Posts Tagged ‘love’

Still Sali Haiku—the persistence of love over grief

October 15, 2017

Grief persists after the loss of a close friend, but so does love. In time, grief recedes and love predominates. Here is a haiku for my sweetheart: Still Sali. I see that ‘still’ has both meanings: continuing and stillness.

                         Still Sali Haiku
                (You are still in my heart)

             The love is still there
           Our souls are still connected
                   But I still miss you

                  © Ken Chawkin
                    Oct 13-15, 2017
                    Fairfield, Iowa
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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.

Another poem about Sali’s essential nature

January 5, 2016

While feeding Sali lunch today I whispered in her ear that she radiates goodness and joy. It is her inner nature. It shows in her smile, no matter what changes she’s going through with the illness. Whether they know it or not, it’s the main reason the staff love Sali. Why I love her.

Later in the day, as I was washing my hands, those thoughts came back to me. I composed them in my head as a haiku, then stretched it out to a tanka, and immediately wrote it down. It has a Zen-like quality to it.

Sali’s essential nature

so it’s down to this
no mind, just bliss, and a smile
essential nature

that’s why everyone loves you
you radiate what we are

© Ken Chawkin
Fairfield, Iowa
Jan 5, 2016

I also told her about the eternal nature of love, of our love. Circumstances may change—we get old, sick, and die, but that part of us goes on, is eternal. I do believe that love is our essential nature. If we reincarnate, come back, we look for it, for that person who radiated it, reflected it back to us, with whom we shared the unifying fulfilling magic of a more enlightening love.

The Gita says, Karma is unfathomable, but I add, Love is eternal, and transformational! See Coming Back For Love In Five Favorite Romantic Films, especially the first and last films on the list.

See William Stafford—The Way It Is, including the Vedic expression I added. It extends the poem’s theme to its ultimate spiritual conclusion.

Tanka For Sali Upholding Her Wonderful Nature

April 5, 2015

Tanka For Sali Upholding Her Wonderful Nature
Her essence shines through the Dementia!

Through all the Changes
Your Nature Remains the Same
Sweet, Joyful, Loving

Radiating Sallyness
Constant as the Northern Star

© Ken Chawkin
Parkview Care Center
April 4, 2015, 5:40pm
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

See Sally’s Smile (Haiku for Nurse Dan) and Sali’s Nature

Time for some humor and love — WELCOME BACK

February 19, 2015

Saw this on a friend’s Twitter feed. Too funny to not share. Made my day!

WELCOME BACK

Words are not needed here; it says it all, but I couldn’t resist. Welcome back to the school of life. Seem familiar? Did we learn our lessons well? No? Having to repeat a class? Time for a fresher course, and then some! Maybe we’ll get it right this time around. You think? If not, there’s always the next class, the next life, with more lessons to be learned. 🙂

COMING BACK FOR LOVE IN FIVE ROMANTIC FILMS

Made in Heaven posterWhen it comes to getting it right for love, I recommend my all-time favorite romantic movie: Made in Heaven (1987), about two souls, played by Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis, who meet and fall in love in Heaven. Annie (McGillis) is sent to Earth and Mike (Hutton) makes a deal to be reborn (Elmo) to find her (Ally). But he’s given a time-frame of 30 years in which to do it, otherwise he’ll lose her forever. It’s a magical movie filled with surprises. Rent it. Read more about it on Wikipedia. Found it on Vimeo with Spanish subtitles.

That year, Wim Wenders came out with his amazing film, Wings of Desire, about an angel who tires of overseeing human beings and wishes to become one himself when he falls in love with a mortal.

City of Angels posterTen years later it was adapted for English audiences as City of Angels (1998). Wenders co-wrote the screenplay. Nicholas Cage plays the angel who falls in love with a doctor, Meg Ryan, because of her beauty and concern for her patients. She doesn’t believe in angels, but when he reveals himself to her she falls in love with him, and has to decide between him or her fiance. One patient, a former angel, tells him how he became human for a woman. He does the same and experiences the joys and sorrows of love and loss.

sit-bdAnother great movie is Somewhere in Time (1980adapted from the 1975 novel Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson who also wrote the screenplay. Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve), a playwright, falls in love with a picture of Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour), an actress who had performed at the Grand Hotel. He discovers he was there and finds a way to travel back in time to win her heart. It works, but something unexpected happens that changes everything.

