unfailingly generous

September 8th, 2010

When I first heard that Lori Deschene of the hugely popular inspirational site Tiny Buddha was going to review Hand Wash Cold, I wondered how she would define my life’s work.

After all, plenty of people don’t like the book, and a goodly number don’t hesitate to say so. Compared to Momma Zen‘s sweetly sentimental musings about the transcendent love of motherhood, Hand Wash Cold can smack some people upside the head like a wet, stinky dishrag. As Deschene writes:

Most of us don’t want to be ordinary. We want to be special. We want to live bold, extraordinary lives punctuated by moments of passion, excitement, and adventure.

We want to fill our days with people, things, and activities that make us feel vibrant, and outsource the rest to someone else – someone paid to handle the mundane.

We want to discover something, uncover something, build something, invent something, found something, prove something – be something. We want to be extraordinary. We want to be excellent. We want to be great – or at least moving in that direction.

I don’t write about how to do any of that. I don’t write about the life all of us wish we had. You can read something else if you’re still looking for that. Almost anything else will deliver the promise of escape to somewhere – anywhere – else. Instead, as Deschene says about my approach:

She turns herself inside out to reveal her vulnerability, her ego, her humanity – everything you might assume doesn’t exist underneath the trappings of priesthood. She is unfailingly generous in sharing her own journey to right here and now.

Despite my failings, Tiny Buddha has inspired me to be unfailingly generous all over again.  I’m giving away a signed copy of Hand Wash Cold right here and now. Leave a comment to enter. Double your chances by tweeting the following.

RT @kmaezenmiller Giveaway: Hand Wash Cold http://bit.ly/a3rxE0

Note to Readers: Hand Wash Cold is on back order at Amazon, but personally signed copies are always available on the Books page of my website. Click “Special Friends Offer”

It’s giveaway week! I’ll be giving away books on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Check back and enter often. Winners for all three, including, Brad Warner’s latest eyebrow-raiser, drawn next Sunday, Sept. 12.

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  1. Already have your book, and given many away, so I do not need to win. I just visit here often and continue to be inspired your generosity and spirit.
    We can all give something every day – kind thoughts, gifts, compliments, smiles……
    Thanks Karen for inspiring all of us to be our best

    Comment by K Tedeschini — September 9, 2010 @ 1:39 am

  2. Just got my copy of HWC this week and am loving it. It’s always sweet to read the truth. Would love to have a second copy to pass along to one of my prenatal or postnatal yoga students!

    Comment by Jenni Derryberry Mann — September 9, 2010 @ 2:38 am

  3. Embracing the ordinary brings you face to face with the extraordinary. I had a great time in New York last week but I really missed not being at yoga and spin.

    Comment by Melissa — September 9, 2010 @ 3:12 am

  4. I heard a radio interview with you on Sunday, a program called New Dimensions, maybe? I’ve never heard it before, but it was absolutely auspicious that that program aired exactly when my son and I drove an hour to Gram and Granddad’s house for a sleepover. We both loved it! Especially the part about proximity and giving our attention to show our love…

    Anyway, I LOVE the ordinary magic you point to. I find a huge relief in it. I find myself feeling so alive, free of devotion to a resume–someone else’s life. I would love to read your book. Loved Momma Zen, too. Thank you for the giveaways!

    Comment by char — September 9, 2010 @ 3:32 am

  5. Your courage, wit, rawness, commitment and talent inspire me!! Regardless of your core motivations, I am always invited to a place I consider ‘deeper.’ Thank you so much!

    Comment by KSM — September 9, 2010 @ 4:48 am

  6. What’ wrong with ordinary? Life is nothing more than just this anyway.

    Comment by Alan — September 9, 2010 @ 8:10 am

  7. I’ve already given my copy to a dear friend…so I’d love to own another one! Thank you!

    Comment by Katrina — September 9, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  8. Dear Karen, I am thinking of you so much right now. I hope to reread Hand Wash Cold very soon. It is a real book, about real life. There comes a time that life is not very sentimental and we need someone to hold our hand and walk with us then, too. Thank you for providing that as you share your own personal story, something that takes great courage in itself.

    Comment by Mojo Mom — September 9, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  9. Pick me!

    Comment by sarah — September 9, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  10. I think her review is spot on. You are, indeed, unfailingly generous, and I think the world is in desperate need of a book like yours, which encourages us to embrace the life we have rather than wish it were something different. No need to enter me in the give away ~ I have my copy, thank you!

    Comment by Swirly — September 9, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  11. I’m really looking forward to reading your book!

