Garden Gossips

 

Four black-eyed Susans,

crones of the planter box,

have lost their golden petals.

Their dark brown seed heads

sit atop tall stalks,

surveying shorter blooms—

pink coneflowers,

sun bright coreopsis,

fluttery white windflowers.

The black-eyes lean toward each other

nodding in the breeze,

garden gossips

sharing the season’s secrets.

Shhh! Shhh!

Peace.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

From Thorns to Flowers

 

I have a daydream of the present moment, the now. In that dream, we stand with hands cupped before us, holding what we thought were the thorns of the past. But they’ve turned into fragrant flowers. As we cradle these flowers in our palms, something marvelous happens: the petals become wings, and with one joyful toss of our cupped hands, we send them flying away. And when we lower our hands, we realize that, in spite of everything we let go, our hands are not empty. They are full of mystery and grace and hope enough to fuel our next steps and fill our hearts with peace.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Hawk

Yesterday, a red-tailed hawk at least eight inches tall perched on the top rail of the fence near our sun room windows. His eight inches did not include his dark tail edged at the tip in white, which extended down over the fence rail for balance. This hawk had a mottled breast of rust and white feathers, a dark head, and bright yellow feet. The bird book I grabbed showed that he was an immature red tail. I was surprised that he stayed so long, at least five minutes, maybe more. So I stayed too, just out of sight, watching him.

All was quiet. The bird feeder was nearby, but my wise little birds were in hiding. A squirrel on top of the swing set was frozen in a crouch, focused on the hawk, who ruffled his dark shoulders and scratched himself. After a long look around, he shot up at a steep angle northward. Shortly after that, the squirrel scampered away, and birds returned to the feeder.

The thing about quiet is that it’s not necessarily peaceful. The quiet that descended with the hawk was actually full of tension. It was only after he flew that real peace returned. Peace was full of birdsong.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Taste of the Moment

It had been ages since I’d made pudding, the homemade kind. But I had more than two cups of milk left over from a visit with my older son and his family, which includes two preschoolers. Anyway, the only thing I could think to cook that would use a lot of milk was pudding. So I brought out the pan and sugar and milk and cornstarch and unsweetened chocolate squares (because, of course, my pudding must be chocolate). And I began.

Lots of stirring was involved. But I had time. The pudding thickened and bubbled and began smelling like the real thing. As I stirred, I pulled my focus to the moment. Nothing past to worry about right then, nothing future—though there was plenty of both if I let myself go either direction—but for peace, it was now, in that moment with a gently ticking clock, the soft purr of the air conditioner, a wren warbling outside, and pudding bubbling on the stove.

“Look past your thoughts so you may drink the pure nectar of this moment,” Rumi counseled. The pure nectar of that moment tasted like chocolate pudding.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Season’s Secrets

 

Four dark brown seed heads,

centers of black-eyed Susans,

crones of the planter box,

golden petals long gone,

still sit atop tall stalks

surveying shorter blooms—

pink coneflowers,

sun bright coreopsis,

fluttery white windflowers.

The black-eyes lean toward each other

nodding in the breeze,

garden gossips

sharing the season’s secrets.

Shhh! Shhh!

Peace.

-kh

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week—a profile made by books and papers on an end table:

 

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Daily Frenzy and Creative Calm

 

“There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

A.J. Muste

(This quote is often misattributed to Gandhi)

 

I meet regularly with a small group of artists to nurture our creative natures by freely expressing ourselves with a variety of material—paint, pen and ink, pencil, pastels, torn paper, and a mix of other tactile material like shells, seedpods, feathers, buttons, and beads. Before we begin, we sit in silence, breathe deeply, and let the frenzy of the day drain away so we can relax into a creative calm. Of course, art comes from emotion, and that emotion can just as often be angry or grief-stricken as well as serene. But calmness doesn’t preclude emotion or even emotional intensity; calm simply helps us deal better with those deep, intense soul emotions that are often hidden or distorted by our daily frenzy. Moving into peace requires moving in peace.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week—a Mother’s Day gift of jasmine:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Possibility

 

I dwell in Possibility—

A fairer House than Prose—

More numerous of Windows—

Superior—for Doors—.

– Emily Dickinson –

 

Think of all the windows and doors that open when we dwell in what’s possible and move that direction. Peace is possible. Loving kindness is possible. Walk that path and watch the windows and doors open not just for us but for others as well.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week—and shadow of the week:

 

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Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Beneath Birdsong

 

I’ve started a practice of trying to listen beyond or underneath the shouts and clangs and alerts and clashes that demand attention. I’m trying to rediscover soft sounds, the hums, the sighs, the whispers. It’s like trying to pick out one instrument’s musical line while listening to a symphony. Right now, underneath the birdsong, there’s a soft whispering whoosh. I think it’s the sound of wind in the trees. It ebbs and flows and reminds me to listen for the constant, soft undertones of wonder, joy, peace, and hope in each day, the life-giving grace of love’s whispers. – kh, Linger: 365 Days of Peaceful Pauses

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Being and Seeing

 

“As a man is, so he sees.” – William Blake

 

Be peace and see

possibilities of peace in the world.

Be kind and see

kindness that shines

like a lighthouse in the fog.

Be calm and see

calmness beyond the clamor.

Be and see.

Be and see.

-kh-

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

 

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.