my sarah palin moment

December 12th, 2010

When you come back from retreat like I just did, you find out something. Although you were away from noise, information and conversation for 10 days, you didn’t miss anything that matters. Sure enough, you miss out on the savagery that passes for political and cultural affairs – the insanity, hostility and depravity that we are dangerously desensitized to – but the good stuff comes right on schedule.

So I missed another episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

But then right here in my scopes I caught sight of something good. A group of Buddhist bloggers gave this blog Cheerio Road a prize. I’m not usually keen on awards. My approach to them owes much to Groucho’s famous take on club membership. Namely, I’m not that interested in winning an award that would have me as a winner. But this one was meaningful because I’m not well known, and frankly, not that well liked as a Buddhist blogger. Sometimes people tell me that I get under their nerves or disappoint them. They tell me my approach to Buddhism is trivial and inane. More people tell me this every day. There’s a whole discussion board in which I’m carved limb from limb! So I’m normally gun shy around card-carrying Buddhists.

It’s obvious that hatred sells and provocation pays. When you come back from a retreat, you see things in high relief. You see the abject loathing, pious greed and bloodthirsty ignorance that are destroying us. We live in a crazy world, so close to combusting that it’s terrifying. Seeing this, you might decide to let someone else pass by, freely and undisturbed. You might decide to practice passing by yourself, freely and undisturbed.

Thank you for letting me pass by. Thank you for encouraging me in my practice. I accept whatever comes my way, and apply the lessons here.

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  1. Congrats on the award. I think it is well earned and deserved. You blog is one of many different facets of this practice: A conglomerate of the monastic, serious lay-person and daily charged homeowner.

    Besides, if you check the panel of judges, I doubt you’ll find a card carrying Buddhist among them…a few communists maybe…

    Cheers and congrats.


    Comment by John — December 12, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  2. I love your blog…I have not checked in with it in some time but so glad I did today. Your words are highly encouraging to me and my beliefs, especially in our society.

    Speak on.

    Comment by Bridget James — December 12, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

  3. I love this blog too! And after having my first nasty comment about my blog this week, I am so glad I just read about how much you endure. Not because you do, but because you do it with such grace. What I’ve learned is to not give attention to it. Of course, this is after I gave attention to it…but I’ll know for next time. Congrats on your award. And as for the ones who are calling your blog trivial and inane, I think they need to pay less attention to the study of a thing and more attention to the thing itself. Maybe your blog is so trivial, it is profound. All I know is I am glad I stopped by!

    Comment by Shari — December 12, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

  4. I agree with Bridget – this is my favorites of your posts…

    I am often amused (and sometimes appalled) by comments made by “card carrying Buddhists”. And card carrying anything-ists for that matter. Is the point not to to let each other pass by, to encourage, to show compassion to each other and to ourselves?

    Thanks to you for walking your path and allowing us to observe.. for doing what you do so well.

    Comment by Christa — December 12, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  5. Again, Karen, you’ve hit the nail on the head!

    I feel that true visionaries, are usually attacked by “the establishment”. There are many examples in history. But it is usually these special, and few people, who really make a difference.

    I will continue to learn from you, thank you for your books, site and blog.

    Comment by Leigh — December 12, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

  6. just taking a moment to tell you that i love your trivial and inane approach to buddhism…if that’s what it is. finally an approach that works for me!

    Comment by amy — December 12, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  7. Karen – Congratulations again! I’ve always loved readig your blog, and the “Life” category fit it perfectly. Now if I had a nickel for everytime someone told me how much they hate my blog and what I write…I’d have about $4.35. 🙂 Haters gonna hate.. Then again, you don’t yell at your commentors like I do.

    Congratulations! Well deserved.

    Comment by Kyle — December 12, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  8. Thank you everyone.
    Kyle, you’re not going to get a nickel from me.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — December 12, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  9. Congrats on your prize.

    People can be so mean. I don’t get it.

    Comment by Kristal — December 12, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

  10. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jack Daw, Scott Free and Scott Free, Karen Maezen Miller. Karen Maezen Miller said: Sarah Palin and I have much in common. She is selling fire and I'm selling water, but she's selling way more I am. […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention my sarah palin moment | Karen Maezen Miller's Cheerio Road -- — December 13, 2010 @ 12:06 am

  11. Congratulations! It is human to discover that appreciation feels good. Now, if only people would use their powers for love instead of hate, this world would be a different place.

    Comment by Kim — December 13, 2010 @ 12:16 am

  12. I try to be Buddhist, but can’t really be a card carrying anything… I make it a point to use a wallet in my back pocket instead of a purse, so no room for the clutter 😉 The criticism reveals a lot, but not about you.

