Friday, July 27, 2012

The Gateway to Adventure

Last summer I was on survival mode. I planned camp for the kids for every other week and got panicky when I had a whole week ahead of me with them. What to do every day and how will I get them to either stop watching TV or stop fighting?
But it wasn't just that. I had fear. Fear that if they didn't stop watching TV ie: listen to me...or fighting, that I would yell at them and my yelling, my out of control anger would mess them up. My real fear about a whole summer with the kids was not about them. I love them. It was about me being with them... I was afraid that I would somehow mess my kids up.Forever.

I saw this summer that that was not empowering, totally inauthentic to who I am, and just NOT FUN.

So I created something new. Who I am is the possibility of Love,Generosity and Amazing Adventures! Really, who I am is the Gateway to ADVENTURE!

Inside of that, summer is so fun! And surprising! And spontaneous! I have a theme for everyday of the week, Magical Musical Monday, Terrific Scientific Tuesday, Wonderful Nature Wednesday, "My Surprise!" Thursday and Artsy Fartsy Friday. Yes we have our adventures in laziness too, but each day I create a new activity with whatever supplies we have, according to the theme, the kids look forward to it and I do to.
We have been camping in bear country and crabbin' in Connecticut. We have been to caves and mountains and seas...and I have been their sole caretaker for a month straight, 24, 7. I have taught them to cut fish heads and they have learned to ride bikes. One has claimed archery as his sport and the other wakes me up playing the Indiana Jones theme song on the piano. How's THAT for adventure! They have fought muddy, water sponge fort wars and sawed and hammered wooden catapults. They have sung silly songs around campfire, made new friends and swam with old ones. They have had a lifetime of adventure in a month and it's not stopping.
These things would not have been possible, sharing these adventures together, if I was still being the fearful and surviving the summer.

They only went to camp for one full week this summer (the camp they WANTED to go to), and I went with them and volunteered and had amazing adventures with them. The two older boys went with Daddy for a long Cub Scout weekend and I had alone time with Bronson. No "break from the boys". But it doesn't occur to me that I "need" one. I am not surviving my boys. I am so present, when we are hiking together, or learning why we burp or playing "Will it freeze?" that I GET TO be home with them and create adventures with them. It is my honor and privilege. It is a sacred gift of time. Even when they are screaming at each other, although it sometimes feels unbearable, I GET to be the one to have them sort it out. I GET to be the one to be with them and their feelings, good or bad.

Sure, I take time to write while they play legos I love my time of peace and alone time too, I am not attached at the hip with them constantly. But my life is free now, either way, not a burden. My sleep is deep and restorative. The gratitude I have for my husband providing this life for us and out partnership, is unlike I have ever imagined. It is deep and energizing. My days are filled with adventures with the boys and I cherish each day. I also feel proud of who I am as a Mom. Inside of being the Gateway to Adventure, there is no way I can mess them up. Messes will happen, sure, but they are their own adventurers, on their own path and I am just the gateway. It's their life. I don't always get the dishes done right away and sometimes I still holler for them to put their shoes on, but it's all inside of an adventure called a CREATED life, that we get to share, on our way, each day together.

Wishing you many free and wondrous adventures!

Zen Honeycutt

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why New Moms are Exhausted

I know many moms of four, five, and even six kids now, and the difference between New Moms: exhausted, forlorn and bedraggled in getting themselves out of the house by noon, and Moms of Many: bopping around with their mini vans and five kids to multiple events before noon, with the snacks, wipes and first aid kits always at hand, is night and day.
And it's not just because New Moms are up most of the night and trying to regain their sleep during the day. Let's be honest, after the first six to nine months that settles down and if it doesn't, as a Mom, you are doing something to perpetuate a disturbed sleep pattern. Turning on the light and letting your child play at three in the morning because they want to does not teach your child that it is time to sleep! But I know, as a new Mom, you don't know what the heck to do right? You just want to wear the kid out.

The reason why New Moms are so exhausted all the time is not just because they don't get enough sleep. It's because they think something is wrong 99% of the time and they are trying twenty different things to fix it. THAT is exhausting!
Moms of Many, having been through this version of chaos in one form or another, many times, know that 99% of the time everything is just fine, and if not, it will work itself out.

For example.
Me as a New Mom: young child gets a splinter that we find at bath time. New Dad and New mom me holds child down while child screams holy hell. Both child and I are crying, and Dad is getting angry, while I pick meticulously at tiny splinter for half an hour and child sobs uncontrollably. As torture continues, New Mom Me screams at child, child screams back, and finally I get the F-ing splinter out and retreat to huge glass of wine, wondering why the hell all parents aren't required to become paramedics before having children. Wine disturbs sleep and New Mom me blames it on child.

Me as Mom of many: child gets splinter. I look at it. Child whimpers and I kiss child and says it will work itself out over night. Child runs off to play while I sit and chat with a Mom friend. Splinter is out by morning.

Moms of many know that it will work out. If action is necessary, it's best just to do the easiest option.
Another example:

Me as a New Mom: see nails on infant are growing too long, uses clippers and nicks the skin. Both baby and I wail for twenty minutes and New Mom Me decides I am a loser hate myself for the rest of the day.I sign up for a CPR class and adds to one more thing I have to do for fear of maiming my baby. I desperately call my Mom friend about it and lament with her how I hurt my baby. It is the major trauma of the day. Daddy hears all about it at dinner. The worry wart factory kicks in around ten and New Mom me is still awake at midnight even though baby has been asleep since eight.

Me as a Mom of Many: see nails on infant are growing too long. Bite and peel them off myself while nursing baby, and reading to two older children.

Or another example:

Me as a New Mom: read all the sleep books and do the back and forth, bringing screaming toddler to the crib, thing several times a night.

Me as Mom of many: sleep all night...with toddler in a co sleeper beside my bed.

The thing is, you can only get to be a Mom of Many by being a New Mom first. Even if they happen simultaneously, you need to experience it yourself to get to that place where you don't freak out because your kid hit another kid or was hit. You need to experience the projectile vomiting yourself, the playing with the poo diapers, the eating of crayons, before you can be at ease with it all....or do you? Could you just create, as a New Mom, that you are the one who says how your life goes?
Life is uncertain and messy. But if you can be with that, you get power and peace of mind.

If I could go back to the New Mom I was or send this message to all New Moms out there, it would be, you can be however YOU want. Having a baby does not control you or your life. You are not a victim of your baby. YOU get to say how you react to this new wiggly, screaming milk and poop monster or biting toddler.

TRUST YOURSELF. 99% of the time everything really is exactly as it should be. And it is statistically impossible for it to be the 1% all the time. You are just creating that there is something wrong with YOUR kid if you do that. That is not empowering to either of you. YOU are the perfect mother for your child and you know your child best. You were meant to do this, you can, and you are. You created LIFE!

Kids are supposed to projectile vomit when they eat too much or need to get some bug out of their system. Kids are curious, they play with poo, bite and eat crayons. Thank God they are mobile and active and able to! Kids are even supposed to play, jump and fall. When they do, they get scraps and cuts and even break bones. It doesn't mean anything about you as a parent and you don't have to never ever let them play on that jungle gym again. Instead of making it wrong, make it a learning experience. You can handle whatever happens.

TRUST YOUR BABY. They are amazingly resilient. They don't care that you don't "get it right," they just care that you are there. They also won't fall apart if they don't nap at the exact minute that your sister is getting married. Even if they do cry or fuss, THEY WILL LIVE (just nurse him to keep him quiet). Don't miss out on life because you have a baby! Trust that your baby wants to be with you as you enjoy life!

