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Her name is Safflower

safflower seed tops / flower

I have had flower gardens in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. But that was a long time ago. Over the past ten or so years, and for the entirety of my nature mandala work, I have relied on farmers markets, grocery stores, flower stands, and parking lot edges for my cut flowers.

Recently, I made a quick stop at the grocery store for a couple staples, and came out with a new friend. Scanning the floral department, intending to walk right past, a particular flower caught my eye. She was beautiful, bold, extravagant! Incredible, explosive orange! I asked the woman working in the flower department what the name of the flower is and she said, "I don't know and that is all they do." "That is all they do?," I thought to myself. "That is so much!" I am not sure what more it could do. I guess, perhaps, they could launch their amazing seeds out into the world like explosive fireworks at night. For all I know, and certainly for all that women knows, perhaps they do just that! I wouldn't be surprised.

As I enjoyed being with the flowers and using them in a couple mandalas over the next few days, the woman's comment often returned to my mind. When I went back to the store for more, I looked for her, but no one was there to answer any of my questions. Perhaps, I hope, she got a new job that is more suited to her. When I got home, with the help of the computer, I identified the flower. She is Safflower.

I am not big on names, pedigree, or celebrity. What is so much more important to me is that a person is actively doing what they were created to do, being what they were created to be. When I teach mandala classes at schools, I like to remind the kids that in a mandala, just as in life, no one part (or person) is more important than any other. And no one part (or person) is less important than the other. And each part is completely necessary for the health and beauty of the whole. Regardless of what the flower looks like, or what it does, it is so necessary.

I believe the Safflower is being exactly what it was created to be. In that, it becomes beautiful. In that, we all become beautiful. I may not have a big name or even a garden, but I think I am pursuing the path that allows me to be the person I was created to be.

It is my sincere hope for all who read this to find your path, too!


Want to support my thinking, writing, and creating time? Consider buying me a cup of coffee here . . . .






Perhaps it isn’t all rosy

even if you do find

a pattern in the fallen petals

strewn on the rocks.


But sometimes, if you stare

long enough or look with

your eyes closed

what’s real will emerge.


So shuffle the pieces and

inevitably they will fall into

the plans we never made

the road we never walked down

the other side of the tracks

we never dared to cross.


So even if it we thought it

was lovely and satisfying all along

was it the best it could be?

Did it serve any purpose?

That is the question, isn’t it?


Susan Bues


Replying to

This is beautiful!!


Hello Beth, Inspired by your workshop at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, I continue to make mandalas (sort of) and write poetry and recently displayed both - at the Berkshire Botanical Garden's exhibition of staff and volunteer work last month. These are canvas prints of photos (16 x 16 and 20 x 30). These are three of the five pictures I displayed at the show. I can send along the poem if you'd like.

Susan Bues

Replying to

This makes me so happy Susan! I love the images very much and would also love to see the poetry. I will be back at the Botanical Garden to do another workshop on July 20 this year. It is on Re-Centering. It would be great to see you again. (Registration link on my "Find Me" webpage.) Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out and share these beautiful images!!! - Beth

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