Momma Zen – Interview with Karen Maezen Miller

Karen Maezen Miller is a wife and mother as well as a Zen Buddhist priest at the Hazy Moon Zen Center Los Angeles, California.

She writes about spirituality in everyday life and is the author of Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life and Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood.

This interview is sooooo good!! I listened to this 3 1/2 years after I interviewed her and it was exactly what I needed to hear today. This conversation never tires because how we experience motherhood is how we live. Powerful medicine and awesome wisdom for Mommas!!

I *love* her Momma Zen book! Here are a few of my favorite passages:

Your life is your practice. Your spiritual practice does not occur someplace other than in your life right now, and your life is nowhere other than where you are. You are looking for answers, insight, and wisdom that you already possess. Live the life in front of you, be the life you are, and see what you find out for yourself.

We can handle anything when we exchange our worries and fears for alertness and spontaneity, when we focus solely on what is in front of us, and when we leap into the sheer wonder of the unplanned life.

Practice acceptance on yourself so you can be kinder with your child.”

Life is full of fits and starts. Some things are easy; some are not. Some things go and some things stop. Do your work; then set it down. There are no failures. Forgive and forget yourself.”

You can change in an instant. You can change your mind. You can change your timing. You can change your approach. You can change your words. You can laugh instead of scream. You can hop on one foot. You can step away from the fray instead of stepping in. You can give up, give in, and go in a completely different direction you’d like to. You can do the dishes later. What then? What next? The Zen master has told you, ” You embody the golden breeze.” You are change. You have infitnite power to relax, to release, to change, and thus to change everything. If you find that you don’t have the energy or the good humor to do so this time, I will understand. There will be many opportunities afforded you.”

Your child is a tireless teacher, constantly probing your self imposed limits and boundaries, your self-centeredness, your sheer stubbornness.”

Yes, we all have a load on our hands, but the heavy is in our heads. Set the heavy down and sweep aside the useless mental clutter…When you can do anything as though you work at nothing, you have the best days of your life.

Words are magic. All words are, not just please and thank you. The words my daughter will use are the ones she hears; the words I want her to use she must hear from me.

All the careful preparations and good intentions you bring to motherhood come down to this: can you handle it right now?”

Here comes again: another start start of another day. What a reprieve! You have incalculable chances to change the ending. To change your attitude. To be the new you. Whether you know it or not, you already are the new you. Forget what you think, lose the foregone conclusion, and just be new.

In my home, the life of a priest, a wife, and a mother are one and the same. I have only one life and my life is only one thing. Motherhood doesn’t get in the way of being a priest, and being a priest doesn’t get in the way of being a mother. My practice is to see that nothing ever gets in the way of anything else. More to the point, my practice is to recognize that no one else is ever pushing me forward, and no one else is ever holding me back.

Aaaamazing right!? LOVE! I hope you enjoyed the interview and her golden wisdom!

Lots of Momma Love,


2 thoughts on “Momma Zen – Interview with Karen Maezen Miller

  1. What a delightful surprise to see your comment. 🙂 It was powerful for me to hear when I was pregnant and especially now with a 3 year old. I laughed hearing my sweet naivete on the precipice of becoming new mother. Your books and wise guidance have been nourishment for my soul. Lots of love and gratitude!

    Liked by 1 person

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