Growth Haiku written by @kenchawkin and his son Nathanael Chawkin @integralsensei

The vegetation in Santa Barbara is varied and lush, with many exotic succulent plants, beautiful flowering bushes, and tall trees. I share my admiration for them as we drive through the city. Nathanael comments: “A tree can only grow as high as its roots go deep.” I write it down and start converting the idea into the first two lines of a haiku. I tell him we need a third line to complete it. After pondering the question for a moment, he recalls a universal phrase from the somatic arts (yoga, dance, martial arts) that his friend and coaching colleague LeeAnn Mallory had shared with him: “Root to rise.” I turn it into the last line to complete this short poem on a basic principle of growth.

Trees for Growth Haiku

Growth Haiku

Trees can only grow
as high as their roots go deep
Root yourself to rise

© Ken and Nathanael Chawkin
Santa Barbara, California
Thanksgiving Day
November 23, 2017

Maharishi always talked about developing 200% of life—100% inner spiritual development and 100% outer material accomplishments. We both say, “Water the root to enjoy the fruit.” Nathanael quotes the SCI Principle, “Outer depends on Inner.” I remember an early analogy: To erect a tall building you have to first dig a deep foundation. It’s similar to: First pull the arrow back on the bow to hit the target. Meditate then act. Established in Being, perform action.

Nathanael does more than just meditate to develop his inner life and establish it on a firmer foundation for living mindfully. Self-inquiry with The Work, various martial arts, and playing classical piano are ways he better understands and integrates himself as a person. He uses an integral approach to inform his work as a martial arts instructor (Integral Martial Arts) and a leadership coach and organizational development consultant (Palæstra).

NB: Nathanael also helped edit this post—a father and son collaboration.

Related: Growth, a spontaneous haiku/tanka @kenchawkin.

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4 Responses to “Growth Haiku written by @kenchawkin and his son Nathanael Chawkin @integralsensei”

  1. Margot Suettmann Says:

    Absolutely love it!! And I learn a lot from it!! Today I was given the advice to do more exercise and I actually hate it, have always hated it. It gets me bored and not only that – I feel diminished just by the thought of it. I guess that is a result of childhood information. I had been an obese child and was taught from young age onward that my body cannot be consider likable. “You will never get a husband.” I did not want a husband at all. So I was fine with it. However, “root to rise”. That is entirely different story. I love roots and soil and rising – who would not want to rise? It has a more healthy connotation to me – than exposing my body and my inability to others exercising. Which sounds like punishment in the first place. I always hated gyms from my school experience where I was always last and the teacher had a military drill to start with. Thanks for this more organic angle on it.


  2. Rebecca Milne Says:

    I really like this, thx Ken and Nathanael


  3. Growth, a spontaneous haiku/tanka @kenchawkin | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Related: Growth Haiku written by @kenchawkin and his son Nathanael Chawkin @integralsensei. […]


  4. the secret keeper Says:

    I love the last line of your Haiku “Root yourself to rise” . It is brilliant & inspiring. Thank you. I will remember. Trees are also a reflection of beneath and above.


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