Posts Tagged ‘Zen Mama’

Look, ma, no hands

June 20th, 2009    -    5 Comments

Offered as a prayer of love and thanksgiving on this, what would have been my mother’s seventy-sixth birthday. Her silent ovation never ends.

Dear Karen,

Thank you so much for writing Momma Zen, or as the title is in Dutch: Zen Mama! I enjoyed every minute of it. You helped me so much with all kinds of struggles that I have had as a mother. Your book inspired me to look at life differently, to see all the beauty that is around me, in my children, in my marriage, in my work. I am kind of a hyperactive person some times and after the birth of my youngest daughter, I lost all my flexibility in life. I could no longer look at the bright side of life, felt so guilty towards my daughter at not being able to solve her problems and really fought hard to get myself back on track. Then I read about your book, ran to the bookstore, started reading and could not stop for a couple of hours. I think I never quoted a book so many times in conversations with my husband because you used the words in your book that I was looking for.

You have no idea what you did for me and my family. I am so happy at the moment, enjoying every minute of my two beautiful girls without doubting if I am a good mother. Thanks Karen for everything!

Every friend of mine that celebrates her birthday will receive your book for the coming years.


I have 27 pages of emails like this, 9500 words, from four continents. They are the world to me.

Now, give yourself two chances to win a signed copy of Momma Zen at the wishstudio or at Elissa Elliott’s Living the Questions blog. Visit both and be greedy! It’s a birthday.

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Remembrance of things past

April 12th, 2009    -    1 Comment

Or, the 1,000 words I learned in Dutch.

Covering the ground

April 2nd, 2009    -    9 Comments

This Saturday I’ll be giving the dharma talk at the Hazy Moon Zen Center. Come and join our morning program of sitting. And if you don’t know how to sit, then take our beginner’s class. We will all be beginners on Saturday.

This weekend Georgia and I leave for Amsterdam where we’ll be seeing the sights and making some of our own at a Zen Mama workshop on April 8 co-sponsored by Lof magazine for working mothers. They are giving everyone who comes the Dutch copy of my book and a piece of cake. Come for the cake! I am already so deeply impressed by the hospitality and sincerity of my Dutch hosts. We have a saying in Zen, “covering the ground where you stand.” It is the signpost of self-mastery. I feel as though I can do this one lying down, and laugh my head off.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, I’m out to prove.

I’ll be popping in from time to time next week, especially to offer my up-to-now untold personal testimonial about Amy Tiemann’s fantastic new edition of Mojo Mom, debuting on April 7.

Kom voor de taart!

Photo by Denise Andrade

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The artist formerly known as Mom

March 1st, 2009    -    14 Comments

My mother’s name was Artice. It was an unusual name, and it brought her unusual attention. Almost everyone thought, on first hearing, that her name was Artist. So she was an artist, and she was a mom. I am a mom, and it’s taken me a long time to realize that I am an Artist too.

A few months ago, the photographer Denise Andrade came up to my house and before she could knock at the front door I opened up a side door from the bedroom and hollered for her to come in. So she came in through the bedroom. I suspect that’s the way she comes in most places, through the hidden chamber, to the real you. She said something right off that she will not remember, but that I will not forget, since it is something that I would never in my right mind say about me. She said:

You have a cute figure.

I think that’s why she got pictures that looked like this. Like no one I’m used to seeing, but who must live around here off a side door to a hidden chamber.

Now I’m not supposed to be hidden. I make a point of being all up front and in your face. But even that pose, you know, that Zen pose can get stale and predictable. I’m so glad I didn’t fool Denise for one minute. She has an eye, you might say, that doesn’t sleep. That’s a big-time Zen compliment, but I’ll leave it to you to find out what it means.

I asked Denise to come over because I wanted updated author photos. Because I want to be up front and in your face. Because the last ones were taken three years ago, and because a lot can happen in three years when you get to be my age. So then Denise went and made me look about 30 years younger.

A friend I haven’t seen or spoken too in 15 years saw one of Denise’s photos of me online and said, “Is Zen the secret of ageless beauty?” Zen is ageless beauty all right, but Denise is the secret.

So if you’re an artist, like a writer, and you need a stunning author photo for a book jacket or something, even if there is no book jacket in sight, especially if there is no book jacket in sight, you should go straightaway to Denise and invite her in through a side door. Sometimes you have to get a photo first, and then the book jacket shows up. I know. This one here is the photo my Dutch publisher chose. That’s right, Dutch as in the Netherlands as in Amsterdam, where Georgia and I are going, courtesy of my Dutch publisher, in April, to celebrate the Dutch translation of Momma Zen.

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