TRUST YOUR FAMILY. They love and want to support you. Even if it seems like they are a threat to your baby because they do things you don't like, like swear sometimes. Your baby won't talk for years, and even then, having a baby is an opportunity for you to step up in your relationships and work things out with your family, not shut them out. Don't use your child as an excuse not to do things with them or your friends. People see through that and it strains relationships. (If you have to, just admit that YOU are tired and need a nap! They may even support you and play with the baby while you do!) Your baby benefits from new sights and sounds, being loved by other people and from you being responsible for your life, proud of yourself, stretching your capabilities and at peace with who you are in your relationships. Trust that your baby trusts you and your family members are there to support you.

TRUST THE WORLD too. You can't stop your child from getting hurt and that's not your job. You do the best you can, yes, but your child will get hurt. Things happen, living in this world, fun, adventure, wonders and new experiences, including hurt. Your job is to teach your child that they can trust themselves to handle it no matter what the hurt. (If you freak out they get scared and won't trust themselves or the world, REMAIN CALM) They will heal, they will learn, they will not only survive, but thrive.
Nothing is wrong. Your baby is perfect and so are you.
So put down the wine, drink some chamomile tea, trust yourself, enjoy life and the miracle you created, and get some sleep.

Sweet Dreams!

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Mommy, I'm going to die tomorrow."

As boys do, whether you sequester them in a room full of flowers and peace signs or not, they were playing "killing the bad guys dead," or something of the sort. I don't remember the exact words. But I do remember the words that came out of my three year old's mouth next.
"Mommy, I'm going to die tomorrow." he said.
"What?" I sputtered without thinking. He simply nodded his head.
Now the "Inspired Parent" would simply ask why, or what had him say that...get into his world. I admit I was not inspired at that moment. I was freaking out just a little bit.
See, my boys have been known to say prophetic stuff. Ben once shouted out "One thousand dollars!" from a different room, just when I was thinking it would be great to have a "thousand dollar day" in sales for my business. And I did.
That wasn't the only time either. Bodee just KNOWS things, his brain is uncanny sometimes. Even Bronson has an intuition beyond his years.
Kids know stuff.
So when he said that he was going to die tomorrow, my brain screeched into reverse, to rewind, tried to erase and couldn't. What if what he just said was a prophecy? What if.... I couldn't fathom it. I asked him not to talk like that. He opened his eyes wide just for a second, meaningfully, nodded and kept playing. I was completely unraveled, and walked away wondering what I had on the calendar for tomorrow. I immediately planned to just stay home in the morning and was relieved we were simply walking to the neighbors or pool time in the afternoon. That was safe enough, walking...but at the pool I knew I would be extra alert.

I was also aware that I was the one, not him, making those words mean anything. They were just words. He might not even really know what it means, besides something bad. Or he might know, (he has experienced Great Grandma dying) and be saying them just for effect, just like he says "Mommy I can fly," or "Mommy I am going to get that panda for a pet tomorrow," when he is looking at a real one at the zoo. Yeah, right son. But say those other words, the ones about dying, and suddenly I am panicking inside and being extra vigilant.

After a while I let go of the fear. I chose not to let it turn me into a harpy for the next 24 hours. I began to soften and just get present to my sons. When Bronson came in for a snuggle, I snuggled, smoothing his soft brown hair with extra tenderness, and kissing his slightly sunburned cheeks until he squirmed away with glee. I tickled him for good measure and let him crawl under the mommy tunnel that my knees made when propping up the lap top in my lap even though it made it really challenging to write. I let him pull the pillows off the sofa for the the third time that day and build a nest. I acknowledged his brothers for playing nicely with him and gave them all gold stars. My son, all my sons, were suddenly a hundred times more precious. I was present to the fact that I really did not know if Bronson or if any of my sons would be alive in 24 hours.

When my husband came home, before I left for my seminar and he took them out for the Cub Scout Pack Bowling night. I pulled him aside and told him what Bronson said and said, "I know it is completely silly, I know his words really don't mean anything, but can you just do me a favor and drive the car tonight like their lives depend on you? Not like I don't trust your driving, but be aware of the crazies, ok?"
He looked at me with clarity and I got that he got it. This was our boy's life we were talking about. He didn't blow me off. He just said "Yes, I will," and I felt heard and safe and I trusted him.

As I drove away, I got that he, we, could die any day. And when I leave I trust my husband with their lives every time. I also trust myself with their lives. And even if I couldn't stop something horrific from happening, I can be present to them everyday as if it were our last. I can let go of the petty things. I can look back and see their smiling faces and shout, "I love you all!" from the car, loud enough to wake the neighbors. Because I want them to be left with those words, with my love.

The Colorado shootings have me too sad to comprehend the senseless loss. I don't think about it or post about it because I don't want to expand that loss in the world. We never know how long we have. I want to focus on the time we do have.
Today my dear friend's friend died in a motorcycle accident. The last words she said to him were "I love you." She has no regrets in her relationship with him.She has loss but no regrets. She expressed what there was to say. She inspires me.

When I came home the most beautiful thing in the world was my Bronson sleeping on the rug next to Daddy and his big brother. Alive. Safe. Here.
I sigh with relief and tear up with joy at the sight of his presence.
I whisper "I love you."
Everyday is a gift. Every word only means what we make it mean.
Yes, he might die on a different tomorrow, we all might, everyday... in fact we will dies, someday. But in this moment right here, right now, we are now what?
Are we going to choose to be fearful, safe and anxious? Or busy, resentful or irritated? Are we going to choose to regret or yell or ignore?

Or will we snuggle a little longer and whisper jokes in their ears? Will we call our loved ones? Will we choose fun, play and love? Will we choose gratitude, delight and discovery? Will we choose to be present?

Here is to TODAY.

Zen Honeycutt

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nature Vacation

The five hour drive to Kings Canyon Sequoia National Park is mildly interesting until we actually hit the edge of the Sequoia Forest. The yellow hills, almond farms and mobile parks taper off in the distance and give way to majestic redwooods with amber glowing bark. It would take ten men to circle these trees with their arms outstretched. The soft, fuzzy bark is deeply etched with ridges and many with cave like holes, black scars from fire. We roll the windows down and breathe the fresh, highly oxygenated air and inhale the scent of burned wood.

"It smells like a campfire! Mmmmm marshmallows!" shout my sons from the back seats.
Our anticipation has me turn off the radio and just search the forest for signs of life. When I see a young deer, my heart is full with joy, more than any amusement park ride, I delight in catching a glimpse of evidence that we humans have not made every wild animal extinct. All is not lost.

Later, as I lie in our tent, cozy and warm and listening to the rush of the nearby mountain spring water flow, I hear the grunting of a bear not too far away. I am reminded that I am but a visitor in his neighborhood. We respect the distinction between human and wild life by locking everything up in the metal bear box.

In the morning the children will spend hours playing by the river. I will let the cool water run through my toes and bask in the warm sun on a smooth rock. My husband will read in his camping chair, partially in the water, while keeping an eye on the kids. The boys will laugh and splash and be the best of friends. My husband and I will catch each other's eyes with the recognition and awe that we created these awesome boys, this amazing adventure and this moment. It will be more restorative than any spa and we will be happier and connect more than at any amusement park or posh hotel. The children will get dirty and play all day in nature and we will point out opportunities to the fish swim or ants carry their food. And we will breathe...and find that nothing is lost. We are, in fact, found.

A recent Oprah magazine article stated:

Walk in the Woods

The Japanese knew that shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing," does wonderful things for the body. But now researchers at Tokyo's Nippon Medical School have quantifiable evidence: In one study, women who spent two to four hours in the woods on two consecutive days experienced a nearly 50 percent increase in the activity of cancer-fighting white blood cells.

