Saturday, October 27, 2012

2012 The End of the World as We Know It

It's happening. A shift in consciousness. Maybe not for everyone, but it is happening. And it's huge. There are people who see the world in a completely different way than a few years ago, or even 6 months ago. We look around and we cannot ever see the world the same way again. We can never go back.

Think about it...if you have seen "Genetic Roulette" movie, if you have watched "Forks over Knives "Corn Kings", "The Future of Food" or "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" the way you view food, your health, the governemnt and your life is completely transformed from a year ago.

Look down any aisle of a main stream grocery store and all you see is crap. What was once a row of viable food options is now a disgusting, greedy marketing ploy that you are no longer blinded to. Junk food, red food dye, corn syrup containing genetically modified food, cheap food fillers, aspartame, MSG, Nitrates and Sulfites, pesticides and preservatives scream like irritating toddlers to be picked up. NO.

Look down any main street USA, on the edge of town by the car dealerships and all you see are fast food joint signs blaring. All they serve is crap. Cheap, fast, easy crap. What used to be a treat for the kids and yourself is now an establishment that evokes memories of bloated aching stomach aches and regretful trips to the toilet.

Look down any road in a farming town and all we see are fields of crap crops.
GMO corn covered in pesticides doesn't even taste like corn and that the farmers won't even eat. Corn that has pesticides inside the DNA that is designed to reproduce and explode the stomach of the bug that eats it. An expensive experiment on mankind and the environment that is not working. A crappy solution to feeding the world.

Watch any TV show and all you see are commercials for crap. Weed killer, cheap chips, GMO corn syrup based candy or soda dancing before your eyes. Now you can see though, and you know, none of it works for your body, most of it doesn't work for the environment, and it doesn't work for our society, to be constantly consuming products made of plastic and pressed wood with chemicals,and food made of cheap ingredients toxic to the body, is just one crappy idea after another flashing on the screen.

One would think that seeing crap everywhere would be a miserable way to live. It is, at times, if I am not present to choice.
The thing is there has long been crap everywhere, I just didn't see it. Now I am present to choice. Now I know and I have the ability to take actions correlate to what I am committed to. This is a wonderful way to live and an extremely empowering perspective.

I, we, have choice. We are not being force fed in a labor camp. We are not starving in a desert. Even if you WIC coupons for food, you still have choice, you can choose the food you eat. You can alter your health through your choices. We have much to be grateful for.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have to choose my food, alter my health and my families' health, performance in life and entire future. I have a Mother's, Trader Joe's, Sprouts and several international markets within a ten minute drive in any direction with healthy options. I have a Farmer's Market with fresh organic veges and fruits every Friday outside my local library. The fact is, if I didn't see the other options as crap I wouldn't see these alternative options as valuable. They would only occur to me as other options and basing my life on convenience, as Americans are wont to do, I would merely go for the closest, cheapest and fastest option. Convenience once occurred to me as the smartest choice. My consciousness has shifted. That view has ended. Smart is no longer the most convenient. Smart is the one that offers the most value according to what works for the health of my family.

This shift not only affects our food and health... once I started questioning the status quo in food and health I began to see other areas of my life where I have been blind to what really works. The ending brought forth a beginning. Financial choices, time management, leadership choices and involvement with my community...I see now I can choose rather than just go with what is normally expected. My husband and I can create from our partnership rather than convenience. This empowers us and our children to do things like; give when we feel like receiving, create art when we feel like watching, share when we feel like retreating, hike when we feel like sitting and speak up when we feel like quitting. There may be crap around us, but we are seeing the gold and choosing to live life in a way that works for us.
For me 2012 was the end of the world as I knew it.
I am grateful that this is the year I woke up.

Thank you to all the peaceful warriors for an empowered planet. You know who you are. I love you.

Zen Honeycutt

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Moment it All Changes

I knew this day would come. I didn't expect it to be in the quiet of the night.
I pet my nine year old son's head as I said good night to him. After a weekend away with Daddy alone, camping with the boy scouts, I wanted to reconnect with him and check in. I asked him how everything was, and after a sigh he said "Mom you know how other kids and well, me know how I like Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Star Trek and stuff like that?"
"Yes." I smoothed his hair from his face and remembered how small his head was when he was a bay, like a coconut.
"Well, I just realized I am surrounded by stuffed animals."

"Ohhhh." Here it is. That moment. The line of demarcation between boy and pre-teen. Even at nine, the shift has begun. I see his room as he does and my mouth form a round o.
"Well, what do you think about that Ben?"
"I think maybe I need to give some stuffed animals away."
"Well okay, but you don't need to, whatever you want to do is fine, but nothing is a have to. If you want them, or one or none, that's okay. If you want Star Wars stuff that's okay too. You are growing up aren't you?"
"Yeah." he said almost as wistfully as I felt. My heart aches.
I want to say, No! Don't change, don't grow up. Love stuffed animals! Keep playing with them and making those funny little conversations between them. I don't care of you crash them and have them shoot at each other...just don't grow up.

But I don't. This is about him feeling empowered to bridge the gap between where he is and where he is going confidently. It's not about me and my wish for him to be cute and cuddly for the rest of his life.

