Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coming Full Circle

I want my life to feel whole, to have a sense of unity and integration. So tomorrow, again, Sue and I leave for another journey as we did last year at this time.

This time our trip centers on a pilgrimage for me to return to my roots in Ohio where I was born. The plan we have laid out will allow me to revisit places of my earliest years.

I will see the home of my childhood, my elementary school and the cemetery where members of my family are buried. I will, at least, drive by the hospital where I was born and my father’s old place of business, the parks and the library. Places I counted on as a child, greatly changed I’m sure.

Who knows how it all will unfold. Yet, of one thing I am certain, whatever occurs, I am going to feel, to an enhanced degree, a sense of unity within myself from the experience. Linking one’s past with today, cannot but help strengthen the foundations upon which the future is built. Thus, I will return stronger in some ways.

The anticipated adventure calls to mind a favorite notion I picked up from the I Ching – when something momentous is at hand we may never see an end to what is set in motion but we may always look back and see this beginning.

So we are always coming home to ourselves, again and again.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Always I Am Coming Home To Myself

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”   T.S. Eliot -- Four Quartets
I think this recent sense of returning, within me, began last year about this time when Sue and I went on vacation to Canada. I can’t be sure but that is how it “feels” inside of me.

Now Sue and I are preparing for another trip, an extended week-end in Ohio where I was born. We will spend the time with my cousin (and childhood babysitter), Sallie. Strange how things go; two weeks ago Sallie was a guest on the online radio show I do with Jack.
Once upon a time....

Who would have imagined such a thing back in the day when
Sallie was my guide and ally in making kool-aid popsicles in ice cube trays?

Our time will be devoted to ME, first on this pilgrimage I have been planning for a very long time.  It has been more than thirty years since my last visit there. And, this time, as Sue points out, will be a very different kind of of experience.

From where I sit here, watching the birds coming into the feeder just outside my office window, I cannot even imagine how. Yet I do know it will be – special. For starters, I will have Sue with me.

One of the things Murat often stressed was the difference between knowing about something and knowing “IT.” Inside my mind I know, intellectually, about the notion that “IT” will be different in the experience than simply planning and thinking about it.

We’re leaving on Friday. Ummm.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Long Journey Home

Sometimes I can vividly recall the day I left the Ohio (and the California) of my youth behind for Washington. First as a young bride, then as a single mom I learned to navigate life in and around the nation’s capital.

But trying to make my way into and through the adult world without any presence of mature wisdom to guide and support me, especially on-site, was more than a bit of a challenge. Yet Washington did become the fire pit of my maturing identity.

For thirteen years (1961 – 1974) Washington was not only the power center of the America I knew and loved, it was the center from which I was taking the cues for who I was to become  – or, as it turned out, reacting against what I was discovering there.

I once wrote a poem to my father, trying in that less than articulate ability of mine at the time, to tell him how lost I was feeling. As if a person was to be granted a personal set of values by which to live once you become a twenty-something. But somehow I had missed out on the set I was to have as mine.

I didn’t know how to make myself understood by him. So, of course, my father did not get what I was so feebly attempting to say. I wish I could find that poem now.  I keep looking for it every once in a while. It was so very poignant then. And, it still is now for me.

Around that same time I was trying to obtain permission and passage for my daughter and I to live in Israel on a Kibbutz.  “Making aliyah” the sojourn is called; the obligation of every good Jewish person to return to their homeland of Israel. 

I was making progress on the plan. Then the “Six Day War” broke out and it was no longer a viable option. After that is when I recall my anti-Semitism breaking out.

Upon reflection I see that my inclination to separate from my Jewish culture and heritage had been brewing for a while. The Six Day War may have brought it to a head. I think it was at that point I became consciously ashamed of being Jewish. Perhaps I was already, then, critical of Israel’s enemy offensives. But I believe I had been growing in this direction since high school.

Concurrently I could not identify anywhere else to go that I might call home. From Ohio I had totally cut myself off. Washington, probably, had been an attempt to breakaway without conflict.  And, of course, getting married was such an acceptable way to exit.

