Paradise in Plain Sight

Lessons from a Zen Garden

Paradise cover

When Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller and her family land in a house with a hundred-year-old Japanese garden, she uses the paradise in her backyard to glean the living wisdom of our natural world. Through her eyes, rocks convey faith, ponds preach stillness, flowers give love, and leaves express the effortless ease of letting go. The book welcomes readers into the garden for Zen lessons in fearlessness, forgiveness, presence, acceptance, and contentment. Intimate and encouraging, Miller’s voice imparts the peace and lightheartedness of one who has found her sanctuary and purpose. In homage to her departed teacher, Taizan Maezumi Roshi, who once gardened the ground Miller now cultivates, her down-to-earth insights are plainspoken and profound. “Come see the garden,” she invites readers. “The garden that is your life.”

In the tradition of Anne Morrow Lindbergh who offered her timeless meditations in Gift from the Sea, Miller gathers inspiration from the ground beneath her feet to remind us that paradise is always here and now.

advance praise

“This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Maezen has cleared a path for all of us – from pain and confusion to joy and gratitude. She taught me that the secret garden I’ve been searching for has existed all along. I just needed to find the right guide.” — Priscilla Warner, author of Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life, and co-author of New York Times bestseller, The Faith Club.

“Here is a gift to anyone who has ever sought a path, crossed a threshold, kneeled on the earth, planted a seed, secretly yearned for life and love and roots to take hold.  Which is to say, all of us. Paradise in Plain Sight stopped me in my tracks and invited me to look into the backyard of my own life in a different way: with deep attention and radical gratitude.  To read this extraordinary book — so brief in length, yet so magnificently deep and so transparently clear — is to remember that home is where I am and that what I need I have. A simple reminder, perhaps, but offered with such grace and eloquence in these pages that I find myself returning to them again and again, to hear Karen Maezen Miller’s voice telling me what my heart knows.”  — Katrina Kenison, author of Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

available in May 2014

pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Hand Wash Cold

Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life

It’s easy to think that meaning, fulfillment, and bliss are “out there,” somewhere outside of our daily routine. But in this playful yet profound reflection on awareness, the compelling voice of a self-described errant wife and delinquent mother reveals the happiness at the bottom of the laundry basket, the love in the kitchen sink, and the peace possible in one’s own backyard. Readers follow the author through youthful ambition and self-absorption, beyond a broken marriage, and into the steady calm of a so-called ordinary life. Household chores and caregiving tasks become opportunities for self-examination, lessons in relationship, and liberating moments of selflessness. Miller shows that with attention, it’s the little things — even the unexpected, unpleasant, and unwanted things — that count.

Momma Zen

Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood

The daily challenges of parenthood can become the most profound spiritual journey of our lives. Combining humor, honesty and plainspoken advice, Momma Zen distills the doubts and frustrations of early motherhood into vignettes of Zen wisdom. This compelling and wise memoir follows the timeline of early motherhood from pregnancy through toddlerhood. Miller takes readers on a transformative journey, charting a mother’s growth beyond naive expectations and disorientation to finding fulfillment in ordinary tasks, developing greater self-awareness and self-acceptance – to the gradual discovery of “maternal bliss,” a state of abiding happiness and ease available to us all.

“Realized with warmth and winning honesty” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Eloquently frames the everyday experiences of parenting as opportunities for spiritual growth” —Mothering

“An extraordinary book of practical wisdom offering peace and freedom in the midst of fatigue and doubt” — William Martin, author of The Parent’s Tao Te Ching


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