Sunday, December 21, 2014

Life In A Bubble



Life in a bubble or life in a prison; there are differences, some major, and in some ways there are none. I believe I have lived most of my life in both; from the inside out and the outside in.

How one comes to reeoncile and remedy the cumulative effects of such a life is an enormous undertaking. I believe we all suffer it to some degree, more or less.

But you have to really want to be free of imprisonment with every cell of your being to get past it.

And, you have to be determined, no matter what, to keep digging into the darkness inside yourself for your liberation to sustain itself.

Once uncovered, even a trifle of it, one must develop the agility to transform the lead that is the Dark into the Light that is the gold.

When we learn to love unconditionally as a means of exchanging refined energies – and develop a certain code of ethics and ethical practises that affirm humanity and all of life we have a marker of our having attained this healing.

Many times the ordeal feels not worth the effort. That is just the moment that something greater than oneself beckons you forth.

So you go on, at least a few more steps, living through one dark night of the soul after another.

Until, at last, the Light becomes steady; something you know you can trust.

Then, with many trials and sufferings encountered and surmounted, you realize you are engaged in the adventure of a lifetime. And you know you would not have it any other way. The inner convict, the wild cat of the soul is now being tamed – and – transformed.

More than any other single sign of the inner convict is --  the cutting off from the reciprocity that opens the numerous doorways to our full humanity. At the level of the heart it is a blockage of the portal; intellect, emotions, connection to the body and five senses, relationships to others

Doorways opened and entered we experience the alchemy of flow in energy exchanges at the heart level, the ability to reclaim one’s lost humanity.

Entering any one of these doorways can put one on the pathway of the journey back.

My portal was intellect. But it was only a start. In time I would learn to unlock the doors to each of the portals. When I had opened them all, above and beyond was the joy of my heart.

But until I did, the convict in me still had the upper hand.


I am not particularly proud of this part of the Prologue. For one thing it shows how very far I had to travel. But it is instructive, many years later, in that it does illustrate, especially when you know me now, how far a person can travel.

This section of the Prologue illustrates a traveler, Me, opening the door of intellect under the guidance of a teacher, Marty Groder, in my case.  I believe a teacher or guide is always essential.

But I was a long way from my emotions and the gifts of the other portals and, thus, my heart.

Much of that would come later with the guidance of my later mentor, Murat Yagan.

I offer this to you as one who is likely to be only a few chapters ahead of you, perhaps not even that. Still the sharing is an essential part of my “return.”

I hope only that this gift can inspire as you travel your own journey. 

For me, it is a labor of love, determination and discipline to: 1. Give from the abundance my life holds; 2. Clarify and integrate who and what I am by sharing; and 3. Set the record straight where that can be of service to anyone, as a role model of a recovering survivor/addict or in some other way, especially for my two children, Elisa and Eric.

Today this is especially for Eric who has his birthday tomorrow; my Winter Solstice son (also born on the first night of Chanukah and home from the hospital on Christmas Eve).

With gratitude for the blessings of the season,

Anastasia

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Convict In Me: Part I


Having boldly proclaimed -- in my "Bill Cosby's Wife Sez" article -- that there is an inherent wisdom in knowing one’s inner convict-self, especially for us women, it stands to reason I must, now, come clean on the issue myself.

But didn’t I immediately after asserting myself on this item find myself spontaneously immersed in the effort?

You bet I did!

But it has been a long, long time since I looked carefully at the manuscript material of my three unpublished Random House books, still sitting in files – and – in piles. Since the very day I lost my eyesight, Labor Day weekend, 1998.

So it doesn’t come easily; to go back, look at it all and reconstruct the “Me” I used to be.

Originally, when I wrote my first book, I was just learning to write for the readers-eeze. And, I was far from adept at sharing myself along with that.

So what you get from that manuscript about my convict side, if you read what I am now beginning to post in my “Prologue,” is vague and insubstantial, at least about me.

I am, however, committed to rectifying this, believing it is the honest, straightforward thing to do, but it will truly be a long labor of love and some discipline.

For now, however, one thing is quite clear to me. On the Survivor/Addict inventory questions, my original scores, when I  first began my “adventure of a lifetime” (1973), tallied up to 125+!

Believe me this is definitely convict level. The highest score available! 

With the “plus” included to mark how totally off the charts was I, at that time in my life. 

Read the scoring structure yourself to see what I mean about a mindset and some accompanying behaviors that make up the inner convict. 