But the real deal about that was that my mother had had a nervous breakdown a while back.  And, along with her other outrageous behaviors, she had purposefully set out to destroy each and every relationship I had or could conceive of having. Intent on controlling any independent move I might make, she had imprisoned me behind invisible bars, by terrifying me with daily threats over my very life. Therefore, California, my beloved and safe harbor with my father, stepmother and brother was, thus, even too risky to consider.  Perhaps she could "get" me there too.

With Israel no longer a viable port of entry and Ohio and California also closed to me, Washington became my “home,” as much as any place could be.

With no discernable values by which to live and no place other than where I was then situated, the D.C. metropolitan area became all I could recognize as “home.” So this is where I stayed, incorporating Washington into the cellular structure of my soul.  Washington can become a rather soulful place, if one allows it,that can grow on you. It certainly had that effect on me.

We had come to Washington, my first husband and I, for JFK’s Camelot. By the time I had truly settled my body, mind and spirit there, the three tragic assassinations of the 60s occurred, JFK’s, Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Bobby Kennedy’s -- very hard that all was to make sense out of for an embryonic adult.

My birthday, coming up Friday, brings me to the one year anniversary of my writing my memoir in progress, Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street. Writing it has, as one of its agendas, to help me put that time, the era before Watergate, into some kind of contextual framework for understanding my personal life’s journey.

Additionally, today as I head for my special day of celebrating that “I am” I am, also, getting ready to make a pilgrimage to Ohio after many decades totally away.

So it is not so strange that I am asking myself, today, am I going home?

Or, am I already home out here in the mountains, fifty or so miles outside of Washington where I have now lived for almost one-third of my life?

Or, do I need to return to Southern California to be home?

Or, as turtles do, am I always carrying my home with me so that “home” is only a state of being wherever you are?

Worthy reflections, I think, as a prelude to celebrating “I am.”

Where is the place you call “home” and why is “it” that place for you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Cost of the Quiet

A Hot Pants, Motorcycles And K Street excerpt

I got a wonderful early birthday gift last Saturday when co-host, Jack Slattery, of The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, joined me on my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show.

I’d been aiming at the show theme, The Cost Of  The Quiet, for months. But I just could not get it to come together, could not quite find the right tone. So I kept putting it off and putting it off again.

But the theme is so pivotal to my Hot Pants, Motorcycles And K Street story that I could not, indefinitely, keep skirting the edges. So central to what coming to JFK’s Camelot meant for me and what happened thereafter. So much of who and what I have become.

Secrets! It all began with secrets, or at least that is what stands out most for me at this telling; family secrets and scandals, child abuse, power and money control games, conspiracies of silence, and collusions.

No wonder Watergate grabbed and held my attention these long, past four decades. So much of what went on in that state of affairs replicated the family system within which I grew up.  Years later, in fact, I came to realize how much Richard Nixon was a stand-in for my mother. Nixon provided me with a projected playing field that I would, for years, use as a template for working out what had been wounded and damaged in me growing up.

Then, too, Watergate added to the losses, by assassination of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, which also loaded up an entire generation with grief. Those of us who came of age in the ‘60s and 70s would never forget this era.

It is only now, four decades later, that “secrets” I’ve held close for these many years are ready to face the light of a new day.  Actually these are not really hidden parts of me and my history as much as they are mementos of what has been a rather richly rewarding life’s journey with, perhaps, more of the challenges from the Dark Side than I would have liked.

Held so close to me, however, they have taken their toll as unhealed grief is wont to do.

The worst of the trials and tribulations has, truly, been the result of my own, more or less innocent holding back of facts, as I have known them, and feelings.  Thank goodness today is a new day. With the encouragement and support of friends and associates such as Jack, I am on my way out of the closet.  Not a LGTB one, by any means, yet a coming out certain to make a few waves.

Destiny would have it, however, that Anastasia, meaning “She Who Rises Again,” would eventually find her voice. And, like so many others learn to avail themselves of our First Amendment rights.

Ah, the truth will set you free.

Hear The Podcast 

Where I Take My Next Steps To Freedom!

On the

Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show

Described as follows.

