Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Don Arney, inventor of aerial wildfire-fighting @Bambi_Bucket, inducted into @InventorsHOF #NIHF17 #NightAtTheNIHF

May 7, 2017
Don Arney Inventors Hall Of Fame

Don Arney, newly inducted into the 2017 National Inventors Hall of Fame, stands under the medal, with Edison and Lincoln looking on. The inscription reads: The Patent System Added The Fuel Of Interest To The Fire Of Genius.*

Induction at the Inventors Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame‘s induction ceremony took place Thursday evening, May 4, 2017 in the majestic central hall of the National Building Museum, in Washington, D.C., where presidential inaugural balls are usually held. Don Arney, who attended, said, “It is beyond awesome!”

Forbes reported, Fifteen amazing innovators became 2017 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.* Don Arney, inventor of the Bambi Bucket® for Aerial Firefighting, is one of them! Frederick E. Allen, Forbes Leadership Editor, wrote an article on the evening’s activities: To Become A Great Innovator, Get Left Back In Fourth Grade: Induction At The Inventors Hall Of Fame. Here’s an excerpt mentioning Don:

Don Arney invented the Bambi Bucket, which carries and shoots out huge quantities of water to fight forest fires, suspended from a helicopter. It is used in more than 110 countries. He said he owed his success to Transcendental Meditation, which he discovered after a spiritual journey that began when he found himself “sitting in the university library wondering if facts are all there is. . . . I’ve been doing it for 47 years now, twice a day, every day.” He said TM has helped him understand that when it comes to invention, or any kind of creativity, “you don’t do it yourself. Those things are gifts that come to you.”

When the announcement came out two months ago about Don Arney being selected as one of the NIHF inductees for 2017,  Derrick Penner interviewed him and wrote an excellent article for the Vancouver Sun: B.C. inventor of wildfire-fighting Bambi Bucket inducted to hall of fame.

The Don Arney Story

Don Arney, 2017 NIHF Inductee

You can see several photos of Don at the National Inventors Hall of Fame 45th Annual Induction Ceremony, especially in the Illumination Ceremony, being inducted, and with other honorees. This one of Don standing in front of his official portrait is very cool!

The NIHF also showed an impressive Induction Video of Don Arney telling the story of how he invented the Bambi Bucket. Filmed from his beautiful home on Salt Spring Island, Don talks about mining the mind for ideas at deeper levels, much like David Lynch describes in his book, Catching The Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.

Don has found “that meditating is a completely non-directed process, and inventing has to be the same.” He explains, “you know all of the things you’re going to be doing as you engage in the process, but you don’t direct it.” What he finds is that the answers come, and organize, on a very profound level. “They bubble up, and very quickly and innocently the solution appears.”

There’s elegance in simplicity

Another shorter video, Road to NIHF – Don Arney, looks like an interesting outtake from the production of The Don Arney Story. For Don, getting and building a new idea is a very exhilarating and blissful process. Like Joseph Campbell following his bliss, Don says, “you kinda follow your charm and see what’s there.” An intelligent observer, he saw the “elegance in simplicity,” how one thing could be adapted, improved upon, and applied in a whole new way—which led to the Bambi Bucket.

The NIHF will probably post the Induction Ceremony on their YouTube channel, but I was able to find it in their Facebook Time line. So you can watch it here. The evening was hosted by Mo Rocca. He introduces Don Arney around 21:38, the induction video is shown, Don is then officially inducted, and he speaks for around 3 1/2 minutes.

When I asked Don for a copy of his acceptance speech he told me: “I had a prepared speech and ditched it at the last minute and spoke off the cuff.” Don’t know what he had planned but his talk comes across as genuine and sincere. Don acknowledges the power of his decades-long Transcendental Meditation practice, twice a day since 1970, to clear the mind and enhance his creativity, which allows him to mine the “nuggets of information” and “kernels of innovation” as gifts that come to him.

Don also pays an emotional tribute to his longtime SEI Industries business partner, Mark McCooey, and invites him to stand and be recognized. Mark was able to transform Don’s invention into an iconic product sold around the world. Their patent commands over 95 percent of the international market. Bambi Buckets come in a range of sizes and capacities and are sold in 110 countries. They were also used to cool Japan’s Fukushima nuclear site after the 2011 tsunami. The Bambi Bucket has saved forests, homes and lives. These facts, plus the simplicity, effectiveness and ubiquity of the product was why the NIHF chose Don Arney as one of their 2017 inductees.

In an earlier newsletter I had included a video of the 2017 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee Class. You hear Don’s voice in the opening scene (00:09) and then see him with footage around his home on beautiful Salt Spring Island (until 00:21); later at 1:24 to 1:31 talking about clearing the mind as an essential part of the inventing process; and again, visually, at 2:10-2:12, and 2:15. Here is that video.

*Since our founding in 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) has inducted more than 500 visionary men and women who conceived, patented, and advanced the greatest technological achievements of our nation.

Personal note: As we get older, it’s interesting to see how we are ending up in the latter part of our lives, with what we’ve accomplished, intended or otherwise. It’s also great to celebrate our friends’ accomplishments, especially when they’re connected to Maharishi and what he taught us. I was impressed that Don acknowledged how TM had impacted his life and career, how he highlighted it in the video and in his acceptance speech!

I’ve known Don Arney, and Mark McCooey, since we were young meditators. I’ve seen him progress from a dreamy inventor to a very successful businessman and innovator, doing good for the planet. Those of us who know and love Don and Mark are proud of them and their accomplishments. Their support of the TM Movement in Canada is also very much appreciated.

Fortune, Forbes, Business Insider report on the beneficial effects of @TMmeditation in business

May 4, 2017

There’s been a strong interest in meditation lately among stressed, high-powered Wall Street bankers, investors, and CEOs. Many extol the virtues of Transcendental Meditation, aka TM. One investor describes TM as “Low investment, High return.” Here are a few of the many articles in such leading publications as Fortune, Forbes, and Business Insider.

