Momma Zen By Karen Maezen Miller

I thoroughly enjoyed Miller's other book, so I made sure I was able to savor this one, in which she takes us along on her journey as a new mother, musing over lullabies and sleepless nights, food struggles, television guilt, schedules, and the sudden illness and passing of her own mother. I do not personally know Karen (although we are "facebook friends") but as I read her reflection on the loss of her mother, I mourned with her.

Miller is moving and inspirational without being the kind of person who gives Moving Inspirational Speeches. She quietly shows you how things work for her and provides space for you to recognize what is (and isn't) working for you. Here is a space to allow yourself to truly feel what you are feeling and then the gentle guidance needed to let all of that go.

A random pull quote:

"On a perfect day in your perfect little world (and it's always perfect) there is breakfast time, playtime, lunchtime, nap time, snack time, dinnertime, bath time, story time, and bedtime. There is time for everything when you are the timekeeper." (p68)

It is not just her own wisdom that she shares, every chapter opens with a quote from Sutras, Blessings, Buddhist Lessons, and the Wise Ones who came before. The book ends with a lesson on How to Meditate, and follows with an index "For the Hard Days", in which you can look up lessons for the help you most need right now.

Miller is a Zen Buddhist Priest, and while that informs her writings and her lessons, she neither shoves it down your throat nor urges you to throw off your previous labels and Join Her. She merely invites you in to a place where the people are just people, lives are just lived, and every moment exists in your breath. I consider myself lucky to have both of her books on my shelf.

(Bonus: she has a blog.)

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