organic agriculture, sustainable living, our Sustainable Living Center, as well as to our town, which is rising to being one of the greenest in the nation, under the leadership of Mayor Ed Malloy.”

Senator Harkin began his commencement address on a humorous note. He thanked the University for this distinguished award and said, “I come before you with a measure of humility. I realize I was probably selected to be your speaker today because Oprah wasn’t available.” This elicited a lot of laughter as he was referring to Oprah’s visit to Fairfield last year, which she aired, including a profile of the Maharishi School on the M.U.M. campus.

He then went on to say, “But I do want you to know of my highest respect and admiration that I have for this university, for what you have done, what you have become here, in Iowa, the nation, and the world, and especially for what I consider to be the best holistic approach to education and wellness in life at any university anywhere on the globe.”

He was referring to Maharishi University’s unique system of Consciousness-Based education and leadership role in wellness research and sustainability. M.U.M. was designated as a Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention and has received over $25 million from the NCCAM and NHLBI over the past 20 years to conduct collaborative medical research on the use of Transcendental Meditation as a complementary alternative approach to treat hypertension and cardiovascular disease in underserved minority populations, the results of which have been published in top peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The most recent study was published and publicized by the American Heart Association. Last year the AHA Journal Circulation published a long-term study showing a 48% lower risk of heart attack, stroke and death in a group already afflicted by heart disease that learned the practice of Transcendental Meditation. And this year the AHA published a paper recommending Transcendental Meditation as the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.

“Graduation,” Harkin said, “is one of the five great milestones in life; the others being birth, marriage, death, and the day you finally pay off your student loans.”

“I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re wondering, ‘How long is that guy gonna talk?’ The answer is not long.”

To answer he quoted advice from Father John Ryan, the Irish priest in his hometown when he was first asked to give a commencement address. The role of a commencement speaker is like the body at an old-fashioned Irish wake: “They need you in order to have the party but they don’t expect you to say very much.”

Senator Harkin said he chose a method for the day’s occasion that has imparted wisdom to millions of people throughout the years—“I speak of course, not of the Ten Commandments, but of David Letterman’s top ten list.” But his were more like suggestions for students to choose, depending on which ones they liked.

Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By

10. Don’t panic. You will find a job. Don’t worry. “My confidence is based on one thing — because you came to the right school. I have nothing, as I said, but admiration for what this university has accomplished in such a short period of time. In a unique way you have put the ‘higher’ in higher education.”

“You folks would agree with William Butler Yeats who said that education is not about filling up a bucket but lighting a fire. And you carry that one step further. At this university education is also about training, focusing, freeing the mind. It’s about raising consciousness. Here you have been beautifully prepared intellectually and spiritually for all the challenges you will face in the world out there, so you should go forth with confidence.” He encouraged students to move to smaller Iowa towns to make a contribution.

(more…)

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin delivers M.U.M.’s commencement address—report by KTVO’s Laura Simon

May 26, 2013

An Iowa Senator delivers MUM’s commencement address
by Laura Simon for KTVO News | Saturday, May 25, 2013

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin speaking at the M.U.M commencement ceremony.  / Laura Simon

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin speaking at the M.U.M commencement ceremony. / Laura Simon

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — The Morales-Rivera family moved from Chile to Iowa in 1984 in pursuit of the American Dream.

“We wanted a consciousness-based education for our daughters,” Tina Morales-Rivera said.

That place for a Consciousness-Based℠ education was at Maharishi University. Tina is graduating with a master’s degree and her 26-year-old twin daughters are receiving their bachelor’s degrees.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Tina said. “It’s a great privilege. It’s really an honor to be with my daughters today.”

The Class of 2013 is made up of 334 students who represent 54 countries. This includes 251 graduates and 83 undergraduate degrees.

“They graduated their largest class in history which really underscores the trend the university’s going through right now,” Mayor of Fairfield Ed Malloy said. “They really are on a growth path.”

“I’ve been to a lot of commencements and I don’t think I’ve ever been on a platform where I’ve had as many different nations represented as there are here,” Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said.

Senator Harkin delivered a humorous, yet moving commencement speech. He says the most important thing to remember in life is to be apart of something bigger than yourself.

“Get involved in something,” Harkin said. “Think about the pebble you throw in the pond that makes waves that get bigger and bigger and bigger. Even if you’re a pebble, even if you’re not a senator or a governor, that doesn’t make any difference, you can start something in a community.”

The Morales-Rivera twins plan on taking Senator Harkin’s words to heart, furthering their media and communications education in the fall to obtain their master’s degrees.

“We’ve always loved movies and simply the world of media,” Coral Morales-Rivera said. “We want to change it and bring it to be more self-conscious of the beauty of life.”

