“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 you already possess. Live the life in front of you, be the life you are, and see what you find out for yourself.”
~ Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, Karen Maezen Miller
I read a lot of books while I was pregnant. I felt I could prepare for motherhood by consuming as much information as I could on all topics ranging from breastfeeding to vaccinations, childhood illness, sleep habits, and different parenting philosophies. While in the moment, all of this information did seem to soothe my nerves and give me a sense of having some groundwork in place, ultimately I think I would have put it all together on my own. I might have even spared myself much grief over what I had read was the “right” way to do anything, since every baby and every mother’s experience are as unique as their own fingerprints. Though Amazon may tout some impressive 70,000 parenting titles, there is no book about your baby. You write it together as you go along. There were certainly not any titles on how to parent myself through motherhood which is what I really needed. Instead we get immersion therapy: learning how to swim by being thrown into the lake.
Enter Karen Maezen Miller’s book, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, which could have only arrived exactly when it did — a year in, battle-scarred, raw and just barely beginning to discover bits of pleasure in life again. And the words on these pages perforated the remaining fog like shards of light in a sealed room. I read the first chapter, put the book down and stared at it. This book was written for me.Trembling, I picked it up and read the second chapter and then the third and then I put the book down and wept.
She saw me.
Someone had put into words so perfectly what I could not utter, even to myself. I hovered over each sentence with with trepidation, pausing when necessary to utter the silent, (enlightened equivalent of) “Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.”
At the very heart of it all, she nailed it again and again.
Finishing the book, I immediately bought a copy for my friend, also a mother of a young child. And then I picked up to read it again from the beginning. I need not have read anything else.
“Motherhood is a spiritual practice. It’s a crash course in wisdom.”