    Comment by Amy — September 9, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  12. I heard you for the first time last week on ‘New Dimensions’. I felt like a light went on above my head. I DO want to be extraordinary but I realize I need to do that within my very hectic but ordinary life. It seems as though my life is made of numerous compartments where I am seldom present to the moment. I’m sure as I learn to become more present, I will discover that the boundaries between those compartments will fade and my life will seem less hectic. I want an extraordinary ordinary life! Thank you for the inspiration!

    Comment by Kerry Smith — September 9, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  13. Karen,
    I just “discovered” you two days ago (podcast interview with Kimberly Wilson) and am so inspired by your wisdom!
    Thank you!!!

    Comment by Tonya — September 9, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  14. I have not had a chance yet to read your books but am very excited to do so. My local library does not have your books here so I have to wait until I can purchase them on Amazon I am very new to Buddhism and just found your website last. I have been intently reading it ever since, so I can imagine that your books are going to help me and bring light in my life. Thank you so much for your words and advice!!

    Comment by Celetra Daigle — September 9, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  15. I know so little about Buddhism but I check your site from time to time.

    Comment by gail — September 10, 2010 @ 12:30 am

  16. I know what you mean about people not wanting to be “ordinary.” I remember I was in a workshop about transforming your life, and they were always talking about living an extraordinary life, and it was all about success… and I asked, “why do we have to be extraordinary. what’s wrong with living a small life? with being happy with what you have?”

    They didn’t even know what to say to me.

    Comment by rowena — September 10, 2010 @ 12:35 am

  17. Here’s the untold story: in Zen, “ordinary” means “enlightened” and “enlightened” means “as it is.”

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — September 10, 2010 @ 2:06 am

  18. Hi Karen – met you in KC, MO…I am back home in Australia. Thank you for the heron story…I am meeting them regularly now! I have returned to floods! After 13 years of drought – how marvelous! X

    Comment by Suzanne — September 10, 2010 @ 1:30 am

  19. What a generous week!!! Thank you for the opportunity, I will be crossing my fingers and also my toes 🙂

    Comment by Natasha — September 10, 2010 @ 4:53 am

  20. I am curious about your book and would love to read it. This is my first encounter with your work.

    Comment by rachel myers — September 10, 2010 @ 7:47 am

  21. Thank you Karen.

    I have a child, and she is my Master.
    I have no other baby, and that is my Master also.

    My challenges bless me, again and again.
    Thank you for reminding me that the never ending drudgery is my life and my practice!
    It’s so good to be here.


    Comment by Dawa — September 10, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  22. I adored the book and would love a copy to give as a gift!

    Comment by Aparna — September 10, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

  23. Very excited to read in these comments about the NPR attention…and I’m going there now to listen!

    Comment by rebecca — September 10, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

  24. Thanks for sponsoring all these great giveaways. This is the book I want to read most.

    Comment by 6512 and growing — September 10, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

  25. Coming back to enter again, just because this book looks so great.

    Comment by Kristin — September 10, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

  26. Just found this page through friend’s link- I shall have to buy the book if I don’t win because my curiosity, having read the review, is overwhelming 🙂

    Comment by Emma — September 10, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  27. You’ve given me peace already, but your book would be nice!

    Comment by jellyfrog — September 11, 2010 @ 8:16 am

  28. Crossing my fingers!

    Comment by Kristin — September 11, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  29. i adore your books. and cherish the wisdom. thank you. would love to share hand wash cold with others in my life. entering for them. happy weekend.

    Comment by melissa — September 12, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  30. Just the title invokes memories of simpler times – I would love more of your beautiful words and wisdom.

    Comment by kat — September 12, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

  31. I would love to win a copy even though I’ve already read the book and plan to again.

    Comment by MamaFeelgood — September 13, 2010 @ 3:24 am

  32. Would really enjoy this dear book.

    Comment by Anna Katherine — September 13, 2010 @ 5:21 am

  33. Don’t need to win a copy – bought Hand Wash Cold three months ago at Borders – full price and worth every penny! Looking forward to your next.

    Comment by Cynthia — September 19, 2010 @ 2:35 am

  34. […] Initially I resisted but my spirit kept wrestling with it. On Karen Maezen Miller’s site, she wrote about a review of her book by Lori Deschene over at Tiny Buddha. If only I’d printed it out […]

    Pingback by Thoughts on Happy | Life After Benjamin — October 18, 2010 @ 6:21 am

  35. […] Initially I resisted but my spirit kept wrestling with it. On Karen Maezen Miller’s site, she wrote about a review of her book by Lori Deschene over at Tiny Buddha. If only I’d printed it out […]

    Pingback by Thoughts on Happy | Alana Sheeren — July 30, 2012 @ 8:06 am

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