Saturday, August 30, 2014

Reconciling The Visible And The Invisible

A Hot Pants, Motorcycles And K Street excerpt

I lost my eyesight sixteen years ago yesterday in 1998, the Friday before Labor Day.

The following day, which corresponds to today, I surrendered to the reality of my plight. I don’t recall being frightened.

Was that submission an act of bravery, practicality or foolhardiness?

I still have no clear answer to date. I do know, however, that my approach to handling the situation entailed what some would call “spiritual bypassing,” the intent or practice of attributing spiritual solutions to earth plane difficulties. It did work for me. 

That’s how come I am able to celebrate both my eyesight and my life this Labor Day weekend! And, be able to write this unfolding memoir of mine, Hot Pants, Motorcycles And K Street, at long last. 

No other way of thinking occurred to me in that moment that I accepted the certainty of my plight. Nor did any other ever surface, although medical care was, of course, to be central to all that would follow.

Ascribing a spiritual way of thinking to what might be considered a catastrophe has nothing much to commend in me. I had, after all, been expecting to be blind since a junior in college, many decades ago. Blindness, since that early diagnosis had, from then forward, become the cloud hovering over my head thereafter. So I believe I had, long ago, prepared myself for it somewhat.

Now it was here, my long expected blindness, without any guarantees I would ever see again. To make my troubles more dire, I had been unable to reach my ophthalmologist. After all it was Labor Day weekend and most people, including him, were gone for the holiday.

I had, fortunately, been able to get a prescription at a nearby pharmacy through his on-call associate. The potential for remedy from these eye drops, unfortunately, had quickly gone by the wayside. The tale of that ordeal is for another time. 

Today I seek only to mark this day’s importance for me. Today I celebrate the eyesight I have regained and the beautiful life I am living. Add that to the many projects the “new” New Horizons and myself are producing.

Today I am celebrating my miracles!

Knowing the circumstances of my eye disease, keratoconus, and my long history with it, I knew, full well, that restored vision would be a far off possibility, if conceivable at all.  I had already had four corneal transplant rejections to date. I would not be an easy candidate for more, the most probable treatment for what would likely be the matter with my eyes.

With that discouraging fact in mind, I succumbed to my situation and slowly made my way to the deck of my home. I wanted to sit out in the sun that I could feel but did not expect to see.
Situating myself in my favorite lounge chair, I discovered I could look directly into the bright rays of the sun! I could even see a hint of its brilliance, muted as if through a waxed paper veil.  Gratefully, I realized, I was not in total black blindness!

Thus, I sat down to talk to that miraculous Source of all life that some call G-d.

“Ok, G-d,” I said, humbling myself.

“I thought you meant for me to publish my research and clinical treatment strategies for treating relationship and personality addictions. Isn’t that why you brought me that delicious Random House book contract with such a hefty advance for a formerly unpublished author?

“Am I not to have a broader impact for my expertise in this area than I have had so far? And, isn’t it in your plans that I can, thus, also be taken seriously enough in my family to help heal the dysfunction there? Have I been reading my destiny and your plans for me wrong all this time?”

“How could I have been so off?”  I was perplexed!

“I don’t get it G-d,” I said.

“The three books I’ve been working on for ten long, demanding years are still not yet completely revised and edited for publication. There is no way they can come out, if I can’t see.  How could they get edited, if I would even have the energy for it in these circumstances?”

“So what now?”

“Did I get my assignment all wrong?”

“Well not exactly,” I heard G-d answer.

“It’s not about your books. The point is that I am not quite finished with you, as is, right now.”

You are not yet ready to publish. And, it’s not about the writing. Book writing and publishing can wait. You and I have other work to do. Trust me and you’ll “see” what I mean.”

With those words, strange as it seems, I immediately relaxed and humbled myself. I would follow  directions all the way from that Labor Day weekend, 1998, until this one.

And come to believe that it just might be true that --
“Only those who can see the invisible will dare to reach for the impossible.” 
That’s the philosophy I’ve been living on since Labor Day, 1998. 

And so far I have not been disappointed. Besides what else do I have? 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Prophecy: Part I

Another excerpt from my memoir in progress—
Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street: In The Era Before Watergate

Having come this far, out on a limb, as I have in writing this blog, it seems fit that I am ready now to take up the task of coming clean all the way.

There never was a question but that this site, Anastasia The Storyteller, had any other intention. From the first it was envisioned that I would go the distance, wherever that might lead. 

