Ondine (2009): Valid Lit

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“Ondine” took me by surprise. I was at first skeptical because it is billed as an Irish Drama and they are often hard to stomach for someone with the Irish blood and blarney running through their own veins. So, I let it play on while only giving it half my attention.

The free running of alcohol and recovery from it, broken families and life-long feuds, poverty, fishing folk, the corrupt Catholic Church and the strangle hold it has on people that have a tendency to be wild…… and other hallmarks…… were expected.

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But then, I realized that the dour fisherman with the thick almost unintelligible Irish brogue was Collin Farrell of sleek Hollywood and the darker-than-black features. His hair was long trailing well-beneath his wooly cap and he was racing round the inlets in a dilapidated trawler instead of a limousine. This realization combined with the above shot really caught my interest so I quickly became transported by this Celtic fantasy.

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Of course, this is a love story as well – between Syracuse (an approximation of ‘circus’ because of his alcoholic antics) and Ondine (a borrowed name form the French). The connection between them apart from him fishing her out of the cold ocean and secreting her away in his abandoned family home, is Annie, his precocious, invalid daughter. She happens to be an expert on selkies, mythological creatures common in northern Europe who are a hybrid of seal crossed with human, and immediately recognizes Ondine as such a hybrid.

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Selkies (Maidens of the Sea) are indeed fascinating, standard fairy-tale creatures in Finland, Iceland and among Inuits: an institution also in northern Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Islands. The selkie lives as a seal, among seals, but is known to shed its heavy pelt in order to become a land creature. When psychological conditions were not recognized then ‘the fairies’ were often held responsible for this kind of mischief.

In freezing climes peoples often wear seal skins from head to toe, and cover their kayaks with them. When they get heavy with water they have to be laid out in the sun to dry. It is thought that this ‘myth’ may have come from the sight of seal-skin wearers stripping off and lying beside their skins in the sunlight. It is also said that selkies are supernaturally formed from the souls of the drowned.

 

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Ondine’s arrival plays complete havoc with sober Syracuse’s faith and already damaged reputation. How can he confess that he’s falling for a mermaid and intending to consummate the relationship!

To be honest, I was completely taken in by Ondine’s aqueous origins especially when she accidentally discovers her pelt on the ocean bed and buries it in Syracuse’s garden to be dug up 7 years later. I found it completely acceptable that all the dresses Syracuse buys for her automatically become swimming suits.

 

 

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But reality slams into this sleepy fishing town of an interesting Romanian origin! The less said……….

Anyway, this tale is a delight. At once crude, basic, intoxicated and hard-faced, but magical and romantic as well. It has a happy, zany ending which the town will never recover from. Please watch it and see how far you can suspend disbelief.

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Images courtesy of ibdb.com and megapixyl.com

 

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Into the Forest (2015)

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This film is a precious find. I came upon it by accident and decided that the forest was a place I wanted to be at that moment. I craved a tapestry of growing green giants and laughing foliage in which to lose myself regardless of the human story that would weave into it. I lost myself completely in greenery but also in the stunning relationship between members of a suffering family sheltering deep in the Canadian forest.

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Plot:

In brief, a father and his two teenage daughters live in an ideal forest location in self-sufficiency. The daughters are discontented with this remote way of life craving the company of their peers and experience of the city. Nell is working to graduate from High School while Eva is practising modern dance in preparation for auditions to become a professional. Then, the closeness of this family of three is suddenly put to the acid test.

A massive power outage hits Canada which causes everything to breakdown. There is no synthetic energy to be had at any price and soon the last gasoline is finished so leaving is not an option. The majority of this intriguing human drama, which can serve as a preparation for all of us in the developed world for such a situation, is about the survival of the two sisters after their father bleeds out as result of a chain saw accident. They re-experience the tragic loss of their mother to disease when father dies and are thrown entirely on their own resources and their exclusive relationship. This situation could happen to any of us in today’s precarious and passive existence.

 

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Impressions/Reflections:

Without material or parental/adult support, we see the two women gradually reveal their True Nature. Eva, a dancer, is artistic and vulnerable to emotional, unrecovered from the death of her mother with whom she was close. Nell, scientist, logical to the core, essentially practical and quirky, is also newly mourning the terrible loss of her beloved father. This is an awakening for all viewers to two facts: first, most of us tend to take the loving protection and guidance of our parents for granted, and second, that we each have the resources to be independent and to make sense of life in our own way. Both young women quickly recover from their loss and step into the legacies of their parents in order to survive this extreme which they are in no way prepared for.

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One episode:

One day, Nell goes berry-picking – the fruits of the forest being their main source of food as they are both vegetarians. Eva is left behind to chop wood for the approaching winter. A stranger appears, a city refugee, whom she remembers as an acquaintance of her father’s. She lies and tells him that her father is in the forest, but the stranger has been watching them for sometime so sees through her lie.

