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 (i.e. my life on the fast track of Washington society and politics). 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.  Secrets I lived with and through, however, that led me to know and understand the dark side of our national politics and society so thoroughly that I became an adept at transforming these to the Light, a gift of the hardships for which I am most grateful.

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.