Thursday, December 8, 2011

Smart Ass


My three year old is a Smart Ass. I think we all may start out like that for a while, but he is hanging on to it.
He knows the alphabet, but instead he taunts me with "y,y,y,z,z,z!!!!" He knows the color is green, but instead, when asked, he smiles coyly at me and says happily, "PINK!"
My paranoid mother brain projects him in psych class in college. He will be the one, when asked for an essay on "What is self examination?" that answers with one sentence "Why did you ask me this?".

I know really, I have nothing to worry about, but you know, I am a Mom and sometimes I do. What if my kid fails just because he doesn't care about succeeding?

What if my kid is really smart but just doesn't give a rat's ass about other people knowing it?

What if learning is not about being able to regurgitate it in a way that pleases everyone else?

Wait when I think about that, that is pretty awesome. Google would not exist of the creators were concerned with showing what they had learned in a way that other people expected. No they created, and did what they loved, and THEN people go it.
They took what they learned and transformed it, they didn't spit it out exactly as everyone else would have.
THAT's the kind of learning I want to encourage. I will continue to ask Bronson and my older boys to write beyond what the teachers expect them to do, to use their knowledge for whatever THEY want. When I think about it that way, I have peace and faith and even excitement about whatever they create...
Why not have learning be fun?

I learn from my kids constantly. So today, I am taking on being a Smart Ass today in the most fun way...saying things people least expect, expressing myself in a FUN way, letting go of concern about what others think and transforming what I learn into something new.
How about you?

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Miracle-in-Between-Moments


In between those times when something is supposed to happen, I am still living my life. I am still a Mom when I am waiting for the teller to count out a stack of ones for the most-likely-a-waitress in front of me. I am still a Mom when we are driving to the library. I am still a Mom when I forget something in the car and we all have to tromp back through the chilly air, between minivans, all the way through the parking lot and get it.

It's those in-between moments that I realized yesterday, that are still open to the creation of miracles.
Yea, the big moments, baby Christenings and weddings and birthdays are easy to see as miraculous. But if I am in the market for an extraordinary, miraculous life (which I am), causing a miracle while waiting for my soup to cool, now that is the real deal.

It seems like causing miracles might take alot of energy doesn't it? Well first let's define that a miracle is something that you never ever expected would happen, something that never would have happened anyway and something that creates profound something...joy, relatedness, love, wonder...that's MY definition of a miracle. You can make up yours. By the way, in my world, God isn't the only one who causes them, he/she/God gave us free will to cause our lives. That includes miracles too:) And when we are present and just living, causing miracles can be easy and joyful.

Yesterday I created with my accountability buddy (we have calls daily or at least 3X a week) that I was committed to causing Miraculous Relatedness. That includes everyone everywhere and everything. It includes my new and profound commitment to be a YA best selling author in partnership with my husband. That is a future that has me excited, not only about the future, but it has me being excited RIGHT NOW. And being present, living, having fun.

On the way to the library to pick up some YA novels that I have been remiss to read, (cuz ya know I don't "need" too...so arrogant, my ego:) and hook the kids up with some fun books, I turned on the radio and began clapping and dancing to the music. I invited the kids join in and shared with them "If you ever have a choice to sit down or dance, I hope you choose dance,dance, dance!" And they did. They busted the moves the whole way to the library.

Then when I forgot my drivers liscense in the car (to get a library card at this new library, we just moved, that's another blog) and we have to go back through the long lot, I used the normally tedious redo-moment to create miraculous relatedness with my sons. I asked Ben what he was thinking and he said,"Mom I would suggest that this library not have toliets that are so big."
"Oh really? Did you almost fall in?" I said with wide eyes.
"YES! The seat is too big." Major injustice!!
"What would happen if you fell in???" I asked like we were discovering a National Treasure.
"My butt would get wet." he said.
"Yes, but I mean, if you got flushed...what would happen?" he looked at me oddly and then smiled and made a face.
"I would go into the sewer, Yeeech!"
"Ewwww... what would that be like?"
"You would get eaten by a CROCODILE!" shouted Bodee, my slime loving six year old.
"Would you be tasty?" I asked.
Ben shook his head, smiling crookedly at me. "Nooooo..."
"Why NOT? I asked. "I feed you yummy food!" and tickled him.

He threw his head back and laughed a full belly laugh. I grabbed at Bodee and Bronson for good measure, and suddenly we had retrieved the driver's liscense and we on our way back to the library. Full of fun, happy and connected, my sons and I had images and laughing we never would have had if I had just been grumpy because I forgot somthing and "had to" drag them to the car and back. A "waste of time" was transformed into a miraculous moment of imagination and relatedness.

Cooling soup might actually be the inspiration for a children's book set on a planet with soup for seas. The bank might be the time we create the "Allowance Deal" that has the kids lit up about saving.
Miraculously, at the end of the day, we sat around as a family reading and the kids drew these amazing cartoon books. Ben's was an ode to me, a Mom he loves "EVRYWARE", with images of me doing all kinds of things for the family. Bodee's was a book about "Banana Boomerang." Gold mine of imagination, right there. And Bronson drew pictures of Piglet that look like adorable amoeba. The tears of joy and relatedness I feel are miraculous.

I write this to remind myself, to sprinkle into the world, that those in-between moments are just as big as the big moments. It's all what we make them. I am causing a Miraculous life...won't you cause a miracle today? That's a world I want to raise my children in..a future I am excited to live into...aren't you???

With Love and Joy
Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Lost my Son to DSi


I still have my older son, he plays now and then, but my middle son is obsessed. He was 5 when his 7 year old brother got a Dsi (like a Gameboy) from his grandparents. He watched with an intensity as his brother played, he was stuck... like gum on the underside of the fast food table. He stared and tracked every move made with the eye of a sharpshooter. When he got his own Dsi at 6 it was like God descended upon earth and gave him his calling.

We knew it was coming...the world of video games. I was adamantly opposed at first, so rigid, I was right and video games were wrong. My husband had even purged the house of his video games, knowing that if they were within reach they would be of influence to our boys...and to him.
Yes, we place limits on the type of game, amount of time and they have to trade off game time for TV, so they really don't play much...it's just the obsession that I grapple with.They suck you in,those games...hours can go by if we aren't vigilant, and nothing is accomplished, no connection, no real skill, no result of value that can be competed and acknowledged within a social arena that we relate to...no trophy that can be displayed...
In short, video games, Dsi's, Gameboys, etc...hand held zombie inducing boxes of vile brainwashing, just numb the personality and creativity.
That's one point of view, anyway.

Tonight I took a walk with two of my three boys after dinner. The other stayed home to finish homework with Dad. Bodee my 6 year old and Bronson my 3 year old walked around the block with me twice. Bronson ran ahead of us, pointing out the perils ahead, the Halloween decorations that glowed and lurked on either side of us.
Bodee however was in a talkative mode. I don't remember if I asked him about his day or what he learned, but he was suddenly explaining the process of defeating the Big Bosses in his Pokeman game on his Dsi. With great detail, he told me about the powers of Ember and Pikichu and many more. He lit up when I asked for more. We seriously agreed on our protest regarding the fact that if you defeated a Big Boss you didn't become a Big Boss. He looked me in the eye earnestly when he explained what he was doing to get to the next Boss, not level, and defeat him. He described the Pokeman that he invented himself, Eggy, and his dinosaur powers, with with pride and passion.He was an expert. His confidence impressed me immensely.
Then I realized.

We live in Orange County. There is no wood to cut or stack, cow to feed and grow or ditch to dig...no country chore after school which has my son feel accomplished. There is no money to receive in his sweaty palm after a morning newspaper run. There is no farm to plant or harvest, no tractor to fix or corn to sell. There is no boxing match bet or lemonade stand that could reap enough reward to turn his head from the modern day possibilities in gaming. In my father's day, all those other things could have occupied him, and similar things did. He occasionally listened to the radio and went to the 25 cent matinee movie...but besides that, earning money to help support his family, picking and selling blueberries, working whenever and wherever he could, no matter where...all made a real difference for his family.

Our boys want to make a difference. Be someone. Do something. Now. Not someday after high school or college. Now.

In temperate Orange County suburbia, we don't have the opportunity for that besides an occasional chore of trash, dishes or sweeping. We are so crammed into our cul de sacs and perfectly trimmed associations that hire only fifty-ish year old immigrants with leather like skin from Mexico that can out mow a preteen in seconds flat, that there is no room for working the land.
Our boys play video games because they get to feel accomplished. They get to win. They get to feel like a hero.

I want that for my son. I want him to build his muscle of feeling like a hero until that just is the way it is for him. Who he is to the world, and to himself, is someone who is accomplished, victorious, and masterful.

I will keep looking for other places in which we can balance out his access to success. Cub Scouts, a new sport, science experiments after school,hikes and adventures, all create a multi faceted and multi talented boy.


In the meantime, because it matters to him, I will look into his deep brown eyes filled with excitement, importance and confidence, and ask him again to describe the details of his Pokeman world. As he shares with me like a best friend would in the quiet of a treehouse, I get that, in those moments between us of curiosity and self expression, I have my son back.

