Friday, January 30, 2015

Discovering What Really Matters

The story of “Mommy, I hate your eye patch!” (Part 1)

Words of a seven year old; my seven year old, named Elisa Joy.

I can still hear them ring out as loud and clear in my mind as if they had just been spoken yesterday.

“Mommy, I hate your eye patch!”
(formerly Marcia E. Rosen)
Circa, 1970

These were the words that changed my life; the words of my seven year old daughter speaking in the code of childhood. One had to be able to de-code child-ese to be able to understand them.

They told me she felt abandoned and betrayed by the disproportionate time I spent away from her, handling my cornea transplants (by this time to I was going on #4 in close to as many years),  my workaholism driven career  – and  -- then the hours given over to socializing.

To this day, no other words have ever quite made their way through t0 my heart so pointedly.

I hope the women most sold on Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” book and all Ms. Sandberg promotes with her agendas have someone around like my little Elisa Joy. To remind them of what really matters. And, I hope these women are listening to those little ones and not allowing the surface things in life matter more than the substance.

With things I find in the media and see all around me, I often wonder.

I did listen – with my heart.

But it took a good bit of time before my head had done the interpreting and my behavior had caught up sufficiently. Leaning in (my version, not the Sandberg version) was not something I knew how to do. 

I would continue my survivor/addict style for at least another fifteen years, compartmentalizing the Visible me, grossly separated from my Invisible Self, the rich inner me. With no bridge to connect the two and to allow a crossing of the gap between, a gap that was flooded, I would later discover, by a river of unshed tears. 

Little Elisa Joy would pay the price as a victim of the mother’s heart she could not seem to reach. It was there alright but she could not touch or feel it. In the meantime, in the deepest throes of my solitude, I ached to give her that which I had no knowing of how to do.

In spite of my limitations as  a mother, over the years I became a Master at human relations; my proficiency earning me the acclaim, as a psychotherapist and community development guide, that “If she (meaning me) can’t cure ‘em, nobody can.

 Little Elisa Joy, now a grown woman, has never forgiven me.

Certainly a glass ceiling does exist in the business and academic worlds and beyond.  I have just been lucky perhaps. I have never personally encountered this. So  I may be  a bit out of touch with the anguish.  However, I too have had my trials by fire making my way in the world, intent as I have been on claiming the whole of my birthright; my inalienable right to be me at my best, accepted and respected for it – and justly compensated.

But the obstacles I have encountered have been, overall, of my own making, I believe. I certainly do see innumerable ways I could have handled things differently and better.

Nonetheless, on the day my daughter spoke those unforgettable words, I had hardly begun the path of my life’s journey that would plunge me, repeatedly, into the heat of transformation – and – which would lift me out of it, again and again, to breathe the rarified, sweet air of purification.

I did not understand the distinctions, yet, between the Dark and the Light. I did not yet understand the inordinate price each of us would pay for that survivor/addict personality I had developed in my own growing up. Nor, did I, yet, realize that those pained words of my child, Elisa Joy, would eventually transform my life, if not hers.

I write this now from a place of emotional overload. I have, long ago, left fueling my life on adrenalin excesses, addicted to excitement and its many ways of playing in one’s life. My writing is of my inner world with its connection to the energies I call the Divine Source and, this week, the demands of the external world claimed me.

All week long I have been wanting to bring my devoted readers another posting, even if a brief one.  However, this Saturday’s forthcoming CoffeeHouse Conversation On Race Relations has driven the vehicle that is my body, mind and spirit.  The Force within me that powers the beautiful, yet far from perfect life I now live, has been taken with the sweet promise of contributing to the world around me in a meaningful and impactful way.

Thus I find myself after my eight year sabbatical for blindness and recovery (1998 – 2006) drawn into that world where glass ceilings seem to limit, reminding myself of Helen Keller’s words –

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
Recognizing what really matters most is not always easy. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Discipline, Passion And Master Desire: This Writer’s Dreams Come True

Maybe it’s the call of the New Year and its kinship to making resolutions for the year ahead. But oddly enough since 2015 began I have had close to half a dozen people request that I tell them how I am able to write so prolifically.

I admit to having been a bit astonished myself  that I was able to write close to twenty-five articles last month for the three blog sites I now author!

I had never written that voluminously before that I can remember.

Well, truth be told, there was that one time I wrote fifteen hundred pages in about five months! That was for book number 2 of my “Random House Trilogy," titled Journey Back To Me.

The push under pressure that one demanded is why, no doubt, I can barely remember what I wrote.  The “journey” was about as close to a writing nightmare as I’ve ever encountered/endured!

But that was a publisher imposed deadline. Money up front was at stake and numerous other perks that go with having a publishing contract with a major publisher -- with advance money -- to press one into zealous devotion.

Fear of loss being a prime motivator.

I had no such pressure in December. Yet push out those words I did.

