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