Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Ignorance is Bliss" Era is Over

There was a time, as a kid, when eating those Hostess pink puff balls of coconut, marshmallow and fluffy chocolate cake with creamy filling center was BLISS. I closed my eyes and time stopped as I savored the sweet gooeyness. I would eat six of them if I could.I just wanted more.

When I was proud of the fact that I could easily read anything I began to read the cereal box out loud at the breakfast table. When I turned to the ingredients, especially for the rare "treat" of some sort of Fruit Loops or Sugar Smacks cereal...I lost interest. Who knew what they were, who could pronounce those ingredients and did I want to sound stupid by trying? No. I just ate them.

I remember wondering briefly, as a teen, where my fuscia Jordace jeans came from, and then dismissed the idea that it was even important. They were hot, they were now mine, and they would make me hot. Who cares where they came from?

Even with money...I wanted to go to the best design school in the country (as I was told), Parsons NYC...and I didn't know, nor want to know where the money came from for me to do that.My parents would figure it out, the money would come from somewhere...It wasn't my business, I didn't need to know.

As I slathered on my Apple scented lotion every morning in college, I loved the scent. I never even bother to look at the ingredients. It smelled good, would make me smell good...heck might even get me a date...maybe even my husband someday.

after seeing the death of a dear friend's mother at 57 from toxic overload of synthetic chemicals...after actually Googling some of those ingredients in my lotion, seeing "Blood Sweat and Tee Shirts", watching Food Inc. and managing my own household money and coming to terms that the money doesn't "just come from somewhere"....
I can see now that Not Knowing doesn't do me one bit of good. There might be brief pleasure, yes....but what is that pleasure? Is it fulfilling? No. Does it really make a difference for anyone else? No.
Is finding out that those ingredients/methods/sources aren't good for me or someone else inconvenient? YES.
Darn inconvenient. Sometimes even a Pain in the Rear.
Don't like it. I don't wanna choose something else!!!
I want what I want and I want it to be Tasty, Pretty, Hot, Fast, Easy, Savory and MINE. NOW.

So I resist the knowing.
And then I think, sometimes ( I am human...I mostly don't think about what I am thinking about, I just react)
I actually think about why I am doing what I am doing, or eating or buying or spending....
and I get present that it's all for love.

I love to eat because I love to live, be healthy and be with my family and friends.
Yes, I eat because it tastes good, but really...I really eat because I want to live and be healthy.

I love to wear nice clothes and feel attractive,good, be confident and have fun with my family and friends. Because they matter to me. And if I was wearing ten year old sweats they would still love me, we would still laugh and love each other.

I love to spend, yes it's fun...the female gatherer in me loves to spend, nest and decorate myself or my home...
And when I budget, plan and create the money we have to have the adventures we will have, it is an expression of love for my family....because that is the most important thing to me, being with my family and having adventures.

I get present when I am eating stuff that's not good for me, or buying stuff I don't need..I am just more present to the want than to the love I already have in my life.
Ignorance is not Bliss...Ignorance is ignorance.
Bliss is Love and being present to what is right before kids and family and friends.
So Bring it On world...I want to KNOW what I Don't Know I Don't Know.
Then I will choose powerfully.
Doesn't mean I will never, ever, have a pink puff ball again...but most likely I won't, because I choose Health, Love and Adventures. Bliss.

Zen Honeycutt

Note: Finding out what I don't know about what I don't know is also the key factor in success in business. When I continue to operate in a certain way, I am on the hamster wheel...when I find out what I don't know I don't know I then have a choice to get off and propel into the next stratosphere. Thanks to my Biz coach Alexandra Kaplan, I am doing

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dream On! Dream On! Dream On!

Watched Glee on Hulu tonight, the episode about dreams. Doogie Howser guest stars and tells the Glee club that 91% of their dreams will not come true. That they will end up as middle management for insurance companies etc...
They are crestfallen for a few minutes and then vigilantly set about to prove him wrong.

I remember doing that.
At 17, as I graduated from high school, as the VP of the school I met with a famous news anchor, whom I will, I know, frustratingly enough, will not name here. Something tells me that is not cool...anyway this famous news anchor was the Godfather of one of my classmates and he came to my boarding school to speak for graduation. Before his speech he met some of the students. He commented on my white chiffon dress, which I made myself, a Karl Lagerfeld designer pattern, and I told him I made it. He asked me what I wanted to be and I said simply, " A fashion designer." He nodded and moved on.

In his speech...he spoke of dreams and hard work and accepting life. He literally said, "You may want to be a football star,famous fashion designer,or platinum record selling musician someday...and most likely that will not happen."

Something in my chest hardened and dropped. He went on to talk about how the power is in finding the happiness in what you do have. I know it was profound. But at the time I was furious.
How dare he poop on my dreams???
I WILL be a fashion designer. I WILL live my dreams.
I will NOT be one of those people who settle.

Later in fashion design school....the evil powers of negativity tried again. My freshman teacher, a highly respected Japanese woman in her early sixties informed us that out of 13 of us in the pattern making class, only one of us would still be a designer in 6 years. My classmate, who I has just met that day and had talked to during class, suddenly grabbed my arm and raised my arm, telling the class I would be The One. I was stunned. But I believed it. I would be the one.

Later still, my jaded, older boyfriend tried to convince me, as he had a Scotch after a long day at his pharmaceutical sales job, that
"Everybody settles."
I insisted, " NO. I will not settle!"