Fortune reports: This Banking CEO Swears by Meditation. Barry Sommers (J.P. Morgan) has been doing Transcendental Meditation twice a day for the last ten years. He says he saw major positive changes in a longtime friend and colleague. Sommers then learned about TM from Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. Watch this dynamic video clip from Fortune’s second annual Brainstorm Health conference, moderated by Arianna Huffington. It’s embedded in this Fortune article: Why America’s Top Bosses Love Sleep and Meditation, part of which is excerpted here:

CEO Barry Sommers speaks on TM at Fortune's 2nd annual Brainstorm Health conference

CEO Barry Sommers praises TM at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference

Some corners of corporate America have long had a culture that wears its long and grueling hours like a badge of honor. Now a group of executives is trying to change that by opening up about how they each found balance in their own lives and by making wellness a priority at their companies.

“I’ve found in a culture like Wall Street, people are obsessed with how many hours people work,” said Barry Sommers, CEO of Wealth Management at J.P. Morgan Chase, during Fortune’s second annual Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego on Tuesday. “Way too many people are getting out of there as fast as they can because they’re totally burnt out.”

Sommers decided to take his health into his own hands a decade ago after someone he’d known personally and professionally for 30 years started doing Transcendental Meditation. “It transformed this person’s life,” he said. “I saw a different person.”

Sommers has now been doing Transcendental Meditation 20 minutes two times a day for a decade. And he prioritizes sleep, getting seven and half to eight hours every night. “I changed my schedule and lifestyle,” he said. “When I do a dinner, we’ll be at the restaurant at 5pm, not at 8pm.” He said his kids make fun of it, but he wakes up every morning “incredibly happy.” If there’s a problem at the office, his employees know to call the house and his wife will wake him up. But rarely is there anything so important that it can’t wait until the morning, he said.

“This goes completely against mainstream assumption that J.P. Morgan is the boiler room of burnout,” said Arianna Huffington, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, who moderated the panel.

Forbes, France also covered this topic: Transcendental Meditation: The Secret Weapon of Leaders, which includes this embedded video of Ken Gunsberger, from the Center for Leadership Performance.

Ken Gunsberger, VP, UBS Wealth Management in New York .png

Ken Gunsberger, VP, UBS Wealth Management New York, doing his TM

Writer Catherine Nivez interviewed Wall Street investor and TM meditator Ken Gunsberger who refers to TM as “Low investment, High return.” Vice President of UBS Wealth Management in New York, Kenneth Gunsberger manages his clients’ fortunes, market competition and professional stress. Leonard Stein, TM Teacher representing DLF in Geneva, is also quoted extensively in this excellent article.

In the video, Ken expresses a concern to his NY TM instructor: “How am I gonna know when I’m “in the zone” when I’m meditating? The reply he was given: “You’re not. The goal is to not be in the zone when you’re meditating. The goal is to be in the zone when you’re done. When you’re in that meeting at work. When you’re with your kids. When you’re with your spouse. That’s when you wanna be in the zone.”

Ken adds: “And because of the TM it has enabled me to do a much better job all across the board.” Ken said TM “literally changed my life.” After meditating only two and a half months his business increased; he had the best month in twenty-five years. Even his relationship with his daughter improved. He sums up the results of his TM practice this way: “Better choices. Better allocation of energy. Better results.”

Click on the link to watch to the rest of the video. Click the title to read the article. If you don’t understand French, use Google Translate. It’s worth the effort.

Business Insider has written before about TM in Business. Recently, Richard Feloni wrote a comprehensive report: Transcendental Meditation, which Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio calls ‘the single biggest influence’ on his life, is taking over Wall Street. It was republished in many places, including SFGATE. Here is an excerpt:

Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates, world's largest hedge fund

Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates, world’s largest hedge fund

Around eight years ago, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio introduced Transcendental Meditation to his then—735 employees.

Dalio had already established a unique, intense culture at Bridgewater that he likes to say is akin to being part of an ” intellectual Navy SEALs ,” and he believed that Transcendental Meditation (TM) would work as an effective counterbalance.

“I did it because it’s the greatest gift I could give anyone—it brings about equanimity, creativity and peace,” Dalio told me via email.

Since then, TM has popped into the mainstream, and over the last three years, the David Lynch Foundation TM center has taught almost 2,500 professionals, with roughly 55% of those from Wall Street, and 1,150 of those in 2016 alone.

Read the rest of this fabulous article, one of the best yet, and other TM articles archived on their website.

Celebrating Poetry Month with one of my poems, Poetry—The Art of the Voice, and what inspired it

April 10, 2017

Since 1996, the Academy of American Poets have designated April as National Poetry Month as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Since 1998, National Poetry Month has also been celebrated each April in Canada. Being a Canadian living in the United States, I have 2 reasons to celebrate it with a poem I wrote on the subject 17.5 years ago. I’d also like to share what inspired me to write it.

One morning, while recuperating from a cold in my room, I had been listening to the Diane Rehm Show. At the end she announced her guest for the next day, Bill Moyers, who would talk about his latest poetry project. I tuned in and recorded it on Tues, Oct 05, 1999, 10-11 a.m. ET.

In that episode of the show, Moyers discussed his upcoming PBS poetry special: Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers, the result of a visit to the Dodge Poetry Festival, which featured readings by US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and other leading poets. He also mentioned his accompanying book, Fooling With Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft (William Morrow). You can actually see Part One and Part Two of Fooling With Words, produced by and archived at Moyers & Company.

Moyers mentioned that television lends itself well to the human voice reading poetry. He said, “Poetry is music for the human voice,” but what really made an impression on him was watching “people listening to poetry.” His cameras focused in on both the poets reading their poems, and members of the audience listening attentively.

What Bill Moyers said about this dynamic caught my attention: “Poetry is reflected in the face of the listener, in the eyes, and in the intensity of the listener’s response. It’s like a mirror to the poet’s own face. And you watch these faces and you really see that poetry is sinking in, and meeting an audience in that individual listener.”