Anastasia welcomes her Possible Society In Motion co-host, Jack Slattery, to this program. Jack has become adept in teaming with Anastasia in an on-air format. In this episode he draws Anastasia out for the teachable lessons from one of her personal “crash and burn stories.”  The story related is excerpted from Anastasia's new book in progress, Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street: In The Era Before Watergate.
Anastasia links this tale of her's to the recent tragic death by suicide of L. Wren Scott, partner to Mick Jagger, for a poignant discussion on how the self-determined pressures of achievement and success in the American culture can, potentially, lead to such outcomes.
The on-air portion of the show continues with a conference call forum discussion. 
More Hot Pants, Motorcycles And K Street stories on the way.

Monday, June 30, 2014

OMG! It’s Almost July – My Birthday Month!

Not being one to miss out on celebrating (even if it be by myself), I need to turn my mind to this.

Birthdays and anniversaries in my family have always been a time to take note of one’s progress in life, or lack thereof.  A slight bit like the Jewish High Holy Days in terms of the need to self-assess, but without the holy part.

Last year at this time, as usual, New Horizons was readying itself for our annual board meeting.  We typically hold it on the weekend closest to my birthday. Not because I’m so extra special but because my birthday just happens to be almost right smack dab in the middle of the year.

Also, it is particularly nice out here on the mountain at this time of year. So people don’t mind, in fact rather enjoy, the trek up here.

In case I might be inclined to forget, luck has it that my birthday is exactly two weeks after the fourth of July, July 18 to be exact.  Fourth of July, easy to remember the “4,” then add two weeks, 14 days, and, voila, there it is July 18!

My own special day, along with Red Skeleton, John Glenn, the astronaut – and – Nelson Mandela as well as countless other beings!

Google tells me that among my strengths is emotional sensitivity for myself and others, unfaltering optimism, diplomacy (because of the sensitivity and optimism, I guess) -- and – imagination. No wonder I was always so much at home at Disneyland!

Having judiciously contemplated these few points, relevant especially to me, I called up a few friends – and –my ever loyal board members.  They supported my heart’s desire to celebrate my birth-day and re-birth day along with a next New Horizons’ community-building day (like more of what we began to do last year).

Yup! There it is another New Horizons's community-unity day on the way. And, me to be the   guest of honor for my special day!  How very lovely.

In July, celebration comes easy.

(Any excuse will do.)

By invitation, only, and for women only, Saturday, July 19.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I Know Where I’m Going – And – I Know Who’s Going With Me

How beautiful it is to have even a modicum of certainty – these days – of where one is headed – and -- to know who’s going with. Amazing Grace, how sweet it is!

Listening to the podcast of last night’s Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, titled “When Worlds Collide” is what affirms these feelings in me today.

Jack and I took up a highly charged topic on last night’s show; religion.  And, with Jack’s astute clarity of mind to guide our progression I think we made some inroads for the mission of our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show.  Our intention of creating, conjointly, a teaching series and a discussion forum on the art of overcoming polarization was actually in motion as we spoke on-air and on the conference call that followed.

Bravo. I was lost and now I’m found. The people in my life with whom I am traveling now are the "IT" of it.

On the other hand, when I first commenced my return to post-911, mainstream life, after my eight year sabbatical (1998—2006) due to losing my eyesight (but never my vision), it seemed that only Rip Van Winkle could be a likely comrade for the sharing of the challenges I was encountering.  What an experience of separateness that was!

Not exactly polarized but truly without connection.

If you know anything about Rip Van Winkle, you know he slept away for more than twenty years. Among the experiences he had upon awakening was that he found the world around him changed significantly (as in America after 9/11).  And, while he slept he more or less lost his place in that world (Me too!). Along with that, Rip  discovered that his clothes were antiquated (double ditto!). And,of course, the relationships he left behind all those many years before had also fallen by the wayside.  (Mine too!)

Along with that there was another complication for me. Though any one would have their certain unique circumstances if somehow or another one simply checked out of life for a term. No matter the reason.

Parallel, but obviously not quite the same as Rip Van Winkle,  the situation of blindness and recovery from blindness, such as I experienced, has its share of quirks. For example, better than a third of those of us who have regained their eyesight after extended blindness walk with their eyes closed and/or sit in the darkness.  This being one of the peculiarities of my adventure.