Six years later, I realized suddenly, I was still a fashion designer. Then I wondered what it meant. I did it. I proved them wrong. So what?

Then I realized I wasn't happy. I no longer cared what 16 year old girls wore in Japan. It was heavenly to get paid to shop there for a while. Loved it. Bliss! But after a while other things began to matter more.

Now, I see that dreams change. Or rather we choose them, daily. It doesn't mean anything either if we do not pursue the one we made up at 5 or 17. It really doesn't.
On the other hand we can have our dreams. We CAN. All that matters is if we have the gumption to say I WILL. Now. No matter what...whether they are hard, or take a long time, or are not likely. I will do what I said I would do. Because I say so.
It's that dedication, that journey, that shapes our lives.
I have new dreams now. They are entirely different and yet I would never have these dreams if I hadn't dreamed those dreams. The skills I learned from full filling those dreams are also the very same skills I am using for my new ones. It's all perfect.

I will, as the head of Glee and Doogie end up screaming in unison..."Dream on! Dream On! Dream On!"

What are your dreams?

Zen Honeycutt

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mom, Dog Poop and a Mermaid...

My mother and I are walking down a cracked sidewalk in the East Village of New York City. I am moving for the sixth time in probably eight years and my Mom, who just turned sixty, insisted on driving in from Connecticut to help me move. We walk together toward the apartment, fall leaves are scattered on the sidewalk, the air is crisp. Suddenly I see a huge dog poop in the center of the sidewalk, as if a Great Dane had just been there. It is curled up and pointy on top. I see it and my mind goes "UGH".
My mother sees it, stops dead in her tracks and says in a gentle exclaim "Ohhh! Nature's sculpture!"
For real.She is not kidding. I explode with laughter and joy.
My Mom is amazing. She sees the good in everyone, in everything. EVERYTHING.
We continue on, she sees and marvels at a squirrel eating a nut.
I marvel at how she marvels.

Later, I am reminded of this moment, of this quality she has, when she interacts with people who I would normally judge as bottom of the barrel characters...she finds the good in them and they are soon chuckling together.

When I graduate from fashion design school I prove my teacher wrong by wearing a full length, skin tight, brilliant blue rubber dress. I put a slit up the back so I can walk...see you can wear rubber! Some turd of a guy said "You look like a prostitute".
My Mom took one look at me and exclaimed "Ohhh! You look like a mermaid!"
I love her endlessly.

When I held my first newborn, I said " Mom, isn't he amazing? Aren't babies amazing???!!!"
She looks me in the eyes and says " We all still are." and I got for the first time in my life how much she loves me. I felt her love deep within the soul of my being, like being aware of an eternal root of a tree that goes back to the beginning of time.

So it confused me greatly when, as a new Mom, my Mom started to drive me crazy. I was gaining a new awareness of what it meant to be a Mom and I loved her even more, and yet when she came to visit, not even two days would go by and I found myself crabbing at her, " No Mom, please don't put that there...Ok, Ok, Mom you don't need to tell me how to drive....Mom, I got it, please don't talk to me while I'm....or Yes, I heard that three times already...Mom..GEEZ!"
I would become an irritated BRAT and my Mom would just IRK me. Even though I love her!
I couldn't figure it out. For years it went on like this. Angst would build in my chest before she came. I was lucky to have her fly across country to be with us, lucky to have her help with my children, lucky to be able to see my kids make paper hats with their Grandma and read to them at night....and yet I was irritated and crabby almost the whole duration of her stay. We worked it out so she would come visit me for a week, go visit her sister in SF for a week and then come visit me for a week again, partially because we both knew I needed a break from her.
And when she left, to tell the truth, I felt a strange sense of I could let go of something and finally be myself again..and then a huge burden of guilt at the same time. I love my Mom, I don't want to see her go, and yet I hate myself when she is was a torturous mystery to me.

When I took a course called the Landmark Forum, I got that there was a moment in my childhood when my father punished my brother. In that moment, I made up that she couldn't do something about it...stop it. That she couldn't do anything right. I got to see the for the rest of my life, I looked at her through this view point of "She can't do anything right, she's weak, she's ineffective."
And EVERY interaction with her I saw through that viewpoint or filter....even though I love her. (You could imagine what the impact was on myself and kids, how I saw myself as a Mom as peace there.)

I also get to see that all that happened was my father punished my brother. That happened. Th's just what happened. What I made that mean is what has been running my life and my relationship with my mother. A five year old's point of view was running my life.
I now get to see that I have a choice. I choose a new empowering relationship, I choose fun and freedom!

My relationship with my Mom is now one of love, joy and strength. I see her power, wisdom and commitment to her partner when she stays in Connecticut to be with him through health troubles rather than come visit us (the old me would have pouted and been stressed). I can enjoy the joy she has created in her life and not make her wrong.

When she visits now, I treasure her commentary, have a cocktail on a beach cliff restaurant and talk about life (She has traveled the world and is chock full with stories!) and giggle like new best girlfriends. I get to see her as a magical, girlish lady whose cheeks glow pink with joy when she talks about her adventures...I get to know her. I can even enjoy the ways she interacts with the kids, rides in the car and the way she puts back the dishes. Because she is here. Because she is alive.Because she is love. Because she is my Mom.
Than you Mom for being you. Perfect. Amazing. A Brilliant Beam of Light and Love.
I love you.

Zen Honeycutt