a voice in the night

December 14th, 2014

41Jec+cLZXLMomma Zen is now available as an audiobook, read by me. Here’s a chance to win a free copy for yourself or a friend.

I can’t remember writing this book. I can’t remember what I wrote. But I can remember the moment when I began to write. I had never written in my own name before. The moment of birth went like this:

Me to my husband: I need a laptop!
Him: Okay.
Me: I need to go away and write!
Him: Okay.
Me: I’m going to write a book!
Him Okay.

The labor, as all labors, continued for quite a long time after, in every kind of circumstance. It was years before I had a sense of what I had done and, more to the point, who had done it. I can see that Momma Zen is not really like the books I’ve written since. One reason is that it reflects my maturity as a Zen student, mother, and writer at the time, which were all three nil. I used to wonder how in the world I had pulled it off. Now I think I know.

These are my mother’s words, after she died, reaching beyond time and space to console me in my darkest hours. When I read these words I see her and feel her; when I hear them I am her. How comforting her voice in the dark, reminding me that I am not alone. Now, how comforting my voice in the dark, reminding you that you are not alone.

Bring yourself into the fold by leaving a comment on this post. I will be awarding several free copies of the new audiobook to commenters next Sunday, the darkest night of the year.


  1. Would love to bring this type of insight into my relationship with my 3 amazing grandchildren.

    Comment by marian — December 17, 2014 @ 6:52 am

  2. I bought your book years ago after having the privilege to see you give a talk at Stanford. What an inspiring source and a reminder of the infinite peace in mothering our kids.

    Comment by Liliana — December 17, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

  3. Your books have all been on my list to read, this one particularly. I could use it right about now, with the busyness of the holiday season, that’s for sure. And I have to say, I also loved your post, Who turns. It’s breathtaking, really.

    Comment by Allison S. — December 18, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

  4. Having you even closer would be amazing.

    Comment by Ranya — December 19, 2014 @ 7:22 am

  5. I’ve been missing my mother lately, even though it’s been over 30 years since she died. I’m very interested to see what this book holds, for myself as a grandmother as well as for my daughter. And absolutely yes, your voice is so comforting! Thank you for being so generous with your teachings.

    Comment by Ann O. — December 20, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

  6. This was the book that brought you into my world. So for me it was a birth of sorts.Now of course I’ll have to have to listen to your words. Like so many before hav

    Comment by daisy marsahll — December 23, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

  7. said, this book is a wonderful tool to remind us all how to keep on mothering ourselves. Wonder if we’re ever done?Thank you Karen

    Comment by daisy marsahll — December 23, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

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