Read more:

May you enjoy many days in nature this summer.
Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tales of the 4th Grade- Fall From Grace

I was in 4th grade, Mrs. Chinigo's class. Every report card I had received up until that point read, to some extent, "Zen is too chatty and needs to focus on her work". I had black bangs and long hair with a fun and sassy smile.I was the one picked to be the girl's captain for the Dodge Ball team. I had lots of friends and was sailing through school in that blissful time of childhood when you live in the moment and learning is fun and chatting with your friends seems like the point of school. I had new brown leather horseback boots and I loved horses. I also loved chasing boys.
That day, in my boots, I walked in like Queen of the Class. A circle of classmates gathered around as we looked down at the honey colored leather and square tips. I told them, "Go ahead, step on my toe. It's steel tip." They did, and ohhed and ahhhed that it didn't hurt me. I was impenetrable. I was beaming.

At recess I made up that today was the day I was going to kiss Scott Pinckney. He was short, funny and had glasses and slightly curly hair. He was also one of the two fastest boys in my class. I didn't care though, I was going to kiss him or kick him in the shins.I gathered up my posses of girls and we streaked out of the school building like a swarm of bees. Scott ran for his life across the huge expanse of the Connecticut field. Soon he had made it to the pack of boys on the basket ball court, unspoken "boy territory" and my girlfriends and I decided to veer away. Another day. I would get him.

As we walked back into the classroom, panting from the exhilaration of being a playful nine year old, I heard the sing song-y voice of Michael Rich cry out, "Hey Zen, who's your boyfriend, Zen?"
Michael was the coolest boy in class and he leaned back on two legs of his chair, rocking and smiling with glee. The class burst out in laughter. The laughter circled around me, suffocating me. They were laughing at ME. All my friends. Everyone became a fuzzy blur and I hung my head to avoid seeing them. I glared at Michael, although he was even cuter than Scott, and slunk to my seat. I want to hide and cry and die. I had fallen from grace.

I didn't know it then, but in that moment I made up that having fun was a bad idea, that I couldn't trust people and that there was definitely something wrong with me.
From then on, my report cards read "Zen is a very conscientious student." Every year. I was serious, quite, and determined to be better than everyone to protect myself. I read endlessly because books were safer than people and I loved escaping into those imaginary worlds. I had a reading level of a 12th grader in 6th grade and I read a book in two days that my reading group was still reading two weeks later. The one sleep over party I had my friends had to hide my book in the freezer because they were so bored of me reading. People became mostly annoying. I became boring.
The one best friend I did have and the few close friends that I occasionally hung out with me never, ever, betrayed me or got me mad. There was just a line you didn't cross with me and they knew that. I became bitchy.

Of course I stopped chasing boys after that. I still liked them, but when I told the non-runner Brandon Macko that I liked him through the school mail system and got in trouble for writing XOXO and kiss marks on the letter...I found myself surrounded by the teacher, the aide, my father and the principal, looming over me, all telling me it was inappropriate.... and I made up I was BAD.

I created myself, (no one else did, they just said what they said and did what they did, what matters is what I say about myself) I made up my "real" self, the one underneath everything, the one I hide by being a good girl, a smart and hopefully interesting person who knows alot of information and trivia, by being leader, and doing big things, the self I hide is really boring, bitchy and bad...a bad friend...a bad sister... a bad wife... a bad leader...
Whatever it is, I will mess it up.

And then I wonder why I am never really satisfied with the results of whatever I produced...I have a string of coulda, woulda, shoulda's. Well because, obviously, I messed it up somehow. I either could have said something more witty or funny or I could have been less weird and bitchy or I should have done something more gracious to be a better something... friend, leader, mother etc.

I created myself. I see that now. It's all made up. I am still stewing, for the moment, of the impact of seeing this. If you have read this far, perhaps you relate. Perhaps there was a moment when you made up something about yourself and you are beginning to see it. Or maybe you don't see it. The point is, we get freedom in wondering about what we made up our SELF to be. Freedom. Because until we see that, we are simply reacting and living inside of a context that we made up. I made up being smart to survive being boring. I made up being a good girl to avoid being bad. I made up being "sweet" to avoid being bitchy. My context of myself in life was boring, bitchy and bad...I was even told as a fashion designer that I was "too nice". I was so afraid that people would see the real me that I even jeopardized my friendships...everything. As a human beings we do this. We strive to survive.

Until we see what we really think about ourselves, and how we are compensating for that, we have no real freedom or satisfaction in life. Now we don't have to, most of us have great lives in reaction to what we made up about ourselves and are very successful. Heck, I wouldn't change anything, I love my life.
The point is, we can love ourselves more if we are aware of who we think we are. And after being aware of it, and getting to a place of no blame, no shame, no regret, just accepting ourselves and our lives and getting to a space of nothing...can we create.

It's a new day...I can create myself to be anything ...every moment. So can you.
I hope it's a day of freedom and creation!

Zen Honeycutt

Thanks again to Fred my coach and Shala my seminar leader for the contribution you are to my life.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Be a Leader: Public Speaking from a 9 year old

I am a leader in various settings; personal training in development, Cub Scouts, community groups etc and one day, as I was preparing I asked my son if he knows what it means to be a leader. He thought for a moment and said:

"Eat first and drink lots of water. But not too much.
Then use the bathroom.
Dress properly or pretty.
Know what you are talking about.
Be prepared, practice and have all your stuff.
Talk clearly and loudly.
Look at the audience.
Make sure it isn't boring.
Don't look rushed.
Don't fool around.
Have a good attitude.
Smile and have fun!
P.S. If you want to be extra nice bring goodie bags."

Amazing. He summed it up! Funny how people pay thousands of dollars to learn this, when it pretty much is natural to know this. All he did was think about what works for the leader and the guests.

So why is public speaking so challenging for most of us? Why does it rate higher than death on the list of human kinds top fears? Why would people rather DIE than get up and speak or be a leader?

FEAR of course. Fear of looking bad.
I wondered lately...
WHO is looking?

In most cases, whether making a toast, doing a talk at church, leading for teen empowerment or at public speaking at Cub Scouts, WHO is looking are people who are actually all on your side. They are there because they have a common interest, connection, cause or goal. They are there to support you or what you are up to. They are interested. They wouldn't be there if they weren't. Even if they look bored and swear they don't want to be at that board meeting you are presenting to, think about it, no one has a gun to their head. They can leave, they might loose their job, but it's still their choice to have the job in the first place. They are there to connect with what you have to say. There is no reason to survive them. They will not hurt you. They are there to learn from you. You are simply giving them information, contributing to them. Your job is simply to say it loudly, clearly and have some fun doing it.

Would it be that easy? Ah....the problem is that knowing makes no difference.
KNOWING how to be a leader is a far cry from being one.
So to be one...look to who you are BEING.

Most of us never do this, we just think about what to DO and the doing-ness gets us flustered and being a way that is totally not engaging.
Think about it, two guys can walk into a job interview and do the exact same things, say the exact same things, and have the exact same resume, but if one guy is being fearful that he won't get picked and the other guy is being a's pretty clear that the results for the two guys will be completely different right?

Once you have cleared up your fears and drive to survive and look good, turn to who you are being.
Are you being:
A Contribution?

Consider that your job during public speaking n is not to "get it right" but to get PRESENT. BE what you are saying. Be moved by what you are saying. FEEL what you are presenting. Be present to the intention you have, what are you intending for guests to be left with? Why are you there? Who are they to you? Who are you to them?

Answering the above questions, and creating what your intention is before you lead, and creating who you are being,is the pathway for a presentation that has openings to be an engaging conversation, and that, when it includes them and is about them, (not you) is really what leading is all about.