Diane and Bill then invited 3 poets on the show to read a poem and explain how they came to write it: Marge Piercy, Mark Strand (16:44), and Jane Hirshfield (32:57). After listening to the ideas and images expressed in the conversations and poems, I was so inspired that I wrote a poem about it called: Poetry—The Art of the Voice.

Poetry—The Art of the Voice

How fine will your breath become
from listening to these words?
How soft will they seem to be
as they settle through the mind
like silent snowflakes falling
from a windless winter sky?

I often marvel at the mystery—
how words can work
on a listener’s heart and mind,
upon hearing a poet’s thoughts,
a poet’s breath, flowing
from an inner voice—

a windless wind, speaking
through a voiceless voice.

© Ken Chawkin

Years later, when Freddy Fonseca put out a call for poems from Fairfield poets for This Enduring Gift-A Flowering of Fairfield Poetry (2010), I sent it in along with some other poems.  At Freddy’s suggestion I changed one word, which caused me to refine it even more, taking it to the intended level. He published it, five haiku, and a tanka, and later selected it as POEM OF THE DAY: Poetry – The Art of the Voice, by Ken Chawkin.

Over the years, Bill Moyers has welcomed some of America’s best poets to share their works and inspiration. Many of those writers have performed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, which Bill and his colleagues covered for television specials including Fooling with Words (1999), The Language of Life (1995) and Sounds of Poetry (1999). Enjoy Poets in Performance, a showcase of such poetry from past and recent productions from Moyers & Company, performed by the poets who dreamed them up, or by other artists who, like Bill, simply adore poetry.

The film Arrival asks: If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?

March 12, 2017

The main question posed in the 2016 sci fi film Arrival is, If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?

Arrival (2106)

When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) recruits Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a renowned linguist, and Dr. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), a theoretical physicist, to try and communicate with the Aliens and find out why they have landed on Earth. Dr. Banks races against time to decipher their intent. As tensions mount between fearful governments, she discovers the Aliens’ true purpose and, to avert global war, takes a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. This mesmerizing masterpiece has a mind-blowing ending that will leave you wondering what happened and how.

That’s the external story, but the essential message of this movie is more internal. It’s about love, determinism and choice.

Based on the award-winning science fiction novella, Story of Your Life, by Ted Chiang, it was convincingly transformed into a screenplay by Eric Heisserrer. Having read the book and been moved by it, director Denis Villeneuve wondered how it could be turned into a science fiction film, a genre he had been thinking about for years. When he received the script he decided he finally had to make this film, but with Amy Adams in the lead as Dr. Louise Banks. Even though she was taking a break from filmmaking, after reading the script, she was in. Everyone involved with making the film read the book and loved the story.

In the opening scenes we learn that Professor Louise Banks is losing her daughter Hannah to a rare disease. As a child, Hannah asks her mother how she chose her name. Louise tells her she has a special name, because it is a palindrome. It’s spelled and read the same way, forwards and backwards.

This is a clue that may help you make sense of certain events in the film that appear as flashbacks. Or are they flashforwards? Yet, in retrospect, it’s not the beginnings and endings that are important to Louise, but how she lived her life, the choice she made to love, regardless of the outcome.

Watching this movie was a right-brain experience; it’s non-linear. Dr. Banks goes through changes as she learns the Alien language. Their images communicate ideas in circles without reference to tense or time. Comprehending their language transforms Louise’s brain. She begins to experience the events in her life from a less sequential, more holistic perspective.

This is reality parsed and put together from a female perspective. She is the only one who can save the situation when she finally understands why the Aliens are here. The other challenge now is communicating it to a male-dominated world intent on destroying itself. This Chinese quote is another important clue: “In war there are now winners, only widows.”

Towards the end of the film, having collaborated with and seen how brilliant, brave, and compassionate Louise has been throughout their encounter with the Aliens, and the Army, Ian realizes he’s fallen in love with her. As much as he was amazed by his encounters with the Aliens, his “greatest surprise” he tells her, “is you.”

To love is human. It takes us out of our time, because Love Is Eternal. It always Is. We participate in It. If we are lucky enough. I wrote this as a comment to my son who purchased the film and sent me the link. I couldn’t help turning it into a tanka.

After watching “Arrival” (2016)

To love is human
It takes us out of our time
Love Is Eternal

We participate in It
If we are lucky enough

© Ken Chawkin
Mon Apr 6, 2017
Fairfield, Iowa

You should see this film twice to better understand and appreciate it. Below is the trailer, followed by the Featurette on the DVD Extras.

This DVD Featurette gives you a perspective of what went into the making of the film: Arrival (2016) | Behind the Scenes | Understanding Arrival | Full Extras | Full HD.

Better to see the film first before seeing these explanations. Nick Statt wrote a great article for The Verge on living with the power of choice: How the short story that inspired Arrival helps us interpret the film’s major twist. ScreenPrism offers an intelligent explanation of the ending of this film. And ChewingSand shares good insights in this video: Why ARRIVAL is Great Sci-Fi. There are more explanations on YouTube.

See a fun, informative post-screening SAG-AFTRA Foundation interview: Conversations with Amy Adams and Denis Villeneuve of ARRIVAL.

Links to the beautiful Arrival Soundtrack – On The Nature Of Daylight by Max Richter and Jóhann Jóhannsson – Heptapod B [From “Arrival” Soundtrack / Pseudo Video].

Wikipedia gives a comprehensive review/explanation of the film, which might include some spoilers if you haven’t already seen it yet.

Also see these favorite romantic films of mine. They reveal the transformational power of love over time.