Quite soon he smells her fear which arouses his male instinct to relieve his own fear by cruelly raping her. Nell hears her screams and races back, but he has left. Eva is physically and emotionally battered by this grotesque act, fast to relinquish all responsibility for human life to her younger sister who sets about boarding up the house and watching with a loaded rifle for the rapist’s return.

Eva recovers very slowly indeed, refusing to eat or get out of bed for an eternity, and when she does venture outside briefly into the forest air, she finds she is pregnant with the trespasser’s child. The sisters must decide what to do as food is in short supply and another mouth to feed could present problems. Nell is prepared to help Eva abort this baby which is the only option to her, but Eva decides she will bring it into the world, a new world with new ways of being. The story of how they deal with the pregnancy and the actual birth with no medical or adult help is moving, inspiring, empowering!

After the decay of their house, they deem it unhealthy to bring up a new being in and so burn it and walk “Into the Forest,” hence the film title.

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Deep reaction:

Although we all may think as moderns we could never survive back in nature, it is our origin! Our ancestors survived what we perceive as Nature’s cruelties and unfairnesses, living wrapped in complete trust and belief in the planet. We consider that we are no longer animals and most of us have missed our chance to be gods or fully enlightened beings, however, we cannot refute that we have indigenous wisdom running through our veins which will enable our survival.

In the forest, we can breathe so deeply in concert with the trees and plants, and if we put aside our psychological fears, our compulsive comparing and judging, and trust the universe, it will provide all we need. It may not be what we are used to, but it is certainly a great deal healthier and we have a superb chance of getting back in touch with our still core, our power as a species, in the process.

By entering into the essence of this story, I was able to survive in the beautiful and resourceful forest. It awakened me to my own unique beauty and resourcefulness as an Earth being, along with that of all beings of our human species.

 

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Images courtesy of imdb.com and megapixyl.com

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Seeing

All creators should know about ‘seeing.’

Soul Management

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‘Seeing’ is constant in human beings. When we are awake, our physical eyes are open and we look out into the visible world. When we are asleep, our physical eyes are closed and we see dreams with our spiritual eyes. When we meditate, we see our selves.

Seeing is our constant nature whatever mode our ‘eyes’ are in. Even the blind can ‘see’ constantly.

Conditions in all dimensions are constantly in flux, but seeing does not change. It is our core steadiness. It is ever-present.

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You, the seer, are eternally witnessing all this fluidity. If you know this ever-present spectator, then you know your True Nature. Everything else is alien to this. Everything else is impermanent, samsara, the delusional world.

Total knowing of the Seer comes from non-action, from non-doing. When there is no object to be seen, the veil drops and we are free.

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Notice that…

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Valid Lit: motivation to create

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The words I write and the images I choose and make to accompany them come from stillness and inaction; in other words, from deep inside the self. They are not trite ‘concepts’ or ‘notions,’ flimsy ‘ideas’ or ‘theories.’

They are my truth which I breathe onto the page.

 

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I did not read them in a book or think dead thoughts about them using an external stimulus. I went inside with the butterfly net of my breath and my sincerity, waiting and gently catching. Then, painstakingly I unfolded the winged words so that they could make their only flight.

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I did not find the specks behind these words dangling from the horizon or high in a tree for I have changed direction from there to here, always moving towards the heart.

We can know the visible world with the help of words and images, but it is impossible to know our very being with them.

This knowing is our mission and our challenge as valid creators – sharing our inner truth universally with skillful and sincere use of symbols.

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Images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita and megapixyl.com

Writing Brushes of China – https://www.megapixl.com/linqong-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Christmas in Canora, 1982- Mariko Kinoshita, Inner Life of Music – https://www.megapixl.com/agsandrew-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Small Volcanic Humming Bird – https://www.megapixl.com/-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Lotus – https://www.megapixl.com/linqong-stock-images-videos-portfolio

 

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Earth Aware in Arizona

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I feel so privileged to be here at Monument Valley staying in a Navajo Hotel called ‘The View,’ in the Navajo Nation Lands. Every view displays these ‘monuments-butte,’ (tower) and ‘mesa’ (table) – free-standing rock formations which appeared about 570 million years ago.

The Valley Road is unpaved and only visitors may use it. It was freezing cold with snow in the air, so we decided to drive down it at 5 mph to allow us to negotiate the ruts and rocks. We were obliged to take a long slow look at these incredible monuments and resist stopping to hike off- road. The Navajo fiercely protect the delicate strata which native people have lived in awe of for thousands of years.

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This was once the ocean floor and the mantle of the Earth uplifted in these strange forms known as ‘The Mittens’ with their prominent thumbs to crack it. Later the ocean subsided west to become the Pacific Ocean during the shifting of the tectonic plates. Slowly the resultant mud solidified into sandstone and limestone as the climate fluctuated.

 
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I drove here from San Diego, a total of 662 miles, but the journey went by quickly. We passed through many types of desert and mountain landscapes, through great heat and snow, rarely stopping because we did not want to interrupt such Earth closeness.

