Writing Zen and Mommy Zen and the Reality Between

What should I say about Momma Zen? I don’t often like to read “mom” books. Just looking at them makes me feel like once I gave birth I stopped being me and started A’s mom. Being my son’s mother is a wonder everyday and I would give up everything if things came down to it, but I haven’t become a whole new person just because I’m a parent. I’ve change for sure. But adding another facet to my personality isn’t the same as a personality transplant.

I liked Karen Maezen Miller’s book. To all parents–actual, potential, and otherwise–I’d recommend it. I love where she talks about the unread parenting books (mine are dusty too) and it made me feel better about not obsessing over my son’s every developmental step. I have no idea if the art my son makes is developmentally appropriate. I only know I am amazed by his imagination and tons of his work decorate our walls.

Zen does not naturally attract me. I like some bits and not others, but I like how she reminds us to let go of rigid thinking and give yourself to your experience. She doesn’t really say anything I don’t on some level know–that doesn’t mean I don’t need to hear somebody else say it too.

Of course, I’m jealous too. As I rack up agent rejections, it is difficult to have someone who is published suggest perhaps I could let that obsession go. Publication won’t solve my problems or be the magic cure for all that ails me, but I can’t find a way to be zen about it. Sometimes with the whole Zen Buddhist philosophy I can’t decide what is acceptance and what is giving up.

3 thoughts on “Writing Zen and Mommy Zen and the Reality Between

  1. I’d be curious what Karen thinks about the question in your last sentence. She surprises me, because she writes things I would have assumed were contradictory to the idea I have of Zen Buddhism.

    I do sense an increase of fervor in you toward writing in the past months (even year). It sometimes feels as though you’ve found another best friend (not that I categorize friendships this way). No judgment here, just observing.

  2. There is a scene in “Thelma & Louise” where Thelma tells her friend that something has crossed over inside her, that she feels different, and that she can’t go back. A bit dramatic perhaps, but I feel that way about my writing life. It is not the same this year as it was last, and if I’m never published, I don’t know that I could go back. Whether or not it’s a new best friend or an unhealthy relationship (with me as the stalker), I don’t know.

  3. mommazen

    I can’t keep my zen over rejection either, and believe me, I still have it nearly every day! Acceptance IS giving up. It is giving up your expectations, your own notions, your judgments. It is NOT giving up your life, because life still keeps going. You still keep going. And if you keep going, you begin to see how much things change, how you never know what will happen next. Do you see how you judge the words “giving up?” As failure. That self-judgment is the problem. Trust me, it is MY problem too.
    For me, that’s the attraction of Zen, the only attraction of Zen. The mental relief. The peace of mind.

    And Kathryn, it is a sure bet that any idea is contradictory to Zen. Because ideas are inherently not the way things are. (Warning: there are many wrong-headed Zen thinkers out there.)

    Thanks for reading. Whether published or not, reading is what makes writing worthwhile.

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