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Book Review: Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller

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“A book can’t change your life, except when it does.” — Dan Barden

Hand Wash Cold is not the kind of book I usually read. If my friend Imelda (who took this photo) hadn’t implored me to read it, insisting it had changed her life, I never would have picked it up.

But I did. And for that I’m grateful.

It’s a book about laundry. And dishes. And yardwork. And life. The author, Karen Maezen Miller is a Zen priest, wife, mother, speaker, world traveler, and writer. She is an extraordinary woman, living a decidedly ordinary life.

Sometimes writers try to hit their readers over the head with insightful life lessons and revelations. Fortunately, Miller is not one of them. Instead, she offers deep and profound wisdom through simple metaphors and penetrating prose. Exploring topics such as love, loss, depression, connection, meditation, mindfulness, loving kindness, home and peace, readers find themselves on a journey of self-discovery that doesn’t start in a foreign country thousands of miles away, but in their very own kitchens.

On more than one occasion, her poignant questions made me stop, put the book down, and really think about how that idea related to my own life. For example:

“How about when the story you make up is more enticing than the people you cast in the script?”

Or…

“Do you suppose we chase after commitment from another because we fail to commit to ourselves and our life as it is?”

Or…

“Where do you invest your time, your life, and your love, knowing that whatever you pay attention to thrives?”

Simple wisdom. Easily explained. Watch this video about Hand Wash Cold and then go pick up the book today.

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About ericaogrady

  • http://www.imeldabettinger.com Imelda

    I’m so glad you were moved by the book as much as I was Erica. You’re right, the book, makes to stop. It took me almost 3 months to actually finish because I was learning along the way. I recommend it to anyone who wants to slow down. Everyone can learn something from Karen.