Nor surprisingly four of the six or so inquiries, this month, came from people who are wanting to write their own books. So, someone like myself who has now written six books (all waiting in the queue to have their day) is probably a person to ask –

“How do you do it? How do you manage to produce so much of the written word?

How do you manage to find the time, the discipline, the wherewithal to make it through writer’s block?

Keep up your inspiration? Your motivation?

The queries got me to thinking, how am I managing to produce, especially at the pace I now seem to now be keeping.

“Well, said I, what I am doing presently actually has a great deal to do with my having been blind. And, recovering from the ordeal.”

It’s a long story, said I to myself when solitude allowed me to reflect on the issue.

At the center of my being able to be so productive is that I am an incredibly focused person, fueled by a certain love and passion for what I do. This all comes under the heading of a practice our Beloved Teacher, Murat Yagan, called “Master Desire.”*

Master Desire is a developed ability to merge the conscious and subconscious mind into one and guide that weave into disciplined intent. I will write more of this soon (I am awaiting copyright permission to excerpt some of this from Murat’s original writings on “Master Desire.”)

There are other factors too, primarily tied to my blindness and recovery from blindness that account for my present productivity; all wrapped together under one heading; gratitude.  Gratitude is a strong motivator I have discovered.

Here are some of the things for which I am grateful that fill me with so much love, joy, passion and abundant energy that sometimes I feel as if I could keep on writing until forever.

I am incredibly grateful that –

  • I am able to SEE again;
  • I can work again;
  • Seeing and working are allowing New Horizons to be resuscitated (i.e. brought back from a “near death experience while I was on an eight year sabbatical, being blind and recovering from the ordeal) so that I have boundless material to write about;
  • Being able to see again, I can now dig into the treasure trove of piled up manuscript papers and other articles that could not be located and sorted through until now;
  • Recovered from blindness I can now unearth what had been buried, including me, and begin to put the pieces of my life together again into a coherent archives for even more writing material;
  • I cannot possibly live long enough to share all I have written and will yet write;
  • This is all so glorious  -- OMG!
As I said above, I have so much passion and abundant energy, backed up with lots of love and support, that I feel sometimes as if I could write until forever.  That's a piece of how gratitude fuels Master Desire. And Master Desire developed produces "awe."

That’s the short form of my answer.

*A monograph on “Master Desire” by Murat Yagan is available through Kebzeh Publications. Other sources for orders will be noted as soon as we have updated information.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Love Behind The Conversation

Jack, my radio show co-host on the Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, and I just completed one of our weekly pre-program planning sessions.

We will be on the air tomorrow night so listen in if you can.

Usually the night before a show I am intent on getting our script together for a final review by Jack and myself for Thursday afternoon before the show airs at 6:30 p.m. But somehow tonight I am way ahead of schedule.

I might account for this because I have an unusual workday schedule this Thursday; a day off to our nearby town of Frederick, Maryland for a handful of last minute, close-to-due date with consequences errands I must tend to. 

That circumstance, alone, prompted me to get as much off my desk this evening as I could.

So at this relatively early time of the evening before a show, I got my act together to email the show’s draft to Jack. Glad to get it off my desk. Thereby assuring that if all else fails in the scurry of tomorrow I will at least be prepared that much, first draft level.

Having finished this much of the responsibilities at hand, I thought I was finished for the evening and ready for a nice cozy, smell the wood burning in my “hearth,” read a book, quiet evening. Preparing to sink in to this luxury, however, a fresh burst of energy hit me so hard I was back again on my computer faster than a jack rabbit.

The source of my exuberance?

Well, I will tell you this much.

Tomorrow evening Jack and I are going to do a show that will start off featuring a “love story” that lies behind New Horizons’ latest project, Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations. As it turns out, now that I have revealed the story to Jack in our pre-program planning meeting, the love story behind the project might, for me, be of a far greater significance than the project itself!

What a surprise for me is this at this moment! Which is why I thought to share it with our blog readers and show’s followers immediately, thinking you might just want to join us for the conference call portion, following the on-air broadcast, if you had an advance hint of what’s coming.

Truth be told, I realized as my own heart and spirit soared, prompting me to write this piece, that your heart might also be engaged with our topic when you find out how very much mine is, as well as the many others who are coming forth to be a part of – Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations in Frederick, Maryland.

Now that I’ve realized where my heart is about this new project, it is just singing out loud!

So join us tomorrow evening, if you can and see if we can make a chorus of hearts singing.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In The Center Of Our Deepest Pain

In the very center of our deepest pain lives a warrior part of each of us. Anastasia, Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime
To lose sight of this pain is to fight a battle without deep meaning; to be aimless, losing oneself  in the fight without truly paying attention to its more authentic significance.

I offer my own story as an example. I share some of it here in a systematic way by extracting a few sentences at a time from  my account of “Meeting Groder” as presented on the Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime blog site.

