Posts Tagged ‘Palo Alto Mother’s Symposium’

Tall trees grow in full sun

March 9th, 2009    -    5 Comments


Still soaked from the shine of your full attention, I offer my thanks to the mothers of Palo Alto and everywhere whose lives met mine at the Mothers Symposium at Stanford on Saturday. Tremendous, great good went into it, and tremendous great good will come.

You’ve inspired me to offer my own retreats, my own programs, as many as I can, wherever I’m asked. Please ask.

And to those of you reading, yes you, who were there: I’m so honored to know you by name.

In gassho.

Great minds don’t think

March 5th, 2009    -    4 Comments

Before I leave you for a weekend of higher learning, I’ll offer this link to a compelling tribute to the lost genius of the novelist David Foster Wallace. It’s in this week’s New Yorker magazine.

“I believe I want adult sanity, which seems to me the only unalloyed form of heroism available today.”

The article traces Wallace’s unfulfilled “preoccupation with mindfulness.”

“They’re rare, but they’re among us. People able to achieve and sustain a certain steady state of concentration, attention, despite what they’re doing.”

Give yourself the time to read it, all, along with this excerpt from his unfinished work. I know you have the time, and I pray you have the attention.

Possible dreams

February 21st, 2009    -    5 Comments


Within hours of the birth, the complicated and life-threatening birth of my beautiful and brilliant daughter, a single word began whizzing across that high-speed thoroughfare between my ears. Back and forth along the byway that bisected my mother nature. As I simmered in the newness of motherhood and the inconceivable possibilities that lie ahead, convinced of the utter perfection and excellence of her future, the word on my mind was not now or possibility. I was grateful, but the word was not grateful. I loved her, but the word was not love. It wasn’t peace, or calm, or happiness. It wasn’t blessing or miracle. It wasn’t amazing or grace.

It was Stanford.

Ninth Annual Palo Alto Mothers Symposium
Stanford University
Palo Alto, California
Saturday, March 7
9:30 a.m.-noon

Momma Zen: Finding Peace and Patience in the Everyday
with Karen Maezen Miller

How or if or when my daughter gets there no longer matters. What matters is that you do, that we all, each of us, get to a place of peace and patience, by the very means we have at hand. Then, and only then, have we finally given our children lives to make their own.

“Year after year, this unique gathering of mothers generates a spirit of support and compassion that ripples out into our families and our community. We hope you will find refuge from the demands we all experience as mothers, sometimes enlivened and sometimes burdened by the magnitude and influence of this role. We invite you, for a morning, to take a break from all the rules, goals, consequences, and other criteria against which we measure ourselves; and to embrace the possibility that most of what you need to know about mothering is available within you and the present moment.” – The Mothers Symposium

Wanna get away?

January 11th, 2009    -    21 Comments


Open your eyes.

Open your eyes and see that you are no longer in the dreary landscape you habitually occupy in your head.

This is a head’s up and sincere invitation for you to take part in two eye-0pening events coming round the bend.

The first is a Beginner’s Mind One Day Meditation Retreat I’ll be leading on Sunday, Feb. 15 at Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. It’s perfect for you, and it’s only $25.

The second is the half-day Palo Alto Mothers Symposium at Stanford University on Saturday, March 7. It won’t be complete without you, and it’s only $20.

Now, before you tell yourself what you always do, “I can’t possibly go,” stop and open your eyes. Read aloud the next words you see here:

Let’s just see how it goes.

Let’s just see how it goes. That’s what Maezumi Roshi always said to me. It’s not just a social courtesy. Not a simplistic cliché. It is a precise instruction on how to live an enlightened life.

Open your eyes.

That brings me around to mentioning something that might seem peculiar about zazen, or Zen meditation. We meditate with our eyes open. Slightly open, but still open. What you probably think of, and maybe even do, is meditate with your eyes closed. But that’s not practicing meditation, or awareness. That’s daydreaming, or sleeping. Daydreaming is nice, but no one needs to practice it. If you want to meditate with your eyes closed, I suggest you just opt for a deep tissue massage and get total body benefit out of it. That’s what I plan to do with the gift certificate I got for Christmas.

Wanna get away?

See how it goes. See that airfares, in some cases, are delightfully low. See that cross-country or even cross-town, is amazingly close. See me smile in total rapture to finally meet you face to face.

This time of year, we might find it easy to make long-range plans and commitments to improve our health, break old habits, lose weight, enhance our productivity and save or make more money. But can we commit even a few moments to transforming our lives and everyone in it? Sure we can.

Open your eyes and see.

Do you know the way to San Jose?

September 26th, 2008    -    11 Comments


I’ve been away so long. I may go wrong and lose my way.
Do you know the way to San Jose?
I’m going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose.

I flew into San Jose and spent most of today with a group of inspiring and powerful women, the founders and organizers of the Palo Alto Mother’s Symposium, a landmark event created nine years ago by mothers for mothers to address the questions that echo forever in the lives of mothers, questions without sufficient answers, that we can never know with any certainty, but that bind us together in the most tender kind of everloving company.

On Saturday, March 7 I’ll go back to keynote the symposium on the campus of Stanford University, and I want you to find the way. Because you, yes you, are going to come down, up, out, over and join me there. You and I are going to spend the morning in glorious company, then because you’ve come so far we’re going to have a bonus round of afternoon coffee, tea and conversation with raucous laughter and a few tears. I won’t settle for otherwise. Mark your calendar, find your way and meet me there. Admission is cheap and the transportation – well, why not just see what’s possible. (Put a hundred down and buy a car.)

I’ve got lots of friends in San Jose
Do you know the way to San Jose?
Can’t wait to get back to San Jose.

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