Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Today


Today I want to hear the voice of my heart speak clearly enough to me that I can, at last, prepare myself for my, again and again, scheduled and rescheduled, radio show, “Finding my voice.”

Almost one year ago, on my second radio show broadcast, on Anastasia The Storyteller, on January 29, 2013, I found myself, after years of dreaming it, situated so as to be able to share, in total, the story I have most wanted to communicate, “The One About What I Learned From Watergate.”  

With that show as a background setting, I set out to impart, that day, a central part of my life’s journey that I believe shaped who and what I am -- and -- from which, I believe, I can best offer back something of benefit to others.

Note: Listening to this podcast can be tedious I find. There are many strands introduced that cannot be followed through on, simply. Nonetheless, I hope this first offering can serve as a starting point for treasures to be realized as we go forth. And, that you will listen to it with an intention to build a conversation of significance with me through it.

I was grateful to have this opportunity. Before too long, through this radio show of my own, supported by the articles I write for this site, and with the encouragement of friends, I experienced myself as on the way to the realization of a long-held goal, sharing in a manner, I believed, that could, most fully, be useful.

By summertime, this platform of mine had freed up my voice so as to as be better able to articulate the story and its relevance to current affairs, both social and political. So much so that the first draft of a new book, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” popped out of me.

By early Autumn I was on the way of my mission, boosted by a hard-won, bountiful support network. At long last I could see ahead to a mission completed.  Then, in the midst of reveling, I took a hit; an eye infection of grave concern sent me back into the pit of potential blindness, again. I would need to cut back on outer involvements to concentrate on first things first; body, mind and spirit. Thus, from late September until now, I had little energy for offering my voice to greater concerns than my own immediate ones.

To know me, superficially, you would think, speaking comes, easily and naturally to me. So you might not have thought I’d be so challenged to keep up what had become my daily pace. In some ways that is accurate, conversation does come almost effortlessly to me. Yet I have come, more and more, to realize that much of that apparent ease is the product of a straightforwardness I was accustomed to as a child, but that was, over time, replaced by a mask, hiding the true voice of me.

That which had, originally, been authentically me became, later, a performance; a natural tendency converted into an artful tool, a craftsperson’s skill, designed to affect a desired outcome, maintaining connection without giving away what had, by then, become secreted.

Without my being conscious of it, until much later, my natural love for the people around me and the security and spontaneity, so much a part of that innocent world of mine, was replaced by fear and caution; a certain sense that simply presenting myself as the me I had been was no longer safe or uncomplicated; a usual set of adaptations for a child who was being abused which, by then, I was.

Having said all of this, I am accounting, to both you and myself, for the challenge I have had, recently, in preparing for, what I hope will be my next AnastasiaThe Storyteller Radio Show. (Consult this link to find details and scheduling information for "Finding My Voice".) It comes down to this.

“My head/intellectual mind has a voice as does my heart. The former is strong and articulate. The latter, the voice of my heart, is quiet and mystical, not easily given to words. Often she …. hides herself while the voice of my mind can readily make itself known, if I choose. Not so, the voice of my heart. She struggles to express herself.” Yet it is the two of these voices, together in harmony, that I must do my best to express on this show, on my blogs and in this new book, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street.”

This is what it means for me to “find my voice.” It has been most difficult to do this recently.

In summation, allow me to say that this has been a wonderful year for me; a year, perhaps more than any other, during which I found my true voice, more fully than ever before. I thank all of you who have been a part of this adventure, participating in it and, also, giving to me of your best self while supporting this growth of mine and New Horizons and its various projects and programs.

I hope you will continue, in the New Year, to do this and share with me/us your true voice as I/we struggle, sometimes, sometimes not, to do the same with our dearest wishes for a bright future.

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Marjah" and "mojo"

(Marjah = Higher Self. Mojo = Magical powers.)
Celebrating Murat's beautiful 

life, today, on his ninety-eighth 
birthday.

Murat Yagan, New Horizons’ community development mentor, also my spiritual mentor, introduced us to the word – “marja" (sometimes spelled “marjah”). Murat who is ninety-eight today (born December 16, 1915) defines the meaning of the word as “Higher self; God within human.”

Note: Dr. Viacheslav Chirikba has written a wonderful profile article of Murat and his community of students in British Columbia, “Abkhazian Wiseman from Vernon.” You may find it to be informative as an aid to your understanding of New Horizons’ motivations for adopting Murat as our trusted community development guide. Published in "Respublika Abkhazia", Sukhum, Abkhazia, 21-22 April 2001.