And, while you’re at it, take this inventory yourself and see how you measure up as convict type or good and true, best kind of human.

As for me, no matter the face I presented back then, I was as trapped in my survivor/addict, convict style, as if I had truly been behind bars. I can say this now without reservation.

(Marty Groder, my psychiatrist mentor, said of me during this era that I was so nice, I “could nice someone to death.”  Obviously he could see straight through me.)

There were reasons, of course. There always are.

Scoring aside, in my case my survivor/addict side, as with most of us, started to develop in childhood. 

I had actually been the prisoner of a mentally ill and abusive mother from the time I was eight years old until a sexually abusive husband took over when I was twenty, continuing imprisonment until I was twenty-five.

But I’ve been free now for many years, my inner convict replaced by the love and strength of a goddess; Amazon-type for sure. I call her Goddess-zilla.

I wish the same in strength and love. And, if you are a male, be a gorgeous, full-spirited man; loving, kind, compassionate, strong and wise.

Now, see if you have the courage to check yourself out on this assessment.

More to come.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bill Cosby’s Wife Sez


Or, why we all, especially women, need to know the convict part of ourselves.

Remember the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal of last year?

How easily we forget such things after they move off the media's center stage.

But a whole lot of people, the victims, their family and friends, the student body, the administrators and last but not least, the Penn State Board of Trustees, won’t ever forget.

These people and more have had their lives changed forever. As have the women who “say” Bill Cosby accosted them, whether, in fact, he did or did not. Whatever they are now opening up about apparently has had some cost for them as a "secret" and speaking out is no less expensive.

One man, Jerry Sandusky, now imprisoned for multiple sex abuse crimes for what is likely to be the rest of his life, brought it all down.

Yet his wife, Dottie, still defends him, reaffirming her stance that her husband “is not a pedophile” and did not commit any crimes.

G-d bless these wives who stand by their men. Hillary, who has a good chance at being our next president did the same. And look where she is today.

I, on the other hand, ran away from a marriage to a sex abuser?  Eventually it cost me what was most important to me; my daughter.

So who can really say what is best in these circumstances.

Personal issues aside --- though I have paid dearly for my inability or was it unwillingness to succumb to what instinct, emotions and logic brought me to realize, how do such decisions make sense when the meaning of our lives has its final tally?

I don’t believe I have the answers to how other people should resolve such quandaries for themselves. I barely have a certifiable certitude about my own choices, long and short term.

But this I do know, we all have a dark and light side. And, the male version of the dark, seems to have some characteristics that are often foreign to many of us who have never investigated it thoroughly, particularly the average woman.

I consider my Dark Side to be male for the most part, modeled originally by my father’s Type A personality. This incorporated an entrepreneurial adeptness for which I am most grateful. It also came along with a gambling addiction which was merely one symptom of an overall survivor/addict personality. I gave it up easily.

Watching my father create his own downfall and die at too early an age made this one easy to see and relinquish. But the less obvious traits challenged me and hung on voraciously. Some had a death-defying hold that only determination and diligence could eradicate.

In many ways I have been blessed to be challenged as I was, especially as I faced the devastating loss of my father, my hero.

The upside was that my father’s untimely death and certain other seemingly serendipitous events brought me to examine the convict side of me. Just in time I figured out that a side of me had a survival-driven way of being in the world no womanly role model would have been likely to pass on, at least not when I was growing up.

The single greatest advantage to the challenges I faced growing beyond these inhibitors (and learned to master both personally and as a professional) turned into a pride I now hold with respect for myself that no man would/will ever have me saying, as did Bill Cosby’s wife, Camille –

A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is a portrait of a man I do not know.
Well, of course, Camille and Dottie! Your husbands have sides to them you didn’t know! We all do! But men can generally cover it more than a woman.

I say that as a woman who loves men – and – also believes I understand them for the most part; the dark and the light sides.

Hillary, at least, knew the “dark side” of Bill. But Hillary, like myself, has a strong man-side which I trust she knows quite well. And, look where she is today!

Ladies, if you don’t know the ruthless, manipulative, power hungry convict side of yourself (which I believe Hillary does) open your eyes!

The male of every species known is different than the female in certain unique ways.

If you really believe you want to make it in a man’s world, I suggest you learn to know this part of yourself; the male part of you that will do whatever to get whatever.

