Monday, October 31, 2011

All-Hallows Eve

Another Anastasia Reflection On Washington, D.C. and Me
, 1961 – 2011

October has come and gone, leaving me wondering what it has all been about.  A flooded lower level, along with various other plumbing problems at our retreat center, currently in remodeling phase two, that took the better part of two weeks was my initiation into the month.  Then the demands of a New Horizons’ event that I strongly opposed, given a serious medical emergency in the family of Sue deVeer, my right arm and program collaborator, imposed on my time,  Finally, the past three days without electricity or phone service due to an unseasonably early snowstorm rounded out this month of mishaps. Or, should I better call these challenges the turbulence of a universe on accelerated spin? 

Today, the day of the Great Pumpkin, is, not only All-Hallows Eve, but also the ushering in of November, 2011, a stark reminder that Election Day, 2012 is not far off.  Oh my, oh my, the U.S.A. is in for an interesting year ahead as our part of this universal gyration.  Where we will land is anybody’s guess.

For my own particular contribution to the mix of what’s happening next, I designed a study, the Possible Human, Possible Society Study, to carry our organization from now through the next presidential election and then some. Sponsored by New Horizons, the study, officially launched August 1, 2011, seeks to discover (and share) some “truths” about our individual and collective yearnings for an evolving society with the intention of offering whatever we are able to social betterment. Visit our New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project blog to keep pace of that adventure as it unfolds.

Bringing the "possible" back to the present, however, allow me to comment on my more current musings on a day when lack of electricity, phone service and defrosting food from my non-operating frig has me visiting friends after a very chilly weekend. Being a used book devotee, both out of interest and money management, I passed my just above freezing days and nights huddled under no less than three down comforters. Reading that which, by candlelight or flashlight, dim access to my bookshelves illuminated to help me pass my time in the cold, was not without its charm.  To my surprise, what did I find during the time but one more tome of the many in my collection of prominent Washington Woman of days past.

A particular memoir invited my perusal of the intrigues of a woman named Barbara Howar whose name chimed a bell in my mental archives of yore. A great deal more could be said here that I will save for another time on what this reading evoked in me. Suffice it to say that my reactions were intense and acutely negative. Thus on this day of the approaching All-Hallows Eve, Barbara Howar’s autobiography, a tale of a certain female power-addict, (Has Ms. Howar reformed these many years later or not? Google was unable to tell me.) sparked an idea. 

The Possible Human, Possible Society Study will need to explore the attitudes of prominent Washington Women in order to fulfill its mission. We will not be complete without it. And, in the case of some such as Ms. Howar’s autobiography suggested, perhaps, even consider this particular group, the Witches of Washington, of both the good and the evil.  

What magic hath they created; the wise and/or the wicked women of Washington; the power-addicted and the users, side-by-side with those that have woven their spells of dignity, inspiration and respect such as Katherine Graham of the Washington Post.

For now, let me leave you guessing as to what shall unfold here in this realm while wishing you a be-witching trick or treat night.  Or, that you find your way to joining our predictors of the future with a night of scrying in your own personal crystal ball as to what the coming twelve months holds on this earth for the U.S.A., give or take a week or so.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How To Begin

Rosh Hoshana, 5772

Birthday Lillies
They bloom almost ever year
for my birthday
Rosh Hoshana came at a bad time for me this year. Of course, it was not my call. But the lower level of the dwelling I inhabit as property manager for the New Horizons’ Harpers Ferry Retreat Center flooded just in time for the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The remedy took four visits from the plumber and a mopping, sopping, wet vac-ing of many more hours than I care to remember. Together Sue and I cleared away more than one hundred gallons of water.

How blessed is New Horizons’ that Sue, my right arm, was in there pulling with me! Horrors, if it had been only up to myself and the cat.

Our flood had nothing to really merit any significance though it did have more than its share of challenges. Unlike that which Noah and those on his Ark endured, it was relatively short-lived. And disturbed no one, other than the few of us most closely involved with it, particularly me. It was, nonetheless, a humbling experience that I would hope to not repeat any time in the near future. Actually, I would not like to ever repeat it at all!

Today, however, the sun is, at last, shining and the mopping and sopping up is adequately completed. After weeks of rain that seemed almost ceaseless, along with our “nothing much earthquake” of a few weeks ago, it ought to be easy to right side things up again. And, at last, to turn attention to the “Ten Days of Awe;” the annual time of Jewish tradition and rituals for repentance.

Now I am faced with the reality that officially the High Holy days will likely be finished with me before I am finished with them. I need these set-aside ten days, annually, to examine the limitations of my ways and how to right them. As it was, however, before the flood waters announced themselves, I hadn’t yet quite figured out how I might even begin my personal, spiritual progression through this time.

One thing of my own did occur to me, nonetheless. It might be a worthy endeavor in my personal preparing for this year’s pilgrimage, if I took a look at my blog postings of one year ago. Having set out last year and having accomplished at the Jewish High Holidays, my pledge to write one blog article per day for each day of the ten days, a contemplation of how this had benefited me or anyone else this past year could be useful for me somehow this year as I set out to, again, clean up my proverbial act.

Outfitted with my Mazur, the official High Holiday prayer book, the five thousand years plus of Jewish tradition I’ve inherited, my friends, my family and my memories of those honored traditions upheld by my loved ones in bygone years, from here forth, for the next little while, I set my attentions to the “Days of Awe.”

Checking back on those blogs to see what writing them and living through another year has taught me won’t be a bad thing. And, hopefully, the Powers That Be, will not find fault with my good intentions, if I need to grant myself an extension, if need be.

Allow me to, officially begin with this, the traditional greeting from one Jew to another during the “Days of Awe.”

"Le' shana tova tikatevu ve' tikhatemu."
"May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

To Jew and non-Jew alike.