Zen Honeycutt

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unleashed Me


In the beginning, I began this blog to write. To share moments of joy, clarity, inspiration and breakthroughs in the midst of everyday life in being a Mom, entrepreneur and wife. Over the past month I have not been blogging and I have making myself wrong about that. As I look at my original intention however, I am fulfilling on that. Boy, am I ever.
My husband has been writing a book, a young adult thriller novel, for a few years now, amazingly sticking with it, getting up 99% of mornings at 5ish to write. Recently, he asked me to partner with him, to bring my experience of being a female to his book, and I accepted. This never would have happened before.

See, in sixth grade I wrote something, a story, a poem, something...and curly headed Mrs.Penley said, staring through her reading glasses seriously, "You are an excellent writer." My father said it too. He helped me edit my work to make it shine like a brand new penny. He went over every word and asked me, "Did you mean that? Is there another way to say that? You used this description twice, what's another one you could use?" His commitment to word usage and clear writing gave me a clarity that I use today. I fell in love with words, alliteration, action and vivid description.

HOWEVER, he always wanted to be a writer and wasn't. I took that to mean that it was a bad idea to want to be a writer. It wouldn't happen. I didn't even allow myself to dream those dreams. Even when I inspired a standing ovation in high school with my writing, or a roomful of prep school classmates clapping for the first time all year...even when my bones tingled and breath quickened when I wrote...even when I was most alive. I wasn't even aware, I was telling myself that writer's aren't successful.
I can see now that that was just a story I made up based on my father's past. I let his past be my future. I projected HIS past into my future and lived my life like that was just so, the way it was.

When my husband, my chosen partner for life, saw something else, saw a new future, and asked me to be his writing partner, we completed my perception of my father's past. We closed that circle and created a new one of our own. Why he doesn't write now is whatever reason he doesn't write now. He did once and it was breathtaking.I own and acknowledge what my father gave me. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be a writer. He always told me I should be a writer and I didn't listen, I am now. He supported me.
My husband's invitation and my choice to let go of the past and create a new future has me inspired to write, daily, 1200 words or more...my husband I finishing each other's sentences, literally, where we left off or sitting across from each other at the kitchen table with Google docs open, editing our book in real time, deleting and adding to each other's sentences and laughing our butts off....that's writing success in my book. Some couples play tennis, we play writing ping pong, back and forth, connecting, surprising, delighting, shocking, missing, winning,loosing..but still playing.

So if I don't blog for a while, dear friends and family, know I am writing still. Someday soon you will have the opportunity to read our joint work of passion, creativity and partnership, and if you choose to, we hope to be a part of a future where nothing, no past experiences or ideas, hold you back...you are unleashing your talents and expressing your self. For that, is what life is all about.

With Joy
Zen

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MOVE your A**!!!!



So I am a Mom, I used asterisks. In the gym class they don't. Inside my commitment to try something new everyday and my latest kick, "Project BODY TEMPLE", I recently tried ZUMBA and TURBO Kick Class.

ZUMBA class was like Mark Wahlberg was in town. The line of ladies, all girly in their hot pink bandannas and lime green tops with purple splashed across the front ZUMBA!, looked like a flourescent pinyata exploded in the gym. They chatted with eachother, fluffed their hair and packed the class. Passes had to be given out for spots. I did not know this, so although I was 20 minutes early I did not get a pass and one girl whispered to me to just wait 15 minutes and sneak in later. I did.

In the class, the leader was smiling like a Muppet. I seriously experienced that we were all on Sesame Street, dancing, smiling and having the time of our lives. One of the girls in the front with the pink shirt and bandanna, a tall blond, was so adorable. She was good enough to only occasionally look at the instructor so she watched herself working out, shaking her booty, and smiling. She was just delighted with herself! Look at me, how cute! How fun! I can do this! It dawned as me, as I lifted my arms in the air and shook my shoulders like a can can dancer, that she is smiling AT HERSELF and that I was too. I looked at myself in the mirror. When was the last time I smiled at myself? When was the last time most people smiled at themselves? Here is this girl smiling at herself for a hour...what must she feel like after this? Probably like smiling at everyone else!

I want more of this! I go on Saturday as well, and this time I do the full hour. I feel super duper sweaty, smiley and sexy afterwards and I go to the instructor and tell her that it was my first time doing ZUMBA and although it was intense, her smile got me through it. She is so touched and I am so grateful.
Later that night dance with my husband outdoors by a playground to a summer band, totally free, without a care who sees me....the dance moves still moving me.




The TURBO Kick Class was another matter all together. The was no line. The class had half if not a quarter of the ladies in it. Now it was at a different time to be fair, but still there was a completely different vibe. The instructor was a short, stocky woman who could have walked straight out of Marine Boot Camp. She was serious and we growled as we squatted and scowled at ourselves in the mirror as we punched the air and kicked A**.
The music was as if someone had dumped a box of bolts and nuts in my head along with a fire siren and shook it around. I felt dizzy with musical anxiety within minutes. Every particle of me just wanted to walk out the door. I have done enough training and had enough life coaching to really get that there is no real right or wrong, there is only points of view, and I was very aware in that moment that I was forming a point of view that this was WRONG for me...it was the most masculine, hard core aggressive thing I had ever done. It was seriously lacking of the feminine. When I looked around I saw plenty of feminine looking women, the perfect blondes with the tans and ripped bodies, the slender Asian, the curvaceous African, a few older ladies even. But I had to wonder what kind of woman digs a work out like this? Does she know she is a WOMAN? Does she enjoy being a woman? Does this workout support her being a woman? I kicked, punched and squatted my way through the workout, constantly telling my mind to Shut the F&^% UP and do it!
As I leave, I do not feel so grateful, I feel worked over. The serious faces in TURBO Kick Class around me exude an urgent, "I HAVE TO" get into shape. The "HAVE TO" equals stress for me. I would rather have the smiles of FUN in ZUMBA and dance my way into a toned tush. Both are effective I just choose FUN.
I am also reminded that different things VERY Obviously work for different people. I am grateful for those differences, as we could all use a Marine to kick some A** now and then.


Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Miracles in Marriage


Marriage can be a lot of the same old, same old. After 12 years of marriage we know how to finish each other's sentences, how to push each other's buttons and piss each other off...we might even do it for fun sometimes because things can get so "fine". We can predict how the other will respond to a want or need we might have, sigh... so we don't even bother to ask. We could have a predictable marriage.
It would be understandable. You could commiserate probably, if you are married, and my husband and I could make fun of each other at social gatherings, half-jokingly belittling each other, especially me of him, and we would hear lots of laughter of agreement. That's human, and normal. Yes, we could do that, just to do that.

Recently though, especially because of courses from PAX ( meaning Peace) about men and women, I have seen that the predictability in marriage and the resignation with men, is just not something that has to be that way.
I have a new perspective on what men want in marriage, especially after ASKING my husband and listening for twenty minutes (Epic!), and I have come to terms with the fact that my husband has been going through as stage as men do, according to Allison Armstrong, and this one is where he works ALOT. He is compelled to work, to build, to provide. His expression of love is his drive to provide for us. He is great at it. He has a full time job that matters to him and where he makes a huge difference daily. He is also writing a book. He is DRIVEN and gets up at 5:30 every morning except some weekends and writes. Then after the kids go to bed he does his research for the next days writings session. Sometimes that nightly research goes til 11:00. That doesn't leave much time for me. Of course, since every one revolves around ME, it's MY universe, this is tragic.

Because I choose to ongoingly apply what I have learned at Landmark Education, I can see my part in this too. Inside of my part, my responsibility, I have power to cause something. But first I need to look at my part.
Ohhhhhh...I get prickly when he pulls that computer out. I make him WRONG. I make the book WRONG. Sometimes I want to smash his laptop. I feel sorry for myself and curl up in bed with a pout, resentful towards him, boiling in making him wrong and stewing at 10 pm while he clacks away on his computer in the kitchen. Sometimes I just watch TV and go to sleep, but many days I really do miss him, feel sad and lonely and blame him for my woes. I am snippy with him and he has the experience that he can never make me happy. He has no idea what to do about my general malaise. We both feel unappreciated and disconnected...
And I am RIGHT to do that don'tcha know. Totally justified. Oooooh I am SO right.

And if I continue to be right, that's all that I will get. The big badge of RIGHT and my husband WRONG. And that's that.It will continue like that..for years. God knows what will happen, probably affairs, and I'm not saying him.

That's not what I am committed to.
So I looked at what was missing, what I could put in that would make a difference and I saw that compassion, appreciation, support, trust and curiosity would make a difference. And if I were being those things, that would provide me with love, partnership and creation in our marriage. That would be AWESOME. I don't know what would happen, I couldn't manipulate that...and I can see that that would make a huge difference for both of us.

