Friday, February 26, 2010

From Good to GREAT

My husband Todd read the book "From Good to GREAT" and knowing I probably wouldn't get around to reading it soon...gave me his summary by saying, "The main thing this author said was that the companies who are great have DISTINCTIONS"
What that means is that they have authentically LOOKED and DISTINGUISHED what works, what doesn't work, and what's missing the presence of which would make a difference.
They don't keep operating and doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...they know Why they are doing something, Where something went wrong or What is missing that could be put in, that would alter the future. And When they are going to do that by.
All those things are clear, DISTINCT.

I can see in my life, in areas with my company, family, my kids, that are Good, and I would like them to be GREAT...that in those areas I am simply Not Aware of what is missing that would make a difference. Not that anything is wrong...just missing...
Recently I created with my coach that I would be SILLY all day. For no reason but that it was missing in my life. I will follow up with her the next day how it went...I have a by When. I am confronted by that, but it's my life I am creating!

My days with the kids are beautiful, my time to work is fullfilling, my relationship with my husband is nourishing, and yet silly might be just that little something extra to give my life an omph!
So I declare it to my children while we are driving to school, "Today Mommy is creating having a SILLY day! And I am going to find silly things everywhere! Like that car in front of us! It looks like a big red squashed tomato butt! That's silly!"
My children and I begin to giggle and talk about butts.
We revisit running family jokes " What's butt plus butt? TRASHCAN!"

We are alive with laughter, funny faces and they are finding silly things to point to all around us. I give them silly raspberry kisses at drop off and ask them what kind of days they are creating. They create their own kind of days, FUN, WACKY....and I take delight in their own creations.
I go about my errands with my 16 mnth old toddler and suddenly see where I am NOT being silly...getting groceries, making calls, getting gas...I am just on automatic doing doing doing. It takes every ounce of being present to see that, to break it up by making funny faces through the window at my son. When I do, I wonder what my life would be like if silly was an automatic way of being for me..what would that be like?

I go home, work,email, again in doing mode, and then look again for how I can insert being silly. Like little girl silly..hmmm pigtails! I put pigtails in my hair, give up that I look silly to the other moms, and greet my son Bodee at preschool for pick up with a silly smile and shake my pigtails. He loves my hair in pigtails (which has only been an at-home hairdo once before by his request), he says I look like a bug(with antennas)and laughs and I hug him, picking him up and twirling him in the air ...his head falls back, his curls bounce and his laughter fills me so full I could cry.
This silly day is GREAT.

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Little Girl or B#*!ch on Wheels

Today I took on powerful partnership with men in a whole new way.
When I was a little girl, my father scared me. Being 6'2" and having a loss of 40% of his hearing in one ear and 60% in the other from cannons in World War II, he compensated for that by shouting most of the time, so it wasn't too hard for him to scare a five year old. Around men, later in life, I reacted by becoming a little girl. I apologized alot and didn't say what I wanted.
Sometimes, when any male in my life appeared to be even the tiniest bit weak or tired, I would unleash my anger about not getting what I wanted, and go after them, I would get mad and nasty and try to dominate.
So when conflict arose with men, I fluctuated between a small, meak Little Girl or a B&*^ch on wheels. Not fun, not powerful, definitely not productive in business.

Today I was looking into what seemed to be a very exciting possibility for nationwide advertising for my business. I wanted it to happened, it was a good idea, almost too good to be true.... and yet I wanted to do it. My Little Girl wanted it now and my B*&^ch in Wheels was getting hissy with my husband who didn't want me to.

I, or rather my identity, that running commentary in my head, that I used to think was actually me....that little voice says..."Do it! It will be exciting, Grand and you will be Famous! Yea!"
and " Kill off anyone who says no! "
Last night, I didn't want to listen to all the negative feedback I was getting from other business people about the deal...they are just naysayers, I thought.

This morning, as I looked at the contract, my husband's voice said in my head "This is a Business decision, that's doesn't mean anything about you, it's just business."

