prayer for a mother becoming

May 8th, 2013

With time, your roots grow deep and your branches long. You lean a little less backward in fear and a little less forward in doubt, resting solidly right where you are. When the wind blows, you bend. When it stops, you straighten. Your boughs provide shelter and shade. Your strength supports the sky.

Momma Zen

There is a quiet hollow to my days now. I have less to do and more time to observe. I can see inside the hearts of new mothers and old mothers and grandmothers. And grandfathers too. Good folks in every trembling state of hope, exhilaration, despair, exhaustion and worry. And so I fold my hands and pray.

May you be tired and afraid
overwhelmed and ready to quit.
Start over, over
ten thousand times over
roll out, get up, fall down
break into tears
open in laughter
sing and dance
be silly, be glad.
May you forget most things,
remember everything,
come to know in your bones
with your blood
through your eyes
from your lips
out of earth
deep below, well beyond
you are love.
You are just love.

A companion to Prayer for a Girl Becoming.

You might also like “Motherhood is everything,” an interview at Sweeping Zen.

These are the last days to register for the weekend retreat June 8-9 in Marin.

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  1. Thank you for this. I am sending it to my best friend’s daughter,who, just had her fourth baby. The older I get the more I believe mothering is everything.

    Comment by marilee pittman — April 29, 2012 @ 7:16 am

  2. Your words describe it all. They help me to be me. Thank you.

    Comment by Alison Waters — April 29, 2012 @ 7:17 am

  3. Beautiful. :) <3 Thank you.

    Comment by Lena — April 29, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  4. Thank you for reminding me what is in my heart and mind. Thank you for your words.

    Comment by Diamond Cambareri — April 29, 2012 @ 7:26 am

  5. Oh! Yes.

    Comment by Alyssa T — April 29, 2012 @ 7:41 am

  6. I love it. I always have someone to send a copy of Momma Zen to.

    Comment by Kitty Shannon — April 29, 2012 @ 7:58 am

  7. thank you.

    Comment by amy — April 29, 2012 @ 8:30 am

  8. I love this. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Lorilin — April 29, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  9. Amen to that. Thank you.

    Comment by Roos — April 29, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  10. I read Momma Zen when my second baby was a few weeks old. I wish I did with my first.

    Comment by Jelena — April 29, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  11. Today I am walking upright. And I am so afraid of the days when I can’t. But I know that another upright day will come along. So I will just be glad I am able to see clearly for the time being. You help to remind me that we can’t see clearly without faltering from time to time. It’s all part of the journey.

    Comment by Sarah Stanton — April 29, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  12. This is so beautiful, Karen, thank you. So much of this life is spent in a trembling state, isn’t it? xox

    Comment by Lindsey — April 29, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  13. just what I needed to contemplate this morning. thank you.

    Comment by Maire — April 29, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  14. You’ve brought me to tears again. Raw tears of love, recognition, little sadness and understanding. Always a beginner, Nichole

    Comment by Nichole — April 29, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  15. I was so moved by this,
    I am a daughter,a sister, a mother , a stepmother, a grandmother, an aunt, and a friend. You have helped me to see the many parts of the total picture. My husband read this to me as I am losing my eyesight. Your words remind me that I have not lost my vision. I say yes , a thousand times yes.
    Thank you

    Comment by Joan Winslow — April 29, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

  16. For those whose children are still a part of our very full days… May we all find the moments of reflection you write so beautifully about. Thank you.

    Comment by Gayle — April 29, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  17. I’m pretty close to giving up. My house was robbed. I fell and hurt my back. A boy was kidnapped very close to where my son goes to school. I’ve been nursing all kids back to health. A political unrest in the city where I live. I’m feeling very scared, but I know I have to somehow find the courage to remain strong, focus on the positive, and continue living. Thank you for the reminder.

    Comment by superwomanbulat — April 29, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  18. Just beautiful. Oh how it takes time for those roots to grow. Just time. And love.

    Comment by Cheryl — April 29, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

  19. What a beautiful poem and prayer — and the photo of the tree is remarkable. I felt as if I were lying on the ground, looking up and beyond in that light —

    Comment by Elizabeth Aquino — April 29, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  20. This is beautiful – brought a tear to my eye. I would love to win a copy of Momma Zen for my sister, who is going through a difficult time in her mothering life right now.