Zen Honeycutt

This blog inspired by what I have learned in the training at

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Igniting Freedom Around the Campfire

The bonfire on the beach is cracking and blowing thin streams of smoke and flecks of orange embers towards the shore. My bubbly blond college friend, her vivacious children and her friend's children all huddle in for warmth and start asking who has a scary story or song. Now normally, my kids and we would sit back and enjoy the entertainment and just join the chorus. They would settle in for a cuddle and shake their heads when we whispered to them to get up and share a song. Their face would get resistant and reticent. I would start wishing I had remembered the words to the songs I sang around fires as a kid and start wondering when I had "lost it."

Last night was totally different. My kids were the first ones up, bouncing and loud, clear and delighted to share all by themselves. They had done Cub Scout camp a few weeks ago and they were heavily armed with an artillery of silly and slightly disastrous or vulgar songs. The fact that they were doing them, and that people were laughing and clapping was joy enough. But what moved me to tears was the joy my boys expressed. The unabashed confidence. The delight and wiggly glee. The direct eye contact and smiles from ear to ear. They were thrilled to give fun to others. That has me so moved, so in love with who they are as human beings...I couldn't be any happier. A child fully self expressed awakens the love of life we all have, but we squelch.
We remember that we still love camp songs and silly jokes. We hold our breath when another person's child tells a joke, silently praying that they remember the punch line and it goes well, so that they are not embarrassed and traumatized later in life. Because we were. Somewhere along the line, most of us adults forgot the words to a song or told a joke and got laughed at or booed at instead of laughed with. Some where along the line we decided that not getting up in front of people was safer.
And then we see children get up and speak, dance, sing and make goofy faces in front of everyone, it's like SCORE! Score one for the human race! We still got it! We rock! We will NOT be shut down by fear, resignation or doubt. We will chant! We will sing! We will be goofy and mess up and we will ROCK ON!
So sing out fellow campers and beach goers...rock out parents and adults and kids. Together we stand for full self expression, joy and delight! Bring on the potty talk songs... and belt out the burp accented jokes, it is now, officially THE BEST SUMMER EVER.

Zen Honeycutt
P.S. THANK you to the Cub Scout organization!

Link to Cub Scout Campfire songs

Friday, July 13, 2012

Money and Happiness

I would walk into a grocery store and just grab whatever I wanted. I was justified to do this because we needed to eat. When the total was over two hundred dollars sometimes I had to wonder if the account would go into overdraft and take from our savings. When I shopped for the kids, again I was justified, and when I bought things from the hardware store, everything was a "necessity" and when I came home I would plunk them on the table, announce that we needed it all AND that they were on sale too. My husband would raise an eyebrow and question me and I would spit justifications at him like a rabid badger. When I went into a clothing store for underwear, I would walk out not just with underwear but with bras, a few tops, maybe a skirt and what the hell... my old watch is ratty and 6 years one hundred and ninety something dollars later on the credit card, I was walking out the door with a running tape in my head repeating over and over again that I deserve it and that we would find the money from somewhere.
And we did. It came from our bonus though, every year, we had a cycle of constant debt. I had a cycle of constant fogginess, unclear spending (do we have enough? the voice in my head said repeatedly) and guilt around money. In times of high credit card bills I would retreat emotionally from my husband and our spats would get more frequent. Life was less fun.
For a fleeting moment when I bought myself the new top, albeit twelve dollars, or the delicious goat cheese, I felt gleeful. It was a blip in the day though, it wasn't happiness. I knew money couldn't buy happiness logically and yet I thought that deserving something and giving it to myself would make me happy.
That's where the trap of the quick sand of debt got me. But I deserve it! I would scream and fight my way up and in fact, get myself further down....that thinking was causing my unhappiness.

Now my husband has long made good money, and consistently caused promotions and raises no matter what the economy. He provides. I just spend whatever he makes. If we have it I will spend it.
Up until this past year.

We got inspired and created Powerful Partnership. We committed to it like nobody's business and turned our financial patterns upside down. It took some hard looks, some getting over shame and some courage to grit my teeth and put the things back. It took excel spreadsheets and long talks about our goals. It took being ok with my husband's questions and being able to answer them. It took being more present to what we are creating than to the momentary desire of deserving something, to being "paid back". It took an investor's mentality for the future.

And we did it. We have weekly meetings, without fail, where we run the cash flow through a chart and can see where every penny is going. We acknowledge each other every week and the gratitude and partnership in our marriage expands our passion, our laughter and the safety our kids feel to be fully self expressed and loved.

Now, I am not a dummy, I always KNEW, I had the knowledge to budget. But knowing makes no difference. Over this past year I took a look at who I was BEING about money. That perspective, along with coaching and accountability, had us creating something new in who we are being as a couple and inside of that partnership I take responsibility and have immense fulfillment in who I am being around money.

Now, I take out the money and put it in white envelopes, labeled for each category. When I spend the money on meals I have planned out, I know we have the money. In fact I am delighted to know we have more than enough.We are not perfect, sometimes we splurge, but we are authentic and on the same page about it. We now have more money in savings than ever. We live in a home almost three times the size and are saving a thousand dollars a month. That doesn't MAKE me happy, I am clear nothing ELSE makes me happy, only I do. But it does have me sleep well at night, wake up with clarity, sigh with gratitude over lemonade while the kids play with toys we can afford... while we plan adventures in our future we can afford...and that feels like happiness to me.

Zen Honeycutt

To give credit where credit is due, ,the coaching I received on who I was being around money was from

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Monsters and Bad Guys

This morning I got up earlier than I usually do because my middle son announced that Bronson had left the hose on all night. As I walked through the kitchen I remembered that it is "My Surprise Thursday," one of the theme days I made up for each day of the summer. So I pondered what would be a nice surprise....and what would matter to the kids. (It would be a nice surprise for me if they all did the windows and cleaned the grouting but I concede that surprises are better when fun for everyone.)
I thought of Bronson not wanting to sleep in his own bed last night. When I asked him why, he described in adorable detail how a monster would try to get in his window and eat his "nosey". I agreed that that would not be nice. I just got him. Soon he was talking about how we made cookies and the monster was temporarily forgotten. But monsters and bad guys are a big deal of a child's life. Most often we parents negate them, shush the child and basically tell them all their fears are unfounded and frivolous. Rather than comforting them, we leave them feeling unheard, unimportant and unloved. Asking our child to tell us more about their fears opens up worlds, creates contentedness, fosters trust and acceptance. It most likely will melt the fears too and allow the child to move on into creativity and empowerment.

So this morning, in what took less than a minute, I grabbed the big roll of paper (inspired by my sister and her daughter's artwork they mailed to us and my brother's artistry of monsters) and unfurled it over the kitchen table. I grabbed a box of crayons and wrote "The Monsters in Our Dreams" and left to have a talk with Bronson about the hose and when we use water.
It turned out that Daddy sheepishly confessed he left it on, when taking out the trash he thought it would be nice to water my herbs...what a sweetheart! How could I be upset about that? It's just water...and money...I realize that no matter who left it on, neither my sons or my husband are the monsters or bad guys. They just want to play and make me happy.

We walk inside after the family talk on water conservation and the kids see the paper and title. As I make breakfast, they start to draw, and draw,and draw...and I join in and soon we are having the most imaginative and fun conversation about monsters and bad guys. I feel my own fears oddly real and then disappear as I draw my childhood bad dream of a windowless tower that I am trapped inside as I am being chased by a witch in circles. An alligator snaps in the water below and as I draw it out it becomes just silly and funny. They describe their Giant Frog, Puffy Muffy Monster and Mr. Alien Butthead. Our morning is delightful. The kids are empowered. We are creatively connected.
Then my reminder alarm goes off and it's "Time to Stretch!". So Bodee leads us in stretches and exercise and I am filled with joy from being surrounded by the good guys.