I am understanding how to access the “marjah” in me, better and better, recently, thanks to Murat’s great clarity of instruction in his newest book, Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Science of Universal Awe, Volume II.

Several months back, two copies of that long-awaited tome showed up in my mail box; one each for Sue and I, for contributing an article to the book. We were just about ready to leave for our vacation to Canada, at the time, and were so grateful we had it to take with us and explore on our travels.

Delightfully the book, also, included a DVD with meditations guided by Murat. I welcomed both book and DVD, wholeheartedly, though the drawbacks of using WiFi on the island, without plumbing and electricity, that was our home for a week or so, limited my listening.

So -- long and short of my story, here -- this morning as I was contemplating whether or not I could, in fact, do my next scheduled Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show, titled “Finding My Voice,” tomorrow as planned, I got to wondering if “marjah,” as defined above and “mojo,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “a power that may seem magical, allowing one to be effective and successful, might come together, for me, over the next twenty-four hours, so I can, finally, do that show I’ve been planning, scheduling and rescheduling, now, for more than two months!

So sorry about that.

Nonetheless, if you’ve been wondering what’s going on about this seemingly negligent management of my broadcasts, just when we were getting going, the explanation lies in: 1. My recent eye infection; 2. The identity crisis I’m having as I embark on my adventure of writing, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street;” and 3. New Horizons going through a reorganization as we expand our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, remodel our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center and increase the accessibility of our Cultural Mediation community development programs.

If you like what we have here on our two blog sites and two radio shows, please do check back for updates. We will keep you posted here and on-air as our perspectives and plans unfold. Providing, of course, that, over the coming months ahead, “marjah” and “mojo” stay with us.

With gratitude and love to our dear Murat, as always abundant in his marjah, on this, his ninety-eighth birthday today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Leaning in rather than not



Last year’s “Overcoming Polarization (of politics)” event which just passed its one year anniversary date this past week taught me some hard-won lessons this past year.
We must all learn how to
dance with the Dark Side.

The idea for the event had been mine, originally growing out of New Horizons Possible Human, Possible Society Study. Data being gathered from the study was already revealing interesting trends and several interviewees I had met through the study and the insights derived from our annual board meeting signaled the plan for the event as an appropriate direction. Added to this was what I had long known of my own, personal destiny (More on this as New Horizons various projects, programs and my two radio shows continue on from here forth; Anastasia The Storyteller and The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show.)

(To hear podcasts particularly related to my notion of destiny, listen to Anastasia The Storyteller. Significant background information is presented in "The One About What I Learned From Watergate," January 29, 2013.  

Note: Listening to this podcast can be very tedious I find. However, if you listen carefully, pick out only one or two points that are significant for you --- and -- ask me to elaborate on any one of them, you will begin to discover, for yourself, a treasure trove of data that is relevant to how we can now help to transform the darkness of the society within which we are now living.)

The short version is that I believe, unequivocally, that I was given a definitive  assignment in August, 1974, derived out of the Watergate scandal, to someday return to the fast track world of our nation’s political arena, having exited in January, 1973, with a distinctive message on –

“How to transform the dark side that thrives here, there and everywhere into the light.”

I have built and staked my life on this assignment ever since!

Throughout this site, as well as on my various Anastasia TheStoryteller Radio Shows, especially those highlighting my new book in progress, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” you will find hints of this “coming attraction” (targeted for release February, 2016), throughout. The real deal whole of the story, however, and how it can serve is yet to be fully revealed but it is in progress, here and now, as I write.

Now, back to my original point for this article, “Leaning in rather than not.”

Last year’s “Overcoming Polarization” event was conceived of by me, supported by New Horizons Board of Directors and put into motion by me as a “lean in together” community project.

Given that Hurricane Sandy prompted the rescheduling of the event and the other this and that things on the way, the event came off rather successfully – on the surface – while on another level, behind the scenes, it was a travesty of every good intention upon which it had been conceived.

I say that now to mark the occasion and the lessons its anniversary calls to mind. Just as our most recent Abkhazian Dinner had its dual levels; success on the surface and some overriding gunk underneath. Prompted by these lessons, as well as those accrued earlier out of an earlier, “MiddleEast Crisis In My Backyard” with the intent that this site, as well as our New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project site will -- in the coming months and year ahead -- hope to draw from these events, the teachable lessons that may, with the refinement reviewing their subtle nuances can potentially offer, serve to raise our collective consciousness to a higher vibration in the future ahead.

