Thursday, May 31, 2012

Heaven on Earth

My son had that look on his face. The one where the weight of the world pulled down the sides of his mouth, cheeks and eyes such that he drooped and dragged himself to bed with excruciating significance. Normally I might sigh and imagine the drama he was concocting...some frivolous argument with his brother or some imagined threat of doom from a TV show he saw earlier...something not worth my time to get into at 9:30 at night during my brother's wedding party. I have other things to do. "Stop sighing and GO TO BED!" I might demand.
But I am it. Meaning his father is working, not here. I am it. The full parental unit and that gives me total responsibility for the status of my children. So I step up.

I ask him what is going on and he sighs loud enough to scare a katydid. It's a big deal. It's bad words. Some ladies were saying them. He is upset and concerned. But over what? We walk from outside to his bunk bed and sit on the lower bunk. Maybe this is a place that occurs as more discreet because he stops sighing and lets it all out. He is afraid he won't get into heaven if he uses words like that...which he he knows now that he is going to hell...and then the tears come. He is sobbing for his soul. My soul wants to sob with him. I don't want my son to fear hell, to fear for his life, to fear anything. Especially not over a word that means nothing except the meaning we attach to it. I want to know what his world is like.

I ask him about hell, what happens there, and with a cry that might tear my heart open he says, "It's burning hot and everyone is bleeding and working ALL THE TIME!!!"
My chest feels as heavy as a boulder, my hand weighs upon his and he clenches it. I get the doom he feels. Life can be so HARD as a kid I think. The world can seem so AWFUL.
I see his picture of hell and I ask him what might have him go there. He tells me about the swear word again. The A one. I say it just to verify. Ass. He blinks with fear. Then I ask what the ladies were saying. What happened.
It's good to get to what's so.

"Mine is bigger than yours..." he says. I get it. "So two ladies were talking and one was like "My ass is bigger than your ass, what are you talking about? and then, Uh HUH honey, NO WAY- my ass is way bigger than yours!"
I shake my hips and point to my rear and waggle my finger and soon a smile creeps on his face. I smile with gentle encouragement and then say "Ass ass ass ass ass." His eyebrows go up but the smile stays.
"They are just words, son. And the only meaning they have are the meaning we attach to them. Of course there are appropriate and inappropriate uses of words..." and I explain the bit about being around boys versus Grandma's or at school etc.

Then the concern creeps back to his face. It's really about getting into heaven. Even though he gets the meaning about the words. He has said that word before so that means he is going to hell.
"The only way I can get into heaven is to believe in God." he says.
I say, "Okay so there is only one way?" He nods. He is sad because he has ruined that one way, because God doesn't want us to swear and he has so that's it. His one chance is over. He is doomed.
"So sweetie, is there only one way to paint an apple?"
Is there only one way to make a friend?"
"Is there only one way to go home?"
"No" he is getting my point...
"So why would there be only one way to go to heaven?"
"Yeah, I can see what you mean...there are other ways..."
"If you even believe that there is only one place called heaven with one door...some people believe heaven is an energy or even a way of living right now here on earth."
"You mean heaven can be here on earth?"
"Well... what if it could? What if heaven and hell could be right here, right now? Is worrying, being fearful, being that closer to heaven or hell?"
"The last one," he said, still to concerned to say the words out loud.
"What would being free, being easy and forgiving and compassionate with yourself be closer to?"
"Yeah, so you can create heaven or hell on earth right now for you today...can you see that?" I smooth his hair back and feel his warm soft forehead. It wasn't long ago that he was born and I knew, just from seeing him, that he was a blessed soul. I told him so, even if we never did a ceremony to bless him, which we did, but even if we hadn't he would be blessed. We all are. We are spiritual, blessed, amazing human beings and our purpose is not to worry, fret and fear what will happen after we die, whether we go to heaven or hell. It is to create heaven on earth right now.
His grip on my hand softens with his voice.
"That means being compassionate right Mom?"
"Yes And that includes being compassionate with yourself. Can you do that?"
The tears fell again, this time of relief, from being heard and redeemed.
Our hug melted all concerns...and as I hummed him the lullabye my mother hummed to me as a baby, I was touched by the gift she gave me, the concept of creating heaven on earth, right here, right now, is being present, loving and compassionate.
I sigh a sigh of fulfillment because, more important than teaching my son about one way to believe, I am inspiring him to wonder.
Thank you Mom for empowering me to be a Mom that, I am pretty sure, is not going to go to hell.