Zen Honeycutt

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Song of Summer

The stretch of summer would loom before me, endless days and weeks with my three boys home every day. Every. Day. Home, with me, cooped up, antsy, or perhaps lazy, laying around watching way too much TV and aggravated by the idea of going outside on our hot, baking brick patio to play. My mind would go into panic mode. WHAT am I going to DO with them all summer? I knew I had the beach and lots of activities in So Cal, but with every day being ALL ON ME, with three active boys, I was stressed. I would scour the parenting magazines and city rec guides for camps. I would declare that my husband's bonus would be the source of paying for the multiple camps and when he balked I would not budge. I would get tight lipped and edgy because he didn't understand....HE wasn't the one home all summer with their whining and fighting and belligerent bad manners. They were mostly good boys, but they were boys all the same. We had our moments where I felt like I was going to crush them all like HULK woman and a whole summer of that would surely put me over the edge. So I booked them with activities. We might have a week in between camps, but when we did we simply stayed home and if I really tell the truth they probably watched 5 hours of TV most days. Embarrassing. Boring. Exhausting. And it definitely induced those cranky fights I dreaded. After the TV went off the screeching accusations, grabbing and aggressive behavior was enough to make me either scream so loud I avoided the neighbors for weeks, or I would resist, resent and retreat and shut the door for far too long to be considered being an actual parent.Then I would regret. Disgraceful. Dangerous even. I was a disapointment of a myself.
I was just surviving the summer. Fun was stifled.

This summer is completely transformed. It's like I have a new song. I created the possibility of Adventure, Love and Generosity and my world has entirely shifted. Through my seminar at Landmark and my weekly buddy calls, I have created being accountable for my life in a whole new way. Maybe other Moms got this when they first had kids, I am just grateful I got it now. I am the source of my happiness as a mother, not my kids. Not the circumstances like, whether it is summer or hot or not or they are sick or not or we have extra room in the budget or not. No. No matter what, I am the source of my happiness as a mother and I am the source of how our household goes. I set the tone.
So I set it. Adventure is our tone. Love and Generousity is who I am being.

This summer the boys went to one week long summer Cub Scout camp and I went with them and volunteered. I got to be in their world and it was dirty and busy and filled with raucous summer camp songs! A week an a half later the older boys went to a weekend camp with Daddy and I stayed home with Bronson. 100% Bronson and Mommy time. No "break from the kids." And I am not in the least bit tweaked out by that. We could afford camp, I just don't have the need to send them, the panic is gone. I am planning fun days, and we are thoroughly enjoying each other's company.

Today as we watched a YOUtube video and learned how to make origami swans and ninja stars I just relished learning something new with them. We created something together. I didn't just tell them to do it and walk away to do dishes. I sat, got curious, we struggled, we started again and we completed them. I learned something new and creative with my kids rather than paying someone else to do it. The swans are our trophies of a successful summer day.

I realize that my boys have been delightful and surprising the past couple weeks of being home. They have been asking to help around the house,they have been reading and doing math when I request it. They have been playing with each other as the bestest of friends in the world and hardly fighting. They care about what I ask them to do too. I got that the more time I spend with them, the closer and more bonded we are. The closer the bond, the more loving we are and the more agreeable they are to cooperate with me and the more FUN we have. The more time I spend with them, the more I want to spend time with them.

Later when I rested and watched a cooking show while they played legos, we got inspired by the cookies, so we made four different kinds because it's summer and we get to do WHATEVER WE WANT, whenever want. I felt so joyful, free, so grateful and so in love with my kids and my life.

When I sent my husband Todd a picture of us doing origami and baking cookies he emailed me back..."statistics are that So Cal parents are paying ten of thousands of dollars per year for enrichment for their kids. You are doing that with them. What you are doing is priceless."
My eyes welled up with tears. My husband, whom I once thought secretly wished I was making money to contribute to the family and doing something he could be proud of, was acknowledging that the choice we made for me to be a Stay at Home Mom, was priceless.
The greatest adventure is one of love and generosity... I wish you many such adventures, and may every day be summer and full of songs.

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Creating Our Own Truths

Whole wheat bread, good for you. Lies!
Milk does a body good. Lies!
Formula that is healthy because it is made with the same essential minerals and vitamins as in breast milk? Lies.
Corn flakes; wholesome goodness in every bite (with GMO pesticides), Ensure; packed with vitamins (dyes and high fructose corn syrup), refreshing ice tea (with corn syrup, dyes and aspartame), healthy fruit juice (with high fructose corn syrup), better-for-you diet soda (with aspartame), healthy soy milk (with GMO soy)...lies,lies,lies.

I could go on and on. It baffles me how many friends I now have that also know that the majority of what the media is feeding us as advertising about food is literally all lies...and yet how they still get away with doing it. The public is beginning to why do the lies still work?
Now in other countries, where Grandma makes the bread in the morning and the milk comes from a cow in the back yard, these above statements may be true. But I am talking about here, in America with our current factory farming system and food company conglomerates. There are millions of people for whom the current advertising is a farce.

There has been oodles of noodles of research to show that wheat and gluten is an allergen for millions ( 1 in 4 women over 30), and even some data that shows processed wheat is not healthy for anyone. And yet, it's in almost everything processed. There are entire aisles of food, several ailes in a row, that I just don't walk down. There is no point. It all has cheap filler highly processed wheat in it. It's making us fat, tired, irritable, headachy, rashy, unfocused and distracted at school and work, and stops our bodies from absorbing the vitamins and minerals we need.

The New York Times ran an article yesterday saying "Got Milk? You Don't Need It."
When for years and years we have been forced to swallow a concept that we won't grow properly if we don't have out three glasses of milk a day. This has been such a truth for some parents that they get tight lipped when their offspring bring up the truth and think it's an offense to their parenting skills. It has nothing to do with parenting and everything to do with major food companies and factory farmers part of a broken system making money.

Formula for babies. The lies they are telling around soy formula in particular are criminal. Soy has been shown, reeatedly in scietific tests, to cause goiters, pancreatic, stomach and colorectal canceer,cause thyroid malfunction, increase estrogen levels and alter the hormonal makeup of children. Sound healthy? Genetically modified soy is in 80% of our soy and is even worse. It has some of the same proteins as peanuts and other foods and when they are exposed to peanuts or the other foods after having GMO soy, they react to the peanuts because their body thinks it's the GMO protiens and voila, life threatening allergies have increased 265% in the past 15 years in children alone. See:

Synthetic Food dyes in cookies, candy, drinks, cheese, ice cream etc has shown to exacerbate ADHD and cause ADHD like behavior in children without ADHD. When I am volunteering at school, and see an agitated student, who repeatedly disrupts my child's classroom, eating sugar coated cookies for a snack with blue and red sprinkles on it, I want to scream. Parents need to know the truth!

We need to create new truths for ourselves. We can avoid the lies on TV by just choosing to watch quality movies and documentaries on Netflix and Youtube. We can choose to go to Farmer's Markets, bring organic food to parties, buy the whole food that heals and makes us healthy and vote with our money. My kids are under no illusion that they should eat any food other than what works for them and that what they see as commercials are just as much for entertainment as the cartoons they are watching. They are just words to them. Not truths.

Our truth is that kale is delicious, has more calcium than cow's milk and it is a regular part of our diet. Coconut milk ice cream is is divine. Rice milk and water are our staple drinks. Our truth is that sweets without food dyes are much sweeter and that fruit and veges are always in our meal and first choice. Our truth is Gluten Free is the way to be.

