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Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood Paperback – November 13, 2007


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Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood + Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life + Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Trumpeter (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590304616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590304617
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A former student of the late California-based Zen master Taizan Maezumi Roshi, Miller spent years working on this book, which distills years of Zen practice in the crucible of her experiences parenting her daughter. From the beginning, Miller is very frank about feeling overwhelmed, jealous of her husband's love for their newborn, and her periods of depression. The path from these feelings to the realization that "your life is not yours at all" but "an unbroken line of love" to others in one's family and in one's life-and to maintaining that awareness through all of the changes of parenting-comprises the rest of the book. Short chapters on having "No Expectation" (which begins with Miller's difficulty conceiving for the first time at 42 and ends with her preeclampsia), on "Being Unprepared" (labor is induced early, and Georgia Grace is born healthy), on the power of lullbies as a kind of meditation, on learning from small failures (and from the difficulties of breast feeding), on sleep and sleeplessness, and on the paradoxical freedom of parenting's "No Exit" center unfold into something more than aphorism. Wresting oneself free from the need for control is, as Miller describes it, a constant struggle (or, in Zen parlance, a practice). This book realizes it with warmth, engagement and winning honesty.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Here at last is what we mothers have been waiting for: momma-hood held in equal respect to monk-hood.”—Shambhala Sun

“Wrestling oneself free from the need for control is a constant struggle. This book realizes it with warmth, engagement, and winning honesty.”—Publishers Weekly

"Eloquently frames the everyday experiences of parenting as opportunities for spiritual growth."—Mothering 

"Miller has written a powerful synthesis of the insights she has attained, both through the experience of motherhood and as a Zen Buddhist priest."—Literary Mama

“Miller’s book offers guidance, insight, and wisdom. She shows us how to embrace not only the ups and downs of our own mothering, but also helps us open our heart to those who have mothered us. I recommend her book to anyone who wants to really learn something about spiritual practice in everyday life.”—Diane Eshin Rizzetto, author of Waking Up to What You Do: A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion

“Miller's practice has seeped deeply into her life and the result is an extraordinary book of practical wisdom. She avoids the preaching and moralizing so common in parenting books, and instead offers the reader a way of peace and freedom in the midst of fatigue and doubt. A truly valuable book.”—William Martin, author of The Parent's Tao Te Ching

Momma Zen, filled with honest tales of the bedlam of motherhood, beckons us to an oasis of silence and acceptance. Miller deftly leads us to the realization that, rather than searching outwardly, this oasis can be located in the center of the life we are living right now.”—Vivian Glyck, author of The Tao of Poop

"Honest, revealing, funny, and poignantly accurate, Momma Zen unfolds the powerful path of raising a child, as well as the opportunities for deeper spiritual understanding. An important contribution."—Nicolee Jikyo McMahon Roshi, Three Treasures Zen Community, San Diego

More About the Author

Karen Maezen Miller is a wife and mother as well as a Zen Buddhist priest at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. She and her family live in Sierra Madre, California, with a century-old Japanese garden in their backyard. She writes about spirituality in everyday life. She is the author of Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, and her writing is included in numerous anthologies.

Customer Reviews

It's an easy read.
Oku
Simply the most beautifully written book about motherhood (parenthood) I've ever read.
Cynthia
I highly recommend this book to you and every mother.
Taslim Jaffer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mom on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Dad, not really a full-on Zen guy, but I do have a healthy appreciation for Zen.

I can honestly say that whether or not you're into Zen, or are a Mom or a Dad, this book is wonderful. The writing is superb, lyrical and flows like a fresh spring stream, bubbling, laughing, and crying all the way. If you are a parent you'll like it even more; this is not a preachy book, or some strange mystical women's book. This is a great book about life and love and it's a special treat to read. Even for a Guy.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amy Tiemann VINE VOICE on October 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Momma Zen" is a book to come back to again and again. I dip into it whenever I am having a difficult day, or just seeking inspiration during a quiet moment. Usually I gobble books cover-to-cover, but Karen Maezen Miller's work is wonderful when savored in small bites. "Momma Zen" reads like a series of thougthtful discussions with a wise friend.