Zen Honeycutt

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Golden Hour

There is that perfect time of day to fish. Just when the golden rays of the sun hit the tops of the pine trees and the water bugs start skirting across the surface in the pond, is when the bass start hunting. Pond fishing has a peace and excitement all it’s own. Staring at an orange bobber against the bright blue reflection is natural meditative pop art. Listening for and hearing when the bullfrogs start their deep throaty chorus just has you feel as settled with the day as a piece of warm apple pie. And when that fish bits and the fight is on and the rod bends with the weight of a fresh water fish and you pull your prize into the boat, there ain’t nothing better or more fun.

The Golden Hour is when the work is done enough, when the beer, if you are drinking, is cooled just right, and the dinner is slow cooking up in the house while the Misses sits on the shore with a lemonade. The Golden Hour is the time for sitting and talking about nothing and everything. Sometimes, in the talking, you laugh at life so loud you think you might turn the boat…or at least scare the fish a mile away. But that’s what fishing at the Golden Hour is about. ..nothing and everything and being with your bud. Catching the Granddaddy of all time or at least catching a few good ones and getting a glimpse of the Granddaddy that makes people guffaw when you describe his girth. The fish stories from Golden Hour could feed a storyteller for a week even if the fish don't. It’s that time of day when, with every other cast, someone is getting a bite or reeling one in with a hoot and a holler that could rattle the cattle.

It’s prime scratching your head at the foolishness of the neighbors time, telling one on the school teacher down the road, or even on yourself, time. The Golden Hour is when silent promises are made in between grunts to acknowledge the listening. You just know...whatever your bud is saying, you get each other. And when you don’t you still agree to laugh and cast instead.

My bud was my son tonight. And instead of his Dad, as the voice of my writing implies, I am his Mom settin' in for his Dad, because sometimes a Mom gets to do the Dad things, because your boy is still a boy no matter whether you want to gut a fish or not. So I fished with my nine year old bud and we talked idly of the day’s doings and we caught enough fish to have leftovers for a cat if we had one. There was peace and pride in living. He knew when Golden Hour was over, when the trees were just graying and his pants were wet enough. As I gutted the fish by the waterfall to the “eeewws” and the “uuughs” of my three boys, and had him cut a tail off, he had a good enough dose of being a hunter to walk with men.

I realized that, sometimes what it means to be a good woman and a good Mom is to step in as a man. Not to be a better man, but to allow access for our boys to express their almost man-ness. Get dirty, get sweaty, gut a fish and get covered in slime and scales. Just like we expect the Dads now, to step in and do the dishes and pick up the tutu for the dance recital, it’s just as important for us women to “man up” and do the gross, dirty, heavy lifting things when our man is not available. You might even find it’s funner than a tea party.

I know it’s an hour my son and I will never forget. I am inspired by my son and my husband, who usually does all the fishing with him. It takes patience and fortitude to connect with nature and then kill something and prepare it for eating. It takes a hunter. I have had the privilege of hunting and gutting fish with my son.
As the bats dart through the darkening sky and we swat mosquito’s on our way into the house to fry up the fish my son caught, the smile on my hunter boy's face is worth all the gold in the world to me.

Zen Honeycutt

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lasagna Waiting

This week my husband came home with news. A person on his team got a higher paying job and and is moving on. Just before a major deadline. Just before our vacation. My husband told me what was so...the project, the shortage of people, the importance to the division etc. He wasn't going to go with us.And as my heart sank and tears welled up, I got present to the way it could go. Either I could be mad and make him wrong for a lack of planning or whatever my brain could make up....or I could survive the situation and have others survive me...or I could create something.
In that moment I chose not to have my sons see my tears of loss... about the time spent with their Daddy. Instead I asked my husband to sit down and explain it to them and when I was presentable, I sat down and added that Daddy is doing this because he is committed to our family. I put honor and respect in. No make wrong. Even though every fiber of my being want to scream, cry, cajole or squash him like a bug...I didn't.
But I was still upset.