This has been one sorry-ass year for polarization, if you ask me. Thus, I offer my slight slivers of insight with the hopes we can do far better next year.

“Leaning in rather than not,” in each and every way one can, can make a huge difference for the society and politics of this country, if you ask me!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Finding the voice of my heart


My head/intellectual mind has a voice as does my heart. The former is strong and articulate. The latter, the voice of my heart, is quiet and mystical, not easily given to words. Often she (I am quite certain “she,” the voice of my heart, is wholly feminine while the voice of my intellectual mind is rather androgynous) hides herself while the voice of my mind can readily make itself known, if I choose. Not so, the voice of my heart. She struggles to express herself. Nonetheless, both voices are equally passionate about life, love and social justice.

During the past two and one-half months that I have been dealing with my eye infection, I have been wrestling, inordinately, with these two voices of mine; the intellectual one held back in its yearning to speak and interact while the voice of my heart was drawn inward, needing to tend, first and foremost, to my personal wellbeing. As a consequence of this internal struggle, I found myself, also, confused as to who I am, in truth. A painful identity crisis, once again, constantly loomed over me.

Am I more definitively aligned with the voice of my intellect, the one most often expressed in my interpersonal relations? Or, is the quiet voice of my heart truly who I am?

I knew I had, over time, developed a voice, as surely as I had come to develop a Self. Yet, I could not come to terms with what the voice of that Self sounds like, if not totally mute.  Thus I found myself wary of speaking at all, feeling as if any words expressed at all brought forth pain. I didn’t wish to disappear but could find no way to truly be present.

Then, yesterday, as snow and freezing rain fell outside my doors and windows, clarity came to me that has put my quandary at ease. Though I have grown, immensely, since the time, in the early 1970s, when I chose to exit my fast track D.C. life; the starting point for “Hot Pants, Motorcyclesand K Street,” the voices of my mind/intellect and that of my heart are, still, in the process of expressing who I am as an integrated whole. Never quite arriving at completion.

The point of departure for that tale is a time and place where most of what could be seen of me was a performance, barely the true me at all. Yet it was and has become much of who and what I am, fundamentally, today. Further, I came to realize that while these two primary voices of me are expressive of who I am, at any given moment, they are, additionally, always in flux, a product of interactions with others, updated, moment by moment; the certain truth and clarity one moment, always, potentially, giving way to updated information that, then, creates of me, a new Self, in the next. This, then, is my current, greatest challenge in the writing of “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street;” finding the true voice of me, the author.

Out of this awareness, I came to realize that my hope is that, your voices and Self, too, are always in motion. In this way we each stand firm in the knowing of who we are. Yet, also, open to the expansiveness we help bring forth in each other.

This, to me, is the “possible human” creating the “possiblesociety.” The potential integration of intellectual mind and heart in motion.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Touch of Progress


Update on Anastasia’s (right) eye crisis

After two more emergency visits to Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore this past week (added to the two months of challenge to date), improvement has, at last, been marked yesterday and today.

I thank all who have expressed their concern and support with my recent vision challenges. An update will be posted, if significant changes occur. In the absence of this, please assume that my sight is steady and I am, again, back in upward motion.

With gratitude,
Anastasia 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Finding the light in my darkness


After two months of, again, finding myself on the edge of threatened blindness, after achieving, in recent days, a modicum of progress, I wanted nothing more than to stow myself away, alone, over Thanksgiving, out here in the mountains and write.

As most writers appreciate, when one is cut off from writing, it can feel akin to separating from one’s soul. This is, truly, how it is for me. So solitude, combining with the ambiance of the natural settings surrounding me, out here in the mountains, was what I was craving; turkey and the trimmings could wait for another time. Then the eve of Thanksgiving approached, ushering in, too, the Jewish festival of lights, Chanukah, to bring in that day. Settling myself into my holiday plan of relaxation and writing, I, thus, awaited my next inspiration, gratefully, all alone, readying myself, as it were, to write and, quietly, revel in the once-in-a lifetime union of these two celebrations.

But -- just as my holiday plan was being launched, another eye crisis surfaced. Carefully observant, by now, of the nuances and subtleties of what I can and cannot see out of this troubled right eye of mine, I systematically watched and waited. Then watched and waited again.

There was no one, but me, within assistance distance by this time. And, only the specialized care at Johns Hopkins, a good distance away, could treat my complex eye disturbance, I was certain.  What to do? What to do?

