24 things you can’t do

May 4th, 2014


Can’t do it.
Not now.
No time.
Can’t afford.
Can’t imagine.
Save my place.
Hold the space.
Hit the wall.
Saying no.
Not me.
Never again.
No way.
Can’t keep up.
Can’t keep going.
Can’t promise.
Can’t make.
Can’t wait.
Count me out.
Can’t commit.
And then you do.

Here’s hoping you get to 25.

In honor of Mother’s Day, May 11, I’m offering a paperback copy of the perennially popular Momma Zen, personally inscribed, to someone who comments on this post by the end of the day, Friday, May 9. Your gift will arrive shortly after, giving you time to consider what you will do with it.

Photo ©Perry & Roses 2014



  1. Cool. I have wanted to give a copy to my daughter, who has a one-year old, and deals with life. This would be perfect–not only the enlightening book, but a note from the Zen Momma.

    Comment by Donn King — May 4, 2014 @ 7:33 am

  2. Oh how this spoke to me today!

    Comment by Kim — May 4, 2014 @ 7:55 am

  3. You forgot to add “it hurts too much”, so let’s hope I get to 26, because of course, “then you do,” because no matter what that is what mothers do.

    Comment by MJ — May 4, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  4. Had to give up when at least 1000 things suddenly popped up. You constantly mess with my mind, bless your heart!

    Comment by Buddhacrone — May 4, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

  5. I already plan to gift this book to a new mom, an inscribed copy would be even better!

    Comment by Juniper — May 5, 2014 @ 12:56 am

  6. This would be a great Mother’s Day gift!

    Comment by Ashley Klonowski — May 5, 2014 @ 5:35 am

  7. Would love a copy of this book for Mother’s Day!!

    Comment by Gretchen Barchak — May 5, 2014 @ 5:42 am

  8. You inspire me. As a first time mom of an 8 month old, your words helped me stay sane and present in each moment during the first few weeks of sleepless days and nights. Thank you for your transparency and beautiful words!

    Comment by Brittany — May 5, 2014 @ 5:48 am

  9. This would be a PERFECT Mother’s Day present!

    Comment by THF — May 5, 2014 @ 5:50 am

  10. Loving your writing a all the time.

    Comment by Ranya — May 5, 2014 @ 5:55 am

  11. Your recent article in spiritual magazine has helped me get beyond some challenges, especially the part about how you raise your kids but they distance themselves from you upon leaving home.

    Comment by Donna Clary — May 5, 2014 @ 5:58 am

  12. Without a momma, your words I treasure. Thank you.

    Comment by mary ann — May 5, 2014 @ 7:32 am

  13. I love everything you write.

    Comment by marcea — May 5, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  14. I have been practicing letting go, mindful parenting, breathing, and love. The rewards, so far, have been wonderful. I have a sister-in-law who is pregnant for the first time and I would like you give her a book that I found to be very gently powerful. Your words are kind and loving.

    Comment by Jenny Marks — May 5, 2014 @ 9:06 am

  15. Happy Mother’s Day!

    Comment by Jen — May 5, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

  16. Far too often we find ourselves facing too many hour filled with the 24 things we can’t do and then it happens, that joyful moment when we experience that shift, the one which allows us to be able to take a deep breathe and slowly exhale because we can…

    Comment by Lisa C — May 5, 2014 @ 7:24 pm

  17. Would love a copy! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Lindsay — May 6, 2014 @ 3:47 am

  18. And then you do…….so true, so very true.

    Comment by Cindy P — May 6, 2014 @ 7:39 am

  19. Haven’t read Momma Zen and will whether you gift it to me or not. 😉

    Just finished Paradise in Plain Sight. Love it, love it and am considering reading it again. And then again, and then maybe even again. Thank you Karen, for the sweet, gentle, funny reminder that I need to open my eyes every day and take in what is, rather than dwelling on what isn’t.