The SAG strike and lack of funds prevented the film from being effectively launched that year. When it was finally shown in New York, critics panned it, squashing plans for a national release. But, with the advent of cable television and late night movies, it soon became a cult classic and went on to win numerous awards.

John Barry composed the beautiful soundtrack including the haunting 18th variation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Barry had been mourning the death of his parents and was not making himself available for work, but Seymour, a close friend, and the script, persuaded him to get involved. He channeled his emotions into the music, which contributed to the film’s success. Visit the official fan website to find out more: http://www.somewhereintime.tv.

Another beautiful time-travel love story is The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan, a 1979 made-for-television movie based on the much-loved classic novel Second Sight by David Williams.

The Two Worlds of Jennie LoganAfter trying on a dress found in the attic of an old Victorian house her husband purchased to try to save their marriage, Jennie Logan accidentally travels into the past. After several visits there she discovers true love. Returning to the present she investigates who he was and how he may have been killed. She travels between both worlds in an attempt to save her lover’s life and alter history. Find out more at IMDb and the Amazon book description and comments. Watch it on YouTube, if it’s still there.

Defending Your LifeOn a lighter note, Albert Brooks wrote, directed and starred, with Meryl Streep, in Defending Your Life (1991), “the first true story of what happens after you die.” The dead are sent to Judgement City, a vacation-style place for the afterlife where representatives using large amounts of their brain potential help you defend your life in front of a court. The opposition also reviews aspects of your life where you showed fear instead of courage, the intent being to learn from past experiences.

Shirley MacLaine has a cameo role inviting people to the Pavilion of Past Lives, which is quite funny. There is also a love interest between the main characters who meet while their lives are undergoing review before they will be sent onto their different destinations. The question is, will he overcome his fears and sacrifice everything to be with this wonderful woman? You’ll have to see the movie to find out. 🙂

Blending heaven and earth, the divine and the mortal, the idyllic past with the unfulfilled present, or unresolved issues exposed in the afterlife, each film provides a different perspective on the sacrifice the main character makes for love, giving up one to gain the other. The ways of karma are unfathomable, but true love is eternal, and transformational!

LEAVING ROMANCE BEHIND TO FIND ONESELF

There was one movie that made a big impression on me when I saw it on television as a teenager. It’s about love, but more the story of one man’s quest for self-realization in a confused and materialistic world.

Razors_Edge (1946)The Razor’s Edge tells Larry Darrell’s story and his search for meaning after a comrade dies saving his life on the last day of World War One. Larry leaves love behind to find himself. He rejects the conventional life in search of a more transcendent experience, which takes him to India where he meets a guru. His search for enlightenment fulfilled, he may not have to reincarnate if he can walk the razor’s edge, live in the world and not be overtaken by it, anchored to his Self.

Larry returns to find his friends who are suffering due to a reversal of fortune brought about by the Great Depression. He shares what he’s learned to help them. Read more of the story on Wikipedia. I saw the original 1946 version starring Tyrone Power, based on the book by W. Somerset Maugham, which I later read.

Razors_Edge (1984)It was remade in 1984 with Bill Murray in his first dramatic role. Murray also co-wrote the screenplay with director John Byrum. Visit Wikipedia for a full summary. Byrum couldn’t find a studio to finance it. Dan Aykroyd suggested Murray could appear in Ghostbusters for Columbia Pictures in exchange for the studio funding The Razor’s Edge. Murray agreed and a deal was made. Though the film lost money, Ghostbusters went on to make millions.

Both versions of The Razor’s Edge are worth watching for their own values, but I prefer the earlier one. You can see it here.

This poem by William Stafford—The Way It Is—perfectly describes the kind of perspective Larry Darrell developed and how he lived his life.