For more information see the MUM press release announcing the MUM 2013 Awards Ceremony the night before and today’s graduation. An archive of it can be seen on Livestream. An archive of the graduation will be posted at a later time on the MaharishiUniversity YouTube Channel.

More coverage: Senator Tom Harkin gives Commencement Address during Graduation day at M.U.M.

See Iowa Senator Tom Harkin inspires M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules to Live By.

David Lynch, Russell Brand, Bob Roth Q&A after screening Meditation, Creativity, Peace documentary at Hammer Museum

May 24, 2013

David Lynch: Meditation, Creativity, Peace Q&A

Filmmaker David Lynch, comedian Russell Brand, and David Lynch Foundation Executive Director Bob Roth answer questions about Transcendental Meditation following a screening of the documentary Meditation, Creativity, Peace. (Run Time: 41 minutes, April 2, 2103.)

Published on May 2, 2013 by hammermuseum

See related videos: Russell Brand and David Lynch at LA Premiere of ‘Meditation, Creativity, Peace’ Documentary and Watch the trailer for a new documentary film on David Lynch titled “Meditation Creativity Peace”

Enlightenment, The TM Magazine, also reported on the event: Meditation Creativity Peace: How the David Lynch Foundation Brings Change from Within.

David Lynch speaks with Alan Colmes about his 16-country tour film Meditation Creativity Peace.

Visit the new website, Meditation Creativity Peace, for a list of upcoming and previous screenings: http://meditationcreativitypeace.com.

Dr Oz’s gift of TM to his employees resulted in personal and corporate benefits — see the video

May 23, 2013

Dr. Mehmet Oz and his employees discuss the personal and corporate benefits derived from regularly practicing Transcendental Meditation: reduced stress, increased job performance, enhanced creativity, better teamwork, and improved health. Bottom line—his staff are more relaxed, productive, and happier. This more enlightened approach of developing healthier personnel from the inside out on their own time at work also makes good business sense. See the video he made to inspire other companies to do the same for their employees.

Published May 21, 2013 by tmwomenprofessionals

See these related videos: Dr. Oz on Transcendental Meditation | Some Reports on Dr. Oz’s Interview with Oprah about TM and her Next Chapter | Dr. Mehmet Oz explains how we can overcome risk factors for heart disease with meditation | Dr Oz discusses ancient Ayurvedic approaches to weight loss with The Raj expert Candace Badgett and these articles: 14 Executives Who Swear By Meditation–10 do TM and Celebs who meditate featured in The Daily Beast.

‘Tiny House’ offers big benefits to save energy and money — KTVO’s Kate Allt reports from MUM

May 15, 2013

Tiny House’ offers big benefits to save energy and money

by Kate Allt | Posted: 05.15.2013 at 4:48 PM
Students and volunteers raise the walls on Heather Caldwell's tiny house. / KTVO's Kate Allt

Students and volunteers raise the walls on Heather Caldwell’s tiny house. / KTVO’s Kate Allt

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — We often say that bigger is better, but a tiny house movement sweeping the country is proving otherwise.

Fairfield has several tiny houses, most of them about the size of a typical college dorm room. Wednesday, students in the Sustainable Living program at Maharishi University started construction on the newest one — a 12-foot-by-20-foot home designed by student Heather Caldwell.

“A lot of people believe that – in the tiny house movement – that we just consume too much, we’re living in spaces that are way too big, we don’t need that much space,” Caldwell said. “And so these people are building tiny houses to live in them. The thing that I’m interested in once I graduate is not only building tiny houses, but building a community, tiny house communities. So there’s a tiny house movement right now where a lot of people individually are building tiny houses and pretty soon we’ll see more tiny communities popping up and that’s what I’m majoring in.”

The building course is new at Maharishi University, but they plan to teach it for a long time.

“It’s a global movement, people are doing it everywhere and the idea is to downsize and simplify and to lower your energy demands and to be able to live off of renewable energy,” said Professor Mark Stimson, of Maharishi’s Sustainable Living Program. “One of the greatest things is — well, two things — to become self-reliant. It used to be in the old days in this country everybody knew how to build their own house, but since then we’ve gotten kind of specialized in all that. So this is sort of going back to that era of self reliance. And then the greatest part also is just the idea of living mortgage-free. If you can save a few thousand dollars or just salvage materials from places, you can build a very comfortable, snug home for very little money and not have to pay a mortgage for 20 or 30 years.”

Heather designed every element of her tiny house and will be moving on with two kids, four cats and a dog.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” said Heather’s daughter, Ellie. “It’s one of those projects our parents say they’re going to do and then they don’t do. But it’s happening, so it’s fun.”