However -- and here's the clincher -- that male side has a bit more of a challenge than you (ladies naturally) might at taking the high road, the path lit more brightly by Light and Love. Pay attention to the cost and the benefits of this difference between males and females.

You see, the right brain abilities most women excel at utilizing, beyond our men, has a way of moderating the ruthlessness of the male side of us. Used well it can also aid the ascendance of our male heroes. Ladies, choose, to utilize this inherent difference well!

Actually, some of the greatest spiritual teachers like our Beloved Murat Yagan will tell you that –

Men need women to assist their ethical/spiritual transformation. 
They cannot do it without us!

Thus tangling with the male of our species is how we become Spiritual Warrior Women!

This is one of the major reasons we, especially women, need to know the convict part of ourselves.

It is our most direct, potentially conscious link available to imagining a driven part of ourselves we might never understand otherwise.

Read more about this, now in progress, in my well-documented, factually-based perspectives on my new site, Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime.

Check it out, ladies especially!


Written for and inspired by -- Kay who turned her marriage and her man around by learning about the Dark Side!

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Heart Wants You To Know ---


...that my spirit is as high up in the sky right now as if I were landing on the moon.


The fire in my soul has carried the sign into action!

Check out my next right actions in my new blog site: ExploringYour Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime.

I’m so happy with thiw new site, like with bells on my toes, turning cartwheels in the air!

That’s what one can expect, now and then, when life experience and determination make a shaman out of YOU!

It’s the “AWE” of Murat’s guidance. It’s the personal and communal transformation Marty developed, analyzed and taught.

Bravo!  Come along and join me!

I’ve been shooting for the stars ever since that Prophecy of mine told me the life path to follow.

But it’s been hard and frustrating, especially the part about losing my eyesight (but never my vision, you may recall).

And, the corresponding piece of that ordeal -- no books published after those ten long years writing three books for Random House (not just one under one contract, but three and with only one advance for it all). Three books that ended up in storage; mine and theirs too, I would imagine!

In the end, at least to date, nobody has made any impact or money out of the deal!

Yet!!  (Of course you can see I am intent on changing this.)

Only now and then could I tell you how bound up I’ve felt at times from these obstructions; frustrated to the max.

In the Fire In My Soul, I was able to express some of it. Later, in some of my articles on society and politics I came close to hinting at a bit of what I was carrying. These, at least, gave intimations of the sorrow and frustration felt.

So very much like your own, I’m sure, when it comes to our society and our politics.

Sometimes, it seemed, hinting was all I could do to say anything at all about what I most wanted to express. Yet, certainly, in the process of my “trying” to say more I’ve gotten better at taking off the many masks I was wearing and finding a voice that could speak, minimally, and remind myself -- and -- you that --
There is a cost to the quiet!” Both yours and mine.
First Amendment Rights, right? One of our most precious freedoms!

Like yourself, I've always had this freedom to speak and, also, to determine how to think about the things that were frustrating me. But damn it's still not been easy.

Just look at the cost of giving up the quiet to the accusers of Bill Cosby!  Speech does not come easy even in the land of the so-called free, especially if you are a woman, even more so when you try to be “nice” about it.

Well, today I am a way bit freer!

So there is one thing I’ve just got to say.

You may not understand its implications yet.  You may find what I say to be excessively bold. You may find other reasons to dismiss it.

It may seem like a little nothing to you. 

But if you keep coming back to hear more and more of the logic of what I have to say, the “what” my golden goose gave to me in that golden egg I’ve been carrying all these many years – after a while you’re going to get it!

Then if you come in closer and closer to me and to New Horizons which is the vehicle provider, here, of what to do with what I am telling, you will be able to make some important improvements in your life and mine. In the meantime, try not to be perplexeed with yourself or me, if you do not get my main message for awhile.

There are at least one hundred ways to convey it. I am intent on employing them all.

Here’s the main message!

I got it from my my mentor, Marty Groder, an innovative and profoundly successful prison psychiatrist. Marty lived this message, analyzed it and developed strategies to cure the problem I am most intent on conveying; for starters -- there is a savage, killer dark side in each and everyone of us

In polite terms we can call it the Inner Warrior. That's a fine way as long as its drive to survive under the rules of its own particular game/games are not minimized. 

Again, there are one hundred and more ways to understand this notion. Over time we will get to them. 

From this basic piece of knowledge and its corollaries, passed on to me as well as other of Marty's students, I have helped to transform hundreds of lives, if not thousands by teaching them what to do with it; this Dark Side of humanity.  

