Monday, May 30, 2011

Death In My Family

At approximately 7:30 p.m. last evening, Sunday night, a deeply felt loss was visited upon my family.

“Family” in this case refers to the essential parts of my body, mind and spirit. The death is, specifically, that of the eyesight in my right eye.

The demise of this eye’s sight had been predicted in my junior year of college, many, many years ago.

We, the essential parts of my body, mind and spirit, are grateful beyond measure for all the good years we have had together. “We” have, also, had many near death experiences since my college days.

Time and time again we were able to transcend these. This one, however, is, most likely the end; resurrection would, at this point, be a miracle; beyond my wildest dreams.

So another Shaman’s death (and rebirth) cycle is now at hand for me, once again.

Every death potentially opens the door to the birth of formerly unreleased aspects of the Self. Each rebirth is a victory over one’s fears, self-doubt, negativity, ego attachments and so forth. Spiritual progress is marked by these victories of the Self over the self.

Of course, I must walk through this dark night of my soul. Did I not say that being blind made a Shaman out of me?

But I fear I am not up to this challenge before me.

I am weary, right now, from the battle I have been waging with my very gifted opthamologist, John Gottsch, M.D., at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. We have been at it, now, for over two months.

The good news is that, for now, my left eye is still intact. However, I am harboring a threatening virus. Thus the long term prognosis, even for one eye, is not assured.

Courage and endurance is what I need. How would you rise to this challenge?

Your words of encouragement and support would be most welcome.

There have been so many words of caring, support and encouragement. Unfortunately, only two people of all those that have written have been able to make comments directly. I haven't been very successful either in posting them. So I am going to add them on to this article.

Responses to my announcemement really help me find that light inside the darkness that I need so much to hold onto.


From: Sharron Allen
(Executive Assistant to Murat Yagan)

Dear Anastasia,

There are moments when the truth we know, as you so eloquently express in describing the journey to Self, eludes us and we cannot feel strength or peace from that truth. But it is always there, and you will feel that peace and strength, and renewal will come; as someone you know says, "Patience, patience, patience..."

We send our love and will name you in our prayers.

With love from one and all,


From: Nancy Pace

Hi Anastasia,I tried to add something to your blog but I mess up with my password because I never use it.... You can add this if you like!

I'm so sorry about your challenges.... Losses are so hard---although at our age, we'll be learning more and more about dealing with them all the time....

Every age has its lessons. Everything is hard, even when we know it's just real life and normal. I'm sorry.

I think of you often, and fondly. I worry myself about losing my eyesight and hearing, as I am so intellectually dependent upon both for all the things I enjoy most. Life can be so difficult sometimes. I often think I should learn Braille, which I think would be an activity I would enjoy if I had sight losses, one I'm sure it's easier to learn while sighted.


From: Sandi Lee

Your dark night of the soul will lead you through a tunnel where, as you emerge, you will find that you have more Light in your life than you've ever had before.

The walk through this darkened tunnel is the only way to the Light.

Release and let go of anything that may be keeping you from walking quickly and with great strength and courage..............

What you will discover as you step out of this tunnel is the REAL YOU.

I love you.


From: Lea
(My new friend from England who has the same eye disease, keratoconus)

I am here for you now, forever and always, please please dear friend remember I am here for you.

Not only are you in my thoughts you are in my prayers and in my heart.

Reach out, shout scream, swear, cry, laugh or just vent I am here for you. tell me what you need from me.

I will ask a dolphin to swim from me in england to you in america, on its back.

I shall place a giant hug for you from me.I am thinking of you .

Lea x


From: Linda Alexander


I also tried to post yesterday.

You're an amazing lady & as always, my prayers are w/you.

When you called last, I was doing genealogy @ a Memphis cemetery ... on a road trip. I'm back & would love to chat, & see how you’re doing, when you've a chance.

Keep up w/your God-filled, amazing Spirit.

Love ~ Linda


From: Peter C.

Be healed and be well, Anastasia.  Think healing; think restoration.

Do you want me to put your name into the circle of healing in our prayer group?

Love and support, Peter.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dayenu: It Is Enough

Adventures Of A Former, Anti-Semitic, Recovering Jewish American Princess: Out On A Limb

Dayenu translates from Hebrew to mean “it is enough.”

The word is repeated, at least, a dozen times in the course of a specific prayer in the Hagaddah, the book of prayers and rituals for the traditional Passover dinner celebration.

This past year, I have used this blog to pour out the reflections of my mind and heart about my Jewishness. More than on any other issue.

Dayenu. It was enough.

As I traveled my path on this journey, “Dayenu,” came to signify much that my writing adventure was to uncover of the importance for me of my Jewish heritage.

The buried joy, celebration and boundless gratitude.

(Memorial Day weekend will be one year of my writing this blog.)

I spoke the word with such love and reverence that even my non-Jewish friends began to use it too, always with reverence. My favorite experience of this nature was when my friend, Jami, caught on to the word’s wonderment, describing her husband as “My Dayenu.”

I have loved how seemingly ordinary conversations became infused, at those moments, with spiritual consciousness. Out of my simply sharing a word of deep meaning for me, briefly we crossed the barriers of faith and visited awe.

Had the formatting on this blog not have gotten skewed, thus calling forth laborious attention to rectify it, I might not have taken the time to see how this pattern, “Dayenu,” it is enough regarding my Jewishness, was emerging in me through my postings.

(Somehow, as of today, the formatting is again messed up. Please bear with us as repairs are made.)

Of course, the collection should be a book. I give it a working title, "Reflections Of A Former Anti-Semitic, Recovering Jewish American Princess."

How do you like it.

Right now, however, I am too weary to pursue book publishing plans. They are not on the forefront of my daily priorities.

Nonetheless, having in the past few weeks put in a great deal of time re-formatting the postings, I can SEE with great joy what a story I have here!

It begins, of course, with my recovering from an eight year sabbatical (1998 – 2006) due to my losing my eyesight.

And, that awful, horrible, I absolutely hated it experience I had (2006 – 2008) being the local chapter president of a national Jewish women’s social action organization. A social action group that took no action at all during an ugly, local Jewish/Muslim controversy.

(As time went on, however, the group did their part to actively help build bridges between Jews and Muslims in the local community. And, today their labors are already bearing fruit.)

Now there is a book (working title), “The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard,” that I’ll be ready to complete, immediately, when the publishing offer comes to me.

It ‘s message is so imperative!

In the meantime, as I put my time and efforts into developing New Horizons’ Awe GAME and the almost ceaseless demands of networking, fundraising and trying to renovate this property into the retreat center it was intended to be, I hope you will check out what is spread throughout this entire blog as well as on the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” blog.

Take particular note of the following posting collections:

Adventures of A Former, Anti-Semitic, Recovering Jewish American Princess
The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard.


It is enough, for now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Once There Was

Once there was a Wicked, Wicked man. And, Osama was his name, Sir.

He would have murdered all the Jews. But they were not to blame, Sir.

Oh, today, we will merry, merry be.

Oh, today, we will merry, merry be.

The Wicked man is at the bottom of the sea..

Now we will have so much an easier time; me loving you, you loving me.

That’s all for now, folks.

Hope you missed me while I was taking my break.