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Such an ancient scenario to suddenly arrive in, but arriving created a deep connection with my Earth! I am One with it now!

I am sandstone and limestone. The desert paints me in rainbow colours against the gigantic Moon. And I continue to arrive there and will do so eternally.

 

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This is my Earth! I am inspired to become its custodian once more, to hold it and look upon it with complete awe like the wise ones!

Only putting aside the synthetic so-called reality created by my limited mind will allow this to be.

 

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Images courtesy of Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com

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Mansfield Park (1999): English Innocence.

 

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What is it that gives me such hope about British films? After watching endless protracted dramas and crime films made in US, one becomes jaded, almost immune to blood and guts, torture and the deviousness of the worldly mind.

Why do we watch them you may ask? Waiting for another mutilated body or packaged body-part, a dank basement masquerading as a graveyard, a filthy bathroom, rampant sex acts or mental health problems, becomes a way of life on modern TV channels. But I believe that present American film directors are fixated on blood and filth because those aspects of human life which are normally hidden need to be fully illuminated. We are living in an age of what Buddhists would call ‘hungry ghosts’ and depravity after all, and we need to confront that full-on.

 

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So, after such inurement, ‘Mansfield Park’ set in early and relatively innocent 19th century England, will lift the spirit, will bring on a deep sigh of relief. Of course, in this story horrors and unfairnesses, poverty and life exigencies abound but the principal message is one of hope and light. Protagonist Fanny Price, sent away from her poor docks’ home at the age of 10 to serve the wealthy branch of her family, is heavily oppressed because of her class. In spite of this gross handicap, in the end she wins the true love and status she clearly deserves and we are gratified.

 

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This setting of one of my favourite Jane Austen novels, truly lifted my heart after a spate of subjecting myself to deep cinematic darkness. Being British by birth, I am not proud of the British class system or the societal havoc reeked by the Industrial Revolution in any way, but somehow the light always manages to get through in British culture. This story is a fairy story which the British are so in tune with.

The beautiful and talented Fanny is marooned in a poor home although her imagination is rich and she entertains her siblings by writing stories and histories prolifically. The family is overburdened financially and so it is agreed between her mother and her mother’s sister that Fanny will be sent to Mansfield Park to act as a servant and get an education in the meantime.

Having arrived there, Fanny is devastated at being treated as an outcast and being given a neglected attic as her bedroom. She sorely misses her family’s genuine love but she almost immediately meets Edmund, her cousin, who tries to comfort her with jokes. It is then that their love is kindled and becomes a bond made for life.

 

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But there are many shadows cast amidst the sunshine and brilliance of the central figure and her deeply pious Edmund. For instance, Sir Thomas Bertram, Baronet, the owner of Mansfield Park, runs a plantation in Antigua and with it a great number of black slaves at a time when slavery is starting to be abolished. Tom Bertram is a drunk, a gambler, and eventually becomes gravely ill due to his reckless lifestyle. Lady Bertram is vague and distracted, addicted to laudanum and lap dogs, and her sister Mrs Norris who is a skinflint and total snob persists in keeping Fanny in her place. Henry Crawford is a lusty bachelor who falls in love with Fanny but she refuses to accept his dubious morality.

 

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At one point, grown tired of her social oppression and the demands being made of her by Sir Thomas to marry a wealthy man she does not love, Fanny decides to return home. Then the class contrast becomes patently obvious. She is once more marooned in a dirty environment, presided over by a drunken father whose dark family secrets are palpable in the eyes of the girl-children. And now, she deeply misses Edmund who is betrothed to be married to someone of his own class.
The gay balls and elegant dancing suit Fanny so well once she returns to Mansfield Park to care for son Thomas who is declining rapidly, and as luck would have it, she confronts Sir Thomas with his exploitation of slaves while Edmund steadily realizes his mismatch. Eventually, his betrothed, Miss Mary Crawford, Henry’s sister, reveals her true meddlesome and insincere nature to the whole family, and Edmund breaks off their engagement and listens to his heart. He immediately proposes to Fanny and plans to publish all her literary works.

 

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This is truly a rags-to-riches story and Fanny is perhaps the most compelling of all Austen’s heroines. The light created by this wonderful story comes flooding through and reminds us that we too have a True Nature and should never lose track of our dreams and native knowing.

Watch this film soon. It is oozing with period accuracy and attentiveness to the original text to lift you easily into the saddle of your heart. Fanny is a weaver of tales so reminiscent of Jane Austen’s herself.

 

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Images courtesy of imdb.com (Internet Movie Data Base) and megapixyl.com

 

 

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Prince Shotoku: Peace and Salvation for all beings of the realm

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Originally posted on Nirvana Linden:
? According to the Nihon Shoki, the definitive history of ancient Japan, written in Japan in 720, Prince Shotoku created a seventeen-article ‘constitution,’ which was adopted  during the reign of Empress Suiko, his aunt.  This was not a modern constitution designed for the governing of state and subjects, but a…