    Comment by Clare — May 6, 2014 @ 9:50 am

  20. I hope you have a great Mother’s Day, Karen!

    Comment by Kevin — May 6, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

  21. For my work (architect) I really need to focus in a way that is difficult to do when there are children running around needing me to wipe their bottoms or wipe their noses, feed them etc. Also everything with children takes twice as long as you tend to think (when you are in a hurry even three times as long).
    For my work I need to really “sink into the problem” as I call it. So it is hard to find enough uninterrupted time to do that.
    I have come to prefer to think of my life and the things I do with it/ during that life as something that is “serial” rather than “parallel” (in electrical terms, you can have a set of lights in series where they sit after each other on the same wire, or parallel, where they all burn next to each other, each on their own wire, but less intense). I feel that if I don’t everything turns up kind of half-arsed and unhappy if you know what I mean.
    Kind regards, Simone.

    Comment by Simone — May 7, 2014 @ 2:53 am

  22. P.S. And a wonderful mothers day to you as well of course. I have really learnt a lot through your writing. Thank you.

    Comment by Simone — May 7, 2014 @ 2:55 am

  23. Thank you for these words. I may take a nap before I get to 25, but all will wait for me.

    Comment by Annette Kraus — May 7, 2014 @ 7:11 am

  24. Perfect, as I sit nursing my sleeping babe.

    Comment by melanie — May 7, 2014 @ 7:18 am

  25. Such clarity. Thank you for making a gap in my morning routine. The space you created changes what can come next. As a mother of two teenagers, I need all the space I can get.

    Comment by Rebecca Hass — May 7, 2014 @ 7:19 am

  26. Perfect, as I sit holding my sleeping toddler.

    Comment by melanie — May 7, 2014 @ 7:22 am

  27. This should be required reading. Wonderful.

    Comment by Daniel Kaproth — May 7, 2014 @ 7:26 am

  28. Would love this as a Mother’s Day gift!

    Comment by Heather — May 7, 2014 @ 7:42 am

  29. Thanks for the uplifting words!

    Comment by Mary — May 7, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  30. I believe this book will be a wonderful gift for my daughter, the mother of my 4 grandchildren. Thank you
    P.S. after I read it…<3

    Comment by Lucille Morin — May 7, 2014 @ 7:48 am

  31. My personal 25th thing I would definitely add :
    -Can’t wait !!!!! :)

    Comment by Claudia — May 7, 2014 @ 8:13 am

  32. Thank you.

    Comment by Patrick — May 7, 2014 @ 8:29 am

  33. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Momma Zen was so incredibly helpful to me as I was about to have my first baby and after I had my first baby. It made so much sense to me then, as well as with my second and I’m sure it will again with my third. So many times you say what I was thinking or you say what I didn’t know I was thinking!!! Many thanks!!!

    Comment by Diamond Cambareri — May 7, 2014 @ 8:30 am

  34. My daughter just had a baby 3 weeks ago, she already has a 6 year old and she is a single mom. I would love, love, love to give her this book for a belated Mother’s Day gift! She could definitely use it…thank you in advance for your generosity!

    Comment by Brigette — May 7, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  35. Wishing you a peaceful Mother’s Day!

    Comment by Jessica Wilson — May 7, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  36. this would be awesome to give to a dear friend of mine who is struggling everyday it is just awesome

    Comment by brandy — May 7, 2014 @ 8:46 am

  37. I start over as a mother every day. Thank you ~

    Comment by Amy — May 7, 2014 @ 8:57 am

  38. Hi free copy!!

    I’m here.


    Comment by bahieh k. — May 7, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  39. Happy Mother’s Day to you too.

    Comment by Laura — May 7, 2014 @ 9:02 am

  40. Happy mothers day! I want to be a zen mom too! I try, but must admit not always easy.

    Comment by Ayman Mukerji — May 7, 2014 @ 9:09 am

  41. Thank you for the list of 24! Good to be reminded how we all have aspirations that it feels like we’ll never get to. But then, sometimes, we do.
    Also loved Simone’s comment about needing to “sink into a problem” and feeling challenged about that. I do too!