So I took off the Little Girl and B&^ch on Wheels perspectives..Thank you very much but go have a vacation! and just reviewed the contract, spoke with the CEO of the company and asked him, respectfully, about all the areas that didn't work for me and were not clear about the green standards. I listened to him as someone with a real commitment to creating a company with integrity and told him so.
There was no little girl on that call, no B%&*ch. Just a clear, present conversation from one business owner to another about how something could be created that would work. I contributed to him. I challenged him with calm questions. I spoke for the customers who want authenticity from the companies they buy from, I stood for mothers who demand to be able to trust the standards that companies uphold who make products for their children, I invited him to CAUSE a change in they way business is done or well, he could ride the wave of greenwashing and trends....either way would make him money...there is just a choice. I chose to partner with integrity and sustainability. When he chose not to create what I invited him to create at this time, I was okay with that. No attachment. In fact, what was present was partnership for a new kind of conversation about green advertising, no matter what...a shifting in perception and standards.

By the end of the conversation he wanted to hire me for his company. He said he would send me a gift for my birthday for my time, we chuckled and acknowledged his commitment to creating something new. I wish him the very best...not of luck, but of being someone who causes business to go the way that works for all of us..sustainable business.
I am my commitment. I am not partaking in this opportunity, and yet I am strong and free in expressing my commitment to the earth and future generations of little girls...possibly on roller skates...everywhere.

Zen Honeycutt

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What I Don't Know

My husband walks into the bedroom this morning with his laptop, eager to share a video he found online of Michio Kaku, a world renowned physicist. My attention is yanked from a teen love story on Saturday morning TV and into my husband's world of outer space. I am mildly annoyed but also curious about what could inspire such excitement from my husband.
Michio is speaking about the concept of, what if what exists is not a UNIverse, but there are MULTIverses...that our universe is like a bubble that is expanding inside a space where multiple bubbles/universes are popping up and expanding, continuously...that genesis is not a one time occurrence that happened in the past, but is continuously happening. What if nirvana (his background is Buddhist and Christian) is not a place to get to but actually the space in which our bubble, our multiverses expand.
Whoa. What a way to wake up.

He answers the interviewers question about coming up with this theory by describing how, when he was a child, he used to stare at the fish in the koi pond, and see them as scientists. What if the current theories were made by scientists that were like the fish? The fish see only side to side in the shallow pond, the concept of "Up" and out of the water, and other ponds, does not exist for them. As a child he wanted to grab the fish, or the scientists, and pick them up out of their water and show them the other ponds, the other possibilities.
My voice in my head begins talking at this point, and saying "Wow, if we teach our children at school that this is the truth, that there is one universe, there is this that happened in history, that that is the one way to draw...than we actually limit what they can create inside of that "truth"."
We limit their world with the past. Knowing the way it IS and teaching that, in one context can limit. In another context, it can empower.

I remembered going to art school and learning techniques in one composition class. This is how you draw perspective, this is how to draw a cone, which is all great, there is a foundation. However, I was a "good student" and took the path of the realist art, always trying to make it perfect,limiting myself to make it look REAL, do it right.

I begin to imagine if I were an Art teacher now...I would teach more like my sculpture teacher taught, begin to show them how to draw a circle,in the context that this is One way, not The only way. I would ask them to create many ways to draw a circle. To take charcoal in hand and draw on the paper pad... and they might suggest a paintbrush and paint (still using hand and tool and paper, notice) and we may progress to pouring sand (still using hand but not a "tool") and then further still perhaps to sitting on the dirt and drawing a circle with one's rear end... or rolling clay into a ball, making found trash into a cone shape or gluing leaves into a cornucopia shape, all circles in some form. We might pour wax into a mold that is the negative space of a circle, use other shapes that are not circles to make a circle...the possibilities are endless...there is no right answer.