So it should come as no surprise if I say that I had a mighty difficult time returning to mainstream life. Friendships and collegial relationships not the least of it. Recovering from being blind was actually harder for me than being blind.

Now eight years later, having paid my renewal dues, big time, “I was blind and now I see.”

And, do you know what I see?

I see growing numbers of people walking the walk of “leaning in” to do what one might to move beyond the polarization of society and politics in the U.S.A.

Up against the disheartening phenomenon of polarization to see this antithesis, bravo!

We’ve come a long way since the aftermath of 9/11 had us united one day and even more divided the next.

Joy and hope for me is in the finding, almost daily now, of ordinary people, just like you and I, walking this path. For me that’s an especial benefit of conducting New Horizons’ Possible Human, Possible Society Study. What a precious opportunity for me, coming out of a Rip Van Winkle kind of adventure in some respects.

And, our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show takes the magic of the study (and the gifts of it to me, personally) to the next level, on-air, interactively.

Find out for yourself how we are doing it; the lean in legacy in motion.
We keep getting better at it, week by week. You can too!

So, please join Jack Slattery, my co-host, and I as we do our part to ensure that the lean in path builds strong and sturdy, with others like yourselves, through this radio show forum.

With Anastasia and Jack
Bi-weekly, Thursday evenings, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Anastasia's Love Letter

June 20, 2014

This letter was originally intended, of all things, to be "snail mailed" to 
participants of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study in June, 2014. Most of the personal letters have, thus, been mailed out while some are still in progress with my personal notes of appreciation added.

The study was officially launched on January 1, 2012. Originally projected to be a four year study, concluding data collection on December 31, 2015, the wrap-up date has now been extended to December 31, 2016.

For further details, inquiries and participation,, please contact me, Anastasia, at:

In brief this love letter of mine tells some of the most important background stories and related philosophies of the study from my personal perspective.

Among the most rewarding of things in posting it – online – is the opportunity this venue provides of enabling me to help you, my visitors, to connect the dots of the bigger story behind the stories that have been, formerly, posted on this site. As you are aware, no doubt, much of what is behind New Horizons’ story is my story.

I hope you will enjoy this love letter of mine. And, take the opportunity it affords you to visit, or re-visit, the many stories I have previously written about my “love affair” with Washington. And, the troubles of the heart such a love brings.

Anastasia's Love Letter To Possible Human, Possible Society Study Participants

Dear Possible Human, Possible Society Study Participant,

Shortly after Barack Obama’s 2008 election to our presidency I made an extended trip to South America. For the better part of two months I lived among Ecuadorians, sometimes challenged as I did not speak Spanish.

The majority of people I encountered, personally, were of the intelligentsia: psychologists, artists, economists and so forth. Each, in his/her own time, would eventually come around to inquiring about what it might mean to us, Americans, to have elected this particular man, decidedly of African/American heritage.

These questions spurred my own contemplations on the subject. Because I was in a distant and foreign land, I reflected on this point with the added spice of the views these people offered back to me.

At the time, I was aware of only one or two personal perspectives on this state of affairs. The first was that after close to thirty-five years away from Washington, I had only returned one time with joy and hope. I had ventured into D.C. a few days after Obama’s election. I wanted to feel the upsurge of spirit, wishing that the Washington I had loved might rise again.

Although I had been very much engaged in high profile Washington (1965 – 1974), the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated I watched the Washington I loved “burn” from my high rise apartment near the Pentagon. That day was truly the beginning of the end of my active love affair with our nation’s capitol. The Watergate scandal finished it off.

Still, one cannot end a serious love affair and just simply walk away. Thus in 1974, I began what was to develop into a life-long passion to understand the Dark Side of Washington and its affairs. And, to do, with this understanding as a base, what I could to aid the transformation of it. At least, as best as a single, yet devoted and heartbroken idealist can. My first husband and I had, originally,come, after his college graduation, to Washington for JFK’s “Camelot.” Both of us, also, remained nearby these many decades later.