Dr. Edwards Smith on #TranscendentalMeditation Health and Social Policy @CommonGoodVT #video

February 26, 2017

Lauren-Glenn Davitian, host of Common Good Vermont, interviews Edwards Smith M.D. about the impact of Transcendental Meditation on individual and social health. Lauren prefaces the interview by saying, “We’re going to talk about Transcendental Meditation and consciousness as a way of improving the well-being of our community and as a social policy tool.”

edwards-smith-m-d-on-common-good-vt

Edwards Smith M.D. is a western and AyurVedic doctor and leading practitioner of Transcendental Meditation as a practice for personal resilience and community well-being. Dr. Smith served in active duty with the US Army Medical Corps, taught at Maharishi University of Management, ran the Maharishi College of Vedic Medicine in Albuquerque, and is widely published on subjects ranging from pharmacology and rheumatology to Transcendental Meditation. Based on his experience with war veterans and community indicators of well-being, he believes that TM and TM-Sidhi programs are human resource-based technologies that offer immense potential for the health care system of any country.

This excellent interview, titled Consciousness and Public Policy, was filmed on February 23, 2017 for Channel 17/Town Meeting TV in Burlington, Vermont. Dr. Smith is very thorough in his explanations of TM research and how it has impacted the health of individual lives and societies as a whole. Click here to watch (25:53).

Sunshine Superman Donovan is a Very Mellow Fellow, a Hurdy Gurdy Man with Loving Vibes

September 9, 2016

DONOVAN was here over Labor Day Weekend. He played two concerts Sunday night during Fairfest 2016, Fairfield, Iowa’s Roots Music Festival. The first was a fundraiser for Maharishi University’s Global Scholarship Fund at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center‘s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, and the second was with Bonnie Paine and friends to close out the 3-day musical event on the Main Stage outside. Donovan had never played back-to-back performances like that, but it turned out very well.

In the Green Room with Donovan.png

After arriving and having lunch, Donovan met the band at the Sondheim theater and went to work rehearsing with them. It was impressive! They consisted of Elephant Revival’s singer Bonnie Paine (percussion), and two from her group, top to bottom: Daniel Rodriguez (guitar, banjo) and Dango Rose (bass), joined by Arthur Lee Land of Great American Taxi (guitar), and Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth (violin, organ).

The MUM concert in the Sondheim was special and intimate, filled mostly with meditators. Donovan then joined the band on the Main Stage after their performance. In both the rehearsal and the concert, Donovan encouraged each one of the musicians playing his songs. They all really enjoyed themselves, as did the audience, and drew the largest crowd of the 3-day event! See video clips below. After the concert, Donovan invited them back to his Green Room to share stories about the music business. What a magical treat for them all!!! Producer Michael Sternfeld took the group photo, choreographed by Donovan.

Donovan Day in LA

donovan-day-city-hall-los-angeles

Thank you Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councillor Koretz of City Hall Los Angeles for this singular honor to mark the Fiftieth Birthday of my song SUNSHINE SUPERMAN reaching number one on the Billboard Top 100. A love song for Linda yes, but also when we met we both knew we were on the same journey to raise awareness of a higher consciousness for the future generations. We are still on that journey. Come to my 21 city SUNSHINE SUPERMAN AMERICAN TOUR and share this birthday with me. — Donovan

New addition: Donovan Presentation–LA City Council Meeting.

Some News Coverage

Donovan left Fairfield early Tuesday morning to continue the American wing of his “Sunshine Superman” Tour, which was unofficially launched at East Hampton, Donovan: Flower-Power Icon of Change, then officially on Good Day LA, which discussed Donovan Day in LA. That night he performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, who said Donovan’s tour was starting in Fairfield, Iowa! After his performance, Jimmy whispered in Donovan’s ear that his interview with Howard Stern was the best ever. Fox News Video also posted this clip: Donovan shows no sign of slowing down.

Billboard later published: Donovan Reflects on ‘Sunshine Superman’ 50th Anniversary, Hanging With The Beatles & Jimmy Page, Flower-Power Era. And then this news, which is so appropriate: Donovan to Be Honored With John Lennon Real Love Award at Tribute Concert. “Donovan is a beautiful soul who was positively influenced by John,” Yoko Ono said in a statement. Read how this came about in this fascinating billboard article.

It’s interesting that Donovan will receive this award in John Lennon’s name. Donovan also had a positive influence on John when the Beatles were with Maharishi in India. John had asked Donovan to show him how he played his guitar. Donovan said it was the claw hammer style he had learned from another musician. It was based on a banjo-picking style converted to guitar.

In a way, it came full circle for John, since his mother, Julia, had taught him how to play chords on a banjo she had given him before he picked up the guitar. John wrote Julia and Dear Prudence using that style. Paul picked it up his way and wrote Mother Nature’s Child and Black Bird. George Harrison said Donovan was all over The Beatles White Album. Donovan mentions all this and more in a Rolling Stone interview (April 19, 2012) after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Watch the video: Donovan: On teaching guitar technique to Beatles.

Fairfield News Coverage

Some regional articles came out to promote the event. The Iowa Source published an article by Michael Sternfeld: Donovan: Sunshine Superman. Michael Braunstein wrote a very interesting article for The Reader in Omaha. Musician and journalist Bob Saar, who has covered David Lynch Weekends and MUM Commencements, wrote a great article for The Hawk Eye: Donovan to perform at FAIRfest 2016. Iowa City’s Little Village’s Arts Editor Genevieve Heinrich published: Musician Donovan Leitch talks legacy of ‘Sunshine Superman’ and importance of Transcendental Meditation, and showed up for the concert with her family. Mark Newman from the Ottumwa Courier dropped by during rehearsal: Donovan performance mends Fairfield hearts. Mark surprised me with a mention, helping Donovan set up.

Highlights of FairFest Roots Music Festival

donovan-fairfest-by-wernerelmker

Werner Elmker posted this photo of Donovan from the solo concert, and these Fairfest 2016 Highlights of Day One, Day Two, and Day Three, which contains excerpts from Donovan’s Sondheim and Main Stage concerts.

Professional photographer Kim Green came down from Cedar Rapids and posted a slideshow: Fairfest ~ Labor Day weekend 2016 – Prairie Moon Media- An eclectic mix.

Andy Hayward posted clips from both shows of Donovan at FAIRfest ’16.

