Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

For Us—a tanka honoring Sali and what we shared

June 30, 2017

Sali with MaharishiHere is a picture of Sally Peden showing Maharishi a photo that may have been taken during their trip To Jyotir Math with western scientists in the spring of 1975 to tell the Shankaracharya about the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. I think it was a picture of the 2,500-year-old banyan tree under which Adi Shankaracharya used to meditate. She had a blurry one of Jerry Jarvis sitting under the tree, but I never saw the framed photo.

Kenny & Sally in Columbia 2007This photo was taken in late May, 2007 at Sali’s step-mother, Petch Peden‘s house in Columbia, MO. I never would have imagined sharing a loving relationship with such a pure, brilliant devotee who had worked closely with Maharishi for so many years. There was obviously a very deep level of recognition between our souls. How else could such a thing have happened?

Sally+Ken bldg opening

At inauguration of Veda Bhavan May 27, 2003

These words, “We’re buddies,” had come into my head when we were introducing ourselves at MUM (another story) around 10 years after we had first met in Washington, DC, summer of 1993, but had both forgotten. She had registered some of us at a large group meditation course.

Years later, not long after she had to move into Parkview Care Center (January 19, 2010), I recalled that incident during one of my visits, and reminded her of it. I also shared the two thoughts that had entered my mind at the time, when she walked up to me to ask my name and check it on her list. I never forgot them—Too bad I just got married (again); Too bad she’s on Mother Divine. She paused, remembered it too, and smiled. What a surprise for both of us!

A Jyotishi, Indian astrologer, who came to town with ancient palm leaves, told us of our past lives together. He said we shared a deep bond of friendship and spirituality, this was a karmic repayment, I was now going to fulfill the promises I had made to her in ancient Vedic times, and that she should be with me at all times—her life depended on it. Many adverse situations would spring up over time to test that bond, but I was there for her, right up to the end, and beyond.

Adversity—she experiencing and me watching the challenging changes she would go through in her mind and body due to Dementia—drew us even closer together. I lovingly cared for her, and experienced joy when we were together, even as I continued to grieve and worry about her when we were apart. It also fulfilled a lifelong desire to experience what devotion, spiritual love, was about. It was transforming, to say the least!

I joked that she was making me look good because her friends were calling me a saint, and we both laughed. Early on, when she was going through neurological imbalances that affected her mental stability, I remember saying, “It’s so intense, Sal, what you’re going through, but look at it this way, you must be burning off a lot of karma; you’re evolving quickly.” She looked up at me and quipped, “Hello? So are you!” And we both cracked up laughing. She was my little munchkin.

Sali never lost her sense of humor. Years later, when she could no longer speak, she would still smile and giggle, bringing joy to some of the nurses and aides who looked after her. Her inner nature remained the same; it was always uplifting to be with her.

It will be 9 months on July 1st, 2017 since my sweetheart passed. Sali was a fellow devotee on the spiritual path, my best friend and muse. I have written many poems for, about, and because of her. Most of them are on this blog. They trace a lot of what we went through together. As difficult as it was at times, I would not change any of it.

Our friends would often say how lucky she was to have me in her life, but I always told them I was the lucky one. We both acknowledged the blessing we were given—loving each other at that transitional time in our lives. It’s summed up in this Haiku for Her, repeated here with the hoku from The Rare Gift of Love, now put together in a new tanka.

For Us
A tanka honoring Sali and what we shared

You gave me a taste
Of true Love and Unity
For Eternity

What we shared was glorious
A Gift from God and Guru

Jai Guru Dev

© Ken Chawkin
June 30, 2017
Fairfield, Iowa

Related: ‘In Our Loving Eyes’ a poem by @kenchawkin remembering a special love with Sally Peden

Added October 1, 2017, A tanka remembering Sali and her gift to me on the one-year anniversary of her passing.

Added November 12, 2017: 1st anniversary of my India trip to spread Sali’s ashes on the Narmada River, visit Bijouri campus and Maharishi Vedic Pandits at the Brahmasthan.

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This Quiet Love, a #LovePoem from Kenny, for Sally on #ValentinesDay

February 14, 2015

This Quiet Love

This is a quiet love
One of simplicity and easiness
No complications here
It’s too late in life for that sort of thing
Just time to be best friends

© Ken Chawkin
October 22, 2006
Fairfield, Iowa

I wrote this poem around 8 years and 4 months ago at the recognition of a growing friendship I was sharing with someone special. I realized I was enjoying a different kind of love at this stage of my life, and it was good. Earlier attempts at love in relationships had been disappointing—unrequited, romantic, irresponsible, tempestuous, lustful, and in the end, unfulfilled. I didn’t think true love was possible, or if it even existed.

And then it happened, but not all at once. We had met briefly 10 years earlier, then forgot. After we unknowingly reconnected, a story in itself, love took some time to blossom, to be earned. She was UNDECIDED about being COMMITTED. Through each stage, poems would flow forth; she became my muse. All poems listed in the sub-category Sally Peden are about Sali, except the first 3, which were written by her about a visit To Jyotir Math with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Later my love would be tested when An Unwanted Guest came to live with us. Eventually we would have to live apart, which lead to the Dementia Blues. But Sally’s Smile would continue to uplift me and all those around her. Many changes continue to transform our lives, each in our own way. I never would have imagined this kind of development, but This Quiet Love continues to sustain me. As does the love of my family, my children and my siblings, for which I am truly grateful.

And even with the ongoing decline, Sally continues to maintain her essential nature.

See this for : i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings. See Our Meditation Love Poem for Valentine’s Day, and other beautiful love poems posted on The Uncarved Blog.

See this most recent post, December 8, 2016, Capturing an authentic moment in writing, Being with Sali, August 1, 2012, on a full moon night. It concludes with an update, of Sali’s passing, October 1, 2016, with a link to a blog post by Valerie Gangas, Life in Love with You, describing her personal response to Sali’s Memorial Service and Vedic Cremation Ceremony, which took place on October 5, 2016.

Here is the most recent update, December 28, 2016: An early attempt at some kind of closure with a poem on Sali’s passing and auspicious times.

And, as a reminder, the poem, Love After Love by Derek Walcott, profoundly describes the basis for any love relationship, knowing and loving your self.

See these Final entries leading up to and after Sali’s passing. And this recent entry with photos and stories: For Us—a tanka honoring Sali and what we shared.

a new tanka: Dementia Blues

December 12, 2013

Dementia Blues
A tanka written after a holiday party at Parkview

Brain cell by brain cell
You’re disappearing from me
I’m alone again

How hard it must be for you
Disappearing from yourself

© Ken Chawkin
December 8, 2013
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

Related: An Unwanted Guest

The Curse of Dementia: On watching a loved one diminish before your eyes, poem by Ken Chawkin


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