Joy Resting

“Peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet.”

Anne Lamott, quoting her pastor Veronica –

May your joy find rest and may your peace find its feet. Nurture it, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – Super Moon, Blue Moon:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Risking It All

 

“Wage peace,” she writes,

this person I do not know,

reposted by someone else,

a mere acquaintance.

“Wage peace.”

I know what she means,

but my mind jumps to the minimum wage,

which does not provide much peace.

Besides, peace seems the minimum of wages due

when I sink into my pillow at the end

of a day of diligent and otherwise

unpaid work.

But that’s not what this person means

when she writes, “Wage peace.”

She means, of course, to counter

the waging of war, to say that

instead of engaging in war,

we must engage in peace.

But my mind jumps to

that other form of wage:

wager—a bet or a pledge.

Now the meaning splits wide open.

Pledge yourself to peace.

Bet on peace.

Risk it all

on the hope

of peace.

This, I think, is both wage and wager.

So I pass it on to friends,

to mere acquaintances,

to strangers

as we link thoughts,

hopes,

dreams,

bets.

I lean in close.

“Wage peace,” I write.

“Pass it on.”

– kh –

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week – at a safari park:

Shadow of the Week:

 

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

We Bring Things

We bring things for our people—

armfuls of leaves and petals and stems.

We bring things for our people—

paints of red and daffodil yellow,

sea blue and forest green,

poems of peace

and questions for musing.

With outstretched hands,

we bring ourselves—

our seeking souls

our open hearts.

We bring things for our people,

and it’s like bringing the sunshine.

– kh –

I wrote this about being a facilitator/teacher at Art & Soul Nashville, a community of intuitive artmaking where I take classes and sometimes teach. Who are your people? What do you bring them? What do they bring you? In what communities or friendships do you find peace? Count yourself blessed.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Peace Like a River

 

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

when sorrows like sea billows roll,

whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,

It is well; it is well with my soul.”*

 

This hymn was softly playing on my sister’s phone when my dad took his final breath last week. My sisters and I were holding his thin hands, listening beyond the music to his ragged breathing. We had told him a few minutes earlier not to worry, that we would be all right. I said, “We’ll be here, Daddy. We’ll walk with you as far as we can.” And we did. As he let go and stopped struggling to breathe, a deep peace carried all of us, and as the last phrase of the hymn drifted across us, he drifted away. “It is well; it is well with my soul.”

May peace, deep and buoyant as a gentle, restful river carry you through this day and all the days to come and assure you that truly, it is well.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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*Written by Horatio G. Spafford, public domain

Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

At the Edge of My Coffee

 

A tiny bubble

at the edge of my coffee

reflects my kitchen windows

in miniature,

a visual echo of daylight drifting in

on a cool, rainy day,

a calm take-your-time afternoon.

Peace comes in the wink of a bubble

at the edge

of my coffee

at the edge

of my thoughts

at the edge

of my hopes for the day.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Hanging On

 

Last crisp leaf shivers

dangling in the frosty breeze.

Don’t let go just yet.

– kh –

 

Don’t let go of hope. Don’t stop reaching for peace. Don’t give up on kindness. Don’t let go just yet.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

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:

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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.