I pledged to share my truth, my whole truth and nothing but the truth of my story here – as well as the story, behind the New Horizons Support Network, Inc. and its various initiatives.

New Horizons’ story has always, also, been my story. There has never been a doubt about that. It was my conception, my design, my direction, my life’s journey, both personal and professional. My dedication and my blood, sweat and tears brought it into being in 1980. And I carried thevision forward through the darkest of times, especially the years of blindness and recovery from blindness.

Along the way there have been precious volunteers and devoted supporters. To them I am grateful beyond measure. Still there were too many days to suit me when it was only me carrying the light.

Before 1980 my personal and professional development was, without distraction, leading New Horizons and myself to what “we” have now become. Even in kindergarten I was heading here. So it's a long story. Certainly, it will take me the three hundred and fifty pages I have outlined for Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street: In The Era Before Watergate, my memoir.

Then it will still be incomplete. Hopefully, by then, however, the enigma I have appeared to others, since early on will be a little less perplexing. I realize that the riddle of who and what I am truly has been troublesome for some, particularly my children. And, for that I am sorry. To others I have been, admittedly a treasure trove, seemingly open for exploration, as if I might even willingly be available as entertainment. That is if one could only get hold of the key. Oftentimes this has been problematic for me.

This has been especially true when it involved psychotherapy clients of mine who, even decades later, were certain I, indeed, held the key to their salvation. Before that time and a bit since, it seemed as if I had been identified as the latter day Pied Piper or Music Man. None of this suited my objectives. I wanted only to be ordinary, to have a niche in the world that called for me to simply be me, nothing more, nothing less.

As Popeye famously stated, “I am what I am.” And, that is all I ever wanted to be.

Now for the crux of the challenge; things got really complicated for me, early on.  I doubt, even now, I have gotten quite to the bottom of it all. But, certainly, if anyone has ever been dedicated to unraveling the puzzle of who they are, hoping, of course, to find their way to being all they can be, it has been me.

I want to know and understand my complicated story. I want you to know my story. All of our stories are important. I have been intent on writing mine since 1979, thirty-five years it will be by the end of this year. Finally, after all this time I am completely immersed in the project with a self-imposed deadline for its completion. I will do my best to fulfill th epledge. This site will be my aid.

Now, it is time, therefore, for me to share with you the pivotal piece that underlies what has come to be of me. Though how and why it appeared I am not quite certain, at least at this date.

The central, unifying element, as least as I know it, involves a prophecy. It came to me loud and clear in sight and sound under most auspicious circumstances and at a most auspicious time –

All that I was before and all that I seem to have become since appears to me to be crystallized in a singular circumstance; that Richard Nixon lied to the American public about the Watergate affair. And, many believed him at the time, or so it seemed to me.

In my next article on this circumstance, “Anastasia’s having been guided by a prophecy, now, for over forty years,” I will discuss the issue of prophecy further, as a service to you and a healing and integration of me for me.

I hope you will check out what I have to say.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Another Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street excerpt

Once upon a time….

There was a little girl who became a woman who thought she was invisible.

The reason she thought she was invisible was because she had stopped “seeing” most of what was right before her eyes when she was a little girl.

Then one day when she had already become a woman (and a mother too), The Washington Evening Star newspaper, which preceded the Washington Post as the Washington newspaper, wrote a feature story about her that brought, even her, to take note.

Still, although she noticed what the newspaper had written, she couldn’t quite comprehend how that could be about her.

Because she believed she was INVISIBLE.

Nonetheless, she bought a lot of those newspapers that day and kept them safe for many years (until the mice started eating them).

Over the years she would look at this newspaper article (and others that would become a part of her future), trying to understand the connection between her and what was written, as it definitely had her name in the story/stories -- and -- a picture/pictures that could have been her, especially as she kinda, sorta recalled it/them being taken.

In spite of her not knowing or understanding all of this, soon she was appearing everywhere, in newspapers, on radio and television and magazines and as a public speaker, still believing she was INVISIBLE. And, not really feeling as if she was truly there or not there.

In a town, such as Washington, known for its celebrities, she was becoming one herself.

People stopped her on the street, asking for her autograph. Fancy restaurants rolled out their red carpets for her. And congressmen and others close to the White House pursued her.

Although she didn’t quite understand it, she liked all the attention. It was like being back in the nest of her family where she had once been an adored little princess. The attention made her feel loved and like she belonged somewhere.

So…she got better and better at playing a new, grown up version of her childhood peek-a-boo game, although she still believed she was invisible.

Next she played her game more and more deliberately.

