I read Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller when I was pregnant. I have read it again and again since. I know the thing by heart. As I would sit in the dark, nursing and rocking, gripped with anxiety and fear, I would pull the book out of my rocking chair and read. Those words were a life jacket for me. The love in them kept me afloat. A simple book kept my postpartum depression at bay.
I have been looking forward to Maezen's new book, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life for months. But, not really. I loved Momma Zen. How on earth could she do any better than that? I was afraid I would not like the book at all.
It came in the mail about two weeks ago, and I read it up fast. Too fast. So, I read it again. Momma Zen cradled my heart. Hand Wash Cold spoke right into my bones. It's not about being a mom or a wife. It's about being you.
I don't want to review this book. I want to write every word right here on this blog for you to read. I want to sit around and read it to you, and nod and smile with you.
Here is my favorite thing about this book : Karen Maezen Miller lives in the oldest private Japanese garden in southern California. She lives in a Zen garden and I don't, and that has changed my life. My husband says "Well, that's pretty fancy. It's easy to be Zen if you live in a Zen garden". "It's easy to think laundry is cool if you used to have someone doing your laundry for you." (I bet my husband and Maezen's husband would get along really well.)
But, when he said this to me, it clicked. Everything she said clicked. My life is what it is. My practice is not anyone else's. It's my job to do what is at hand, for me. My practice is to love what I have in front of me. And what else is there?
This book is magic. Ordinary magic.