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Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Karen Maezen Miller

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943128,437 (3.97)2
Member:mayafrost
Title:Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood
Authors:Karen Maezen Miller
Info:Shambhala (2006), Hardcover, 176 pages
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Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller (2006)

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I read this as a preview to giving it to my daughter. The first part of the book was pleasant but I didn't relate to it much. Has it been that long since I had a young child? Or was I that different? By the middle of this short book, I started underlining parts I wanted to go back to, words of wisdom, apt phrases to remind me of how to live.
Miller points out that raising a child who has compassion, self-respect, and creativity requires that we pay attention to fostering these in ourselves. Then she shows us how she uses ordinary situations with her daughter as her own reminder to live that way.
By all means, get this book. While spending your time reading may not be zen (living your life in the present, tending to the work that comes to you), the brief essays can get us back on track.
  juniperSun | May 2, 2012 |
I treasure this book and am so thankful that I found it. As a mother of two young children, this is exactly the sort of insight and inspiration I am looking for. Read this if mindful, rather than mindless, mothering is your aspiration. ( )
  saskreader | Jul 14, 2010 |
Momma Zen is a book I picked up on the recommendation of a friend and fellow mother and I will never be able to thank her enough for it. Miller is a mother and recently converted Buddhist Priest whose perspective will alter your own views on how to handle everyday occurrences. She shares experiences that the reader can connect to even in the event they have never had a child of their own. During my own journey through this book I have found greater peace and comfort and feel better equipped to handle the challenges that come my way.Every mother or future mother I know will be receiving a copy of this book. I can hardly begin to explain how inept you feel as a new mother (even the second time around) and Miller helped me to know that I am not alone in my feelings. She shares experiences that make you laugh out loud, but in almost every chapter I also found myself crying. From the actual experience of having a child to caring for and loving my own, I finally have begun to understand that I am not alone.This is a book that I would also recommend to anyone seeking more peace in their own lives. Miller discusses how she handled the loss of her mother and how it affected the way she cared for those around her. Her writing and explanation of this one experience is beautiful beyond words. If you are interested in learning more about meditation I would read this book, because she offers advice even to those with only a few minutes to spare. There is even a "When you need a little help" section in the back of the book referencing each chapter with a subject to refer to, brilliant.Momma Zen is a beautiful book that breathes new life into its readers. I give it a 10 out of 10. I plan on rereading it over and over again as I grow older to see how my perspective changes. ( )
  the1stdaughter | Dec 22, 2009 |
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Epigraph
Obaku said, "I do not say that there is no Zen, but that there is no Zen teacher."--Blue Cliff Record, case 11
At the moment of giving birth to a child, is the mother separaate from the child? You should study not only that you become a mother when your child is born, but also that you become a child.--Dogen Zenji
Even poor or suffering people raise their children with deep love. Their hearts cannot be understood by others. This can be known only when you become a father or a mother. They do not care whether they themselves are poor or rich; their only concern is that their children will grow up. They pay no attention to whether they themselves are cold or hot, but cover their children to protect them from the cold or shield them from the hot sun. This is extreme kindness. Only those who have aroused this mind can know it, and only those who practice this mind can understand it. --Dogen Zenji
Let go and make yourself independent and free, not being bound by things and not seeking to escape from things.--Yuanwu
Sekiso Osho asked, "How can you proceed on further from the top of a hundred-foot pole?" Another eminent teacher of old said, "You, who sit on the top of a 100 ft pole, although you have entered the Way you are not yet genuine. Proceed on from the top of the pole, and you will show your whole body in the 10 directions." --Gateless Gate, case 46
Dedication
Dedicated to my mother, to my daughter, and to the teacher I found in between.
First words
This book took time.
Quotations
If I can't control what my kid eats, what can I control? p. 89
The words my daughter will use are the ones she hears; the words I want her to use she must hear from me....How would I have her speak? With all the subtlety, comopassion, kindness, and power that is in my owon magical vocabulary, when I learn to talk. p. 107
Children are exemplars of the art of being. Whereever they are, they are completely immersed: in mud, in make-believe, in laughter, in tears, or in spaghetti sauce up to their eyeballs. ...This is the kind of losing in which everything is found. We, on the other hand, rarely lose ourselves in activity, but we are plenty lost nonetheless. p.129
We prize our thinking in a way that we value nothing else about our existence, and in so doing we think that without our thoughts we would surely cease to be. We exist when we are thinking just as we exist when we are not thinking... Thinking only produces more thinking! ...for the light to reach any depth at all, you have to stop thinking so much. p.130-131.
The truth always reveals itself... This truth, this ultimate irrefutable truth, is what Buddhists call the Way. The other truth, the truth you try to figure out and manipulate, is called your way. Trying to make things go your way is complicated, harmful, and futile. p. 140
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