As a social and political problem It comes down to this --
 …convicts and high leadership people are similar in character, differing only with the rules of how they play their games. 
Internally they run on the same the track.
Convict games are antisocial, the games of high leadership people are socially acceptable

It is important to know, however, that, antisocial or socially acceptable, these games are of no less a serious and destructive intent. This modus operandi includes sports heroes and other celebrities.

The stakes are equally high. The willingness to do whatever it takes to reach the aim is how it plays out. The net result is a great cost to us all!

And, there is a much better way to go; a win-win for everyone way to go!

So if you are not dealing with this convict side of humanity, including within yourself, you are as much a part of our nation’s problems as the "others" you are either complaining about or wishing to be like. 

A big part of the problem is that you, too, have this little convict in you! And, you may not like knowing that.  I know and love the convict in me.  That's how we get along so well.

But I will come back to this point many times over. Especially now that my new blog site will be a platform for the unpublished books of Marty's work and mine, now in the process of being published, piece by piece on the new blog site.  

Check it out. ExploringYour Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime.

So…. my message to you, today, is this ---

Anastasia The Super Sleuth says,
  1. Check out your own games, first. Where you’ve got darkness, clean it up!
  2. Don’t be fooled by the masks people  wear. We’ve all got darkness and we’ve all got light! Check out what lies underneath.
  3. Head into the Light and keep on going there. Do not compromise!
  4. Check out my new blog site for details, directions and activities for transforming the Dark into the Light in your life.
  5. Together, even a small group of dedicated people can help to change the world.
  6. Be one of them!
This my heart wants you to know!

With my new blog site, I have the platform I have long needed to make my message clear and back it up with facts, especially when added to what I offer on this site and on the New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Project site. 

Wish me luck. This is quite an undertaking. Long time coming.

Enough said. I'm off to turn cartwheels in the sky,

Monday, December 8, 2014

Spiritual Warrior Woman Seeking Signals


These are turbulent times all around us -- and -- for many of us within ourselves. It is not easy to integrate the data flooding our senses; the impressions vividly presented on the internet, the sheer deluge of happenings reported from around the globe, the rapidly shifting world we live in, almost moment by moment.

For a person such as myself – still and forever, no doubt, recovering from extended blindness, day-to-day sensory overload is even more difficult to manage than for the ordinary person.

By maintaining the spiritual ambiance I developed in my years of blindness and recovery from blindness (1998 – 2006) I managed to buffer myself from these daily onslaughts and nurture the serenity I developed during that period.

Being blind gave me the gift of being able to see beyond what one sees ordinarily.

Beyond has often been a comfortable place to be, but it is not enough, over time.

I tell myself that this extraordinary sight came upon me, most pointedly, at the time of 9/11. Unable to see the graphic displays of physical destruction at the World Trade Center and elsewhere, I instead acquired a heightened sensitivity to the emotional, spiritual and cultural energies in motion at the time.

I have never been the same since. On the other hand, no one else has been either.

It was at that point that I believe I began to experience an added dimension to my sense of self in the world around me. Had I not been, also, the beneficiary of input and guidance from Murat Yagan, my spiritual teacher and New Horizons community development mentor at that time, perhaps this dimension might not have become as expansiveness as it did.

So I was blessed, again, by this circumstance.

However it came to me, there it was – and – there it is; I have a gift to be able to view the systems of society and politics, personal and community relationships with an expanded view.

This past week I’ve gotten a bit overloaded by national circumstances, specifically what has been happening in Ferguson, Missouri.  This upheaval pulled me in.

It is time for me, I realized, to not hold back, time to give up spending quite as much time as I have, cloistered on this mountain that is home to New Horizons Retreat Center and myself.

I must take time away now to join with others in advancing our troubled conditions, racism long being an issue that riles my sensitivities. I carry a long history along these lines that makes it matter like no other issue.

Honoring the need I feel for participation on this is hard for me. I leave my sanctuary with reluctance.

The world beyond is embroiled in chaos.  To serve it is to immerse oneself in it. How to do this and not be pulled down into the turmoil, but rather to allow ones Light to lift, I am not completely certain.

For now, the only way I know to do it is to set my sights on seeking the signs that signify “….this is the way, follow it.”

What I imagine will come next is engaging with other Spiritual Warriors like myself.

