The Ponderer

* Giveaway * Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller

February 18, 2011
Asilomar | Refuge by the Sea

This giveaway is now closed – Congratulations to our winner, Wylie Hunt!

While I still feel inadequately ready to write about my retreat last weekend, it’s time.  It’s also time for my February giveaway and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate one than Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life by Karen Maezen Miller (who led the retreat).  It’s the book that has recently shifted my perspective, which has helped me embrace the freedom I have in my life.

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Giveaway details at bottom of post if you want to skip reading.
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Asilomar | Refuge by the Sea

Asilomar | Refuge by the Sea

I woke up much earlier than normal last Saturday as the sun was rising.  Set my GPS to Pacific Grove, CA – destination: Asilomar Retreat Center.  A playlist of specifically chosen songs to encourage grounding accompanied me and I sang my heart out as I drove for nearly two hours.  And then, it was time to be quiet.  I knew it was time to be quiet because the scenery commanded it.  Finally reaching the coastline, I knew I was near my destination.  The sun was out.  The sky was clear.  I continued down a tree-paved road right into retreat.

With the same butterflies in my stomach that have been with me since I can remember as a child, I found my way through the maze of the grounds to the Sea Galaxy conference room and entered the large vaulted room.  I spotted Maezen immediately in her black Zen robes, short and swift stature, inviting countenance.  She knew me right away, somehow, and said my name.  Confirming, I smiled. She smiled back, proceeded toward me gracefully and full of warmth, hugged and welcomed me.

An unknown angel gave me a scholarship to this retreat, and I’m really so grateful.  I’m not sure who to thank, whether Maezen herself (which, of course, I did), or someone else.  So, please consider my thanks, if you are reading.

During retreat we listened to wise words and ideas from Maezen, did a little yoga, a little meditation (which is really just paying attention to your breath silently), and explored the refuge by the sea and the beach.  My biggest take aways from retreat were:

  • paying attention – being present wherever you are, whomever you’re with.
  • attention is love – there is not greater love you can show someone than when you are paying attention to them fully.
  • your child needs an hour of your attention, every day.
  • if you stop running, they will stop chasing.
  • if you give them the hour they need, you have stopped running.
  • trust your life.

I also learned when it’s time to be sad, when it’s time to cry, when it’s time to mourn or grieve, when it’s time to be happy, when it’s time to feel joy.  It’s time when you are.  It’s time to be sad when you are sad.  It sounds simple, yet we make it so hard, disallowing ourselves to feel what we are feeling because somehow we feel we shouldn’t.

Asilomar faces the Pacific Ocean.  Pacific means peace.  If we want peace, we must face peace.

I can’t recommend Hand Wash Cold enough.  It specifically helped me on the road to embracing my life I have versus the one I pine for ever day.  And though my life is Ordinary – I can make it extraordinary by finding joy in the maintenance of it.


To enter the giveaway you must leave a comment on this blog post (any comment will do).  The winner will be chosen at random by

To receive multiple entries  you can also:

  • Like my new Facebook Page – leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.
  • Follow me on Twitter – leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.
  • Subscribe to email updates of new blog posts – leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.
  • Subscribe to my RSS Feed – leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.
  • Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post – leave an additional comment with the link to your post.
  • Share this post on Facebook (must share it – not just ‘like’ it) – leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.
  • Digg this post – leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.
  • StumbleUpon this post – leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.
  • Simply Leave any comment – if you don’t want to follow me, like me, digg me, stumble me, etc… simply leaving a comment is good for one entry!

This contest will end Sunday, February 20th at 11:59pm (pst), so get your comments in before then.

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.  There are 9 possible entries.

Qualification for winner will be verified.  A new winner will be chosen if first winner’s entry could not be verified.

Winner will be chosen by and will be announced Monday, February 21st.  Winner will need to provide me with their name and address.  If winner resides outside of United States an Amazon gift certificate will be awarded of equal value.

*** If you don’t win – please do yourself a favor and buy Hand Wash Cold ***

Hand Wash Cold

Thank you so much for visiting and playing!

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  • Reply carlanda williamson February 18, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    thank you for the chance to win this!!! i liked your facebook page. 1 entry!


  • Reply carlanda williamson February 18, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    thank you again! i also signed up for your updates on my email! entry #2!