FairfieldRocksMe posted these videos:

Fairfield Celebrates Donovan

A Labor Day lunch was hosted by Mayor Ed and Vicki Malloy. Some guests brought their Donovan records and posters for him to sign, and took pictures. In attendance were Bevan Morris, John and Kara Hagelin, and other leading members of the Fairfield/MUM community.

After lunch, Donovan regaled us with stories from Rishikesh, India at Maharishi’s ashram with the Beatles, Mike Love, Prudence Farrow, and others. He told us stories of his times with Maharishi, and a vivid dream he had of him, a week before coming here for the America wing of his 50th anniversary tour.

Donovan then asked me to share the story of what Maharishi had said about him. When I was with Maharishi at Lake Louise, one of my course mates had asked Maharishi about George Harrison and Donovan. About Donovan, Maharishi said he was the most sensitive boy he had ever met.

A few months before he was to join the Beatles and the others in India, Donovan said he was interviewed by John Carpenter for Rolling Stone’s premier issue, (1st and 2nd issues, Nov 9 & 23, 1967). In Part 1, he made a statement that summarized his approach to music: “There’s only one thing in the end, and that’s singing truth in a pleasant way.”

Carpenter asked him about composing, performing, his phenomenal success, and his very recent meeting with Maharishi who had taught him how to meditate. He describes that experience towards the end of Part 2: You just spent three days with Maharishi in Los Angeles. What’s he like?

Read more posts on Donovan here. If you can, see him in concert this time around. Check Donovan’s website for a list of concert dates and locations.

donovan-fairfield-friends

After his last interview for A Fairfield Documentary, a few of us had our picture taken with Donovan. He directed the photo shoot, taken by Werner Elmker. From the tallest to the shortest: Michael Sternfeld, who produced the Sondheim Concert, Bill Goldstein, who introduced the MUM International scholarship students, Donovan, and myself, Ken Chawkin. (Click photo to enlarge it.)

I must say, of all the times I’ve interacted with Donovan over the years, I found him to be most generous and patient with his time and energy while interacting with everyone. Not much ego there, but a very sensitive loving soul, who was kissed by the lord and filled with song to wear his love like heaven. He truly is an evolved Hurdy Gurdy Man, a gift of a rare flower to our garden! Looking forward to seeing him in Fairfield again, next time with his lovely wife Linda.

A baptism by fire: Why Paul Dalio’s debut as a filmmaker is Touched With Fire

July 25, 2016

TOUCHED WITH FIRE PosterPremiered last year at SXSW, with a theatrical run this spring, and now on DVD, Paul Dalio’s first full-length feature film, Touched With Fire, is a love story between two bipolar poets that reveals the relationship between illness and creativity.

Dalio was inspired by Kay Redfield Jamison’s book, Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, which explores the link between great art and bipolar disorder. He read that many famous writers, poets, and artists suffered from this mania and may have produced their work because of it. Their genius was touched with fire.

This was a welcome relief for Paul who had become bipolar. He now saw himself no longer in clinical terms as a social outcast without a cure, but as a creative artist who was dealing with a neurological imbalance.

The most well known example of that heightened state was Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The painting is a kind of leitmotif throughout the film, even materializing as a literal hallucination by the main characters.

Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night

Reflecting on his own experience of being bipolar, Paul wanted people suffering with the illness, and those concerned with their health, to better understand what they are going through, that they are not necessarily crazy, perhaps gifted, and to help remove the stigma associated with the disease.

He compares the manic highs and depressive lows of the disease to the seasons. The film’s palatte of colors reflects the changing emotions within and between the main characters. Attempts to control these mood swings with drugs create deadening side effects, part of the conflict within their relationship.

In his Huffington Post blog, Touched With Fire, Paul asks: How much more receptive would a patient be to treatment if the patient was told that the treatment was to nurture a gift they had, instead of terminate a disease they had?

Director Dalio gave author/psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison a role in the film as herself, to explain how the right balance of medication can help rather than hinder a manic personality. Marco is concerned that the medications are stopping him from feeling any emotions, and is destroying his creativity. From her own experience, Kay shares with them how “medication can tamp the fire down a bit without losing that gift.” She tells him, with the right dosage, which takes time, she became even more productive than before becoming bipolar.

Cast and Crew

Paul Dalio wrote, directed, edited and scored Touched With Fire, his feature-film debut starring Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby, with other performances by Griffin Dunne, Christine Lahti and Bruce Altman.

Paul’s longtime friend, Jeremy Alter, produced the film, along with Kristina Nikolova, Paul’s wife and fellow student at the NYU Film School, who convinced him to make this semi-autobiographical film. Their teacher, Spike Lee, is the executive producer.

The brilliant acting in this passionately moving film is intensely engaging. Holmes (Carla) and Kirby (Marco) play two poets with bipolar disorder whose art is fueled by their emotional extremes. When they meet in a treatment facility, their chemistry is instant and intense driving each other’s mania to new heights. They pursue their passion, which breaks outside the bounds of sanity, swinging them from fantastical highs to tormented lows until they ultimately must choose between sanity and love. Watch the official trailer.

Comments from the Critics

The New York Times Critic’s Pick wrote: “Luke Kirby and Katie Holmes boldly meet the challenge of playing bright, high-strung artists. An extraordinarily sensitive, nonjudgmental exploration of bipolar disorder and creativity.” Read the Review: ‘Touched With Fire,’ a Love Story Between Two Bipolar Poets.

The Los Angeles Times said: Writer-director Dalio has firsthand experience with bipolar disorder, and his perspective sheds fresh light on the unique ways in which manic-depressive individuals experience love and creativity. Read the Review: Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby propel ‘Touched With Fire’ as it shines fresh light on bipolar disorder and creativity.

This is a powerful film! We witness their struggles from the inside out. More reviews are listed on the film’s website.

The Role of Poetry in the Film

In one of the interviews from the Special Features of the DVD, Paul Dalio talks about the value of poetry in his life, and for the main characters in the film. “It was only when I met my wife that my heart became more tender, and I actually started reading poetry, which I never did, and I started writing poetry.”