It occurs to me that in child rearing, school, learning something new, business methods etc...that I often think there is one way, A way, when in fact, I may be being like the fish in a shallow pond, or an artist using simply my hand and the one tool I favor. There are many ways. As I guide my children, I am committed to have what they learn at school simply be A way, not THE Way. To take what they have learned and expand on it, to help them find the other ponds.
I see this and I am free and excited. Before I often dreaded the resistance and drama homework time created with my 7 year old. Now I can see that the way he is learning to do his Math facts is A Way, and he can expand on that, create new uses for math in ways that I can't even imagine. So there is no pressure for me there, there is no strategizing on my part that needs to be done. There is no One Way. We can learn that way and then create multiverses of other ways... Ahhhh Freedom!
As I write this and listen to my husband laughing with our three boys. I am so present to his love for life, his hunger for, not just knowledge, but for the not-knowledge, the Unknown. For it is inside the Unknown that we create something new. Today I am going to look for what I Don't Know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gigi on My Shoulder

I am 19, living on 11th street and the West Side highway of Manhattan. Deep in the seedy section of the West Village, in a 5th floor walk up. I enter the apartment I share with fellow fashion design students and roommates Gigi and Per. I throw my worn green army back pack on the table in the living area, slump into the folding chair and sigh. "I'm tiiiiired."
Gigi, who has black arched eyebrows like Spock, and is munching on a bowl of Boo Berries, says simply. " So sleep."
I arch my eyebrow, like this is some sort of novel idea. Then think, No, I can't sleep, I have too much to do. As soon as I become aware that I am thinking this, I am saying it " I have too much to do..."...sinking deeper into my chair. Defeated by my life, the hardship of being a waitress and a student.
Gigi stuffs another mouthful into her mouth, hunches over her bowl, milk dripping from her spoon, and slurps " So?". Without judgement..with love.
I go to bed. For the first time in months I take a nap during the day. I sleep deeply, restoratively, and am aware that I needed it.

Several months later, during the summer while waitressing full time, I hear stories of the staff's travels and backpacking throughout China. They were boys, actually young men, in their early twenties, and both knew how to speak Chinese, but I was inspired and always thought that I could do whatever the boys did. Being half Chinese, I yearned to go to China, to know my roots, To feel connected to a group.

So when I spoke to Gigi on the phone while she was home for the summer with her family in Texas, I said "Someday,I am going to go to China."
She said back, with the same simplicity in her voice. " So go."
What now?? I thought, No you can't go have all these plans....
and I became aware of that automatic no in my head.
But Gigi's logic was clear. I got what she was not saying. Do what you want to do. Do what lights you up. Live.
Other class mates said, "But you are going to get behind."
I thought about that and then responded " Get behind who? Get behind what? This is my life."
My major, Fashion Design, would still be here when I got back. My roommates would welcome me as long as I paid my rent or found a sub letter.

I called my parents, used the money I had earned waitressing to pay for everything, took some Chinese lessons, and in a few weeks I was on a plane to China to backpack around the country alone...and discover.
It was an unforgettable, life changing, thrilling experience.
Ever since then I have thought, everyone should have a Gigi on their shoulder.
A simple, unattached, angel who reminds them of what they want, that they are living. When we do what we love, no reason, no matter how big or loud in our heads, can stand in the way.
I love you Gigi. Always will.
I honor who you were for me in those moments, I am that way for myself now, and often, for others. Thank you.

Zen Honeycutt

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Home" - childhood Connecticut home


I live where,
after a burst of summer rain,
the air smells rich of earth and soil.
Where the sweet green leaves
hug the winding road,
and damp nights
beckon bumpy old toads.

I live where the spring water
runs pure and cool and deep,
and the summer hum of crickets
lull me to sleep.

I live where,
as the night breathes,
the stars sprinkle the earth with an etheral silence.
Where brooks gurgle endless
endless bubbly tunes
and squeaking black bats
dart around a golden moon.

-Zen LaBossiere Honeycutt
about Still Waters, Voluntown, Connecticut
when I was 13 yrs old

I found this in a dusty notebook from my high school days a few weeks ago. It was the seed revived...that I am a good writer. I have something to say and can express it freely. Words are just words until we put them together and create something new. I create images that dance in my head until I let them like ballerinas pirouetting across the page. Growing up so connected to nature had me see the beauty in merely being alive and seeing what was in front of me. Not having television in the house from 4th grade on had me read a hundred times more...imagining...immersing myself in a world of words.
My father read to us at night and as I leaned on his chest and heard his voice rumble, I saw the robbers and kidnappers of "O'Henry's" musings. I loved those stories at night. I loved being outside during the day, laying in the new cool grass of spring...inspecting crawfish hiding in the water's edge...floating in an inner tube in the pond, staring up at the serene blue sky and feeling both an emptiness, a yearning to go somewhere and a fullness of the beauty in the world and the possibilities in life.
To be able to bring words to the wonder I experienced as a child creates the world more vividly for me. I am more alive. I am living and breathing and dancing with what I love.
Thanks for reading.