PERSONAL NOTE

Larry Darrell’s quest spoke to me as a young person and unknowingly foreshadowed the direction my life would take during my college years and beyond when I would discover Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his Transcendental Meditation technique. Our generation was so fortunate to have received the many gifts Maharishi brought out from the Himalayas. He inspired us to develop our full potential as human beings with TM and its advanced techniques, and to work with him to help make this world a better place to live in by applying his life-transforming Vedic knowledge and technologies in health, education, rehabilitation, virtually all areas of life. We are forever grateful. JGD

To find out more about Maharishi, see this HuffPost article by Philip Goldberg on Maharishi. Also watch the 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise and the 2007 A&E biopic on the History Channel.

UPDATE

I just discovered The Love Letter (1998), a Hallmark  Hall of Fame movie, starring Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Based on a short story of the same name by Jack Finney, it was first published in “The Saturday Evening Post” on August 1, 1959, and reprinted in the same magazine on January/February 1988.

imageThis love story touches two lives that live a century apart. A letter from the past will change their future forever as these souls cross lifetimes for love! Scott, a 20th century computer games designer, exchanges love letters with Elizabeth Whitcomb, a 19th century poet, through an antique desk that can make letters travel through time. We witness parallel lives interact as they fall deeply in love with each other, weaving past, present, and future in a moving, magical way.

You could read more about it on Wikipedia, but first watch this excellent made-for-television movie (1:39:28) on YouTube, if it’s still there.

Of course, when it comes to love being tested by time, The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) is one worth watching. Rachel McAdams stars as the wife, whose husband keeps disappearing on her at different stages of her life. About Time (2013), is another film about time travel, and how a father teaches his son, who has the same ability, how to improve situations with time travel when he messes up trying to win the heart of a pretty woman, also played by Rachel McAdams. She also stars in The Vow (2012), as a woman who wakes up after a car accident with severe memory loss and forgets that she’s married to her husband. He has to work hard to woo and marry her all over again.

When it comes to a war between words and pictures here’s a poem in a movie inviting you to be who you are.

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

Our Meditation Love Poem for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2015

I wrote Our Meditation Love Poem, about 4 ½ years ago, and decided to post it now, for Valentine’s Day. I was visiting my sweetheart during the week at her care facility and wrote the poem and story behind it that Saturday, September 4, 2010, almost 4 ½ months after she moved in.

OurMeditationLovePoemForSali

I was remembering the meditation we had this week; my chest area filled up with a great inner warmth and bliss of loving you. Tonight, I was listening to Leonard Cohen singing his songs of love, and started writing this poem from that memory, that feeling, and also remembered the quote in the film, Tristan and Isolde, when he is dying and he says to her, “You were right—life is greater than death, but love is greater than either.” He was referring to what she had said when they first met, about following your heart, and that love in one’s life fills up what would otherwise be an empty shell of duty and honor, quoting John Donne’s The Good Morrow, where he writes:

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest,
…..
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.

So I came up with this poem, Our Meditation Love Poem. I found myself writing a 17-syllable line, the sum of a haiku in 3 lines. I liked the flow and decided to make each line 17 syllables long, each one having its own internal rhythm and flow. I wanted to write 11 lines for some reason, maybe thinking there were 11 syllables in each line. But now I remember there are 17. But I would then have to write 6 more lines, and right now I can’t see it. I naturally divided them into 2 stanzas of 4 lines each followed by a stanza of 3 at the end. It seems to have worked well.

Related: See this for : i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings. And This Quiet Love, a #LovePoem from Kenny, for Sally on #ValentinesDay. Enjoy reading other beautiful love poems posted on The Uncarved Blog.

Hafiz, via Ladinsky, reminds us when we love those in our care we are brought closer to God

December 21, 2014

Another small but profound poem by Hafiz is titled Riches Everywhere. Published in A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations, and translated by Daniel Ladinsky, each poem is read for a specific day of the year. This poem, found on page 389, is dated for today, December 21.

Riches Everywhere

Don’t envy my talents, or seek them.
For few could bear the suffering it took
to mine the jewels I have brought to town.