I knew that my upset was an unfullfilled expectation and resided with me. And I was still experiencing upset.
I called my accountability buddy on the way to my Breakthrough seminar and let it rip. She listened to every angry and self pitying thing I had to say and got it. By the time I got to my seminar I was actually present to wanting to cause a breakthrough for myself in not having things go my way, but being with the way they are and creating something new.
Of course, who do I happen to sit by, and listen to sharing from, is a father who talked about work and resisting it and housework an family life. It was perfect.
It dawned on me, and this will be obvious to you, but it wasn't to me at the time, I was just stewing in my resentment...10 months of planning, a wedding...thousands of dollars...the only time we see my family...our anniversary...etc...

Then I got it.
His point of view.

HE wants to go on this vacation. He wants to spend time with us. Of course he would prefer to go! AND he is taking a stand for providing for us and having integrity with his company. Suddenly I was at peace and present to honor and respect. I was present to the love I felt for him and how sad he must be to miss being with us.
I was present to him being a responsible adult and I gave up my upset.

I began to speculate ideas to create fun for him...having the kids make notes for Daddy and leave them around the house each day, video conferencing and having my sons take pictures and text them to Daddy. Thanking him each day for providing us with the vacation to see my family. Making it fun for him anyway and having him being acknowledged for the extraordinary human being that he is.
I put in acknowledgement that night and instead of ranting about coulda, woulda, shoulda, we talked about what is important to him.
The next day I made a lasagna for the first time in years and he came home to a house warm with delicious smells, waiting for him and grateful for him.

Life doesn't always go the way we want it. Being powerful or happy is not about NOT having breakdowns, it is about having love, acknowledgement and honor present and creating something in the face of breakdowns.

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What I Know and Don’t Know about the Cause of My Sons’ Allergies

I don’t know if it was the induction. I was urged to be induced because he might be “too big” and he came out a skinny, wrinkly 6.8 oz baby covered in vernix. He was not ready. He could have grown stronger in the womb for a week more at least. He ended up being allergic to too many things to write here without losing your interest; a myriad of food, environmental and animal allergies.

I don’t know if it was the vaccines. I gave my son the slew of them. Everything recommended, even the one with five at a time. After that one he started getting random 24 hour fevers and rashes. He had a febrile seizure in the car that nearly had my husband crash the car from panic.

I don’t know if it is the environment. We have lived in homes with synthetic carpeting and synthetic flooring. House cleaners with toxins, plastic house wares with estrogens and cabinets with formaldehyde, so I hear, pressed into the wood that slowly leaks out and gives housewives a 60% increase in cancer. As there is in most homes, I am sure there is mold in our walls; I smell it when it rains. I am sure the electronic waves from the TV, microwave, cell phones and iPad are inundating our bodies with stress. Toxins, they say, weakens the immune system and could lead to increased allergies.

I don’t know if it is the effect of the food over time. We gave him food that was as healthy as we knew how. Soda and chips only at Nana’s or birthdays. No junk cereal. Once organic became more prevalent, we did that for berries and fruit and some veges. But we also gave him the processed breads, pastas and treats. We did. We gave him corn that we now know has pesticides engineered into the DNA. And now he, and my other sons have allergies to almost everything out there.

I don’t know if it is the effect of the GMO’s, it could be the preservatives. It could be the food dyes, high fructose corn syrup or the food fillers. But the overall reason for his many allergies might very well be the amount of acidic foods he eats, which thins the stomach lining and allows the food particles, whether they be GMO or not, to escape into the blood stream and cause the body to react and attack. The attack shows up as a rash on the body. But I do suspect all of the above, especially the foods.
Whatever the cause is of my son’s extensive allergies, I do know I am going to find out. I am going to keep trying. Because the future we now have is unacceptable. It need not be this way.