May you find and define your own truths. May you sweep aside the lies that are being promoted as truths and see the reality of food. May you be a part of spreading the truth and creating a country of integrity and health. Because ignorance is not bliss, it is subjugation and choosing entrapment. The truth is what works for you, not for them.

Zen Honeycutt

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The New Wonder Woman

There are areas of my life that aren't working. We all have some. Some of us may be cloaked in a cover up of "FINE"...that's okay. Eventually you'll come out into the vulnerable world of being a human and throw up your arms and scream "HELP!"...even if it is only in your head. And once in a while...out a whisper...
It's okay to do that. To allow yourself to see what isn't working and admit something isn't be in a space of vulnerability and openness.
From there you can wonder.

Wonder is my new thing.
Before I took Landmark Education classes, I was right about everything. Sometimes I still am, but now I know I am being that way. Now, whenever something isn't working I can actually see past the wall of Righteousness I used to be, I can see past my myriad of reasons and bulletproof bulls**t. I can see past my pity party and blame on the economy, government, parents, husband, kids, time and money...and instead wonder about what is possible.

Once I speculate and know what I want I can wonder about what pathways would have me get there.
I have training now in creating Structures for Fulfillment that will empower me to get there. And they have. I have accomplished things I never though possible...third child, born at home with midwife and doula, reinvented family relationships, raised nearly 25,000 dollars for various causes, wrote three books in less than a year, rehauled our finances and tripled our living space and saved money, tripled my business sales...these structures work! Hot Damn!

So why isn't everything in my life working?
Why aren't I exercising regularly? Have a grip on my sons allergies and taking a regular stand for Real Food and NO GMO's? Have a structure for spirtuality and have social outings planned with girlfriends?
Because I think...ohh it's all FINE. I have other areas of my life that work fine.
Until they don't.

I wonder...if I didn't wait until something wasn't working...what would my life be like? If instead of fixing things when they weren't working...what if I was creating continuously? Would I have no problems?

Here's the thing about that. We think that "there shouldn't be" problems in life. Consider that there is a lot more freedom in "In Life there ARE problems".
So if there ARE problems, simply by living...what problems would be worthy of your life?
and creating Structures for Fulfillment for those problems worthy of my life today.
Because NOW being a Wonder Woman doesn't mean "doing it all" but stopping and wondering what is working, what I am creating and if it is worthy of my life.
Wishing you joy in creating too.

Zen Honeycutt
P.S. Thanks to Fred my coach and Shala my seminar leader at Landmark Education for the contribution you are to my life.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Breakdowns to Breakthroughs in Food

I could cry. Everyday I could cry. When my sons mouth flares up from an allergy what I see is the symptom of possible invisible stomach ulcers forming (which is what happens when the stomach is repeatedly barraged with allergens) and then possible cancer. I fear a warning of death. I am in anguish. Of course I don't react like it. I look him in the eye and tell him we are going to figure it out, and it's going to stop and he is going to get healthy.

But inside I am crying. I am riddled with guilt. What was it this time? I am screaming with rage at the food system. I am imagining the incarceration of greedy food and chemical corporation executives. For the sake of all the others, I want to grab the school lunch workers, the grocery store managers, the camp organizers and my own family members and shake them and yell, "Wake Up! Learn about is in our food! Don't serve that junk to our children! Don't eat that junk! Don't die from your food!"
I feel like I am rock climbing up a sheer cliff with no harness and no end in sight.And when I take my son for another check up and, despite our highly managed diet, discover more allergies, I feel like I am falling. It is a total breakdown in my commitment to healthy children. I love my son so much I can't put words to the love. I will do anything.

The more I research the more I find out the enormity of the situation. It is not just multiple allergies that has me so upset. I can handle making food before we go to parties and saying no to the ice cream truck and birthday cake.
It's the probable, almost certain future I see, one of sickness and a country resigned that this "just is the way it is". I see the reality of Congress recently vetoing the bill to have GMO foods labeled(ARRRGHHH!) and Americans continuing to go blind to the toxins in our foods and the rise in cancer. The probable, almost certain future of more drugs manufactured to feed to millions of children with symptoms from the chemicals genetically engineered into our foods. The probable, almost certain future of the continued rise of autism, allergies, and cancer.

I have a choice though, in what I see. I am human and I will have my times of rage and fear. If I don't I won't be authentic. But I don't empower my sons, myself or my community by stewing in stress.

So I am choosing. This week I created the possibility of being adventurous,love and generosity....what can I create coming from that? What kind of future do I see now?

I choose to be inspired by my sons patience and willingness to drink green goopey drinks. I choose to see the inspiration in the other countries of the world, like Europe, where they have banned food dyes, GMO's and chemicals like sodium benzoate. The food companies make Skittles and processed foods without those additives for them. They have done it. We can too.
I see adventures in eating whole foods, organic and mostly vegetarian. I see beautiful red,orange and yellow fruits and vegetables and homemade fruit bars and crunchy organic kale snacks. I see adventures in cooking with my healthy son!
I see a future where people come together with love and stand for Real Food, where we appeal to lawmaker's love of people and children...where generosity of spirit triumphs over greed.
That is a future that will have me crying tears of joy.

And I am the person to create that cause a breakthrough from a breakdown. So I promise, everyday to take an action to create that....and when I experience the fear and rage I will get it out and then take an action from adventure, love and generosity.
Thank you dear friends for whatever you can do to speak up and tell our government that we stand for Real Food,and we come from love.
Thank you.

Zen Honeycutt

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Something Special

I hope every parent believes there is something special about their kids, something magical, magnetic and marvelous.
I do.

Ben, my nine year old….I dreamed of him inutero as a laughing blue starfish. He was happy and as soon as he could laugh his laugh filled up the room and your heart with joy and healed you of all worry. He loves the ocean and once said “Mommy did you know that the ocean is where angels go for the birthday parties?”

At four months old, just when the erratic sleep patterns and frequent breastfeeding seemed to drive me to the edge of insanity, I had a dream. He lay in his co sleeper, looked up at me and said without moving his lips, “Thank you Mom, I love you.” It was Mother’s Day when I awoke and he had let me sleep for eight hours straight for the first time.

When the new baby sitter didn’t show up, I mumbled about maybe I could call one of the other ones that responded, and he said “Don’t worry Mom, Minnie will come.” I looked at the list. The last person on the list was Minnie. I had never said her name. I called her and she came and she watched my kids, sometimes insisting not to be paid because she loved them so much, for years. We adore her still.

Ben draws with an imagination that delights. He creates intricate, colorful and bold patterns and adventures with meaning and fun story lines. He won the Art Masters show for two years in a row.

One morning I was concentrating very hard about my upcoming day, selling my natural wellness products, and creating in my head that it would be a “thousand dollar day”. Suddenly at that same moment, Ben shouted from another room, “ One thousand dollars!” I thought I was dreaming…” What did you say Ben?” I called out. He repeated it. I asked why he said that and he said “ I don’t know , it just popped into my head!” I sold a thousand dollars worth that day. He is a very intuitive, compassionate, special and artistic boy.

Bodee, my seven year old…I met before I even had children, when I was in Hawaii, I went to sleep one night and my husband and I had asked the universe if we should have children and we would sleep on it. I had a dream. A boy with black curly hair and beautiful brown eyes looked at me. I heard “ Let me be.” I woke and knew I would have children. The boy was Bodee.

Bodee has a memory that astounds me. He is my GPS. Since he was barely three he would point in the right direction to go to a friend’s house or to find our car in the parking lot. I can depend on him.