There are divine riches everywhere. The
most natural way for most to find them
is by caring for those who are close to
you as if they were our Beloved.

This poem reminds us to not covet other people’s wealth, but to find riches everywhere, most naturally within our own hearts.  By loving those close to us as we would love God, our hearts come to know the divine within them, and ourselves, the only true and lasting riches. In loving, we come to be loved; we come to the Beloved.

Other beautiful poems by Hafiz selected for posting on The Uncarved Blog are: Hafiz’s poem, God Pours Light, awakens the soul and frees the mind from debating words about it | Winding up the year with inspiration from Hafiz | 3 beautiful and profound short poems by Hafiz about the nature of God within us | Hafiz via Ladinsky describes the spiritual transformation of loving deeply within himself | For Hafiz the role of an enlightened poet is to connect humanity with the joy of the divine | Hafiz said to leave something in the marketplace, and Jesse Winchester sure did before he left us.

The Value of Service, a poem inspired by my son

October 19, 2014

The Value of Service
(Inspired by a conversation with my son)

Service is a good thing
It frees you from yourself
And that brings happiness
It all comes back to you

All love flows to the Self
It all depends on you

© Ken Chawkin
October 18, 2014
Fairfield, Iowa

And in the end the love you take
Is equal to the love you make
The End, Abbey Road, The Beatles

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi talks about the true nature of love in this 1970 video at Humboldt, California: All Love is Directed Toward the Self

See what self-love looks like in the digital age in this selfie post

The Enlightened Heart, a poem by Ken Chawkin

September 7, 2014

I wrote this poem, The Enlightened Heart, in the late 1980s, over 25 years ago. I had begun writing a lot of poetry back then. A few years later, in the early 90’s, I recited it at a World Peace Assembly in Maharishi University’s Golden Dome. I was asked to read two poems that day; the first one was Seeing Is Being. It took a lot of courage to ask to read my poems in front of a few hundred people, but I wanted it to be a birthday present to myself. I was glad to have been invited. The poetry reading produced a wonderful effect within me and the audience.

The Enlightened Heart

There is a sea of love
flowing within my heart;
each drop contains a world,
a wave of feeling,
rolling out to a not-too-distant shore.

You are dwelling there
upon that shore,
warming under the sun above.

When you dive deep inside this sea,
you stir the me,
that’s becoming the we,
and melt the three
into a unity,
that remembers its own eternity;

in the eternally-flowing sea
of love.

Some poems you might like from that earlier era are: Ode To The Artist, and its companion piece Sometimes Poetry Happens. Also see As Above, So Below and a complementary poem, Pine Cone Trees, written several years later while living in Houston, Texas. This poem, Being in Nature, was written after I had returned to Canada to live in Vancouver, British Columbia. After returning to the US, I wrote this poem, Poetry – The Art of the Voice, while living in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina. It beautifully expresses the feeling that was created in the dome. You can see more of My poems on The Uncarved Blog.

Emily Dickinson succinctly describes the eternal nature of Love in this short but powerful poem

August 26, 2014

Love—is anterior to Life—
Posterior—to Death—
Initial of Creation, and
The Exponent of Breath—

This description of Love reminds me of the nature of the Self described in chapter two of the Gita: It is eternal. It was never born, nor will it ever die. It cannot be destroyed when the body is destroyed.

When it comes to mystical conception and creative inspiration, Love is expressed in a beautiful poem by New York poet laureate Marie Howe. Listen to her read Annunciation to Krista Tippett On Being.

For another Vedic perspective from America’s greatest poet, see Emily Dickinson’s Solitude, where she describes the self-referral process of the self integrating with the Self, finite infinity.

Read how Emily Dickinson wanted her poems to look on the page, described in Rebecca Mead’s Back of the Envelope in The New Yorker: Poesy Dept. | January 27, 2014 Issue.

Here is another cosmic love poem by another one of America’s greatest poets: i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings.

See A Blessing of Solitude by John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, which profoundly complements Derek Walcott’s poem Love After Love.


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