Thinking to contact the on-call Emergency Room ophthalmologist, certain my own cornea specialist would, without doubt, want me to do this, at least, I made that call, only, simultaneously, to reassure and frustrate both the doctor and myself. Reality was that I was stuck on a turbulent sea of threatened blindness, the water around me, swelling, as if I were in a rowboat on stormy waters, without even an oar, the on-call doctor, my life guard, unable to reach me. With one, stop-gap, potential antidote; returning to a prescription I had just come off, supported by the on-call doctor, again, I set my mind to calm and relax. There were no further hoped for advances for this twenty-four hour span.

My threatened eye's recovery was, now, in the hands of fate. By this time, it was sundown; time for Chanukah and the eve of Thanksgiving. For the next little while, I determined, I would allow myself to float on waves of gratitude and celebration, sink or swim; marking what I did have at hand rather than not. Maybe, like the Maccabees whose saving of the Temple in Jerusalem is marked by the Chanukah commemoration, I, too, might have enough light to make it through a pending threat.

Setting concern aside, I lighted my menorah, sought and found numerous YouTube versions of Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights” and various renditions of the “Dreidel Song” I grew up with; the Disney cartoon version, my favorite, and turned my heart and mind to celebration.

Guess what happened next? Adam Sandler and his song made me cry with delight, reminding me that I am one hundred percent joyful that I have, now, become the former Anti-Semitic, recovering Jewish American Princess, without separation, a member of the tribe of Jews just like me who are American too.

Thanksgiving arriving on the first day of Chanukah brought me to rejoice. Like the Maccabees, I had just enough light to make it, in my case, through to the Monday after Thanksgiving, when I finally did get to Johns Hopkins, still on the edge of threatened blindness in my right eye, yet, having, once more, found light inside of darkness.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So Beautiful, Yet So Challenging: The invisible Becoming Visible


More excerpted from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” – manuscript in progress.

How very strange, I reflected, that revealing the extent of my current eye problem crisis on this blog site brought a calm to wash over me; a lightness of such purity and subtlety that I felt lifted to a higher realm of being.

How could an experience like this bring such transcendence; simply sharing, openly, that which I, generally, so closely hold private?

It is not with any intention to be less than transparent that I have held the subject of my eyes and their ongoing threats of blindness, quiet . Only inadvertently has the subject;  not been shared more fully. And, yet in exploring my “Anastasia The Storyteller” blog site, today, for that which I have previously shared, I find I have written a fair amount on the subject. So my situation has not truly been kept secret.

(Check the labels on this home page for “Keratoconus,” “Blind/seeing“911,” "To See Or Not To See" and “Recovery from blindness” for these articles.)

Actually there has been more than enough about my past visual impairment to suit me to date.  Do you think, perhaps, that I have been too reserved on the subject? I have in the past and, thus, robbed myself and others of the growth possibilities that the sharing of sorrows and losses can prompt.

Please do let me know, if this is so, for you about me.

No matter, destiny seems to have pushed the issue, once again, to the fore so that I/we have another opportunity here, if we missed out before.

Journalist Mike Corrigan, writing under the name G.M. Corrigan, wrote a beautiful article about my experiences with and recovery from blindness in “Finding Light In the Darkness” (Frederick News Post, August 6,2006). I so much appreciate how he utilized his proficiency with words to tell my blindness story and capture the transformation that was also mine, along with my losses and challenges.  I hope you will take time to read the story, if you are so inclined.

Making my black-patched eye, half-blindness as big and bold as a Hollywood happening, my former press agent, Charlie Brotman, brought both my impairment of a time past (late 1960s, early 1970s) into the spotlight in tandem with the U.”S. “Male” Service. Charlie’s creative genius, also, gave immense dignity to my vision challenges.

The U.S. “Male” Service (circa 1966) is the entrepreneurial enterprise that serves as the foundation for “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street.” It was purportedly the first reminder and gift shopping service known worldwide according to Voice of America (1967) and also offered an all-female, in hot pants, motorcycle delivery service to handle its deliveries. The delivery service was called "Special Delivery Messenger Service."

(See "Hostess For 'Eye Patch Party' Has A Personal Concern: Marcia Rosen, Who Had Unsuccessful Surgery Helps Those Who Helped Her," Washington Evening Star newspaper, November 21, 1969. Article to be posted, pending copyright permissions.)

With all this past, I was so surprised and happy that sharing my eye crisis, in my own words on this blog site, quickly brought me generous notes of caring and concern to fill my email inbox. I was touched!