Caldwell said one of the most challenging aspects is utilizing the small space available to make a fully functioning home.

“One of the big keys to tiny houses is finding multiple uses for the same spot,” she said. “Like the reading nook in the tiny house is also a guest bed and it also houses the dining room table which slips out from underneath and that’s our dining room table.”

Heather’s family hopes to move in in late June and will live in the tiny house for a year. On top of being smaller and more energy-efficient, Heather’s house is also being designed to be entirely off the grid, with solar-powered windows, composting and mud plaster.

To learn more on Heather’s house and to see progress over the next few weeks, visit her blog by clicking here.

To learn more about the Sustainable Living program at MUM, click here.

KTVO reports on Women’s Wisdom Weekend at Maharishi University of Management

May 15, 2013

Women empower other women with wise words
by Laura Simon for KTVO-TV3
Posted: 05.11.2013 at 11:26 PM

Women share personal, professional and Spiritual Journey at MUM.  / Laura Simon

Women share personal, professional and spiritual journey at MUM. / Laura Simon

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — Students involved in Wise Women Lead at Maharishi University of Management say women empowering other women is a universal custom.

“We wanted to give women the opportunity to come together,” Tabitha Sedgwick said.  “I think it’s very important and it’s sometimes missing in our society, especially in America.”

In honor of Mother’s Day, the MUM Wise Women Lead selected four accomplished women from all walks of life to share their experience, offering valuable words of wisdom.

“Mothers are what give life to creation on earth,” Sedgwick said. “They are the ones that bring all lives here, so we just want to be able to honor them and all women in the world.”

“The particular women we’ve chosen to speak today, their legacy is that they want to create other leaders,” Jessica Keen, Director of the MUM Women’s Institute and Faculty Sponsor for Wise Women Lead said, “and that is they want to pass along their knowledge and they want to empower young women to really step into their own.”

Among that group of speakers included Leslee Goldstein who shared stories of two women she met in Uganda who are helping other Ugandan women living in poverty develop skills like sewing, planting and money management as ways to make support their families, helping many get out of prostitution.

“Whatever wisdom or feminine wisdom is in the world, it’s not like we only want the American perspective,” Momone Maley said. “I think that reaching out to women who are from different cultures and understanding what wisdom they’ve been passed.”

Other speakers talked about health, attending law school in the 1960s and what it’s like owning a non-profit organization.

“This is how leadership develops, and it’s not something you can necessarily learn in a classroom,” Keen said.

Women’s Wisdom and Empowerment

See MUMTV presents a LIVE WEBCAST of a Women’s Wisdom Weekend at Maharishi University of Management and link to the archived livestream webcast: http://new.livestream.com/mum/events/2087902,

House Beautiful: living in a remarkable Maharishi Vastu retirement home on Saltspring Island, BC

April 25, 2013

House Beautiful: The gift of constraint
Grania Litwin / Times Colonist
April 18, 2013

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It’s the home of Vincent and Maggie Argiro, natives of the States who had heard about the friendly island and decided to build a remarkable retirement home there.

Based on an ancient form of Indian architecture — called Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, or Vastu — the home is designed to increase occupants’ health and happiness.

It certainly feels calming and harmonious the moment you enter through the lotus flower gate, cross a lavender-edged terrace and step into the two-storey glass foyer.

The L-shaped building is reflected in an L-shaped pool, and the entire house is oriented to the cardinal directions. Light floods into every room from east and west, through interior and exterior windows, as well as skylights — perhaps one reason the house is supposed to boost clarity and creative thinking.

“A vastu house is said to be a fortune-creating house too,” said Vincent, who seems pretty creative already.

He is a world leader in three-dimensional, advanced visualization software design. His Vital Images Inc. — now a division of Toshiba Medical — produces medical-imaging software, a diagnostic tool used in hospitals worldwide by radiologists, cardiologists, oncologists and other specialists needing to explore inside the body.

In the couple’s home, everything from orientation and proportion to property slope and relationship to nearby bodies of water is governed by vastu design. By great good fortune, soon after arriving on the island, they found an ideal 3.8-hectare site with panoramic views stretching from Mount Baker to Black Tusk in the Garibaldi Range 132 kilometres away.

Designer Everest Lapp said it was a very demanding project. “Siting the building was difficult, as it had to be within a certain envelope with very particular dimensions. Everything was very detailed and exacting.

“In some cases, we had to move a wall a quarter of an inch. Even the rockwork was redone at one point. I’d never done a fireplace like this before, with a high window in the back. I didn’t even know it was possible.”

There were compensations, though.