She was calling the shots now. The media was putty in her young adult hands.

Pretty soon the stories about her making such impact that she moved herself and the business she had started that was the topic of these articles into a fancy office suite in the prestigious high-rent district (1812 K Street, N.W.) of Washington that would, in years to come, become infamous for the political power players it housed.

Before you know it, she was being noticed around the country and around the world.

And the game kept getting bigger and bigger.


However, there was one most important (actually two) things that this

INVISIBLE, very VISIBLE young woman was ignoring:

  • 1.       Her young daughter and;
  • 2.      The fact that she was going BLIND.
You see she had started “seeing” less and less when she was only eight years old, especially of yourself, coping with a tragedy in her family, and much had become invisible to her, beginning way back then.

Thus it came to pass that in the midst of all this BIGNESS, she almost lost her eyesight!

How very strange! Can it possibly be that needing to survive, emotionally and psychologically, by not seeing what one sees, can bring about physical blindness in a child, grown to adulthood?

That might just be so.

This is the story of the VISIBLE young woman who thought she was INVISIBLE, trying to live without seeing what she was seeing until she, at last, learned to speak the truth, at least her truth, about what she saw and, now, sees -- and turn that truth to the good.

Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street: In The Era Before Watergate is her story.

I Hit The Ground Running

Another Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street excerpt
(For an introduction to this memoir in progress, see "Prelude")

The Pilgrimage

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sue and I have made a very special, long-in-the planning trip to Elyria, Ohio, the place of my birth and childhood. I have not been there for more than thirty years. For more decades than I care to remember I have not laid eyes upon the places we will visit.

We arrive on Friday at the home of my cousin, Sallie, where we will stay.  Sisterhood among the three of us is our central organizing principle.

Friday evening, following dinner, Sue goes to bed early, tired after our eight hour plus drive from Maryland. Sallie and I stay up until almost 4:00 a.m. We have lots to talk about, family news to catch up on, photographs to see, hearts to expand, as if we could tolerate more abundance than the vastness we each contain for one another.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

We awaken to a dreary day and a feast of lox and bagels. By early afternoon the rain has cleared and our essential mission, beyond sisterhood bonding, is set in motion.

I have a detailed itinerary to guide us. Sue will drive, Sallie navigate a tour around the town. We will visit each and every place of my too-soon-cut short, idyllic childhood. By day’s end only the hospital where I was born is not included.

So we get started on an adventure, a pilgrimage to the mecca where my heart and soul are celebrated. Both are in need of healing a small child’s wounds. Little do we realize what is in store. As the day unfolds, however, it becomes clearer and clearer; “the goddess is alive and magic is afoot.” By day’s end our mission accomplished, I have revisited the most important sites of my core self and revived parts of me, sealed and buried a long time ago.

Most significant, as it turns out, is my visit to my elementary school. Sue and Sallie, now functioning as midwives for an unexpected rebirth in me, drop me off in front of the school. I get out of the car, eagerly, with a certainty of purpose, walking up the sidewalk leading to the front entrance.

Then something pops in me; a heightened awakening of my child’s heart and soul. Nearing the building I recognize the steps I mounted on my very first day of school, the doorway I crossed that day.

A concrete slab above marks the building as being erected in 1921. This is the starting place, old or renewed, of the steps I walked up and the threshold I, originally, crossed to formal education and learning. My Ely School “feels” the same as the day I started kindergarten.

Sue and Sallie have now been directed to get out my way as I continue a private exploration of my once familiar turf. I walk around “my school,” taking photographs, remembering. I see the windows of my first grade classroom. They wait in the parking lot behind. 

Soon one spot feels out of sync. The playground has been moved! And I do not like it!

Hurriedly I seek out the old spot. All that remains is a concrete area.  Still, for me it is “my playground.” I walk over to it and “feel” the familiarity. In an instant, a second pop bursts in me! And I, absolutely, know what I must do next.

I hit the ground running!

Actually I am walking exuberantly, striding with intention, joy and determination. With a purity of body, mind and spirit I had forgotten, I am “walking home from school.”  In my body I “feel” myself on the last day of my young life -- before tragedy hit. My body, remembering the last day before the birth and death of my newborn sister changed everything. Walking home, I even recognize a same crack in the sidewalk or so I imagine it.

At my house, at least on the surface, all is just as I left it many years ago.

As I “hit the ground running” and, then, reach my house, past, present and unknown future converge. I am, at least momentarily, conscious of me as all one whole integrated piece in motion forward.