Yet with this outpouring, questions, generally held in my personal cold storage vault, now arose; the central theme being around my dread of more public visibility than I can comfortably manage and the consequences therein. 

Thus, inquiries, most appropriately made, prompted me to seriously ponder my responsibilities to others as well as my personal priorities, present and future. 

Legitimate questions such as --
  • ·         How recently did my present eye crisis arise?
  • ·         Was the loss of my right eye’s vision a certainty?

To respond to these queries, individually or publicly on this site, I had my own questions to answer:
  • ·     How big or how small is this present eye infection crisis for me, up against the backdrop of the overall framework of my life?
  • ·     How big or how small is the situation in terms of how I describe my circumstances to others?
  • ·     Is there a public version as well as a private version for the story of the situation?
  • ·     Where does one draw the line between the two; the private and the public?
  • ·     And, does that line drawing respect all concerned (not being too reticient, nor burdening others etc.)?
  • ·     What is the potential fallout for me and for New Horizons from my being more transparent on this issue than I have been so far 0f now being half-blind?
  • ·     How can I guide the effects of my transparency onto a positive track and, thus, offset the negative?
  • ·     And, above all, perhaps, how can I now find my voice and be an active part of the co-creation of beauty in this often challenged world, especially when I, too, am challenged (i.e. how does one bring this into balance)?

What I actually yearn for most is the calm, washing over me; the lightness of purity and subtlety in everything I say and do that can bring healing to our troubled world.  As well as the healing of my wounded eyes, lifting me to that higher realm where all things are possible; the “universal awe” to which Murat, New Horizons’ community development mentor, so devotedly directs our attention, as his most recent book, "Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Universal Science of Awe, Volume II," so profoundly explicates.

Now, however, as fate would have it, it is time to light the first candles of Chanukah and to usher in Thanksgiving day.  So, for now, I will seek to find my peace in being thankful for what I/we have.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finding my voice


Another excerpted reflection from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street

I was all set to go on to what seemed to be the next logical step in a sequence of articles, following on, ‘In A Different Voice.” I thought I’d hit on something visitors to this site would appreciate as having some fundamental value in the grand scheme of things; the sharing of my personal story and finding my true, authentic voice for whatever inspirational benefit it might provide. Or, as a prompt for others to similarly share back, as my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show intends to do.

Patience, the mighty
virtue
The goal of my sharing on this topic, finding one’s voice, was a gift to be tendered, arising from the deepest parts of me; the home of my soul.  Yet I have fallen short on this objective, to date; this summit I have been seeking of late, as evidenced by my absence, again, here for a time.

Unanticipated obstacles arose, obstructing my goal. Among them, and not the least of them is that I, once again, have come close to blindness; the result of a recent infection to my right eye. And, just when I was feeling most expansive about my recovered life after blindness, all the many New Horizons' advances – and – my new book writing project, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” I took a tumble. I fell off my bike, so to speak, and had a great deal of difficulty getting back on.

But I am here now to tell that tale, where and when appropriate. And, thus, get myself back in the saddle.

What happened behind the scenes was this.

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday near the end of September, I was, at last, heading into the underbelly of the beast, the K Street/Connecticut Avenue corridor, central scene of this tome of mine, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” intent on, at last, officially beginning my on-site “research” for the book. Confident in my vision for the book, the chapter outline completed, in first draft form, my plan for the manifestation of the book in print, determined, when a horrible bacterium infected my eye.

By Monday, after that important weekend, rather than moving on to the next steps of my book writing plan, on the heels of that long-anticipated sojourn into D.C., I spent the next day in Baltimore (Maryland) at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute emergency care. With another six or seven emergency care visits yet to come throughout October and into November. (My right eye gained some sight back from this previous infection but was still legally blind. It is now more scarred and blind.)

Of course, I was humbled and, of course, needing to remind myself, again, of who is really in charge of my plans. Which, obviously is not me! Still, I must confess that, for my part, all I found myself yearning to do was to write my blog articles. Eye infection be damned! 

Held back by the needs to care for my eye, unable to reach my pinnacle of articulation as I had envisioned it, my plan to follow up on my trip into D.C., each and every day I found myself frustrated by my physical limitations juxtaposed by this longing. Nonetheless, win or learn is truly the name of the game of life with the latter my immediate destiny. 

Now you know why I could not show up here.