Zen Honeycutt

Love and Consciousness

This Valentine's Day weekend Zen's Purple Garden had a booth at the Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles where thousands converged to learn, share, support and celebrate living more holistically, conscious and alternatively. Our natural sleep aids assist people in being able to have a deeper, more restorative sleep without sleeping medication, and we donate to nature and national parks, so we were excited to meet like minded people.
We found all kinds of different kinds of people.
The differences challenged my comfort zone.My little voice in my head had all sorts of skeptical things to say about the "Galactic Society" and UFO conference.
It piped up again when, looking at crystals at a Divine Love booth, two starry eyed people met each other for the first time and hugged each other for what seemed like two minutes.
"Umm that's kinda weird" my inner commentary whispered.
When a man shared about pyramids with a passion that could be heard across the room, and encouraged people to sit under a hanging metal pyramid with a crystal to align their energy..."Doubtful" my inner voice snickered.

When a woman gazed at the Zen's Purple Garden booth and then introduced herself and spontaneously hugged me, my other inner voice finally said, "It's ok, relax, she's just a loving person. Just hug her and get over yourself."
I hugged her, looked into her eyes and saw clarity, freedom and love.

I told my assistant Christine about the people hugging at the Divine Love booth, confessed my inner chatter, and she asked "What would the world be like if everyone hugged for two minutes when they met for the first time?"
I got, with her 24 years young wisdom, that consciousness is simply being present. What shows up then, is often love for all living things, whether you know them or not, whether you believe in what they believe in or not.
I was then able to be with everyone at the expo, no matter what their interest, or expression of conscious living, and enjoy their passions and them for who they are.

However, when Sunday evening, Valentine's Day at the expo rolled around, my back aches, my feet hurt, I miss my husband, I am tired and completely not interested in sharing the history of my company or products for the ten thousandth time. I pick up my cellphone to pass the time and notice a text from my brother. He asked his girlfriend Amy to marry him!
My heart leaps with joy! I LOVE Amy, she is loving, supportive of my brother and just awesome. Energy lifts me off my seat and joy springs from my face and I announce to the neighboring booths with wild abandon, "My brother just got engaged!" They cheer and I ran up stairs like a kid at recess to get reception on the phone and call him.
Love had completely erased my aches and pains.

This morning I am comfortable and cozy, playing in bed with my family, I become present to the fact that everything "out there", all those different lifestyles and ways of being, that we are not, has us be exactly who we are. And I am grateful for all those different ways.
A phone call of congratulations and enjoying my brother Tao's and Amy's love has me snuggle a little closer with my husband, tickle my sons a little sillier and rub noses with my baby a little longer...
fully appreciating the miracle of their soft skin, beating hearts and sparkling laughter...and that, to me, is what being conscious, and living life is all about.

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gluten Free and NOT Nuts

Many years ago an acquaintance and I were eating lunch and she didn't touch the bread or order any carbs. "I am not eating wheat." she said. My brain could not conceive. She went on to describe what I imagined would be my worst nutritional nightmare. No wheat, bread, crackers, cookies, cake....why live?
She explained she couldn't process the gluten and it made her tired, crampy and dizzy. I could not imagine, I put it out of my mind and labeled her borderline nuts.

Just two years ago I was napping every afternoon, sleeping in late if I could and was still always tired, cranky and hot tempered with my family. As a 30 something year old woman I realized I couldn't blame it on the kids not sleeping through the night anymore, because they were. I had trouble with going to the bathroom (number 2) and congestion, leaving me feeling not sexy and I had had enough. I went to 4 doctors in a few months and all tried to prescribe me allergy medicine that would have killed a horse. So I went to an iridologist/herbologist, recommended by an enthusiastic friend, and she took a photo of my eyeball, analyzed it in a computer program, all the groves and colors... and pronounced I had a gluten intolerance. My heart sank.