“The Argiros* are amazing people with so much depth, and although their expectations were very high and it was super-challenging, creating this house has enriched my career,” Lapp said.

“I sometimes wondered if it would come together, but there is no doubt in my mind that Vincent can do anything he wants. He is very, very bright.”

The 3,800-square-foot home has a feeling unlike anything she has experienced, Lapp said. “There is an energy — something ethereal about it.”

Vincent knew a designer called Everest would be up for the challenge.

“She is a former national mountain-biker and snowboarder and I heard there was no slope she couldn’t go down,” he joked, adding he likes challenges, too.

“I read a book years ago with a quote I’ve always remembered: ‘Constraints are gifts to creative people.’ It’s been my maxim and guiding principle all my life,” said the innovator, who is still an active consultant and mentor to other entrepreneurs — and an electric-vehicle buff who has a Tesla Roadster and a Model S, both of which were the first of their kind in B.C.

“In this architecture, we had to follow the rules exactly, the tolerances were very small, up to 1/16th of an inch,” he explained. “But we could be very creative within them.”

Maggie said their island builder, originally from Switzerland, was very precise, too, and really got on board.

“This house was absolutely the toughest I’ve ever built, and I was up there more than two years,” said Robert Huser.

“A lot of the stuff you just don’t see … all the floor joists, for instance, had to be ripped down. A 2×10 is actually 2×9.5, and we had to make them 2×8-and-three-eighths. But the Argiros are great people and it was cost-plus [pricing].”

The owners used as many local craftspeople and materials as possible, said Maggie, who designed the glass catwalk with Lapp. It’s made of kiln-cast, textured glass fabricated in the Vancouver Glass Studio of Joe Berman on Granville Island. A totem beside the stairs was commissioned from First Nations carver Doug LaFortune, depicting eagles and sea otters.

“There is a great spirit in this house,” said Maggie, noting that during construction, there were many coincidences. Time and again, just when they needed something, it would appear: A container of wood, originally headed for Japan, suddenly became available; a barn full of rare wood was discovered at the 11th hour.

The house has hydronic in-floor heat, a forced-air system used mainly for ventilation, a high-efficiency heat pump for hot water and a backup propane generator.

“We need the generator when the power goes out; it can be out for three or four days up here,” said Vincent, and 80 per cent of the lights are LED, which use 80 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs.

The eco-friendly home is filled with small details, such as a small deck with outdoor shower off the master bath, and a ladder to a rooftop perch. “It’s my cubbyhole,” Vincent said. “You know the old song Up On The Roof? Well I have that bug. I love sitting up there.”

Hanging on the stairway wall is a massive marble slab from an area of southern France famous for Paleolithic cave paintings. “There are amazing iron deposits near Lascaux and when I saw this piece, I immediately thought: That is nature’s painting and it should not be cut up for countertops.

“It weights 800 pounds and hanging it was the most dangerous, demanding part of this whole building.”

Vincent devised stainless-steel rails for it to sit in and a framework of aircraft aluminum bolted onto a reinforced wall.

Maggie’s favourite haunt is the kitchen she designed.

“For years I worked in a postage-stamp-sized kitchen,” said the former home economist, who worked for Continental Mills, testing and developing recipes. “So this is wonderful.

“My main thing is workflow and efficiency. You come in with groceries, put them in the refrigerator, wash and prep them here, chop here, cook here, choose the dishes here, serve here. It works beautifully,” she said, moving clockwise around the area. Her island includes a baking centre with tin-lined drawers.

The commercial fan above her Wolf range was tricky to install at the large window, but she wanted to enjoy the view and check on her outdoor Italian pizza oven.

Vincent is most proud of the “smart home” technology he programmed himself.

“The house has a whole set of rhythms that adjust the lights and thermostats every day, every season. This nervous system shuts down all non-essential power at night, or when we’re on holiday.

“Almost all the wires go dead. The whole house is de-energized, so radiation of all kinds drops dramatically when we sleep, and the house idles at less than 500 watts.”

Vincent explained they took their time finding a place to retire in their mid-50s and toyed with the idea of building a home in Minneapolis, “but it never felt right. Then we heard about Saltspring, this magical community of talented and special people.”

They love the island and their peaceful new house.

“It’s as if there are no walls, no ceilings,” said Maggie. “You feel that nothing stands between you and nature.”

This demanding Saltspring Island home brings out the best in creative design and artisans. The Argiro home is 5th in a video series called, House Beautiful, published by Debra Brash, April 20, 2013 for timescolonist.com.

© Copyright 2013

*Vincent Argiro is a trustee of Maharishi University of Management. Vincent and Maggie Argiro were major donors of M.U.M.’s Argiro Student Center.


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