Paul describes the transforming power of poetry to heal and create beauty. He speaks from his own personal experience as someone who has dealt with the ups and downs of this disorder while trying to become a writer, composer, and filmmaker. The film is an amazing testament to his artistic achievement! See his bio under Cast & Crew for more details.

“Poetry at its best has the deepest expression of being in the worst hell, and having no choice but to bring some kind of aesthetic meaning to it, and some kind of beauty to it, just to even cope with it. (and) Only by being forced down there to such a hell are you forced to bring that much beauty to that hell, and in the process it becomes a healing. And so it was natural how it wove itself into the film, as these two characters use it to cope with their psychosis, and to deal with coming out of their situation.”

From my own experience, writing poetry does have the power to transform and heal. Another film where poetry is featured is in Words and Pictures, where a poem invites you to be who you are.

The Soundtrack to the Movie

Paul Dalio’s blog post includes both the song and lyrics to Starry Nights. Listen to the Touched With Fire Soundtrack Preview, followed by Starry Nights, the song at the end of the film during the credits, published by Lakeshore Records. Download the album on iTunes.

Interviews with the Director and Actors

Charlie Rose: ‘Touched With Fire’ (Feb. 4, 2016)  Director and writer Paul Dalio, actor Luke Kirby, and psychologist Kay Jamison discuss the movie “Touched with Fire” and the connections between bipolar disorder and creativity. (18:51) Paul does mention his use of medication and meditation, which he elaborates upon in this next video.

At a David Lynch Foundation-hosted screening of the film, Paul opened up about his own struggles with bipolar and how pivotal the practice of Transcendental Meditation has proved to be in living a happy, healthy, and creatively rich life. “TM is the difference between surviving with bipolar and thriving with bipolar. I never stopped meditating, without fail,” he says. “That’s when my doctor, Norman Rosenthal, witnessed the power of TM and was so blown away he decided to do a study on the effects of TM.” Paul was responsible for Dr. Rosenthal restarting his long-lapsed TM practice, which led to the publication of two best-selling books on the subject. Visit NORMAN ROSENTHAL, MD for details. See Thriving with Bipolar – A Conversation with Writer/Director Paul Dalio.

TODAY: Katie Holmes Discusses Role In ‘Intense’ Film ‘Touched With Fire’ (4:41)

The Washington Post: Filmmaker Paul Dalio mines his bipolar disorder for feature debut

HotSpot: TOUCHED WITH FIRE | Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby, Paul Dalio & Jeremy Alter Interview | February 8, 2016 (26:54)

Video of Marbling Art Animation of Starry Night and Van Gogh

Check out this amazing video on marbling art animation of Starry night and a Van Gogh self-portrait: Van Gogh on Dark Water Animation. The Turkish artist is Garip Ay, and the ancient technique of painting on water to marble paper is called Ebru.

The Unexpected Math Behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

Physicist Werner Heisenberg said, “When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.” As difficult as turbulence is to understand mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. Natalya St. Clair illustrates how Van Gogh captured this deep mystery of movement, fluid and light in his work. Visit TED-Ed for more.

@DAVID_LYNCH answers questions from students as part of the 2016 Commencement @MaharishiU

June 24, 2016
2. Hagelin & Morris present Lynch with Doctor of World Peace

David Lynch receives honorary doctorate of World Peace from outgoing president Bevan Morris (right) and incoming president John Hagelin (left) Maharishi University of Management ©2016

During their 2016 commencement ceremony on June 18th, 2016, Maharishi University of Management was proud to feature world-renowned filmmaker David Lynch, who was presented with a Doctor of World Peace honoris causa degree. Instead of a traditional graduation speech, Mr. Lynch held a spontaneous Q and A session with students about life-oriented topics that commencement speakers traditionally address. Here is that lively interactive commencement address. (19:37).

Here is a transcript of the David Lynch 2016 MUM Commencement Q&A. See The 5 Best Quotes from David Lynch’s Commencement Q&A

Selected Excerpts

Behind David Lynch’s Success | Consciousness-Based Education | What Makes a Meaningful Life | Graduates’ Roles for World Peace | What Makes a Good Leader | Falling in Love with an Idea | Following Your Intuition | Filmmaker’s Secret.

News Coverage

Motto* (Words to live by): David Lynch to Grads: Intuition ‘Is the Number One Tool for Human Beings’ Watch the ‘Twin Peaks’ director give his advice to 2016 Maharishi University grads | La Voce di New York: David Lynch: trascendere per migliorare il mondo. Here is a translation of The Voice of New York’s David Lynch: transcend to improve the world | The Fairfield Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports: @DAVID_LYNCH addresses @MaharishiU graduates | The Hawk Eye’s Bob Saar: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield | KTVO’s Stephen Sealey reported on Maharishi University’s special graduation ceremonyFilmmaker David Lynch to Give Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management | Des Moines Register: David Lynch promises ‘strange’ commencement address in Iowa

*Advice worth sharing from the world’s most influential people and the editors of TIME

About MUM

Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, IA is a private university featuring Consciousness-Based℠ Education. The accredited traditional curriculum offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business, but also integrates self-development programs. Innovative aspects include the Transcendental Meditation® program, one course at a time, and organic vegetarian meals. Visitors Weekends are held throughout the year. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 800-369-6480 or visit http://www.mum.edu.

MUM Social Media Accounts

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube | Google+

Related News

Market Wired: Professor John Hagelin Named President of Maharishi University of Management | The Gazette: New president named for Maharishi University of Management. John Hagelin takes office Sept. 12 | Ottumwa Courier: Hagelin is incoming president of MUM | Inside Higher Ed: New Presidents or Provosts

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KTVO’s Stephen Sealey reported on Maharishi University’s special graduation ceremony

June 19, 2016

Maharishi University of Management held a special graduation ceremony

MUM Commencement 2016-KTVO

Class of 2016 were greeted with a special guest at Maharishi University of Management’s commencement (Stephen Sealey/ KTVO).