1 out of 4 women ( especially Blood Type O's ) over the age of 30 develop this she said, and don't know it. It's the cause of fatigue, weight gain that is almost impossible to lose, fogginess ( read Mommy Brain!) and irritability. It can lead to depression and even schizophrenia...What??? who said that? Not Me! Yes you did!
She said "Your energy is like are grinding through the day." She was like a psychic for my health. Yes.
I was shocked. But at that point, ready to try anything to feel better.

She recommended a herbal cleanse, gave me structure on the diet, and I was off to the health food store. By this time however I was fortunate enough, even if it was unfortunate for them, to know a family with Celiac's disease. My closest Mommy friend's husband and children could not eat wheat or it would literally eventually kill them. Days of play dates and hours of curiously listening to my friends trials and tribulations with fast food restaurants, certain food brands and stores, had me know enough about avoiding wheat that I could take this on with some clarity. Without her help when I was struggling, my life would not have altered. Shout out to Jennifer!
6 weeks later I was a new person. No longer napping at all. Not even interested in a nap. I was 14 pounds lighter with a waist line that actually curved like a 19 year old! I bought a bikini! I was happier, more cheerful, sexier and clear.
The diet became a lifestyle change and I share some tips for any who find themselves at this crossroad.

My basic advice is Ezekiels's ( sprouted grains do not have the gluten)or UDI's Bread from Mother's or online, several loafs at a time and freeze some, and always have ONLY gluten free bread on hand.
The UDI's is the best bread out there and very different from the heavy Trader Joe's rice bread. You can't even tell its gluten free.
This bread alone will make gluten free bearable.

Edward and Sons BROWN RICE SNAPS are the best crackers, crispy and tasty.
Yellow and Green package in Mothers and Sprouts.


I advise rice pasta only, not the green box of quinoa pasta at sprouts. That brand of quinoa pasta has alot of corn in it too which I avoid unless organic, as non organic corn in the USA is 80% from Mansanto seeds which is Genetically Modified with pesticides inserted into the seeds.


The Mothers GF Blueberry Muffins are expensive but delicious for a treat.
The Arrowhead gluten free brownie mix is much softer than the Trader Joe's brand
PAMELA"s Amazing Gluten free Bread mix is great if you have a bread machine and also great for PIZZA Dough.
There are tons of cookies, snacks -ENJOY! has nut free, dairy free, soy and corn free etc...carried by and by Sprouts/Mother's/Whole foods.
I use garbazo bean flour or arrowroot flour to thicken stews and to bread chicken.
there are great gluten free pancake mixes.


Buy the Tamari gluten free or wheat free soy sauce or BRAGGS enzymes, which tastes just like soy sauce.
Buy BBQ sauce, Mustard and Ketchup that is gluten free. most of these are organic and high fructose corn syrup free which is healthier anyway.


MUST be " Certified Gluten Free" not even organic is gluten free. Buy it in bulk on in packets or plain for cooking at Mother's- Bob's Red Mill.
Keep in mind Rye and Barley also have gluten so watch out for soups.
Make your own chicken noodle or chicken rice soup when anyone is sick, less preservatives anyway.

I alternate between Trader Joe's for hormone free meats and frozen fish (cheaper) and Mother's/Sprouts for the gluten free foods (more variety), which has a label saying GLUTEN FREE under all foods, which is great!
I buy bulk on Amazon and save money for some snack items too.

The main thing is to take it one day at a time, get the wheat stuff out of view or out of the house entirely
( when I did gluten free for the family my husband lost 10 lbs too) and Do NOT shop in the regular Ralph's and Albertson's because its seems like everything in there has gluten or preservatives or high fructose corn wonder why mass market America is the most obese group of people on the planet???!!! It's too tempting if you shop there. The awesome thing was that this journey has had me be MORE present to what my family eats, more powerful in choosing wisely and more interested in food and my health. I plunged head first into the green movement by being Green all around, inside and out.