I was too drained, emotionally; physically weary and scared to even try to climb to this hungered for peak of communication though I, also, found myself truly without words to, authentically convey. I was sunk in a pit of physical challenge and psychological identity confusion, simply unable to know who I was anymore. Physical health, God and serenity need to rise to the fore before I would be able to find my voice again.

In the meantime, reaching the crest where my long-held, treasured tales, as well as the lessons learned thereof, would be spoken, readied as they are, now, to be emptied from my personal records vault, would just have to wait.

What I had held so deep inside of me for decades could not realize release. My words free, at last, to carry the promise so long in anticipation of their days of liberation were not yet to be written, spoken nor heard.

What seemed to bother me most, besides my fear of once again being blind was my pressing, innate belief that holds to the importance of contributing to the greater whole of life and society as a necessity for a human existence well-lived. Would I be blind, again, I certainly feared. And, if so, how would I complete this new book in progress, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” intended to aid me in fulfilling that obligation.

But what to do, what to do when the writer could not write?

“Patience, cried a tiny, weak voice inside of me. What is truly authentic must make its way forth in its own good time.”

Sue suggested this complication, my eye infection and, once again, threatened blindness, could be viewed as a time of further gestation; a time whereby the Wise Woman of Elk Mountain I have grown to be would be maturing her voice to be shared in the future.

But would this time of threatened blindness pass? I had no way of knowing. And, still do not.

Gloria adds that my struggle, these days, to speak from the depths of my soul is, also, everyone else’s through times of joy and sorrow, hope and despair. She is right, so, I see that I must content myself these days to stumble along here.

Still, I am hoping that I am on way back now, as I feel most whole, body, mind and spirit, when a piece I am writing has just been completed. Nonetheless, beginning, middle or end of a cycle, Gloria and I will take up this topic, “finding my/our voice/voices” on the Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show.

This week’s show  is on Wednesday, November 27, 11:30 a.m.

Please do join us and let us hear your stories about finding your voice.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

In a different voice


An excerpted reflection from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street
The year is 1972. My best friend, Sarabess and I have ventured to a Consciousness Raising group (CR), sponsored by the National Organization of Women (NOW). I have a toddler. Sarabess is pregnant.

Up until the time of this attending, my life centers around my businesses; the U.S. ”Male” Service and Special Delivery Messenger Service (Also see *note below), my husband and two young children; one a little over a year old, the other going on nine. 

Summertime adds another layer of importance to this emerging adulthood life of mine. Three times weekly my friend and I make trips to the beach; Sarabess and I are devout worshippers of Amaterasu, Japanese  goddess of the sun. As often as we can, on the road by 7:30 a.m. to return by dusk, we devotedly travel the road to Ocean City, Maryland to bask in her light.

We, too, are goddesses, though still only initiates at this point. This we do not yet know of ourselves, though by instinct it is both to the beach and the goddess we are led. With reverence we, ritualistically, guide ourselves onto the prayer path of sand, ocean water, suntan oil and the rays of this goddess; a pilgrimage, taking us close to five hours per day, round trip. Obviously, we are not worrying about gas prices.

Five hours each day, times three days a week, we travel. Fifteen hours total drive time, plus the five hours on the beach each of our days, times three days; almost a full time job. Our reverence for Amaterasu, paid in the cherished sun time veneration we savor.

Without doubt, we are sun worshippers, Sarabess and I. We are, also, under the thumbs of our husbands. This factor ensures we return home each day of our pilgrimage to have dinner ready and on the table for the men.  No other alternative occurs to us, such as simply staying overnight sometimes to minimize our drive time.

Then comes the Consciousness Raising group.

What?

Women’s voices, women’s perspectives, women’s emotions, the boundary-less support of other women; women like us, discovering a possible world out from under the thumbs of our men.

Not long after this a new goddess potion releases me from an alcoholic, rage-aholic husband. I leave fast track Washington, D.C. behind, return to college and enroll in a post graduate clinical training program with the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). I am privileged to be excepted and accepted into it as a “mature” student. I am on my way to becoming a feminist psychotherapist, a Certified Transactional Analyst and Gestalt therapist. (However, my reoccurring threats of blindness and treatment, beginning with my junior year, take me on a maverick route through all of this.)

Sarabess becomes a yoga teacher. She will, someday, obtain multiple Masters Degrees, go on to do a television show, teaching yoga, and coach countless others to develop finely tuned disciplines of body, mind and spirit. She battles her way through the struggles of her marriage and motherhood, surmounting them to achieve many of her life’s dreams.  She stays in her mariage. I do not.