    Comment by Viv — April 30, 2012 @ 12:19 am

  21. This is like holding the Universe in your cupped hands.
    Over and over, I need releasing to allow this life in me to be.
    Thank you

    Comment by Lisa — April 30, 2012 @ 1:10 am

  22. Yesterday would have been my grandmother’s 101st birthday, and I can hear her voice saying, “God is Love.”

    Comment by Jena — April 30, 2012 @ 2:15 am

  23. That was beautiful and inspiring, blessings!

    Comment by Jennie — April 30, 2012 @ 3:47 am

  24. I am Jena’s mother (see comment 21.) With an inward giggle, my comment is “Jena, what were you doing up at 2:15 a.m.?” I am touched by her remembrance and cherish the relationship she had with her Grammy. Thank you both.

    Comment by Peggy — April 30, 2012 @ 3:48 am

  25. Thank you for this. Sharing with all my Momma friends.

    Comment by Amy Kelly — April 30, 2012 @ 4:46 am

  26. How wonderful!!! As a mother of 2 boys, 6 and 2, there are many days I want to quit!! :)
    There are no words like, “Mom, I love you”.
    Thank you for sharing this. :)

    Comment by Christi Dunmire — April 30, 2012 @ 6:20 am

  27. Oh, how I needed this right now. Thank you.

    Comment by Amanda — April 30, 2012 @ 6:25 am

  28. Beautiful!

    Comment by Amanda — April 30, 2012 @ 6:34 am

  29. The way you write, in and of itself, is a prayer. It always brings me home to myself. Thank you.

    Comment by ashlee — April 30, 2012 @ 6:52 am

  30. Oh, thank you.

    (I already have Momma Zen, so I don’t need to enter the comp, just wanted to say thank you.)

    Comment by Nikki Magennis — April 30, 2012 @ 6:56 am

  31. So beautiful! Thank you!

    Comment by Allison Jaggers — April 30, 2012 @ 7:15 am

  32. Your words help me realize exactly what I’ve been feeling for a very long time. =)

    Comment by Kimberly Meeker — April 30, 2012 @ 7:21 am

  33. I have given Momma Zen to quite a few mothers-to-be who are embarking on the crooked path.

    Comment by debra — April 30, 2012 @ 7:23 am

  34. Thank you for the inspiring words.

    Comment by carrieawn — April 30, 2012 @ 7:37 am

  35. A dear friend sent me a copy of Momma Zen when my first baby was born and it brought me so much peace. I have sent other friends the book, hoping it helps them as much as it helped me. Thank you for this beautiful poem. Thank you for Momma Zen.

    Comment by Kristina Wright — April 30, 2012 @ 7:39 am

  36. I gave birth to our 2nd son 3 & 1/2 weeks ago- yes, I’m overwhelmed. Thank you for this reminder that it’s going be ok, that this is living life! :)

    Comment by Jennifer Hansen — April 30, 2012 @ 7:56 am

  37. I look out the window everyday at the trees, birds, nature. Nothing like bringing together the soul and where it was created, in the Earth’s bosom.

    Comment by Heidi — April 30, 2012 @ 8:01 am

  38. Momma Zen is one of those books where I have turned down nearly every page corner to remind myself to come back and read a passage…again, and again, and again!

    Comment by Kayenta WIlliams — April 30, 2012 @ 8:17 am

  39. Thank you for this, Love.

    Comment by Stephanie Rayburn — April 30, 2012 @ 8:55 am

  40. I cannot get enough of your books!

    Comment by Ranya — April 30, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  41. Just returned to read your words at a time I need them so much.
    You’re looking inside my heart indeed.

    Comment by Roos — April 30, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  42. i’ll be reading this to a group of fresh, new baby mothers this week. thank you, as always.

    Comment by lanell — April 30, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  43. Yesterday brought the news of the first pregnancy of someone I know. Today began with the news of the death of the adult daughter, and only child, of someone I know. I also am the mother of an only child. Sorrow and fear and pain break open. Motherhood is the bravest love, the greatest risk.

    Comment by Laura — April 30, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  44. Amen

    Comment by Cindy Black — April 30, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  45. These words resonate. Thank you so much.