Anything he tries, roller blading, drumming, skate boarding, chess, piano, Bodee is good at it immediately. He learned the theme song chorus to several movies like Iron Man, Indiana Jones and Star Wars simply from his father showing him for a few minutes. He loves to learn, to win and to be challenged.

He has something special in front of a film camera too. As an actor, he knows how to turn “it” on. His smile lights up the screen and he delivers what the director wants the first or second time. He is a good sport on the set and is up for anything. He is a very smart, silly and special boy.

Bronson, my three year old…to meet him is to love him. And I am not just biased. Women and girls fawn when they see him. They coo and giggle and pick him up and only let go if they have to. They swing and drag him around like rag doll, patting his head and loving him with all their hearts.

He just KNOWS too…he will bring me a flower when I am sad, and a toy to his brother when he is mad. The other day a worker at my brother’s retreat center was furious at a broken tool and yelled with all his might. Bronson brought him a rock without a word. The worker looked at it and threw it with a yell as hard as he could in the nearby pond. They watched the rock splash in silence and then Bronson said “Now do you fweel bedda?”
“Yeah. I do.” The guy replied. They looked at eachother, breathing, settling, knowing…and then looked back at the pond.

Bronson will not very frequently, do something messy like squeeze out the entire tube of toothpaste into the sink. When I discover it, he will look at me doe eyed. When I tell him that he can’t do that, he looks at me and voluntarily says, “I promise to never ever do that again.” And he doesn’t.Ever. He knows and he means what he says.

When he was 18 months he made a cheerio and fruit loop pattern bracelet for me. When his Mommy and Me teacher saw it, she asked me, “Did you help him?” I hadn’t noticed it, “No.”
“Ohhhhh, good luck with him.” She said with her eyebrows raised…it was a cheerio, fruit loop, fruit loop pattern, A, B,B,A,B,B,A,B,B,A and on…intentionally a consistent pattern…who knows what his talents will be?

Bronson can talk and share imaginative stories beyond his years. He loves to share intricate details of his dreams, his musings and of his imaginary day. He is self expressed and free. He is connected to others and delights in people, hugging during his story telling. Bronson is a very special being of self expression and love. All my children are.

My wish is that every parent take a moment to write down what is special about their children. Upload it “in the cloud” online, so it is always there. Start an email account for them and email it to them. Write an old fashioned letter and put in in a box of memories for them. Tell them before they go to bed.Because we never know if we have another day. Each day is a gift with our children. Someday they will be grown and out of the house and we will miss that something special about them that gave sweetness and love, charm and glory, and zip and vigor to our day.

Zen Honeycutt

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom Food

Today as we prepare to go to 4th of July gathering and stuff our faces, I face a new set of perils I never saw before a few months ago.

The food that will be laid out before us could slowly kill my son...and our family.
This is horrific. Why even write this? Why get panicked and alarmist?
Why not just shut up and enjoy the party and eat the corn chips?

I will enjoy the party, I might even shut up about the food and be gracious.
But I will not eat the corn chips. Neither will my family.

No more corn chips, corn tortillas, popcorn, corn bread or corn on the cob unless it is organic. Oh geez, come might think I am a hippie nutter, neurotic and probably a hypochondriac.

Think what you will. Eat what you will. But know that 80% of the corn is grown from seeds from the largest pesticide company in the world and those seeds are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's)with pesticides injected into the DNA with the intention of blowing up the stomachs of the insects that eat the corn and killing them. That's less pesticides that they have to spray on the corn, they argue.

What does that do to our stomachs?
Over time, the pesticides cause corrosion of our stomach lining. Couple with the high amounts of acidic foods we eat (highly processed, meats, dairy, junk food etc), soon our stomach have tiny holes in them, a symptom called Leaky Gut, and food escapes. When the food escapes the body thinks it a foreign invader and attacks it. From then on, when ever we ingest that food the body thinks it's an allergen and we develope rashes, stomach aches, headaches, skin irritations, and eventually stomach ulcers and colon problems which lead to cancer.

Life threatening allergies are up 265%. Cancer rates are now 4X higher in our country than others. 1 in 2 men are expected to get cancer and 1 in 3 women. Look around you in your family. Those numbers include our families.
And NO OTHER country in the world allows GMO's except the USA.
They inspire me. We CAN have Freedom in our Food, but first we have to see that we don't.

The fact is, that we are eating food everyday that is GMO and we are not only not informed but we don't have other choices. If we have a limited budget for food, or travel and eat at restaurants, if we shop at a Stop and Shop or chain Stater Brothers etc...most of these stores are the only source of food for miles and do not offer organic, non GMO alternatives. People take what they can get and they don't want to hear bad things about their food. I don't blame them. But it's going to keep going like this unless we DO hear, we DO learn and we DO speak up.

The only way to have Freedom in our FOOD is to fight for it. To speak up for it. To demand it.
All you have to do is ask.
Just take a step and demand from your Congress and Representatives that the people are heard. Say No to GMO's and YES to Real Food on the 4th of July.
"It's the most patriotic thing you can do." - Robyn O'Brien, author of "The Unhealthy Truth."

Here is a link to California Senate and Reps. Please google your states and take a few minutes today to stand for your country.

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


It’s late afternoon at an ocean campground back bay in Connecticut and my three boys are bouncing with excitement to catch crabs. Armed with two borrowed fishing poles and hunks of chicken parts, we approach the brackish bay. The water is rising and is rushing towards us, dark, murky and sometimes oily on the surface. If I were a crab I would not live in these waters, but apparently many are not so choosy, as a couple across the bridge haul one, then two at a time, out of the water and onto to muddy shore, prying them off their net and fish carcass with a stick. My boys holler with excitement at their catch and the couple nod with contained appreciation. Oh, how we lose our passion as adults….what if we hooted and hollered too? What if we expressed our delight and joy, not with wide smiles and steady nods, but free jiggles and hollers and giggles? Some would want to lock us up, that’s what.

It is jiggle and wiggle time for my boys and they don’t care who knows. The lines get cast with relish, and little pulls delight at first, until they figure out it’s irksome tiny fish that cannot be caught in our net. Then brows furrow and they become the enemy. Soon, both have heavy pulls on their poles and crabs are suspected to be taking a ride and nibbling on the chicken wings that are being ever so slowy reeled into direction of the current. They must not suspect the bait is alive, so one must reel in mighty slow. They only eat dead things, and the stinkier the better…and I eat these crabs with relish, these rotten carcass bottom feeders…echh.

Regardless of their gruesome habits and murky dwelling, they are our prey and we hunt. I swoop and scoop with manly aggression and help my boys catch two good sized blue clacking crabs. Whoop! Whoop!
Regardless of whether I am a Mom or "girl" and I would rather be having my heels pumiced with cucumbers on my eyes and hands massaged in to blissdom…I am here and I and gutting the fish that are up next for bait. Because if Daddy is not available then I get to be the Mom and the Dad.And it's awesome.

I used to resist being the Mom and yet embrace it as the ultimate excuse for everything. I would get stressed and snippy at the mere suggestion of adding one more thing to my day. No way, I had enough going on! You were Craaaaazaaay if you invited me to do something that required a late night or early morning. I might even get upset and offended by your request, as if you were supposed to mind-read my level of overhwhelm. Even more offensive if it was near my kids naptime. Take three boys on a cross country flight to be with family as the sole parent and CAMP with them alone??? Bonkers. A tight lipped shake of the head with no eye contact is what you would get.

Yet, now I am doing it. Because I am crazy like that about adventure. And I am crazy about my boys. I realized I am also way more interested in making choices based on what I am committed to: adventure, courage, creativity and contribution, than I am my reasons like “it’s too hard” or “too much” or “it’s just not my thing” or “I don't know how”. I am more interested in my commitments, not because it looks good to accomplish crazy ass things that impress, (although they might) but because they MATTER to me.