In 1980, I become, also, a researcher of socio-psychological dynamics and cultural evolution. This turns out to be my great passion. Thus, a time of transition, brought into being in 1972, turns out to be, with Watergate underscoring the era, the beginning of my identity in wholeness, still without end.

Though I had not yet gained the observers’ wisdom of distance at the time, I can always trace back to this summer of Amaterasu and Conscious Raising groups as the start of my finding a different voice for myself;  the voice of a woman who views herself as a goddess; “I am woman, hear me roar.”

That’s what “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” sets out to tell; the tale of how one woman, Me, left behind the near-tears of identity confusion, thinking of myself as “better than other woman, less than a man,” to find her own, personal way through the the dark side of society and politics with a woman’s dignity.

*Note: If you care to do the research prior to our clearing copyright permissions, you can find the source for this, now, in the archives at the Smithsonian. The book in progress,“Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” most directly ties to “Burgeoning Business Brims Over: Twenty-seven year old starts runaway personal shopping service” – Washington Sunday Star newspaper, September 24, 1967. Check it out, if you like.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ms Success by day, suicidal by night…


…and the underbelly of the beast

Another tale excerpted from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street”

“Why the extremes Anastasia?” you might be asking, if you read my last blog.

“Why so attentive to tragedies and catastrophes?”

Having “lived” the extremes (past tense that is) with decades since, pledged to my emotional and psychological health and serenity, I’ve learned a few things I want to pass on, to the youngins, particularly.  

That’s why!

I want to share with you how it was that I got from there to here to have, an almost wonderful, though far from easy life. I want you to draw inspiration, strength and wisdom from my experiences. And, heed, if you are inclined, the lessons from what I am selectively revealing. This -- for the sake of my healing, wholeness and liberation. The latter in line with my intention that “Anastasia The Storyteller,” the blog site and the radio show, could be, a venue for me to, at last, remove those 1000 masks I wear; all of them -- me.

How very fitting to take another serious stab at this unmasking, just in time for Halloween.

If I have nothing more to offer, I, at least, have my authenticity and from this I leave you my stories; stories, of course, being some of the richest treasures of a life.

For my well-researched, well-documented solutions to the problems addressed in this article, find out more in Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime and at the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project.

Now about those extremes, which are a significant part of the underbelly of the beast of success, ala Anthony Weiner.

If my meaning is not immediately clear, in time it will be so. Patience will be your virtue here. But don’t hesitate to ask for the more you would like.

(You can contact me, directly, at: zonesofpeacenh@aol.com.)

In the meantime, walk your way through my stories on “We came for Camelot,”  “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” and beyond in other stories, fraught with clues that meander here and there on this blog site. (Also check out “The Man Who Believed In Evil.”)

Allow me to, now, discuss my book-in-progress project and its related intent of getting out from under whatever masks I still wear.

The cost, is, was and always had been, at the expense of – “whatever?” 

So, herewith, I advance the story of my book-writing adventure, revealing a few notes on  beginning the next, immediate leg of research a month ago.

The commencement, officially, was launched by my attending several meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in Washington, D.C.  How about that!

No, I am not a “real deal” alcoholic. However, suffice it to say that it was, here, in our nation’s capital that I learned the art of “work hard, party hard” as the choicest path to success in the American dream package. Thus, these particular meetings, held in the very heart of the beast, the central business, power- laden home to the offices of untold lobbyists etc., K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., are smack in the midst of what became for me, the fire pit of my adult awakening.

Oh, I would have been a great candidate for AA back then; disease or not.

My tales, readily, emerge from there -- “work hard, party hard.” The underbelly, also, including the repulsion I felt, being relentlessly stalked by a Senator, endeavoring to set me up as his mistress, no doubt, to be funded by his congressional pay.

Scarey. What does an innocent, twenty something do up against this kind of power and prestige?

Dummie me, I was too naïve to understand the episode until decades later. But I sure was intimidated and scared.


(If you care to do the research, now in the archives at the Smithsonian, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” most directly ties to “Burgeoning Business Brims Over: Twenty-seven year old starts runaway personal shopping service” – Washington Sunday Star newspaper, September 24, 1967. Check it out. That, of course, be me and the basis for “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street.” However, we will hold off on that celebrity entrepreneur part for a bit. So please bear with me. You will not be disappointed, I assure you.)

Question: How do women of today, eager to break the glass ceiling world, dominated by the male power sector, bypass these temptations and dangers?