    Comment by AJ — May 7, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  42. A mother’s work is never done. :) Happy Mothers Day to us all!

    Comment by Ashley Clayton — May 7, 2014 @ 9:46 am

  43. Love! More then anything I would love to be a zen mom, with practice it’ll come :)

    Comment by Ashia Hostetler — May 7, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  44. My mother could most certainly use a copy of this book…your little poem sounds like her litany. I practice meditation and read the dharma pretty regularly, but it all seems like a foreign language to my mum. Maybe your book could help explain it to her..

    Comment by Candice D — May 7, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

  45. Love Momma Zen

    Comment by Kim — May 7, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

  46. Peace and love to you! Would love this for Mother’s Day!

    Comment by Katrina — May 7, 2014 @ 6:50 pm

  47. @johannarocco: @kmaezenmiller it took me a long time but I figured it out: I love my mom. I am grateful for so much from her.

    Comment by Johanna Rocco — May 7, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

  48. Beautiful. I’m grateful for your words.

    Comment by Alison — May 7, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

  49. …because you’ve run out of reasons why you didn’t and shouldn’t and haven’t and can’t and you suddenly wake up hearing the birds in the garden and you open the window and breath in the morning air and call out loud: ‘Yes I can and I will and I do!’

    Comment by Astrid — May 7, 2014 @ 8:33 pm

  50. Oh my gosh, I would love this!!

    Comment by elaine l — May 7, 2014 @ 10:46 pm

  51. I am so glad I discovered your blog and your wisdom recently. You make me a better mama to my girls (ages 4 and 5). And to my older *bonus* children, my stepson, who is almost 14, and my stepdaughter, who is about to leave the nest. I would love a copy of your book for Mother’s Day. It is currently on my Amazon wish list. Thanks again for all you do!

    Comment by Deb McKee Kelly — May 8, 2014 @ 2:17 am

  52. Loved this entry of 24 things.
    I read Momma Zen when my kid was in his 30s
    and I found useable wisdom there still.

    Comment by patti zwick — May 8, 2014 @ 3:33 am

  53. I recommend this book to EVERY new mom I come into contact with. This book was IT for me! Helped me through all three of my children’s births and well into their first years as well as serving as a barometer for my postpartum. LOVE LOVE LOVE all you do and your words!!!!!!

    Comment by Kenna Grant — May 8, 2014 @ 5:59 am

  54. I was looking you back up, years after having been saved by Momma Zen, so I could pass you on to a dear friend and newly struggling mom… Lo! I discovered your blog, got chills from this poem, and hereby comment, hoping to get a signed copy of the book to help that dear friend find her momma zen! Thank you for what you do.

    Comment by Beth — May 8, 2014 @ 6:33 am

  55. 25: Wish I could.


    Comment by Linnea — May 8, 2014 @ 8:35 am

  56. This post immediately grabbed my attention. Thank you for the gentle reminders and, yes, I got to 25. It comforting to know the theme is somewhat universal and that the ability to come to peace lies within each one of us.

    Comment by Miranda Hopkins — May 8, 2014 @ 9:33 am

  57. This book came out when my son was nearing 30-
    still much usable wisdom and now he has a baby son.

    Comment by patti zwick — May 8, 2014 @ 11:33 am


    Comment by Shelli Pawlu — May 8, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

  59. Karen
    About 1 hour ago I got a post from Katrina Kenison, introducing her followers to you and your new book. I decided not to flag it to read when i had time but just coming from a Yoga Nidra practice I gave myself the gift to read the post and be with the words and travel to your website and watch all of your Youtube videos! Thank you, thank you for a delightful, mindful Friday afternoon.

    Comment by Carole — May 9, 2014 @ 11:54 am

  60. I’m working on can.

    Comment by Christine LaRocque — May 12, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

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