"You are becoming a young man. And you are going to go through changes, feelings, body, things you like and don't like will change and that's okay, and you can always talk to Daddy if you don't feel comfortable talking to Mommy. Sometimes a boy likes to talk to a man about stuff too. And I am always here. I want you to know that it is all normal and perfectly okay."
"Okay, well, I am going to get rid of my stuffed animals."
"I just have one request." I whisper.
"When you do that, don't say that stuffed animals are for babies or anything okay? Because Bodee and Bronson might still want to have some and feel okay about that."
"Oh I would never do that." He says knowingly.
"I am going to ask them if they want some first and then I am going to just sell them or give them to Goodwill."
"Ok, cool son. And let me know if you want to change your room around, get posters or whatever."
He nods. He is growing up. One day stuffed animals are fun and one day they are not.
Perspective shifts in a moment. Growth happens in a breath.
Change happens as swiftly as a the Santa Ana winds.
I may not be ready, but it's happening. Since it's happening, I might as well roll with it, not make it wrong, not show my sadness but support him in his new path.
I can even see being inspired and excited by his plans to redecorate his room, kiss the stuffed animals good bye and embrace the new Ben.

Zen Honeycutt

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Plants, Prickly Pear and Poop

Botany Basics Class at Earthroots Field School

"I have never enjoyed sitting in scat so much in my entire life" I hear myself say. I am in a Botany Basics class with Evan Brown and Caroline from Earthroots Field School as our leaders, gazing around at the Open Space in Ranch Santa Margarita. It is a quickly warming Sunday afternoon and the cool shade, albeit where the ground is covered in dry, old rabbit and deer poop (official name "scat"), I am grateful for the cool shade. I am here to learn about plants. Just because. As I learn, I realize that as the Outdoor Activity Chair for the Cub Scouts and when we go on hikes it would be wise for me to know about the various plants and teach the boys about nature. My interests and my actions in what I am committed to are aligning and I feel in sync with the world.

I didn't feel in sync when I first arrived to the dusty trail at the open space. I was late and my guide was barefoot. Although my name is Zen, I felt like a conservative busy body. The other three participants, two ladies and one 7 yr old daughter, were devoted Earthroots groupees. Both brought their children regularly to the outdoor classes and one Asian lady, Jeannie, knew every plant and scrubby brush we stopped at. At first I was a bit disoriented by our pace. We were standing and starring at poop for several minutes to start. The guide and Jeannie even picked some up, to discern the contents and therefore the animal who presented this gift of wonder to the earth.
My head was barking "What the heck? Who cares about poop? It's a mountain lion or deer or what? Aren't we here for plants?" My brain was still on "get er done" mode, irritated with the slow pace and lack of focus. My body literally buzzed with agitation to "get going" to hurry up and accomplish,doing, doing, doing. I was uncomfortable in my own skin.

Then somewhere between the dissection of the poop and the prickly pear cactus, I began to settle. My guide offered me a balled up bunch of grasses to use as a brush and scrape off the tiny prickly hairs of the soft magenta cactus fruit. As I did this, my brain hushed. I copied his methods, bit the end off the fruit and sucked out the juice and seeds. The seeds were like pebbles covered in sweet slime. I spat them out after sucking them as dry as possible and truly enjoyed the experience. We talked of varieties of prickly pear and falcon overhead....we gazed at live oak and our guide explained that the barbs at the end of the leaves captured the dew. I learned about wild barley, mustard seed, sages and thistles. I marveled at how much my guides and companions knew about nature, the intricacies and shapes of stems, the uses and specific scents.I began to breathe with ease and wonder with abandon.

Soon we were tapping a frond of Yucca between rocks and scraping the green juices from it, which we used as a natural soap to cleanse our fuscia stained fingertips. Then we twisted the threads of the yucca plant into thin rope. Nina, the 7 yr old girl, proudly showed us the red and blue grubs from the yucca plant as Caroline described how the grub played an important role in fertilizing the plant and yet destroying it as well. One had to harvest the seeds after the seeds were just dry and before the grub grew so fat from eating them all. The timing, knowing natures cycles, is so important. I had a glimpse at the knowledge the radiated from Caroline. She and Evan are champions for nature, absorbing and relishing details that we rush past in our cars and bikes.

It occurred to me that before we "had" to make money, the native people's had much to do all day, all that coincided with connecting with nature. We got everything from our natural surrounding before "civilization" and convenience. We squatted in dust and made rope for our baskets and snares, we chatted and collected cactus and berries for food, we sang and shelled yucca for beads for endorning each other in gatherings. We connected. Slowly, easily, and simply. I wanted to weep for what we have lost.

Later, as I caught a smooth wet Pacific tree frog, our guide Evan climbed a tree and crawled like a panther from one oak tree to the next. I laughed at the freedom and joy of our "classroom". We sat in the shade of the oak and discussed the hummingbird sage, growing like a mint relation, and smelling like lemon and lettuce. I realized how seldom I take my boys in nature, not for a badge or a belt loop with scouts or to walk a certain number of miles, but just to be. Just to look.
We get so wrapped up in doing, in accomplishing, that we hardly ever be and wonder.

After gathering at the end of the walk to share our favorite moments, I thanked our guides and cohorts for their company and left the peaceful trail. Like a boat coming to a stop on the water and floating...and then leaking out condensation from all the whirring and spinning..I cried as I walked away from the Open Space...not from sadness, but from the residue of all that I had been doing before the walk, the whirring and rushing, was finally let go. I had found a place of peace, not outside of me, but within.
It's a moment I will refer to forever, being at peace, even sitting in scat.

Zen Honeycutt