So I created the possibility of Partnership and Creation! I took new actions from that. I asked Todd to share what was going on for him with his book. And I really meant it. I was curious. He told me and saw that the female character had him a little foggy in certain areas. Made sense. Last time I check he had never been a teenage girl. So I asked if I could make a difference if I looked at it. He said yes. I looked and contributed, not making him or the book wrong, but looked for what would have it all, everything he wants in the book, have it all work...and what I contributed from THAT, from what matters to HIM, worked. Two days later Todd asked me to partner with him on his book.

Now, we can't wait to talk to each other. We email each other ideas and we speak to each other with excitement and joy after dinner, before bed and every where in between. Yesterday, as he created the outline for a part of the book, I took notes and contributed my female perspective. He laughed at my straightforwardness and said "You know, we might just be the PERFECT writing partners."

Miracle. Miracle here. Now.
I feel appreciated, valued, connected, loved and I suddenly know myself to be a person who makes a difference in our marriage. I honor him and his creation. He gets to be supported and admired. He WINS.I do too. I am inspired by his vision. I want to dive into his brain and splash in his imagination, roll in his ideas, he is so fascinating and brilliant. REALLY. This is the high point of our marriage and it's just going up from here. This is what we choose to create together.

Zen Honeycutt

If you are curious:

http://www.understandmen.com/
www.landmarkeducation.com


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School and Getting the RIGHT Teacher


I see the increased emails going back and forth in my Moms Club and hear the parents at the pool talking in hushed tones, "Which teacher did you request? Do you know anything about Miss. Jessica? What about Miss. Lori*? I heard she was...I hope my kids don't get..."

I totally get the anxiety and anticipation of our children's experience at school. I used to bite my nails when I opened the letter from the preschool. I used to get a serious, scrunched face when other Moms talked about their children's teachers and listen intently to see what my child's future might hold. I totally get the utter and complete devotion it takes for a Mom to be committed so much to her child that which teacher her child gets consumes her being. That's love. That's dedication.
I just don't feel that way anymore.
And it's not because I don't love my child or care about which teacher they have.
Of course I want them to have the best teacher. Of course I love my child and would kill bears for them and maybe even picket outside a Principal's home if I thought it would make a difference.
That's my point. It won't make a difference, at least not the difference that matters to my husband and I.
Years ago, when I considered sending my children to private school even though we live in Irvine, which is touted as one of the best school districts in Southern California, my husband said seriously to me, "I want our children to be able to excel no matter what educational experience they have. We live in this great community and I want the kids to know the kids in their neighborhood and go to this good school with them." Ok. End of story. And I agree.

His point is that it is our responsibility as parents and our children's responsibility for their own lives that makes the real difference.
It is totally normal for we humans to have the idea that a certain teacher will CAUSE a certain EFFECT or result in our child's education and therefore cause a certain future of success, mediocrity or failure... therefore, we must CAUSE our kids to have the best teacher. It's survival of the fittest. It's anxiety ridden. It's never ending.
It's also dis-empowering.

See, if we follow this CAUSE and EFFECT idea, then a certain teacher will cause a certain effect and that is that. The child is stuck with that teacher and then stuck with the limited results...leading to a limited future. We can never time travel go back to the past and change which teacher our kids gets assigned to, how they were treated or taught or what the results were. The teacher defines our child's future.

So to be a normal human being and to live by CAUSE and EFFECT in any area...if that happens then this will happen..and then I will feel this way and oh well, we'll see.. is so dis-empowering I want to rant and rave and shake people by the shoulder and hug it out of them when I hear it in casual conversation.
Here's where I beg you to get the impact of, this Cause and Effect Poppycock in education:

What message does the anxiety we have over a certain teacher, certain school, certain talented program, say about our CHILDREN? What does this Cause and Effect idea say about what THEY are capable of, responsible for, or what is possible for them???
This idea that our children must have a certain teacher, education, school or scholarship to excel in life is totally dis-empowering. It makes them small. It makes them a victim of the system. It makes them At The Effect of something else, outside of them. Our child's power no longer lies with them, it is over there with that teacher, right or wrong.
It also puts all of the responsibility on the teachers. What kind of experience is that for the teachers and principals if they feel like we as parents NEED to have a certain classroom, at a certain time, with a certain teacher in order for the mystical minutia of our child's life to magically line up and create a successful school experience and life FOR them?
I suggest this shows a lack of trust in ourselves as parents and in our children's capabilities. Which is human, it's normal, it's just not, again, empowering.

There are two kinds of points of view we can have about life:
Dis-empowering or Empowering.
I choose Empowering. For everyone.

I do not imply here that the teachers don't matter. Teachers are extraordinary. Their education, style and commitment matter.They matter and they make a difference. They just don't define my children's future. My children do.
I chose to focus on empowering my child for the coming school year, and creating with them that WHATEVER teacher THEY get is the PERFECT teacher for them. Their classroom is perfect, their school is perfect and all they need to do is show up with their perfect selves and PARTNER with their teacher in their education, CREATING their own education and experience in life.

For those of you who scoff and say, well, your kid goes to a Blue Ribbon school, sure you can say that perfect BullS^%T. My kid goes to a dump of a school and their teacher is a lazy jerk.
I got it. That sucks. AND you CHOOSE to send your kid to school there even if you think you don't have a choice. We all have choice. If you can't afford a better area, move to a different state, if you can't get a better job to do that, pull your kid out and home school. If you both need to work just to put food on the table (not Gucci on your wrist), then look your kid in the eye and tell them something like,
"This school is what it is, it may not be pretty and the teachers may do what they do. That's what just what they do.In the meantime, we KNOW you will excel no matter what. That's how smart you are and how much we believe in you. No matter the situation is at school, we want you to ask yourself, Are you proud of who YOU are BEING?"

If the situation doesn't seem right, we can teach our kids, no matter what, to be committed, to have integrity, responsibility and generosity. Because in the long run, that CEO of a company or Investor is not going to hire or partner with our kids because they had Miss. Jessica instead of Miss. Lori...or because of their grades and what they KNOW. They will partner and create with our kid and our kids will make a difference in this world and be successful because of who they are BEING. And if our children is proud of who he or she is being, THAT is success.

Zen Honeycutt

Not that they need it, but to find out more about a program for your child 8-13yrs that empowers them to have integrity, responsibility and generosity, look up The Landmark Forum for Young People at www.landmarkeducation.com
And no I do not get compensated in anyway from Landmark, I just love this program!

* These names are made up and I apologize if they coincide with any real teachers names that may or may not be talked about.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Vast Disconnect: Teens and UK Riots


I have heard many times of rioting, and my reaction was a momentary numb sadness. The LA riots were more deeply disturbing, but the riots in Africa,Germany and France...all seemed but a distant disappointment in humanity and government. C'mon, get it together people! I would think, Get some government support or job infrastructure going! The rioting was a wake up call for that government, almost a deserved slap in the face that something needs to be done in that issue. I almost envied the protestors passion. You wouldn't find me stomping around the streets shouting about anything unless my toddler escaped.

This week however, I am jostled to my core about the London riots and now spreading UK riots. I am transfixed and terrified to see crowds of 14, 15 and 16 year olds strutting the streets, sinister and seeking destruction. They randomly smash windows, steal, throw rocks at police, burn cars and landmark buildings and even steal from a pre teen's backpack as they help him up, injured and stunned from the rioting, face bleeding. They steal his ipad or camera from his backpack as he weakly waves them away, leaving his backpack gaping open, boy wondering...what the Hell is going on?
The audio recordings of the teens bragging that they "Can do what they want and the police can't stop them" or that they will "Keep doing this til they get caught" and then finally "When I get home nothing will happen." strikes me to my heart.
Nothing will happen.

As a Mom of three boys, only five years away from being teens, I see these riots as a scream of society. Screams from our youth. They want SOMETHING to happen. They want their parents to care enough to hear them, to give them structure, to pay attention, to care about them enough to support them in being useful, productive and self sufficient. Teens are shown more material things through media than ever, songs like "I want to be a Billionaire" and "Dirty Rich" are just a sign of the focus of our youth. It's on extreme wealth, sex, beauty and AQUIRING and they perceive that they have almost no means of doing that unless they are given money...or steal it.

Just a few hundred years ago we could not survive as a family and as a colony if our teens weren't being useful, productive and protective. For almost a million years as humans, they were some of the most valuable people in society. The teen boys trained to hunt, kill, fight and protect the women and children. They backed up their fathers and were some of the first to defend or attack and it was necessary that they do so. They had areas of accountability that were all and only theirs. If the 13 year old boy didn't bring the wood in, the family would have no fire until he did. The teen girls trained to deliver babies, feed and clothe the family, mix medicine that would heal and save each other and the defending men and teens. If the 13 year old girl didn't heat the water, they had no hot water for food. Teens were an integral part our survival.

What is so now, is that our instincts and abilities have not changed (rather they have expanded) but society has. Society is set up now for teens to wait. Wait until they are adults.
Teens are now, for many, are just vapid airheads or stupid punks (there is actually evidence now that shows that their brains are not fully formed) that are in a holding pattern. They are "no good" until they get out of that pimply, rebellious stage and turn 25. I literally had a teacher tell me that "Guys are basically sh*t until they are 25."