EMPOWER Yourself and make a list of the things you like you can eat like:

organic corn
organic soy
Veggies Galore!

Chinese dishes without meat that is breaded- just ask, they can make great garlic sauces or sweet and sour without breading the meat.
Mexican dishes with corn tortillas rather than flour
Japanese dishes except the tempura
American food meat, veges and rice/potato/organic corn or beans there are hundreds of varieties!

gluten free corn dogs
potato crusted fish sticks at sprouts (Praggers)

icecream ( check the ingredients) in a cup rather than a cone
gluten free cakes, cookies and muffin are cheaper when you make them

gluten free pizza- cheaper to make yourself

Oh and make sure you and the kids eat protein every two hours, meat, cheese sticks, nuts, yogurt or beans because they are not getting heavily processed breads that sits in their stomach for 4 hours. Its healthier and more the way we are wired anyhow.

Most people want to know, is it Ok to have it once in a while? It depends on what you are committed to and what is going on with your body. If you have Celiac's NO amount is ok. If you have a wheat allergy, NO amount is ok. If you have a wheat intolerance, once in a while isn't going to traumatically affect you health, however it will reverse everything you have so diligently been doing for those weeks or months. Gluten and wheat stay in your system for 6 months. If you are committed to cleansing your body of the gluten and one day being able to have it now and then, then I recommend doing a no-kidding, no- gluten-in-the-house-or my- mouth-ever plan for 6 months and then make the choice about how rigorous you are going to be about it afterwards. Take steps. See how great you feel, look and interact with people. Your nutrition affects your body, health, sex life, life span, sleep, performance in school or job or as a parent as well, as well as all your relationships.
Stay present to, What's more important all that or that food, for the moment, with wheat in it?
The side benefit besides loosing weight and being happier, is that you become very very conscious of what you eat and your body. Being conscious, being PRESENT is always a fabulous thing, and also affects your whole life.

Here are some other sites that give their take on gluten free too:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dad and Thorns

My skin stings with fresh wounds from rose bush thorns. I reach far into the nest of diseased branches and dead spiny stalks to a wily green branch and find a new nub of growth. I cut 1/4" above that nub, slanted, just like the online pruning guide recommends and pray that that is the RIGHT place to cut for glorious growth in the spring.

That reminds me of my father pruning at my childhood home in Connecticut. Every year he would go out armed with clippers and a chain saw and unleash what I saw as vicious cruelty upon the trees and bushes on our lush green 100 acre wooded property. The main 15 acre landscape was dotted with pear, apple, plum and cherry trees and he would cut down the branches to a naked skeleton.

This was wrong to me. As a child I was angry with him. I took the side of the tree, wanting them to grow wild and free, unfettered from how my father wanted them to be.
I had the same resentment for him when he told us to go to bed, deny us from playing before we completed our chores, or told me I could not get a drivers license at 16. I just wanted to grow as I wanted.

Today, as I cut the rosebush back in Southern California, I can now see the opportunity for new growth that I am creating. The energy of the plant needs no longer to go to sustaining an old branch. In the spring a new branch will grow from that nub or a new shoot entirely, and create a gorgeous rose that will become nectar for birds and insects. By cutting back old growth, we create new.

As I grow my business, cutting back in areas that are not blooming, I give more energy to the areas that are and I look forward to the new opportunity that will spring forth. It may seem harsh at first, but it is simpler, cleaner, fertile and focused.

As my children grow, we guide them to cut back on behaviors that no longer work for them. My eldest finally got up in the middle of the night to pee last night, my youngest is naturally beginning to wean. From the absence of those previous behaviors shall spring forth a new way of being that I can hardly wait to get to know.
Thank you Dad for pruning, for guiding us. I know now the love and commitment to nature that lies deep within your roots and mine.

Zen LaBossiere Honeycutt

As I pruned the bushes my 15 mnth old toddler wanted to imitate me. Daddy gave him a safer tool, a hole punch, and this is where he put it.