  • Reply rene jantzi February 18, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Thanks for the possibility of winning this lovely book :)


  • Reply Jumbleberry Jam February 18, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    How lovely that you were able to attend the retreat and get so much out of it. Thank you for the generous giveaway. I would love a copy of this book!


  • Reply Cry February 18, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    If I dont win I will for sure buy it!
    I wish I could just memorize every word you write down on your posts sometimes, you inspire and teach me on things withing myself and I thank you.
    make your own book or maybe just make your blog a book and give me a free on sice I reccommended it to you, heehee
    God Bless the person who gave you this trip to enjoy your trip and learn so much.
    Have a great weekend.
    Im going to go look up the book no and put it on my wish list if i dont win, thanks.


  • Reply Stephanie February 18, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    This is a fun exercise. Thank you! I enjoyed your advice!


  • Reply Tamara February 18, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    that was a beautiful day…i’m so happy to have met you and shared it with everybody that day. happy weekend!


  • Reply Alana February 18, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Don’t enter me in the drawing -- I just wanted to say how much I too love the book and how much good Maezen has done for my heart and I haven’t yet attended one of her retreats. Your description is lovely. Thank you for sharing. (PS. Came here from the mention on KMM’s blog)


  • Reply Palma February 19, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Sounds like a fantastic book and one that I’d really like to win and read. Please enter in me in your draw.

    Wish me luck ☻


  • Reply marilee pittman February 19, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    I really like your blog and will come back for a visit. Would love to hear about the retreat and win the book!


  • Reply Kathryn February 19, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    I am trying to take in the beautiful simplicity and challenge of your take sways from the retreat. To wake up to the moment, to tune in with our attention…thank you for the post and the give away.


  • Reply Lisa Wheeler February 19, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    What I need to read washes in to me on shore when I need it. Karen’s link to your blog brought me to your post today. A thought: If I stop chasing, they will stop running.


  • Reply aubrey February 19, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    I would love to read this book! Sounds so inspiring. :)


  • Reply Anna February 19, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    thank you for your insight. I attended one of Maezen’s retreats and I love to hear others thoughts because it was so much to take in all at once!


  • Reply Anna February 19, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    And I liked your FB page!


  • Reply Wylie Hunt February 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I would love to read this book. I have been following her blog for quite some time.


  • Reply Wylie Hunt February 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I am following you on Facebook.


  • Reply Wylie Hunt February 19, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    I also subscribed to your newsletter….


  • Reply Dwan Tape February 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Thank you for the opportunity to try for this. What a lovely blog you have!


  • Reply Dwan Tape February 20, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    I’ve followed your RSS feed as well, such as it is.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend!


  • Reply Paul Brennan February 25, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Nice piece about the retreat. I would love to hear you tell us more about it. Did you find it easier or more difficult than you expected? What was the format? Or any other info.
    I have already bought Hand Wash Cold and I have enjoyed it so no entry but just a smile to someone who has also enjoyed it.
    My teacher told me the story:
    “Attention, attention, attention”
    Sounds easy but it’s very challenging and it’s very worthwhile.
    Best wishes,


  • Reply Wylie Hunt February 8, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    I just saw that I had won this wonderful book. Is it too late to still claim it? Thanks so much!


    angela Reply:

    @Wylie Hunt,
    Hi Wylie! I remember sending this out to you and just looked up the old order details from Amazon to confirm. I’m sorry if you never received it -- since it’s been so long, I’m guessing there isn’t much that can be done at this point : (

    Here are the order details that Amazon stored for the transaction:

    Order Placed: February 26, 2011 order number: 104-0065699-0252236
    Order Total: $15.38

    Shipment #1: Shipped on February 28, 2011
    Delivery estimate: March 3, 2011 (More about estimates)
    1 package via USPS
    Shipping Address:
    Wylie Hunt
    24 Knox Avenue
    Stony Brook, NY 11790-1538
    United States

    Shipping Speed:
    Standard Shipping
    Items Ordered Price
    1 of: Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life [Paperback]
    By: Karen Maezen Miller
    Condition: New
    Sold by: LLC

    Item(s) Subtotal: $10.17
    Shipping & Handling: $3.99
    Total before tax: $14.16
    Sales Tax: $1.22
    Total for This Shipment: $15.38


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