Creating crabbing adventures, cooking them over the smoldering campfire, breathing in the sultry smoke and salty steam, eating the crabs to the glow of the citronella candle and peeps of the frogs and crickets…creating these unforgettable moments when the boys taste the crab for the first time, that THEY caught, and smile and rub their bellies with enthusiastic fervor, these moments are beyond any reason. They are created from nothing except a love of adventure and joy of self expression.
Whoop whoop! Here's to summer adventures!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Less IS More...Adventure!

The more I take on the more I think I am helping. I started a company when I had a three year old and 8 month old sons. I thought I would make millions of dollars and then be able to have adventures with my kids. When it became evident that I was not making millions of dollars and the pathway to do that would be to minimize my role as a mother, I took a long look at what I was doing. Even though the company was profitable. I completed it and took on what mattered to me, my kids and my writing.

Even in my writing however, I thought Oh! I love writing. I will do that to make millions of dollars. Then we will be able to have the adventures with our kids.
I have been, as a Mom and wife, trying to help to provide income for our family. In other words I have been not trusting my husband to do that.

"Helping" my family by "doing it all" comes from love and care. I love what I did. And I would love to write and make millions of dollars. But to write only because I want to make millions of dollars is not empowering. It is not inspiring and doesn't work. (Writing about what matters to you is authentic,inspiring and works) To write, or do anything, to take on more, only to help my family/husband isn't effective or empowering. There is a certain result that must be obtained through a certain path and it is limiting.It gives others, and myself, less of me and I get less of them, not more.

It doesn't empower people to "help" them. This may be counter intuitive to many. Helping, when you get authentic about it, is seeing the person as small, as unable to handle the situation themselves (we are taking about able bodied adults here) and helping continues the pattern of whatever they are doing that doesn't work or doesn't work as well as we would like it to. What really empowers is being a listening for the person to transform themselves and the situation. This means listening to them as GREAT. Standing for them being GREAT. Sharing with them what is possible, listening to them create what they see as possible and then stepping back and creating a space for them to choose it.

Recently I got that I was busy working/writing etc to make million of dollars so I could have adventures with my kids...well why not just have adventures with my kids?
I trust my husband to provide, and he does. A wonderful life!

And, guess what, it doesn't take millions of dollars to have adventures...that is just an ideal. Ideals or standards or even dreams that we chase and allow to run our lives don't empower us. Creating in the moment does.
Yearning, wishing, doing less IS having MORE.

Rather than planning several weeks of camp, creating time and space for my sons to create their own adventures transforms their lives. A dirt pile is an adventure. Ants are an adventure.The ocean for a few hours is an adventure. The hot desert is an adventure. A new park and stacking rocks is an adventure. Letting go and letting them shoot the arrow without coaching or hammer the wood themselves at Scout Camp is an empowering and wondrous adventure! Camping in nature is the holiest of adventures.

As a Mom, I am taking on not helping, but transforming life, and that starts with me. I give up doing more, needing to help make money and take on being a Mom and doing less...and simply what matters to me (and us).
Through taking this on, I have found that some of my best writing is simply about having adventures with my kids!

This year, at New Years, we sat as a family around our Japanese wishing pot that my husband got as a gift for me on his travels. We all took turns writing down on the small curled up scroll, what we wanted to create for the year before us and who we are being.
The word I wrote for 2012 was "Adventure!" and I am moved to tears to realize that the adventure I was craving is not out there, somewhere, to find and pay for with millions of dollars, but inside, right now, simply in my perspective and being present to exactly the life I have.

Zen Honeycutt

Risky Geniuses

My father, boys and I enter the dark hut of a Pilmouth Plantation home and a scene of 17th century domestic life emerges. Draped in heavy woolen clothes, the woman of the house moves back and forth from the glowing hearth to the thick wooden table, making a bread pancake of sorts. The man of the house sits like a king, receiving his court, legs spread, elbow on the arm of a roughly carved oak chair. He is balding and bearded and looks only mildly tolerant of the guests in his home. He does greet us cordially and we begin asking questions they have probably answered a million times.

“What are you cooking?” My seven year old asks hungrily.
“Clotted cream cakes with corn.” The woman of the house answers. He wrinkles his nose indiscreetly.
“What kind of herbs are those?” I ask to distract from his manners.
“Feverfew” she answers.
“You do not have herbs where ye hail from?” the man wonders.
“No, I do… I just don’t know that one.”
“Ahhh, you have a servant then who does.” He muses.
“Then how do you care for ye family?”
I thought I was the one that was supposed to be asking the questions.
“A doctor…sometimes. We don’t get sick much.” I find I am defending myself.
He makes some sort of flappy, throaty noise with his mouth.
“Physics! Bah! Charlatans and Hooligans that bunch they are. A bunch of money grubbers. You know what I mean?” ( or something like that, many of the words he said were no longer in my repertoire of English vocabulary)
“Er, no I don’t really.” I admitted.
“Well physics, we have no use for them, they are charlatans who take your money for a potion you can make yourself. It better to have the knowledge yourself, you see?”
“Oh yes I see, so you all grow all your own herbs and take care of yourselves.”
“Aye, much better that way.” Click. Something in my brain opened up an new pathways for learning and being empowered as a family turned on. Inspiration. I began to wonder.

Another Swedish looking man who entered in during the conversation asked if they had surgeons and the man of the house replied they did, the son of a butcher, and they used herbs to put them selves to sleep before hand. He made my mind’s gears turn, the resolute he had, even so just an actor, that it was much better to know the herbs ourselves. He reminded me of an earthy woman down the road where I grew up in Connecticut that was at my brother’s party. She looked down and announced that the rounded plant growing in clusters all over my childhood Connecticut home property, that I had always thought just a nuisance weed, was a plant called “Greater Plantain”. She bent down and picked this unimportant looking leaf.

“It’s an anti microbial, anti bacterial and anti viral all in one. It’s one of the greatest unknown herbs. Back in the civil war days, the woman would just find this plant, chew it up like this” and she popped the plant in her mouth and chewed it. “This releases the oils.” She explained and then spit it out into her hand. “And then put it right on the wounds. “It would keep them from getting infected and save limbs.”
“Wow” I said appreciatively. “I would love to just pick your brain for an hour an learn about herbs.”
Someone interrupted us at that point, but I was inspired to look up this little plant and found a host of other uses, taken internally it’s also good for diarreaha, irritable bowel syndrome, food poisoning, and it helps balance blood sugar. It even gives the user a natural aversion to tobacco. This came in handy when my girlfriend came to visit and complained of her husband’s dipping habit. She is now armed with the knowledge to give him a tea that will curb that habit!
Later when my son got a stomach bug or food poisoning, and my stomach was churning as well, I made us tea from the Greater Plaintain and within minutes our stomachs were settled and fine.

I am inspired to learn about the plants around me and to be able to care for mild ailments my family has myself...and to pass on this knowledge. We are here today, our European ancestors survived the frigid winters of the east coast as pilgrims because of these plants. Our Asian ancestors before survived for thousands of years because of Chinese herbs and roots. Our ancestors risked their lives to try the herbs and roots and were geniuses to record and pass down the information. Our ancestors were risky geniuses.
The convenience of doctors does not have to dumb down Americans.
The knowledge is there to be had by all and empower us.
Perhaps the way to continue our heritage isn’t in buying knick knacks to hang around the house and pass them down, but to teach our children about the plants that heal us, that were here millions of years before us and will be here millions of years after.

Zen Honeycutt