The Maharishi University of Management celebrated the class of 2016 with a special ceremony Saturday afternoon.

KTVO’s Stephen Sealey was there to see it all and reports how there were even a few surprises in store.

Maharishi University of Management’s 2016 Commencement was home to big names, big surprises and a diverse graduating class.

Award-winning director, writer and producer David Lynch was given the Honorary Doctorate of World Peace before doing his commencement speech which was a Q and A session.

Lynch said he enjoyed speaking to the class and believes they will succeed.

“They’re going out into the world to do great things. And they get it from Transcendental Meditation which is the key that opens the door to the treasury within every human being.”

Doctor Bevan Morris announced his retirement to the class, while appointing Dr. John Hagelin as the new president of MUM.

“Now I’m going to be the International President of MUM for different countries around the world. That would mean I’ll come here very often also,” Morris said.

Newly graduated students were so happy to be finished with school, but a few told me MUM will hold a place in their hearts.

“I thought that this school was like a gem. Someone once told me that Fairfield is in the middle of nowhere but the people make it somewhere”, said MUM Graduate Andrea Zapata.

“Internally, these four years have made me a better person,” said MUM Graduate Nicolas Martina.

“I feel well-rounded as a person. Feel like I can do anything. I have no breaks, no obstacles. If I do, they’re only steps to get to the next stage,” said MUM Graduate Shivanand Howard.

366 graduating students and 53 countries that were represented.

Vice President Craig Pearson said, “If there is a place in the United States that is truly united, that place is here.”

KTVO would like to congratulate MUM’s class of 2016 on their graduation.

Reproduced with permission from KTVO. (Article link | Video link)

Related: Filmmaker David Lynch to Give Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management

Des Moines Register: David Lynch promises ‘strange’ commencement address in Iowa

Related event: An Evening With Chrysta Bell, David Lynch’s Muse, Happening June 19

Related news: @DAVID_LYNCH answers questions from students as part of the 2016 Commencement @MaharishiU | The Hawk Eye’s Bob Saar: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield and The Fairfield Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports: @DAVID_LYNCH adresses @MaharishiU graduates

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Fairfield, Iowa, TM and MUM make national news

June 10, 2016

Many articles have come out in praise of Fairfield, Iowa. Two and a half years ago, Rox Laird, The Des Moines Register’s editorial columnist, published an Opinion piece, Fairfield defines community action, on the city’s civic collaboration and Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center. The Smithsonian named Fairfield 7th out of 20 best small towns to visit that year. BuzzFeed named Fairfield one of the coolest small towns in America. And The Iowan had published an article on how Fairfield thinks inclusively creating rural success in Iowa.

I like to think the positive outcome of this latest article on Fairfield, TM and MUM, by Kevin Hardy in The Des Moines Register and the  USA TODAY NETWORK, resulted from a phone call I received on my birthday.

In April, I went to visit my son Nathanael at his new home in the Santa Barbara Riviera. For lunch he took me to The Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, a well-known outdoor restaurant on the beach by the ocean. While waiting for our food to arrive, an unknown number called my cellphone. It was Kevin Hardy. He told me he covered business, labor and the economy for the Des Moines Register, and was researching why some towns in Iowa were thriving while many were losing population and failing economically. Then he said something that surprised me.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Fairfield was Iowa’s fastest-growing city among cities of a similar size. Kevin wanted to know what role I thought Maharishi University of Management had played in the demographic and economic growth of Fairfield.

In addition to some of the longtime established businesses, I  gave him an historical overview how hundreds of meditators came from all over the US and Canada after MIU had moved to town from the mid-1970s onwards. Many would stay and relocate their businesses or start new ones. Also told him about today’s younger entrepreneurs, the new successful ventures they started, and gave him a list of people and companies to visit and interview.

Kevin Hardy and Register photographer/videographer Zach Boyden-Holmes really did their homework. They put together an impressive article that became a national success story! It is reproduced here with permission.  See the full article with 14 photos taken May 9, 2016 by Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register. I added links for more information.

Why this Iowa town is thriving when so many aren’t
By Kevin Hardy, June 1, 2016

Click here or on the image below to see a short video of Fairfield entrepreneurs. (1:20)

Fairfield out-performed all of the state’s 15 micropolitan areas in terms of population growth between 2010 and 2015.

FAIRFIELD, Ia. – Take a walk around this town’s bustling square and you’ll see an array of businesses that would rival some shopping malls.

On one corner sits a coffee shop that roasts its own beans in house. Down the block is a store specializing in sustainable children’s clothing and toys. Along another strip, there’s a women’s boutique, a Verizon store and a nutrition company.

The town’s retail center also is home to a salon, a consignment store, a furniture store and an art gallery. Just off the square is a pet spa, a natural remedy store and a photography studio. And for those looking for a bite to eat: a Thai restaurant, an Indian cafe, an Italian spot and a joint peddling pizza and steak.

In fact, local officials count only one vacancy in the storefronts that line shady Central Park. It’s just one more sign of success in this town of 9,500 in a state where most small cities and rural areas are seeing residents leave.

Since 1969, census data show Iowa’s metropolitan areas have gained nearly a half million people, while smaller cities and rural places have lost more than 171,000 residents.

But Fairfield has prospered, particularly in recent years. Between 2010 and 2015, the city saw a 4 percent population gain – a rate that rivaled the growth of some of Iowa’s much larger metro areas.

This southeast Iowa city is known as a magnet for practitioners of Transcendental Meditation at Maharishi University of Management, who flocked here since the 1970’s. Fairfield was able to capitalize on that unique niche, building a surprisingly metropolitan quality of life.

While Fairfield is home to 1,000 fewer jobs than it had 15 years ago, state figures show employers have rebounded in the last five years, adding nearly 700 jobs between 2010 and 2015. During that time, Fairfield went from 714 employers to 751, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

“We have a great quality-of-life culture and an entrepreneurial culture,” said Mayor Ed Malloy. “And we see it is allowing more young people to put down roots in this community.”