    Comment by Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri — April 30, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  46. i already own momma zen and have enjoyed so many passages over and over! inpiring and touching post today :)

    Comment by Bonnie Dering — May 1, 2012 @ 2:04 am

  47. Sleepless with a newborn–thank you for the poem.

    Comment by Lisa b — May 1, 2012 @ 8:03 am

  48. My youngest daughter is due to have her first baby in mid May. It is 31 years since I was anticipating the arrival of this new mother-to-be. Despite my worries for the future of the planet and all sentient beings, it still amazes me that we continue to make plans and bring new life into the world. Is this faith, hope, or foolishness? I do not know, I only know that there will be joy when I look into the eyes of my first grandchild.

    Comment by Judith Smith — May 1, 2012 @ 8:07 am

  49. Inspired by your beautiful words, as always.

    Comment by Jesse — May 1, 2012 @ 8:21 am

  50. So beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.

    Comment by Mathangi — May 1, 2012 @ 8:26 am

  51. thank you, karen. “quit. start over. you are love.” such nectar.

    Comment by melissa — May 1, 2012 @ 8:40 am

  52. Beautiful though for those moments when spring storms threaten to blow us all over – thank you!

    Comment by Amanda — May 1, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  53. Beautiful Karen–just beautiful. A blessing to the world.

    Comment by Meg Casey — May 1, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  54. beautiful. there are days when one wants to give up because one can’t understand why one can’t be grateful for all one as…and then one quits and starts over. thank you.

    Comment by mya — May 1, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

  55. I have been so yearning for four and a half years for the fatigue to be replaced by deep, uninterrupted sleep that I forgot to see the exhaustion as a gift. This prayer opens my energy, losens things up..,thank you!

    Comment by Amy Sugihara — May 1, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  56. Thank you. I would love to read more. I just quit and started over this spring. There is such hope and joy in doing that if you allow yourself to have faith. Have a wonderful day!!!

    Comment by Simone — May 2, 2012 @ 1:02 am

  57. Lovely! I know a few new mama’s that could benefit from this wonderful book.
    Thank you for your words!

    Comment by Barbara — May 2, 2012 @ 7:29 am

  58. Thank you! Your words resonate so deeply. Every time.

    Comment by Carole — May 2, 2012 @ 9:16 am

  59. Please come to Canada one of these days!

    Comment by Carole — May 2, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  60. Beautiful. Thank you.

    Comment by Shelby — May 2, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  61. I haven’t had a chance to read this book yet. My library doesn’t carry it and I can’t afford it right now. I would LOVE to win a copy! Thank you!

    Comment by Shelby — May 2, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  62. Thank you so much for this beautiful prayer! I am passing it on to a new mama friend of mine. <3

    Comment by Gwynn — May 2, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  63. Wow! I often need reminders to keep me on track, and I would absolutely love a copy of your book!
    Thank you x

    Comment by Briony — May 2, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  64. Thank you. Just beautiful.

    Comment by Aparna — May 2, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  65. I loved the interview. Interesting how these “practices” deepen in time and repetition. I could feel the “weight” of your practice through the years expressed in your words and the wealth it has brought you.

    Comment by Simone — May 3, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  66. I’m a new Mom and another new Mom sent this to me today . . . it was perfect. Thanks.

    Comment by Emily — May 3, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  67. […] Leaning into my, “I am just love-ness” this poem affirms for me what I know. Thank you once again Karen. […]

    Pingback by Beautiful Faces. Magical Places. — Hannah Marcotti — May 4, 2012 @ 8:16 am

  68. This never gets old.

    Comment by Jena — November 9, 2012 @ 8:51 am

  69. Thank you, Karen. I want to post this on my fridge. Or hang it next to my bed.

    Comment by Heidi Sohng — November 9, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  70. This is beautiful…I am going to post next to my computer on the wall so I can see it all the time…. and on the wall between my girls’ rooms, a prayer for a girl becoming…I have found solace in your mamma zen book and have given it to a half dozen women hoping they can do the same. thank you.

    Comment by mya — April 9, 2013 @ 7:07 am

  71. I just failed terribly with my 5 year old son while my mother looked on. I am starting over and will keep starting over and over…….thank you for this.

    Comment by Rachel — May 9, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

  72. Maezen, a very happy Mother’s Day to you, with much love.

    Comment by Sarah Stanton — May 12, 2013 @ 4:59 am

  73. Thank you for this. xo

    Comment by Rashmi — May 12, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

  74. This poem has been on my fridge for a year. I love it.

    Comment by Kirsten — May 13, 2013 @ 4:30 am

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