A few hundred years ago, kids began working at 7 or 8 and were already in training and making a difference for their family. Teens now can't even legally work until they are 16. They can get babysitting jobs and care for our children but they can't flip burgers. Even then they are competing for those jobs with twenty four year old parents now. If they are lucky enough to live in a suburb with lawns, they can cut grass and move heavy machinery but they can't legally fix or make a computer. Even if they do have a job, it's merely for them to buy sneakers or makeup or a car for themselves. They focus is on them, not others. They aren't deemed NECESSARY. They go to school. Fabulous. What is so about that is that, that is all a lot of doing for SOMEDAY, when they graduate, later, when they have that degree, THEN they will be useful. Our families don't need what they could offer NOW because our society is structured completely differently. And no one cares about that because they way our society is now is more conveinent...and teens well, they will get over it, get used to it, grow up and eventually do something useful. In the mean time, thank God for video games.

Our global economy has expanded our comforts and conveniences but has shrunk our local teen's role of importance in our families and communities.

This is why, in my opinion as a Mom with pending teen boys, we need to ask more, not less, of our children and teens. We need to close the vast disconnect by reeling them in to love, listen and pay attention to them, no matter what, grumpy faces or bad attitudes, so what. Love them. And then firmly point them in the direction of something we NEED done, something important to us, something we depend on, and set them free to do it. Don't hover, don't criticize and don't demean their efforts. Celebrate their contribution. Have them be useful. Challenge them and give them big jobs, accountability and consequences. Have them also choose their area of passion and support it. Yes, they need to choose to take responsibility, and we in turn need to stop thinking that the way we can support them in their life is by money. No, it is by creating them as BEING important.
Teens are not just BECOMING. They ARE, right now, important, imperative, insistent human beings. Let's close the gap from destruction on the streets and disconnect in our relationships to create connection and contribution at home and in our neighborhoods.

How are teens important in your life?

Zen Honeycutt

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BEING the Fun


As I drop my two eldest of at the pool for swim lessons I suck in my breath and tell myself, "Ok let's have some fun." I am gearing up for what could be another 30 minute scream session with my almost three year old. Yesterday at this time of the day was an episode out of sheer Mommy Hell Movie. Bronson just couldn't bear it that Ben and Bodee could go for swim lessons and he couldn't (just not available)and he screamed to wake the Gods. I realized standing that with my monster outside the gate drooling at the cool pool in 93 degree heat would probably not be fun for anyone, so I stupidly asked him if he wanted to go swimming at another pool. He looked at me like OF COURSE!!! and lowered the screams into broken whining and crying. I then attempted to get him INTO the swim diaper. At this point in his tantrum, sweating, red faced etc, in retrospect,I could have asked him if he wanted a bath in ice cream and he would have said no. So he said NO to the swim diaper. I took this to mean he was growing up and yes in THAT stage of potty training. Yea! Then I remember he is still screaming.

So we get in the roasting car, buckle up, with Bronson crying like I am strangling him or something, drive to the OTHER pool, unbuckle, get out, walk down the block in the glaring sun and get finally to the pool. I get in, begin to sizzle with gratitude that Bronson has stopped whining for a moment, and then he starts up again. This time he has decided he DOES want his "Diapey". He totally resists even putting his toes in the water. The car is waaaaaaay over there I think....and then realize people are watching me sit in a nice cool pool while my red faced toddler is screaming for a water diaper. Obvioulsy I am not going to drag a toddler who is screaming for a diaper into a pool and risk a huge mess. So I drag myself out of the delicious water into the heat and grumpily haul my screaming toddler back to the car. I give up on the pool. When he learns this, he screams another round of resistance, piercing my brain and puncturing any bubble of hope and patience I had left... and then FINALLY falls asleep. That was yesterday.

Today I am CREATING a different outcome, FUN, Generosity and Creativity. I say creating because I get that reacting to a situation is asking for trouble as a Mom. I can see that if I am reacting a lot,then I am being a lazy parent. I'm not creating anything. I'm tired, resentful, overwhelmed and just plain playing a victim of what I created.
So today I prepare Bronson by telling him we are drop off Ben and Bodee and that we are going for our OWN swim. I say it with glee and anticipation.I describe the Fun we are going to have. He claps and can't wait to get into his swim "diapey" and runs like a gerbil set free towards the pool shouting "Yeaaaaaaa! Fun!"

When we get to the pool we, swim, play bounce and splash together in the big pool. Then we go to the kiddie pool, his domain, and I change things up a bit ( usually we just coexist with the other pool mates) and talk to two other bright faced little girls. I invite them to play Marco Polo with us and pretty soon we are laughing and lunging through the water with utter abandon. I am a child... gleeful, giggling, sputtering, shrieking and shouting. Bronson looks at me with happiness that could lit up a city. The other little girls are fascinated with me. (Usually other people's kids and I find each other mutually and utterly boring.)And I am delighted by them. I experience a stranger's child as a treasure.

As I lay back down, floating in the water with Bronson resting his head on my heart, I sigh with fulfillment. I realize I am in the mode of creating, and it occurs to me that I usually am not. Usually I might get in to "get wet" and then get out again just so I can sit and watch the kids play. I sit on the lounge chair and MONITOR the fun. I watch the fun. I am not, like many of the Nannies or Dads, BEING the fun. I look around and see many Moms lounging and kids playing. Now, there is nothing wrong with lounging. I love to lay around,lounge, please, lounge away...and I also get that rounding out a day at the pool with a good healthy dose of getting off my butt and BEING the fun is where the real joy lies.

When Todd gets home, Bronson exclaims proudly that "I had fun at the pool with Momma!!!." I want to cry. Usually it's just "We went to the pool" or "I had fun at the pool."
I have choice to be a stay at home Mom. I choose to not have two incomes and make that work. I choose to be Mommy NEED Central, the source of filling my kids needs all day. And I choose, by being present with our children, BEING the Fun.

Love, FUN and Joy to all,
Zen Honeycutt

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My New "Buzz"


I watched " Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead " on Netflix two days ago. It is a remarkable documentary of a very wealthy and very overweight and very unhealthy, ie: rashy Australian man Joe Cross who travels cross country in the USA whilst partaking a 60 day juice fast and interviewing Americans about health.
He is charming, unassuming, and really not preachy at all. He offers help to one nearly 500 pound trucker with the same rash disease he has, and later in the movie this man takes him up on his offer. In 10 days the trucker looses 30 pounds, completely healthily ( with doc checkups) in 30 days; 90 pounds and in 60 days the scale we were left at, was at 202 pounds less. He converts neighbors, family members and friends all from just gently sharing his experience. His brother has a 56,000 dollar heart attack and takes 471 dollars worth of medication a month and finally surrenders to his younger brother's new way of life and tries it, loosing 47 pounds. It is truly touching to see the brothers connect over health, choosing a future together of empowerment and responsibility for their lives. Actually, they are choosing not only health, but each other, family and their love for each other. It is moving.

The most impressive part of the film besides the weight loss, glow of skin, confidence and happiness the Reboot Juicers experience, is the way the film explains with cartoons and narration, the effect that Micro nutrients ( from raw vegetables and fruits) have on cells. They literally heal cells. Macro nutrients, meats, processed foods etc, weaken the cells and make us more susceptible to disease, cancer illness and allergies. Even having known a friend who reduced his prostate cancer cell rate 40% by eating 90% raw for 60 days, I still didn't really understand the importance of fruits and veges for everyone. Now I get that they are a direct source of the sun's energy, our life source. I couldn't wait to go out and get a juicer.

That night, I told my husband about the movie and he surprised me by saying he would try a fast. I love his commitment to our family. The next day, after I went out and bought an Omega 8006 juicer from Mother's ( has a 15 year warranty, that is an extraordinary appliance!) I came home thrilled to assemble and juice up my big bunches of kale, celery, spinach and bags of granny apples, lemons, and cucumbers. It was easy to do and when I drank the juice it was like drinking a cool crisp garden. I felt sprightly and fresh.
When I went out with the children for a potluck dinner, I left my husband a big glass of juice in the refrigerator and came home to see him half way through "Fat,Sick and Nearly Dead" and raving about the juice. I was delighted.

Yesterday and today I have been so excited to wake up and make a new concoction, I have added beets, oranges (sans peel), eliminated the celery and lemon that the kids don't like, and added berries via blender. The kids help push the veges and fruits into the juicer, delighting at the crunch crunch crunch of the turning auger and their power in choice to contribute to being healthy.We call the beet one Super Hero Juice.
I feel a healthy energetic buzz after drinking these juices. I feel empowered in creating a future with zero doctors visits, zero medications, just health, energy, adventures and a long life of love and laughter.

I am so grateful to Joe Cross and his production crew, to Alex from Mother's market for telling all the nitty gritty details about juicing and making the transition to vegan, ( he suggests taking Brewer's Yeast powder in the juice, which has the complete amino acid chain which we miss out on if we don't have meat, and B Complex which without we will feel cranky, irritable, tired and head-achy, like PMS )and I am so grateful to my husband for once again being supportive of a new adventure in health.
Anytime I have cravings now, I juice up some Super Hero Juice, not to loose weight, but to feed my cells, care for my body, and get that BUZZ of being healthy, vital and alive!