Around town, there is no shortage of small-city staples like Casey’s General Store and Pizza Ranch, though Fairfield is better known for its funky coffee houses, shops and restaurants. Locals claim the city is home to more restaurants per capita than San Francisco.

Yet the place that Oprah Winfrey dubbed “America’s most unusual town” is more than just quirky. It’s one of the few nonmetropolitan areas in Iowa posting strong population growth, according to U.S. Census figures. And around town, evidence abounds that Fairfield has done what so many small cities in the Midwest struggle to achieve: attract and retain people.

Troy with MUM Solar Array

Troy Van Beek stands in front of a solar power array his company Ideal Energy installed at the Maharishi University in Fairfield Monday, May 9, 2016. Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

TM’s long effect
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced Transcendental Meditation, or TM, in India in the 1950’s.

But he brought his technique and “Consciousness-Based education” to Iowa in 1974, when Maharishi International University moved from Santa Barbara, Calif., to the 1 million empty square feet vacated by Parsons College in Fairfield. (The university later changed its name to Maharishi University of Management.)

While some in the community resisted the influx of meditators, locals say most of those tensions were alleviated years ago.

“As time has gone on, everybody’s meshed seamlessly,” said local designer Linda Pettit.

Pettit, who with her husband owns Finishing Touch interior design, has watched Fairfield thrive over the last 32 years from her storefront on the town square. She ticks off quality-of-life improvements such as a new pool and new recreation center.

She boasts about the many restaurants. And she tells of all the new and unusual businesses that have opened.

“We have a very vibrant community,” she said. “I think a lot of small towns don’t have the diversity that we do.”

Pettit hears about layoffs at plants in nearby Ottumwa. She knows how Iowa farmers are struggling with low commodity prices. But she said that isn’t Fairfield’s storyline.

Her business works on residential and commercial projects. But she’s noticed a slant toward more commercial projects in recent years, as new businesses pop up and old ones invest in upgrades.

“It’s a great place to have a business,” she said.

Iowa’s ‘Silicorn Valley’
Over the years, many TM practitioners and others who visited Fairfield decided to stay.

Once here, they had to find a way to make a living. Some Fairfield residents drive to Ottumwa or Iowa City for work. But many have started small businesses in Fairfield, which has been called “Silicorn Valley” for its mixture of tech startups and entrepreneurial ventures.

“People moved here and they had to figure out how to stay here,” said David Navarrete, spokesman for Sky Factory.

The 38-employee company was founded in 2002 by Bill Witherspoon, an artist who moved to Fairfield for its TM community. A serial entrepreneur, he formed Sky Factory as a means of supporting his family. It creates window and ceiling panels that recreate outdoor views like those of a blue sky or a beachfront.

Sky Factory’s biggest clients are health care providers, as research shows even a simulated view of the outdoors can boost moods for those trapped indoors.

“I think there’s definitely an entrepreneurial spirit here, and I think a lot of that comes from the university,” said Witherspoon’s son, Skye Witherspoon, now the company’s CEO.

Fairfield is also home to a surprising array of manufacturing.
Creative Edge makes intricate flooring for some of the world’s best known hotels, casinos, hospitals and universities. Bovard Studios makes and restores stained glass windows for churches across the country. And a host of businesses manufacture agricultural parts, iron castings, polyethylene piping and laundromat washers and dryers.

So many things are made in Fairfield that the Iowa Economic Development Authority will host an export conference here in the fall.

Fairfield’s biggest employers have grown in recent years, too.

Cambridge Investment Research now employs about 700 and boasts more than $70 billion in assets under its management.

Mixed signals
Like many small cities, some employers in Fairfield report trouble recruiting and hiring, especially with Iowa’s unemployment rate remaining below 4 percent.

Lori Schaefer-Wheaton, president of the 170-employee Agri-Industrial Plastics, said hiring is a struggle. She has 20 openings, a number that has held fairly constant over the last two years, she said.

Fairfield is an anomaly among small cities in Iowa, she said, but she thinks recent population growth is largely related to the university.

“That kind of population growth might show up on our census,” she said. “But I don’t think it changes the dynamics of the workforce in our town.”

Iowa State University Economist Dave Swenson said Fairfield definitely out performs many similarly sized cities. But some signals are mixed: While some measures show recent job growth, other data actually point to employment losses, he said.

“They seem to be demonstrating both demographic and economic growth that stands out,” he said. “The big question is this a short term growth or is it sustainable?”

Natives return home
Meghan Dowd came to Fairfield as a child when her parents migrated here for the TM community.

She moved away for college, then ended up working in television in California.

From there, she visited her mom in Fairfield and realized it was going through a “renaissance,” with monthly art walks, a new events center and lots of cool coffee shops and restaurants. She moved back in 2009 and started Shaktea, a maker of kombucha, a trendy fermented drink.

In Fairfield, she says she can do just about anything she could in a metro city. Plus, it’s much cheaper to buy a home or start a business. (She also started Cado, an organic avocado-based ice cream, featured with a photo in the article and video.)

Her children attend a Waldorf-inspired preschool. And after yearning for a yoga studio, she just opened her own.

“A lot of people moved here, the kids grew up here, but then the kids wanted to go out into the world and experience different things,” Dowd said. “I think that happened and some of that is kind of boomeranging back to Fairfield.”

Jesse Narducci followed a similar path. He returned home to Fairfield a few years ago after living in Colorado and California for more than a decade. He opened Jefferson County Ciderworks just outside of town. He brews hard apple cider and runs a taproom featuring hard-to-find craft brews.

Narducci said many of Iowa’s smaller towns are undesirable places to live because they lack quality places to grab a meal or a drink out. Not Fairfield.

“You don’t have to drive to Iowa City to have a good ale or a good meal,” he said. “I don’t really leave that often. … I’m trying to create my own little paradise out here.”

(more…)


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