While I was not, particularly, enamored or impressed by Obama, I was somewhat intrigued by his platform that seemed rooted in an expansion of a national grassroots’ effort. With these in mind I returned, in late December, 2008, to Maryland with Obama’s inauguration near.

previously discovered the pitfalls of inaugural balls and other related revelries, I observed the happenings from a distance. Yet the spirit of celebration did not pass me by. And, given that I was a lifelong Democrat, I was satisfied for the moment. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder at the seeming naiveté of our new president, especially in his perspectives regarding the Washington political game. After all, I had been a player in it, having served clients in the White House, on Capital Hill and throughout the lobbying community.

Oh, well, thought I, let’s just wait and see. But social activist that I had become, by then, waiting and seeing was not quite enough for me. That’s when I, first, designed the Possible Human, Possible Society Study. I imagined that from my own grassroots position, as Executive Director of New Horizons Support Network, Inc., my organization and myself, personally, might help further Obama’s grassroots’ agenda.

Somehow, though, this idea of mine did not take root very deeply. So I shelved the study for a time and went on to other things. Then, in July, 2011, with the debt ceiling debates grabbing daily attention with outrageous partisan blaming, hostility and polarization, I came to believe that our country was in an irreconcilable mess. And, that no one, on either side of the aisle, could or would, competently – and – graciously, lead us out of it any time soon.

At that point, I turned my attentions away, as much as possible, from Washington, once again, taking to the hills (one of which, calling itself a mountain, I live upon) to initiate and develop the Possible Society In Motion Project. Of which the Possible Human, Possible Society Study is the focal point.

From that time on, officially beginning January 1, 2012, I began a new love affair; a love affair with you and others such as you; the various and sundry people who make up the regional community, residing within the one-hundred mile radius of the Washington, D.C. White House. You, the soon-to-be participants of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study!

From then on, I began asking each and every one of you that seemed interested and appropriate about your hopes and dreams for this country’s healthy future; your perspectives on how we might find our way out of the painful polarization that has overtaken our country. I asked for your personal opinions on how we can grow together and move beyond our differences.

How we could, again, be that one nation, under God, we set out to be. (Given that I come from a small town in Ohio this is the view with which I grew up.)

Maybe the Camelot that, originally, brought me to Washington will forever remain the myth it has always been. Nonetheless, each and every day I spend engaged with participants, such as yourself, in the study I designed after leaving this country for a time, I am heartened by all of you.

Nonetheless, I have one regret in the carrying forth of this project. I have been unable to adequately communicate on a regular basis with,you, as a study participant. You see in doing the interviews I came to know how very important are the bonds of community-unity that we build with one another. These connections are precious and require care. Our busy world does not offer us much opportunity for this.

Initially I attempted to call or write participants to keep you updated on study progress, developments and projects. But soon there were so many enthusiastic participants I could not manage this. Next I tried to post blogs to keep you informed. This format, as it turned out, seemed to be both too impersonal and difficult to manage in terms of detailing, even the bare minimum of unfolding and, frequently, inspirational perspectives and personal stories.

After all, who would want to miss out on the “good news” in these trying times?

Thus, secondarily to my expressing my gratitude to you, I am writing this letter by way of pledging to keep you better informed, from here forth, on developments of New Horizons most “awesome” Possible Society In Motion Project and its related study. (Dare I say so myself?) My intention is to do this by snail mail, if possible, believing the old-fashioned way to be so very much more personal and, thus, more appropriate for the very special ways in which this study has been evolving.

While we, at New Horizons, strive to improve our communication with you, our treasured study participants, please know the immensity of my gratitude for your participation to date.

From the bottom of my heart, as well as the top of my intellectual, research-oriented mind, I humbly thank you for the hope and inspiration your contribution to the Possible Human, Possible Society Study has brought me.

The generosity of your transparency, time and support have shown me the stronger stuff, beyond polarization that we, Americans, are made of, regardless of who it is that sleeps in the White House!

We, the people, shall overcome!

With boundless appreciation for your participation in the study I designed,

Anastasia Rosen-Jones
Executive Director, New Horizons Support Network, Inc.
Lead Researcher, Possible Human, Possible Society Study