Zen Honeycutt

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Drama with Date Night for Married People


Oh hilarious.
This morning my husband gets that he has been super focused on his book and work lately and not present with me. He asks me if we can have a date, the kids will go to the hourly drop off child care place that they love, Super Fun, dinner and maybe a movie, and I am delighted. "Ok it's a date!" He says with bravado, and I am grinning like a silly woman...it wasn't always this easy to get a date with my husband.
Ben, in his Star Wars underwear, perched on the arm of our couch, pipes up, "But Mom, if you and Dad are already married, why do you have to go on a date?"

A giant Man Committee in my head shouts "YEAH!!!! WHY? We did the courting! We wooed and won you over, why do you married women need us to do that darn date stuff, and PRETEND we are having a date?" I laugh as I hear men groan around the world.
I ask Todd if he heard and we chuckle together. Then I get to answering my son's very good question.

"Well, Ben, it's like you and a friend. You make a friend, and to be REALLY good friends, you need to spend time together and play, laugh, learn what the other person likes right? Well, Mommy and Daddy need to do that too. We spend time where Daddy only focuses on me and I only focus on Daddy...no interruptions from Bronson, laundry or the phone."

He nods understandingly. But I appreciate his question. Men from all cultures have it that when they woo and date a women, once they get her the ring, marry and give up all other temptations from other women, gosh darn it, then that should be enough! It just doesn't make a bit of sense to men that they should "have to" keep trying to win their women's affections when the winning has been won. In other words, game over. I imagine that men say it to each other all the time at Bachelor parties... "Game over man, You're DONE. After tomorrow you only have one women for the rest of your LIFE."
The courting and hunt for a woman is done after marriage. The game has been played. Most men want to just kick back and enjoy their life, retire the tux and the suit and tie, have time with the Misses be watching TV together, maybe a drink together, and straightforward roll in the hay. No fuss no muss. Why not? He earned it!
The whole idea of a "date" with a wife just doesn't make any sense. Especially to couples without children. Why get all gussied up for each other when we can just stay home and strip and get straight to it? Total insanity! A date is what you do when you want to get to know, romance, woo and entice a woman. Your wife, well, you know her and she's supposed to be a sure thing now, right?

And for married men with kids, well, a date is just frustrating. First of all, there is the hassle of the babysitter. Usually the wife takes care of it, but the man always gets bothered by who or what time or driving her home or something...and then there's the cost, sixty bucks for some teen or college girl to come over and get the kids ready for bed for an hour and then sit on her butt and watch TV for the next three hours. What a rip off.
Second, there's the getting dressed up thing again, which is a pain, and that look your wife gives you like, "You are going to wear THAT?" Men never had to put up with that when they were actually dating...the women got whatever shirt the man damn well felt like wearing and looked DELIGHTED to see him, yes, in THAT.
Thirdly there is the cost of the dinner and maybe movie too, all in all it could be almost 200 bucks for a night out and sitter and in a day or two the wife will bitch about how badly we need money to save for college. A guy just can't do enough.
On top of all that, unless we throw a few more hundred dollars out there and get a hotel, the supposed "sure thing" for a married man with children is definitely not a sure thing. The kids might be a tangled mass, sleeping in our bed, one might wander in just as we are starting to get to bed, or as soon as we get home the wife might remember that she needs to make brownies for tomorrow's potluck or patch together that costume the kid needs. The man's shoulder drop, defeated again...duped into playing the "game" of Date Night that he just can't win.
To a man, the whole Date Night concept can be a big farce. Sure, some get excited about the movie out and the good steak, but their idea of the date night is totally different from the wife.

She wants to relive the romance, the starry eyes, the candle light. She wants to feel whisked away to a fantasy place that smells like flowers and spices while he stares into her eyes and her eyes only. She wants to feel adored and desired. Even if he has to pretend, she doesn't care, just muster up your attention for one night once in a while and look into my eyes and find me Fascinating, dammit!!! She really doesn't care as much about the point of the date, warming up for the jump in the sack...no she really wants the experience of the desire and romance beforehand. The married woman often feels like she has been duped...all that courting and romance in the beginning and NOW look what I get. What a farce! I've been tricked!
She really doesn't get why her husband doesn't WANT to do a Date Night with her. Why he is not excited to get dressed up, oogle her in her perfect dress, kiss her neck as they go out the door, hold her hand and rub the small of her back as they wait for a table. She doesn't GET why he doesn't WANT to go on a date, whatever it costs, to spend time alone with HER, he used to practically drool when he saw her dressed up! Logically too, she doesn't get why he doesn't want to keep the marriage blooming and growing, thriving instead of surviving each other. The wife with children is desperate for date nights to "get away" as well, but may also feel guilt over leaving babies or small children. She may worry so much that a date night is just too stressful, so she gives up. She resorts to taking scraps of connection, like an ice cream outside on the porch to look at the moon and talk for a half hour after the kids go to bed. "Ok", she sighs in her head, "I guess that was a date."

That is the real point. That a Date Night really is whatever the couple creates that it is. And it doesn't have to be "settling". We can actually be thrilled about an ice cream and the moon. I will never forget the date Todd took me on recently to watch the sunset over a huge lake and eat chocolate and drink a glass of red wine and talk about everything and nothing. Last year, the time we took to ask each other what the perfect date night would be for each of us was a huge shift in generosity for me. When I heard him describe in detail, going out for a nice casual dinner in comfy clothes, talking about our books, going to a book store and checking out the latest books, then maybe a coffee or dessert too, that was a great night out too. And it included learning something new as well. I resisted it, because I wanted Date Night to be all about ME, but I have to admit I loved the idea of that evening too.
When we did that Date Night, and I actually enjoyed it, something shifted for Todd too, he saw I was willing to acknowledge his desires and his desire to fulfill my desires...well, let's just say we have a lot more Date Nights now! :)
So, a Toast to Friday night Date Nights everywhere,however they are, creating moonlight and merriment, married and in love.

Zen Honeycutt

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Adam and Steve


We are on the Metro North train headed into the Big Apple for our family vacation and we find out it's also Gay Pride weekend. Later that day our friend tells us that New York just approved gay marriage the day before. The Gay Pride parade is going to be one helluva party!

Images flash into my mind from when I was in college and lived on the lower West Side on 11th street and the Hudson River, right in the heart of the "Gay Section". Men in nothing but banana hammock thong underwear and cowboy chaps, their muscular butts waggling in the air for all to see, shaved bare chested men with rainbow skivvies, dancing as free as could be on top of floats, kissing each other, shouting, hugging, cheering, loving themselves and their life. A celebration of who they are....sprinkled with nudity, some cross dressing and rainbows everywhere. How would I explain this to my three sons? What would an 8, 6 and 2 year old think of all that?

I went to fashion design school at Parsons when I was 17. Some of my very first friends were gay designers. Three out of the four men I remember in my dorm were gay and they became my best friends. I loved them because of their full self expression. I loved their perspective of women, their adoring fever they embodied when they talked about Diana Ross, Susan Summer or Liz Taylor. They were not attracted to women, but they loved and admired them deeply. I loved how they taught me to "Be Fierce" and to "Work it"...when we danced at nightclubs in our silver hot shorts. We would dress up like crazy club kids, in costumes of sorts, that we created from what we had, vintage clothes, cut up jewelry, feather boas, red monkey fur, mesh stockings...and we would waltz to the front of the line of the club, that was two blocks long, and get let right in. It was their bravado, their confidence, their creativity and love for living life fully that had me step up and be that fully expressed bold woman. I owned being a woman because of them. I love gay men.

So when my mother's boyfriend later commented, on the comfort of his deck, drinking a beer with his family, "I don't believe in gay marriage. God made Adam and EVE not Adam and Steve."...I was saddened by the closed perspective.
My sister spoke up and sad "But if Adam and Steve want to get married it doesn't bother me or affect my marriage." Yea, Chi.
I agreed and piped in "Yep. Nothing anyone else does or says can diminish what Todd and I have. We are married because we say so. I support people loving each other."

I thought about it more later...on the way home from NYC, in the train where two lesbians sat next two us and a few gay men dashed by shouting loudly, definitely proud. We didn't end up having to explain men in chaps to our boys, because we mostly did museums and parks uptown, near where we stayed, but if I did need to explain it I would have been straightforward and happy to.

What I got clear on is that Yes, maybe God or the universe made Adam for Eve and Eve for Adam. Maybe that is the way it was intended...if you look at it from a body part and procreation perspective.
AND the fact is that there are, right now, and have been for thousands of years, many Adams and Steve couples and Eve and Ellas. That is a fact. There are lots of gay people who love each other, they are huge and integral part of our society and contribute an enormous amount of creativity and power. And they want to get married so they can honor their love. They also get to visit each other in the hospital and inherit and properly care for whatever estate they have worked all their lives to accumulate. They get to share in health care, bank accounts and insurance etc. as well. They get to be MARRIED and have the importance of those words of commitment.