    Thank you for being a part of my rag-tag, makeshift practice. You have brought more truth and goodness into my life than you will ever know. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

    Comment by Mani — December 13, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  13. Oh Mani, there is more truth and goodness in our lives than any of us knows. You are a good woman.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — December 13, 2010 @ 1:13 am

  14. There’s great value in having your ideas challenged thoughtfully. I’m always appreciative when people comment on my blog in a way that engages what has been said, even if I end up disagreeing with them. I’ve learned a lot from regular readers who sometimes heavily disagree with some of the stuff I have written. Sometimes, people want it all to be butterflies and sunshine, when life just isn’t that way.

    Karen, I may disagree with you at times, but I would never dismiss what you’re doing as trivial. You clearly have a sincere dedication to practice, and are offering what you have gleaned to those of us who will listen. Your approach and skillful writing is obviously touching enough of us readers out there, otherwise you’d never have gotten close to getting that award. The award really doesn’t mean anything other than people are inspired in some way by your writing, and wanted to tell you so. That’s how I’m taking the award I received anyway.


    Comment by nathan — December 13, 2010 @ 1:20 am

  15. Good thing wisdom is intrinsically worth living.

    But if you are recruiting people to stir up controversy on your blog, I would volunteer.



    Comment by Chris — December 13, 2010 @ 1:31 am

  16. Nathan, the fact that life is not all butterflies and moonbeams is not something that we have to teach or reveal to people. It is the First Noble Truth, and it reveals itself. As a teacher, my job begins with the Second Noble Truth: there is a way to end suffering, and it starts with me, and how I live, and what I share, and more importantly, what I don’t share.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — December 13, 2010 @ 1:39 am

  17. Sometimes I think that we make things far too complicated. To triviality! 🙂

    And, also, congratulations!

    Comment by Amber — December 13, 2010 @ 5:21 am

  18. Can’t believe there are forums set up to assail you. That can’t be very Buddhist. I am a wife, a mom to 4 daughters and a trial attorney. There is always too much going on in my life. I love your thoughts, words and wisdom. You help me stay grounded, enjoy my kids, practice live and let live. I don’t need a card Buddhist. I do need to read your books and blog. You make my world a better place. Thank you!

    Comment by Kelly — December 13, 2010 @ 6:07 am

  19. Ah, great to see you won an award!

    I’ll confess, I did nominate and vote for your blog in a number of categories! 🙂

    Right back at you > “Thank you for encouraging me in my practice.”


    Comment by puerhan — December 13, 2010 @ 9:56 am

  20. Best Buddhist blogger…..of course. 🙂 Congratulations Karen, you deserve it.

    Love, Els.

    Comment by Els — December 13, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

  21. Congratulations, Karen. What you write (and don’t) has changed my life.

    Comment by Ines — December 13, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

  22. I for one am grateful for your blog and your retreats and your writings. The saneness and clarity is extremely comforting and guiding. thank you.

    Comment by Anna Katherine — December 13, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

  23. congratulations, firstly, for the award. I believe it is well deserved.

    For the rest of the post? I am kind of amazed. Certainly perspectives I did not plan on hearing. I am (and hope to always be) a beginning student of Buddhism, but from what I understand…there is nothing that is NOT trivial nor inane. If all just is, if it is our practice, our being that IS…how can the smallest pebble, the deepest or most shallow reflection, the most trivial of moments be anything but the dharma?

    Perhaps I am studying a different way of Buddhism or being than those who would tear you limb by limb. If that is so, I wish them good fortune but will happily keep following my own understanding…and enjoying your wisdom along the way.

    Comment by Lisa — December 13, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

  24. Hah! I read my comment and realized I should perhaps clarify….I wish those naysayers good fortune in their own practice. When they dive in for one of your limbs, I wish them awakening.

    Comment by Lisa — December 13, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

  25. For whatever it is worth, your words inspire me on a daily basis. I carry them around with me like tiny stones, small but potent reminders of all the beautiful ways I can be present in every moment. You are a gift, my friend.

    Comment by Swirly — December 14, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

  26. Congratulations on a well deserved award. Like someone else said, haters are going to hate. I’ve read some of their comments and they’re too blinded by their own dogma to hear your message.
    Have a peaceful christmas with your eleven year old and memories of your mother.

    Comment by 6512 and growing — December 15, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  27. People hate You? What a waste of energy. I think you are wonderful and I’m grateful for your writings. You’re unassuming, kind and brilliant, what’s there not to love? Great post.
    Eco Mama

    Comment by Eco Mama — December 18, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  28. Your writing pierces the outer layer and always makes me like myself a little more and extend that basic goodness. Thank you for your blog – you deserve the award!

    Much abundance in 2011,

    Comment by pamela — December 30, 2010 @ 6:58 am

  29. I guess people like to delude themselves, make things more difficult, assign more intellectual gusto to themselves. We all like to believe what we do is the most important. Love your blog, glad I found it. I don’t think you simplfy things, I think they complicate things. Ignore your critics and congratulations!

    Comment by Linda Gangi — January 26, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

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