Motherhood is full of uncertainty, reversals, and discovery. "Momma Zen" is a wonderful companion on this journey. Whether you are an expectant first-time mother or the a seasoned Mom, this book has something for you. I recognize myself in every chapter.

We live in an era where an avalanche of advice books can feel overwhelming. "Momma Zen" takes a different approach by connecting with the heart of motherhood--the enduring, essential challenges, lessons and blessings that we encounter in relationship with our children. Karen Maezen Miller's work is a true gift to give yourself or a friend.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amy Dingler on May 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With three kids under 5 I was struggling with a whole host of emotions and new depths of sleep deprivation. A desperate search on Amazon revealed scores of books for parents on how to manage the kids; almost nothing on how to manage yourself. Then I found Momma Zen. It is broken up into short sections to address all different kinds of issues: your anger, your guilt, your fears about being a good enough parent, your miserable sleeplessness. Each section can work like a daily meditation, and there's a "concordance" of sorts in the back that helps you go directly to the section you need. I've given this to three other moms, who all thought it was a lifesaver, just like I do! Buy it! SOOOO helpful.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dolores Miller on July 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is no simplistic 12-step program to perfect parenting. Rather it is a thoughtful memoir of the author's own plunge into the amazing experience of motherhood that both turned her world upside down and at the same time gave value to everything. Her simple, elegant prose is enough in itself to keep you reading, but it is also graced with humor, and Miller's willingness to reveal herself for better or worse creates a bond with all of us less-than-perfect parents. The book is stitched together with insights from her practice as a Zen priest, but this too is treated with delicacy, and we are given instructions for meditation if we wish to try it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Hansen on July 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is a beautiful meditation on life. I wish I had it when my son was younger, but it doesn't matter, it's universal. It is a primer on Zen Buddhism and one of the best I've ever read. And it is a primer on motherhood that is revealing and comforting in ways unimagined. It truly flows with such ease and beauty that you won't put it down until the end. It also includes a wonderful chapter on tending your marriage after childbirth that is incredibly apt and meaningful. I highly recommend this book to all mothers and fathers, and to any person seeking inner peace. You'll find the way here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Swartz on November 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
As the mother of a colicky newborn, I found myself struggling. Frustrated and exhausted, I felt desperate and disappointed in myself for not being as blissed-out as I believed every new mother should be about her baby. Reading Momma Zen was like relaxing into the arms of a good friend who understood everything I was going through. Karen Maezen Miller is so refreshingly real, and her eloquent account of the everyday challenges of parenthood has been both a comfort and an inspiration to me. I credit her with helping get me through many those first few months, and revisit my favorite passages whenever I need a reminder to just let go, or reassurance that being frustrated doesn't make me a bad parent. Momma Zen has earned a place of honor on my bookshelf, and it's become my go-to gift for new mamas.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Hughes on September 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a new Mom and with all of the books out there on motherhood and parenting, it's hard to find one that is as wonderful as this little gem and not preachy or giving you all kinds of impractical advice.

It's funny, insightful, and spiritual. It's simply a beautiful book. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, even my husband has enjoyed the pieces that have really touched me and I have shared with him!

Truly excellent!!!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By w. cook on August 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There are so many wonderful things to say about "Momma Zen". I dogeared the pages that I wanted to refer back to and realized that there are enough pearls of wisdom to string a necklace. Therefore, I decided to let you find your own pearls. The delight in having discovered something is much more magical than having it handed to you.

At the end of the first chapter the author writes, "These words thus flow from my heart to yours, from one other mother to one other mother or mother-to-be. I know. I understand. Me too."

And she does know!

Momma Zen touched me deeply. I laughed and I cried and experienced moments of realization so profound that I heard myself exclaim, "YES!" When I closed the book I felt at one with motherhood, at one with my baby, at one with my self. I felt present. I felt peaceful.

Momma Zen is not a parenting book. It is a book about motherhood, about being a mother. It's a book about being.
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