Whether one agrees with that or not, it occurred to me that in life, things don't always go as we intend them. What makes it stressful or an issue of conflict is when we make it WRONG. So we want a sunny birthday? Then it rains? The stress is not in the rain. The stress is that we make it wrong.
So our original idea of marriage is a man and a women? So relationships are supposed to be heterosexual? Well not all are. So what? Can we just accept that and be with that and support love and honor to be created? Or do we have to make it wrong so we can feel RIGHT and superior?
The problem with Equal Rights is that there is a RIGHT and a WRONG. When in fact, like the rain, nothing is right or wrong unless we make it so. If we take a look at why we need to be right about something, maybe we wouldn't feel like things in the world are wrong.

I am committed to teaching my sons about the diversity, wonder and love in the world.
Of course I would love for them to be heterosexual and have a wife and kids, but I have no fear if they are not. My dear friends Keith, Scott and Casey taught me how much there is to celebrate in being human, man or woman, no matter what your sexual preference is.

I am also committed to guide them in being the kind of people that when something doesn't go the way we intend in life in general, to not make it wrong, but to accept what is so, to create newly and to be fully self expressed and encourage others to be free and fully self expressed. And if they end up on a float in rainbow skivvies with their husbands in the process,more Power to 'em!


Zen Honeycutt

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Tell Me How GREAT I Am"


It's 11:30 pm on a Sunday night and my husband and I are driving home from a tornado of stimuli from a weekend in New York City with all three boys, 8, 6 and 2. The word that comes to mind is BLEARY. I am achy, drained, and my brain feels like mush. We stare at the straight away of the dark Connecticut highway like a couple of drones. I feel defeated by the huge amount of activity we chose to take on this weekend. I am done.
My husband yawns. I take that to mean "Keep me awake or we all die." So I start talking. That's our thing. He drives, I talk to keep him awake. I ask him if I can tell him about the Alexander McQueen exhibit I went to and saw on my own while he stayed with the boys and played in Central Park. I tell him all about the fascinating juxtapositions he used in his high fashion...tiny gold beads that drip like honey over a horse hair skirt, shiny silver metal in the shape of a jawbone for jewelry, shredded chiffon, gilded gold duck feather, elm wood prosthetic legs, red jeweled encrusted bodice with hundreds of layers of tulle...
"Enough enough! Ok I can't stand it anymore." he finally groans.
I am stunned. But I was just getting started. This is Fascinating! How can he stop me???
"But I thought you wanted me to keep you awake? " I ask, trying to hide the hurt from squeaking out.
"Yeah, but I want you to talk about something that I want to hear about. Like how great I am. Tell me how great I am." He is not joking.
I burp up a "Ha" without thinking. Then I hold the rest of the full throttle laughter in because I get the vulnerability it takes to ask for acknowledgement. This is what he wants right now. My head is groaning..."Oh God, I have to think about HIM?? I just want to think about ME and what I think is interesting! I don't want to tell him how great he is! What a whiner! I thought women were the ones that were supposed to need attention??? Oh Man..."
And I get could listen to the feminist committee complaining in my head or I could fullfill on my husbands request. I take a deep breath.
Ok. Let's play the game " How GREAT You Are!!!"

"First of all", I begin from the beginning somewhat slowly, "You are SO Great because you carried a fifty pound backpack for hours Saturday so that the boys wouldn't have to carry a thing. And when you weren't carrying the back pack you were carrying Bronson so I wouldn't have to. You are SO GREAT. Secondly, you are so Great because you listened to my friend and I chatting away like a couple of hens for hours and you were totally ok with the whirlwind of a day we had planned at the museum. Thirdly.."
I walked through the weekend like I was reviewing a video. I looked for all the moments he was GREAT and saw everything he was committed to, to making the trip easy for us, to all of is having fun, to feeding and taking care of us, to taking our boys for bathrooms runs seventeen times a day... and it became more and more fun to revel in my husband's GREATNESS. Soon I felt nothing but love, lightness and joy for him and our triumphant weekend. I didn't want to stop. I kept going. I found ways he was great even when we had a breakdown on Sunday and I was spitting fire at him. He was so great for wanting the boys and I to be taken care of...his way. His commitment to us is never ending.
Soon I was at the end of our day, up to the very moment and I found myself acknowledging him for even asking to be acknowledged for being Great, because it really got me present to everything being so perfect. Instead of listening to the tape in my head that often points our what we coulda , shoulda, woulda done, I was present to the glory of the adventure we created in the face of lots of things not going the way we planned.

Then my husband played " How GREAT You Are" with me. And I teared up from his acknowledgments. He saw ways that I was great even when I thought he hated me. He saw all the planning, he turned my worries into my love, he even transformed my snapping at him and grumpiness into commitment to having our adventure go the way we said it would go for the boys. He saw my resistance to take care of myself as a commitment to our kids and then acknowledges how GREAT I was for seeing tat I needed to take care of myself and at one point in the trip, just going back to the room for a rest. He turned my breakdowns into breakthroughs and I love him to the marrow in his bones for that. I would die for him. I would do anything for him. Including talk about how GREAT he is ON DEMAND.
I also can't wait to play this game with my kids. We all just need to be acknowledged sometimes. Asking for it isn't wimpy or whiner-ish. It's GREAT.
It turns our day or event or trip into a adventure that we will never forget, and not because of what we coula, woulda, shoulda done but because of what we did do, that was GREAT exactly the way it was.

Zen Honeycutt

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dodging the Bullet

Young women in their early twenties can seem from the unattached observer,like a different species. This female species are colorful, fashionable and eclectically accessorized. With a blase flair, they combine frills, scarves, ruffles, rhinestones on tee shirts and slouchy tops that barely pass as dresses. They sit laguidly at coffee tables, legs crossed, hair flipped to one side, as if life is a vacation and boredom is stretching on like an eternal yawn.... to the casual observer...

I have been honored and privileged to know two young women very well over the past two years. I have seen their species up close. I have ben given a secret pass to their inner lives. They have, in turn, shown me strength, energy and authenticity that the casual observer would not be privy to see. They have supported me in my endeavors, things that should matter not to them...listening to hours of aggravation with managing husband, house and a handful of boys and actual help with boogery children, time to pay mountains of bills, mundane doctors appointment and obligatory household chores.

Christine has been our live in Nanny and assistant for over a year. She was 24 when she started with us, saving money for travel, not sure about her direction or purpose in life, resisting finishing school and happy to have a free place to live that wasn't home. She was fun, sweet and warm... happily dodging creating her life.

Over the course of the year, I was amazed by her generousity, caring for our children while I worked a few hours a day. She gave her complete attention, engaged, present, loving and patient. She was firm too, guiding the children and taking no guff. I am not sure she ever got what a contribution she was to us, how much she matters. She never replaces or usurped me, but supported me fully, transforming the peace and organization of our home.
Over the year, after her travels and confidence built, she transformed her life. She lives on her own now, in a multi renter house with a garden, has a fulltime job and takes four classes in college and also takes a leadeership course two times a week. She is creating being a Holistic Doctor, contributing to others. She is blossoming. Life is no longer boring. She is causing her life.

Anisa was my 24 year old "Buddy" from a leadership program that we both took over two and half years ago. She is stunningly unique, beautiful, and sublimely cool. We called each other three to five times a week, sharing a miracle that occured in our life, and creating what we are causing, who we are being and what we are taking on, and holding eachother to account for that. These calls, and her listening and coaching transformed my life, by having me be accountable to actually do what I said I would.
When we met she was fiercely determined but not admittedly not committed. She was creative and creating her life, but was left wondering why it never happened for her. She was the kind of person you see and think they have it all together, looks, brains and cool factor, but for some reason was disgruntled with life and stuck in quicksand. She was creating her life, but dodging causing it.

Over the two years I was honored to be able to hear her share about confronting herself and what was stopping her, which she soon figured out was simply herself. She took on what it really takes to be a responsible adult. She created getting certain jobs, and she did. She didn't like them, so she left with integrity. She got into struggles from living with her parents and I got to hear what that was really like for her. I got to hear her complete those reoccurring conversations with her parents with responsibility. She shared how she loved and let go of a great young man and is still great friends with him. I got to see her grow, like young sapling into a lush tree before my very eyes. She has moved to San Franciso now, creating AND causing for herself, freedom, grace, ease and being a radiant woman. She is.

Before she left she shared with me that she went to Apple to get her iphone replaced. She had dropped it in the toilet. Instead of going and whining to the customer service rep abot it like a teenager, she took responsibility like an adult. She told him straight up what happened, accepted the responsibility of having to pay a full five hundred dollars to replace it and then just got related to the service rep while he took care of routine paper work. She was curiuos about HIM, and they talked, connecting ( not flirting,just being related ) and creating a great experience together instead of the drudgery a repetitious service act can be. Soon he was finding a way to waive the five hundred dollars, with her even asking for it...and she was beaming radiantly.

" I dodged the bullet Big Time " she said to me. And in that moment I got something.