Answer 1: Emily Yoffe addresses the “work hard, party hard” aspect of the topic eloquently in College Women: Stop Getting Drunk, underscoring the main reason I chose to visit AA meetings as my first research step for “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street.”
Answer 2: PG – Parental guidance, also, suggested.

The real deal for me is that I could never be bought! I hope you cannot either.

So I offer my stories that you and your’s will be just a little bit stronger and wiser than some of our sisters who did not make out as well.

Or, who might still be inclined to think and re-think the price they are willing to pay to break through that glass ceiling.

I’m so glad instinct protected me from the underbelly of the beast where parents did/could not.

Now, how about asking me, how I, now, see transforming the Dark Side of society and politics.

You can begin by exploring all kinds of dark side transforming strategies on the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project blog site.

More to come.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

There by the grace of G-d go I

Lessons I learned in my era of “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street”

As in my last blog, reporting on the most recent episode of my radio show, Anastasia The Storyteller, we had a juicy discussion.
Listen to it, if you are becoming, at all, intrigued by the unfolding adventure we are having.

(Communications Director, Lisa, blog and radio show coach, liked the one before much better. Oh, well, I still like this one.)

To my mind, in this episode, my honorary daughter, Terry, asked several “pregnant with possibilities” questions; many a long night’s stories to be told.

One question, noted below, got me thinking about some of the near misses of my days on and around K Street.
Terry’s question --
How is the Washington political scene different today from the past?

I gave my answers, based on what I experienced and learned, back in the day -- and see today. You can read my points, as presented, on that earlier blog.
In summary, the main points are:
  •  Same game in Washington as the late ‘60s with some important variations that have the potential to make a difference, over time, if we last that long. 

  • Moral: The “Washington Power Game” is dangerous for the innocent. So give up your innocence, your self-centeredness and laziness. And, get real and, personally, responsible (if you are not yet on it)!
Read my blog on “Bypassing Washington.” It contains my best advice.
Below, I offer some hints as to some of the specifics of the worst dark side pitfalls, as I came to know them.  Awful as some are, they are still alive and well, potentially, in the nation’s capital.
 
Are you a part of the solution? Or, part of the problems?
Clue: When you rely on Washington… Well, you figure it out!
 
If you want details and my input on how we might turn things to the better, they will emerge as dialogue continues, specifically on-air on the topic of this mss in progress.
 
 
From Anastasia’s near misses experiences, the consequences she managed to escape, at least sooner or later,  and the lessons these taught her –“There by the grace of G-d go I."
 
Tragic, near tragic or tragicomedy nears misses, exemplified by those who did not miss.  And, cautions to heed.

(Links below are primarily about the survivor/addict, down side of Washington's power games. These are relevant to near misses, as I lived them.

The upside, as I also know it, can be a celebration! However, the upside is a team game; a win-win game that we are currently having a hard time learning to play. My stories are offered in the hopes we can look forward to many of these! Storytelling is such a rich path to peace.)

Death:

·         Chandra LevyMr. Goodbar is always only a step away for the innocent in D.C., if one is young and lovely and not careful enough;

·         Janis Joplin – Fame and fortune, not quite cracked up to be the best path to follow, especially if love is what you’re after. The Rose with Better Midler touched me deeply as a depiction of this deadly aspect of the power game; the celebs’ co-dependency game at its worst.

Chemical Addictions, accompanied by wild acting out (but a whole lot tamer in my era):

·         Janis Joplin
·         Lindsay Lohan

Domestic Violence

·         Charlotte FeddersLooking good on the arm of a powerful man but not so good behind closed doors.

 Dominance and oppression via the dark side agendas of elders, combined with youthful rebellion

·         Pinocchio

Sexuality as image ahead of intelligence

·         Melissa Mayer

Leaning in, meaning single-minded focus on breaking through the glass ceiling of corporate America

·         Sheryl Sandburg

Stupidity, combined with lack of experience, value development and people who get a kick out of your sexuality. Make lots of money, but not always the cleanest way to go for your real talents.

·         Miley Cyrus

You can see from my list some of these examples have more lethal consequences than others. And, some have mixed blessings; the light and the dark sides of power, money and status. It might all be in the choices and the protection behind one.

The good news is that, today, we have the opportunity for more and better informed choices – and – strong sisterhood supports.  These make a whole lot of difference.

Listen in to my next Anastasia The Storyteller episode when we take up this issue. We will be talking about “Feminism to the rescue,” in the era before Watergate.

 More to come.