We cannot eat out at restaurants and going to parties is heart breaking. No cake, no pizza, no hot dogs,no ice cream. It’s a nightmare. My son wailed and cried that he would rather not go last time. I found it hard not to curse God. After he slips and eats a little gluten he is out of control emotionally. If he eats nuts by accident in Thanksgiving stuffing, we are sticking his thigh with an Epi pen, and as blood spurts from his leg, we dash to the hospital. At Cub Scout events we have to bring our own food and sequester ourselves. I have to hoard our food and protect it from the hands of other starving eight year olds. They wonder why he is different.We explain it all but still…he feels odd, fearful for his life and weak…sickly…an outcast. All he wants is to be strong.

Many kids feel like this and don’t KNOW that they have a food or ingredient allergy. One friend confided, after I told him about my son’s allergies and the children’s book I am writing about it, that his son would punch holes in walls and was furiously disturbed for years until they did a food elimination diet and slipped one day and gave him a strawberry ice cream from the ice cream truck. The Red Food Dye 40 was the cause. Once they found out he became a different kid, in a good way. And all along he had been given ADHD drugs, psychotherpay, punishments etc…there are children who want to focus at school but can’t. There are kids who feel depressed and don’t know why. There are divorces happening that need not. There are suicides and violence everyday that are in many cases, I believe linked to food and ingredient allergies….the question is do we have to just put up with it? Just survive it?

We do know… we miraculously did find out recently that the red painful and embarrassing rash around his mouth is a Carrageenan allergy. (in ice cream, hot dogs, sauces, dressing, lunchmeat and toothpaste.) We know about the gluten/wheat, nut, peanut, mushroom and my other son’s egg and dairy allergies as well as others…we know about those. What we don’t know is why.

We have a hunch about this acidic/alkaline theory and we are altering our lifestyle to eat alkaline. It wasn’t a usual pathway we took to get this possible answer. We went to an Iridologist, someone who reads the iris of your eye like a tree trunk. She could see I was anemic when I was seven. She could see that my mother has arthritis in her left knee even though she doesn’t limp. She could see that my son’s stomach was too acidic. She could see his Carrageenan allergy…something a western medical doc would take many months of painful blood tests to find out if they even tried. Mostly they would just prescribe a cream and tell him to stop licking his lips. As if it’s his fault.
This Iridologist was shared with me by a friend. I am forever grateful to her.I would never normally go to a doctor who looks at your EYE to diagnose me or my kids. That’s crazy woo woo. But I was desperate…and anything is possible. So I went along time ago and have gone back twice with my son. She told us all about acidity and alkaline foods and how we can balance our diet and heal his stomach. She gave us a pathway that we are trying, to eliminate allergies altogether. We don’t KNOW, but we will try it.

In the meantime, she told us that the red flare up around his mouth was a Carrageenan allergy (a what allergy??? a food thickener made of processed seaweed or moss) and I made the mistake of giving him organic chicken lunch meat with Carageenan in it and it flared up again, I researched it some more. I found out, that if left undiscovered, if we just slapped a cream on it or shot him up with a steroid or make him drowsy with allergy medication…if we just accepted that this is the way it is, got resigned and doubtful about it…the Carageenan allergy would create ulcers in his stomach and eventually cause cancer. My son.

Other kids might have a different allergy and their parents are struggling with behavior issues, creams, steroids and meds too. They may be resigned too. They may now know…not only what is causing the behavioral or allergic reaction, but they don’t know that this is life or death. And they don’t know that they don’t know.

I wish to empower parents and children to find out for themselves. Try alternative health care. Try Holistic, Naturopaths, Iridologist, Reiki and Energy healers, Try Chinese herbalists. Find what works for you. Don’t just go to a doctor who says take this medication…for the rest of your life....don't let acceptance actually become resignation. Wonder and try! Share with your friends what you learn from alternative, integrative and holistic healthcare. You may just be inspiring someone and saving a life.

Zen Honeycutt
Mom of three boys, 9, 7 and 3