" Yes, you did. But it wasn't like you dodged the bullet luckily, like a survivor reflex, without thinking about it. This was dodging the bullet like a James Bond girl, or like MATRIX. You didn't strategize it, but you dodged it from who you are being, totally present with him and creating. There is a huge difference"

That kind of dodging the bullet comes with mastery, taking on responsibility and causing one's life fully. There is nothing laguid or lucky about that. That is the transformation from teen to woman.
I will not have a daughter but being allowed the access to these two young women's worlds has touched me and has me be complete with that, beyond what I ever could have imagined. I have been a part of the cycle of woman hood, creating together.
Thank you wonderful ladies.

Zen Honeycutt

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Instant Rage


It's Sunday late morning and rather than sitting peacefully at church like most families in southern Orange County I just flew into a rage.
My toddler ran screaming after me down the hallway as I went to fix something for lunch and it occurred to me that my husband is doing nothing and POOF! Instant rage.
I start yelling about how We Need To Eat ( I wonder would they all just starve if I didn't cook?? I am so annoyed by my husband's lack of initiative around meal times. Totally annoyed) and WHY did he throw all the leftovers into one bowl??? The rice, chicken and brussles sprouts are all a mixed up mushy mess and the kids will NEVER eat them this way. I am irate with my husband. How hard is it to separate the leftovers???

Then Bronson is pulling on my legs and whining some more. I have had it with him too. At two and a half and still nursing I am over my threshold for tolerance. Sometimes it is perfect and fine, a bonding moment in the middle of the night...but now, when I am trying to make lunch, it's just downright annoying. I need to have a life, to not be tugged at, to care for myself and to have some moments of quiet time when I am not being demanded of, whined at, pulled at, crawled on, boogered on, talked back to, tattled to, pleaded to for food, screamed at for attention and actually hit by my toddler when he is mad. Enough is enough!
I holler at my husband for not thinking about Bronson's needs. He is two year old, who has been sitting around all morning with his brothers,awake for nearly five hours now, and simply watching TV, or watching his brothers play DS games or playing XBox is insane. A two year does not have the attention span or interest in those activities like an eight or six year old. So out of total boredom he comes whining after me for some sort of attention and to latch on like a tick on a dog. I have had it.
Plus how much is enough? Is ANYONE monitoring the amount of time the children spend in front of theses electronic boxes? Even though I bought a timer??? Obviously NOT! Obviously I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING!!!!

Pretty soon I am slamming pots on the stove, resentfully cooking this mush of a leftover lunch, grabbing a bowl for myself and heading to the office to eat alone because I can't stand the thought of sitting and digesting food in front of my husband.I eat with a clenched stomach. I hate to admit the mushy mess actually tastes better than my original dish. Damn him. My shame at my rage is setting in and I continue to hide from him and my children and myself. Except I am still with myself. When I sit dowm to write something inspiring about parenting, I feel like a total fraud. I want to blame him now for my lack of ability to write authentically. Not very Zen.

Or actually, exactly Zen...the identity I mean, not the philosophy. I do this. This is what I do. I don't plan my Sunday, or I do but then I am not aware of it or I don't communicate it with my husband with real times and simple requests like " Sweetie, Please take the boys to the park by ten AM". No... and I lay around, watch mindless TV, have breakfast in bed because my husband is cool like that ( see he did do something...) and let my son nurse whenever he wants because he is so ridiculously attached...but until I am just sore and irritated.

Then, when it suddenly seems like we should all be doing something different, suddenly, like one second it's fine to be playing video games and the next second it's been waaaaay too long...suddenly, because that switch has been flicked by Judge Zen in my brain, the sentencing ensues. The gavel comes down and everyone is condemned to a session of yelling, accusing, demanding, commanding, threats and punishments. I exert my control and everyone pays. And I am justified because I ( Capital of capital I's) DO EVERYTHING. And I am overwhelmed and deserve to blow off steam.
It's horrendous. It's a miracle I am still married. It's a miracle my kids love me anyway.

Why share this? Why write out my very un-Zen like ways of parenting that are definitely not inspiring? One, I am committed to being authentic. Two, I am guessing one or two others do this. Someone might relate. Three, I get out of my system, I work it out and get clarity when I share, and get to create something new.
I don't want to be this way and yet in the moment I see no other way to be. I don't think about it, words are just launching themselves out of my mouth like fighter jets, angrily attacking anyone with earshot.
The magic comes when I do think about it and get present, when I face my part of it. When I can see the pattern and see what is missing that I can put in to have our Sundays afternoons work.

Like.... a plan and a specific time for when the boys go to the park or pool with Daddy. Or food prepared ahead of time and a simple request for my husband to reheat it at a certain time. Asking nicely might help. Putting one of the boys in charge of setting the timer for their video game playing might be a start. Setting rules like our friends where they earn a minute of video game playing for every minute of another activity like playing piano, reading or making art. Or how about I actually stick to my own schedule for writing, making art or girl time? I haven't been to the gym or made art in months.

All this requires that I ( that's another Capital of Capital I's) be responsible...which is exactly what I was raging at my husband for not doing and exactly what I wasn't doing either.
So sorry Sweetie. Please stay married to me. I love you and the kids so much.

Zen Honeycutt
www.zenspurplegarden.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Giving Up or Choosing


Ben has a sad face. He walks towards the car and it gets sadder and longer the closer he gets. He is holding it in and by the time he gets seated and buckled in the dam breaks.
"Oh Mom, it was a terrible day!"
I ask him why, truly concerned. he hasn't had a terrible day in months.
" Today the teacher showed Lydia's art, Lydia's my best friend and she's a good artist, but Ms.Cline showed her art and not mine and she showed the whole class and she's a better artist that I am!!!"
Big crocodile tears are rolling and plopping onto his sweatshirt.
"I used to be the best artist and now I'm not and the teacher never shows my art so I'm not going to be an artist anymore!!!'
It's decisive. He is killing off his artistic expression. "The word decide is from the family pesticide, homicide, insecticide," (to quote leaders from Landmark, a breakthrough personal training and development program),"it kills off something in your life. It is very different from a choice, which is to choose freely after consideration."
Ben was killing something off in his life. It was very difficult for me not to make that wrong, to make him wrong. But I knew making him wrong about that would just have him hold onto his new decision with more vigor than ever before. I just needed to be with it.
"Wow, you are really sad." I said, running my hand over his shiny hair. " Yeah." he said and went onto describe in further detail how he is going to stop making art and instead just spend time with his family. Compassionate, but still limiting. Okay.

I listened while driving until he was completely emptied out, then I pulled the car over.
"Ben can I tell you a story?" He nodded.
"When I was a girl, I took a dance class with my sister Chi. Jazz. We had black outfits with fringe on the arms, we practiced for three months. Then we had a dance recital. Chi was shorter so she was in the front row. I was taller so I was in the back. I was nervous. I really wanted to do it right. At the end of the dance our father came up and said " Wow, Chi what a nice big smile you had, you look like you really enjoyed it!" Then he looked at me and said " Zen, where was your smile?"
In that moment I made up that Chi was a better dancer than I was, that dance was " her thing" and I shouldn't dance. So I didn't. For a long time. I missed out on alot of fun.
Then, when I lived on my own in New York City, I met your Daddy and we took dance lessons together, had a lot of fun and fell in love. I took a chance by dancing again. If I hadn't taken that chance then Daddy and I wouldn't have gotten married and you wouldn't be alive today."
Ben said " Well, that's what I am going to do then, not do art for a long time."
I told him that the point was that I could have been having fun all those years and dancing anyway, it doesn't matter about anyone else. He can do whatever he wants, and he can always change his mind and do art again, today even, either way it's his choice...
He soon, sighed, nodded his head, changed his mind and said he chose to do art again.

As we walked into our home he sighed and said " Thanks for telling me that story Mom, You know, parents are useful. They have been kids and they know stuff." I felt so touched by his simple wisdom and acknowledgement. Oh Thank God, I thought, my child does listen a little bit and does learn a little bit from my experience.

The next day, he came home, beaming, that his teacher had shown his art at the front of the class, shining, happy and still best friends with Lydia. He said he learned from what she did and the whole class learned from what he did. That's my boy!

Zen Honeycutt
www.zenspurplegarden.com

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Just" a Mom




On Mother's Day I find it fitting to come out. As "Just" a Mom.
Yeah, Yeah. I know the connotation is one of condenscention. "Just" as if that is all there is, there is something better and I am "just" sitting in a lounge chair by the pool watching my kids lay on floaties, reading books like little angels,or like there is nothing else that I could be doing, I am good for nothing except being a mom, I am put out, tired, overwhelmed, so that's allI can handle... "Just" like people should feel sorry for me or something.

My ego wants to scream out...but I am not JUST a Mom! I have been a Mompreneur for almost six years, creating a gorgeous product line and company called "Zen's Purple Garden"!
I am a writer too, a wife and I am a trained artist and designer...