And, so I will. Divine Guidance will be our guide, if we are to do right.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Truth About Truth


The truth will set you free

Ok, that axiom has been around a long time. But exactly how does it occur that truth sets you free?

Do you really know the answer and how it works?

And how often do you adhere to it?

How often fudge it, just a little?

The “real deal” truth is that most of us like to think we are fairly honest, that we are committed to integrity.

If and when someone questions our honesty or truthfulness, we are generally offended or angry.

“Oh, no! Not I! LYING! Not me!

So how goes it these days that the truth is what we want from Bill Cosby?

The “real deal” truth is that the majority of people in our contemporary society, being survival-driven as most are, are often unwilling, even unable to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

How about you?

And, if not YOU, why expect it from Bill Cosby or anyone else?

Truth telling is one of those things closest to my heart so I will have much more to say here on the subject -- trust me. (Dotch'a just love it when someone says "trust me"?

We have only just begun!

In the meantime, visit New Horizons new blog site Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime.

Next treat yourself to “exploring your Dark Side” by taking my “Do You Have A Survivor/Addict Personality? inventory.

Then let’s talk a bit more about “telling the truth.”

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sex In The Forbidden Zone


Sex In The Forbidden Zone: When Men In Power…..Betray Women’s Trust (by Peter Rutter, M.D., 1986) was a book that helped pull me out of a period of fright I was trying too hard to manage on my own.

I had no idea how very hard it was!
There is a
cost to the quiet!

Today in light of one more sex abuse scandal, involving one more man in a position of power, I am thinking about the messages of this book and what it taught me. 

The book helped me at the time by my reading clinical perspectives on the personal harm being done to me and the lack of integrity and exploitativeness that represented in my abuser.

Added to the apparent stepping over the line of moral and ethical decency of Bill Cosby, I am thinking today, also, of the pain of the women involved, reminding me of my own. The pain of the abusive acts coupled with the pain of carrying a secret added to the pain of telling the truth, at long last.

And, then the backlash as the armchair judges get into the act, dismissing stories that have taken an enormous amount of courage to tell. I am not certain the resulting polarization with those on the side of support makes it much easier. It is all so much pain!

Yet I am sure it does help one regain dignity and balance after awhile -- and -- above all a sense of empowerment.

Even today, several decades later I still struggle with remnants of shame and fear that somehow imbued my rabbi with a greater power over me than I found in myself – or – in my community to help get him away from me.  

But now I am more confident of my role as an innocent in the episode that continued for more than a decade and one-half.

When will it ever stop?

As a psychotherapist I have had far too many reports from emotionally traumatized clients in similar circumstances. And, sadly enough the blind eye of those surrounding these abusers of power and betrayers of trust has, in many ways, been as disheartening to witness, if not more, than the abusers themselves.

I sought out my rabbi for counsel and guidance in dealing with an abusive husband. It was my second marriage and the second time I had chosen a man who would be emotionally abusive. Without the maturity, skill and support I needed to take care of myself – and my children, fleeing from these marriages seemed my only option.

With these two husbands the ploy worked well enough to free me of their direct, personal control over me. However, the consequences still continue to this day, many years later, in the form of indirect punishments of me and my children; defamation of character, continued scandal-mongering, power plays and control games might be the polite terms.

While the rabbi has been deceased now for a number of years,  alive he was not so easily dissuaded as these two husbands. Oh, the tales I could tell about how it was, if I would.

At the time I still believed in rabbis as viable teachers of truth. They were the scholars, the wise men who could interpret the mysteries of life far and away beyond  the limited capabilities of ordinary people such as I. It was difficult to see this particular rabbi in any other way than I had been reared.

Thus, for more than fifteen years, this esteemed man, my rabbi, pursued me in ways that were frightening; his pursuit more like stalking. To this day I have not yet fully cleansed myself of the toxity this infected me with.

Of course, I told no one.

Who could I tell? I was not accustomed to “telling” the things that confused and bothered me most. And, he was so very prominent and well-regarded.

I now know, today, that the greater cost was truly that of being quiet, not having anyone I trusted to tell.

Secrets have so much power over our lives. They warp the clarity we must rely upon to experience the beauty of life, eating away at the very fabric of our emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Yet when telling seems to carry with it an equal or greater threat, how difficult it is to know which way to go.

So, I find myself, as I write these words, pledging, again, anew to hold a space of loving, caring and compassion for whomever it is that would seek me out, yearning to free herself of the –

Burden of truths held back; the cost of the quiet!