Yes. All past experiences. All things I did in the past that need not define my future. Every moment I have a choice. Every moment. I am choosing to be presnt with my kids.
Just because two people are married doens't mean the person has to come home to you at night, and you don't have to be there waiting for them. Every day is a choice, every moment is a choice.
So often I choose to do two or three things at once, be a Mompreneur of a company, start a Non Profit, raise two children, be pregnant and create a Green Earth Festival. SUPER Mom it. Somewhere in there my kids and husband hope for the crumbs of me that are left over.

We Moms do that, we multi task on some many levels that we forget where we started, what our intention was, or where we put our keys and then wonder why we are exhausted at three in the afternoon. We don't leave any room to JUST be a Mom.
To focus, to be present, to be a Mom and only a Mom, is such an empowering place to come from, such a generous gift to give our children, I choose JUST being a Mom and I am excited by the possibilities of what we are going to create.
Yes, I will continue to do Zen's Purple Garden when it works for our family, and eventually, when I cause completion with integrity, I will stop. I don't have a feeling of sorrow or failure about that. I am choosing a new focus.
I will continue to write as my creative self expression, and when I DO those things I will JUST do those things. And my writing is in complete alignment with my being a Mom, in fact my Just being a Mom inspires and feeds my writing. I may home school, which will be tremendously inspiring for us and my book. It's all one.

AND who I am being when I do those things and everything else, when I am listening to my child, helping them with their homework, reading to them, and yes occasionally, sitting by the pool...I am JUST a Mom. It is a distinctive shift. It's a big deal. I am not resisting what's happening and thinking that my time would be much better used doing some errand or selling or marketing. I am present, lit up with aliveness, inspired by their energy and love for the world,choosing them, being their Mom, listening, empowering, creating the life of our dreams even when it's not going the way we wanted it to, as Just a Mom, I am creating them to have the power and self expresssion to behave in a way that has them be proud of who they are in the face of any circumstance.

I am JUST their for them, wholly and completely, moment to moment. I am making a singular and complete choice. Empowering. Just. A. Mom.
There is freedom in choosing a singular focus. In fact a Buddhist monk said "The purpose of meditation is not to empty the mind, for nothingness, but a steadfastness of a singular focus."

Zen Honeycutt
www.zenspurplegarden.com

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Best Mother's Day Gift EVER



It's Mother's Day tomorrow.
I won't lie. The day is rife with expectations. In my good moments I am just at peace and grateful, loving my kids and husband and I am so glad they are alive.

Most of the time however, the Expectation Monster is clawing at my brain.
I deserve a FABULOUS Mother's day Gosh Darn it!
When my two sons spit, scream and yell, accusing each other of killing gold fish and threatening to kill any future pets, at the Dinner Table, oh Man!, I deserve a gold star the size of the house.

When I run six errands in a day, wipe toxic poo off a squirmy, resistant, butt two to three times a day, and then make meals for five, all without anyone getting sick or injured, oh Man! I deserve a spa vacation.

When I find rotten apples under the car seat, along with stinky socks, someone's lost R2D2 Lego and the missing library book, for God's Sake, I at least deserve a THANK YOU or a pretty diamond bracelet.

When my two year old bangs his metal sippy cup up and down on the coach and then WHACK nails my knee cap with it, oh MAN! I deserve a marching band!

And if you are a Mom, Don't YOU???

The thing is, that I get the reality is that I am probably going to get a handmade card, maybe one with yarn twisted into flowers or hearts that turn into butterflies. I might get little wooden bird houses that Daddy bought at Michael's Crafts and sat with the boys while I was grocery shopping and carefully instructed them how and where to paint it...until they started doing whatever they wanted and he said, what the heck, Go For it! and they did...
What I will probably get is Daddy making breakfast and the boys maybe helping him with the juice cup or a flower on the tray. What I will probably get is Daddy thinking about what would look pretty on the plate for me and the boys adding their extra special touch, all filing in together, all giving me kisses, all in their underwear, fuzzy messy hair, smiling their early morning puffy faced smiles.

What I will get is Daddy thinking like a Mommy for the day, taking care of all the little details,the dishes, the napkins and boys cooperating, and the boys thinking about what will make Mommy happy. More than any diamond or marching band, that will be the best gift of all, because when my husband GETS what attention to detail it takes, what fore planning, what patience and generosity it takes to Be a MOM, then I feel gotten, appreciated and loved.
And when my boys smile their smiles to make me happy, my heart rejoices in the gift they are to me, the best gift ever.

Happy Mother's day to you and your Mother. May your expectations go on vacation and you be present and peaceful with the people who love you so.

Zen Honeycutt
www.zenspurplegarden.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

To the Rapture


Is Osama Bin Laden in his rapture? 72 virgins and all that?
As I wake up today to the news that this long hunted enemy of democracy is dead I feel both relief, triumph and darkness at the same time. I do not feel joy. I cannot rejoice in the death of a human life. I can rejoice in perserverance, a stand for freedom and for our brave soliders. But still, killing has taken place.
I wonder though, in the name of Allah, if it was all worth it to Osama and his followers, if his death now actually has him in peace, in his heaven as his religion tells him. In his point of view, he died fighting in the name of his God.

We have visited many places of worship, Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, and in the past two weeks we have taken our children to two religious events where God, Heaven and afterlife have been of much discussion. Not sure how much my children absorbed while they ran around a park at an evangelical service on Easter morning and the minister spoke of Jesus being alive...or last night while they ran in and out of the Hare Krishna Temple in Laguna Beach and saw the devotees chanting, jumping and dancing...but the exposure was fascinating and important to me. It's important to me that my children are exposed to different ways to pray, to be devoted, to feel the rapture of divine connection, here on earth. The differences are vast and enchanting and a crucial part of being a compassionate and vital human being. There is something to my very core that opposes one way, even my way. That's why I try to remain open. There is no one way to get to heaven I believe. Really. Who says? Only us. Only the God that WE say is important, ( nobody makes God mean something to us but us) so in the end, only we say there is one way.
So standing in Adventure, Love and Learning, our family explores those ways.
At the Chapel service on Easter morning in a gorgeous San Juan Capistrano park, we are touched by the community, the welcoming, the attentiveness to children, fun and generosity. What a wonderful gathering of people devoted to the freedom of every person through choosing to believe that Jesus died for us and he is resurrected. I was moved to tears by the people who bravely chose to stand up and go to the front to chose Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I could relate deeply to the choosing of a new life, of being free from past "sins" (a loaded word for me, I detest the make wrong in it...we are simply human and do things that don't work, that's all) and choosing a pathway which has them assured a place in heaven and most importantly, freedom from worry and concern about that here on earth. I rejoice in their choice. I love their courage and connectedness to others. As they drape their arms around each other at the front of the stage, I cry tears of relatedness and relief for them. We all want to be free. They are free.

At the Hare Krishna Temple, sitting on a smooth, cool tile floor, I was fascinated by the presentation of the hundreds or thousands of temples around the world, curious about the words when the chanting began and soothed by the slow movement that began to ripple across the colorful crowd in the incensed temple. I swayed with them, gazing at the sensual blue figures of goddess and gods, manifested from Hare Krishna, a figure much like the Dali Lama who reincarnates over and over again. My eyes feasted on the apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries that decorated the stage, windowsills and alter, like sprinkles in this sacred temple. The woman wore bright saris, dresses, skirts and glowed with femininity. The men mostly wore white, varied between shaved heads or shaggy long hair, and they stood proud, men radiating power, strength and a steadfastness. The groups shifted and I noticed the men were mostly on the left and women mostly on the right. The women swayed, began taking dance steps and the men beat harder on the drums, chanting louder and louder. As the pace progress, hands were raised, smiles beamed across the room, women grasped hands or touched each others shoulders with tenderness and grace. The chanting grew louder, the steps moved faster and the energy built up, a palpable buzz swirling with intoxicating exotic incense and devoted rapture. I felt a stirring and then a wave of emotion, the energy of the room washed over me and I believe I flushed, I felt encompassed and swept up by the devotion and what they call cosmic energy in the room. They chanting and drum beats were so fast they overlapped each other, faster faster faster.My sons held their hands over their ears and needed to leave. I stayed and swayed, smiling with the women, admiring the all-out fever and jumping in the mens side. My heart swelled with admiration that human beings spend time to unabashedly, freely and completely devote themselves to something larger, something unseen, something completely of faith. People want to feel love and devotion. These devotees do.

They will all go to Heaven I believe, and most importantly, through their devotion I believe they are creating Heaven here on earth now. I believe my family will too, no matter our faith, because it's what we believe. Just as Osama, despite his unimaginable acts of violence, because HE believes he was a devoted servant of his God, is in his souls expression of rapture. I want to believe he is in Hell for what he did, but that's where the darkness sets in. I choose the light. He believed what he believed and he has what he believed.
As we continue to explore spirtuality, religion and faith, we are creating our own Heaven on earth. It is Heaven on earth to me to Learn together, to go on Adventures and be fascinated by other human beings, to be enveloped in Love and another's welcoming hands. Heaven.
Thank you to our hosts.
Someday, perhaps, we will choose a "home" for our expression of spiritual connection and host others the way we have been received. We continue the exploration.

Zen Honeycutt
www.zenspurplegarden.com