If you are willing to look closely at my story and put it up against your own, you will see how similar we are when one gets to the core of things.
I begin my story about meeting Marty (Martin G. Groder, M.D.) and being drawn to him as having something to do with his being: 1. A former prison psychiatrist; 2. Someone who could teach me about surviving/survivors and addictions; and 3. Someone who could help me understand Nixon’s role in Watergate.

I go on to say I had had two marriages that I had already left, at the time of our meeting, experiencing each as a prison. I also suggest that I was in the process of leaving a third because it, too, had failed me.

Although I describe myself as "needing" to leave these relationships to get away from continued victimization, is there not something strange to you about my “needing” to do this three times?

Was there not something of a deeper nature going on here?

Truth be told I did marry two abusive men. Both in my twenties. The first was sexually abusive. The second was an alcholic/rageaholic. Okay, so there’s good justification for getting away from that kind of behavior.

But doesn’t something seem off to, again, be carrying out this pattern of leaving a third time?

Could it not be possible that leaving, for me,  had become a survivor/addict response/inner warrior fighting back mode by “fleeing” as a way of solving a relationship problems, other than directly fighting, straight up or, better still, actually leaning in to solve my people problems with the best of me?  Not the worst?

(The Groder-Rosen Addiction Development (GRAD) definition of an addiction is any behavior, attitude, feeling state or body response that has become habituated – and – serves as a substitute for the pain of unmet needs, originating primarily with the mother-child relationship.)

That, as it turned out, was the case. Unfortunately, I was to discover this survivor/addict pattern in me too many years after I had created a good bit of damage for a lot of people, including my two children, and it was far too late to remedy the hurt I had caused.  OMG!

There was the center of my “deepest pain,” the Inner Warrior in Dark Side drag, a fighter all the way by fleeing, started long ago by trying to avoid my mother’s abuse.

Unfortunately, husband number three who was a true and good prince charming was already deceased by the time I realized what the convict part of me had done, how and why.  So I never got to even say “sorry.”

But at least, by then I had come to understand the answers to my query about Nixon and the Watergate break in and its ensuing scandal. 

And, had come to realize that Nixon had been a stand in for me for the crazy mother in my head. The rest of the Watergate players representing the dysfunctional family I had grown up in who had colluded with her to abuse me.

Small comfort, right?

Check out my “Do You Have A Survivor/Addict Personality?” inventory and see if this brief piece of me, shared, can begin to aid your understanding of how this Dark Side/survivor/addict/inner convict operates in you.  And throughout our society and politics.

It’s the same game; convicts, exalted leaders, celebrities or just plain ordinary people like you and I.  Check out Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Lindsey Lohan as other examples.

See how the game I am addressing here plays out there.

(Well, maybe Cosby’s or Bieber’s mother didn’t abuse them but something else like overindulgence can also set the survivor/addict pattern in motion too. We will get to this variation of root causes later.)

For now, remember that at the time I began my journey my score on this inventory would have topped 125, the highest possible score.

I was a bonafide survivor/addict, active Dark Side/inner convict inside!

I looked so good and could, as I was later told, “nice people to death! That’s the Passive Survivor/Addict, nice girl type I was, dressed up especially in the winning bare ass ways of today

For fun, you might also try taking the Survivor/Addict inventory for one or more of your favorite or famous people. This will help you discern how the survivor/addict is running our society and politics.

Try it out on a terrorist, if you’re bored. You’ll soon be getting my drift, if you stick with it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Seduction Of Power

More Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street: In The Era Before Watergate excerpted

This past week of holiday revelry still left time for me to arrange dinner meetings with some heavy hitter women I admire. Interesting outcomes came of these scheduled dates. 

On one level there was some fallout from these meetings that was a bit exasperating. On another the upshot was that I was left with compassion for these women by what occurred and how we handled ourselves that moved us from "snags" to "synergy."

Yet the bit of disturbance we encountered on the way to that harmony reminded me why I thought it best for me to exit, long ago, the fast track world of my fifteen minutes of fame.  

The intensity and stress of that world takes a back seat for me to the birds outside my windows and sounds of silence other than the rustle of the trees. So I couldn't help but muse on the following personal observation, as a momento of my past.

When women today think of breaking through that glass ceiling of “a man’s world” all the way to the top, sky high, they seem to be striving for, I wonder if they really understand the price they are paying.

My reflections also reminded me to get back to my writing and in gear to move the manifestation of My Prophecy forward a step or two, knowing full well that when YOU get to know the back story I have to tell in its fullness, you will be glad you got to hear/read it. 

Especially if you are a woman, I am hoping my story will inspire you to see some new ways to break that glass ceiling if that's what you're after with a few less bumps and smashes of the ouch kind.

I have been carrying this story around on my back for decades like a turtle carrying its house; the one about how the striving to break that upper limit can end up breaking you, if you don't have your priorities in order. body, mind and spirit.  

Unfortunately, the world around you is going to challenge those priorities regularly, no matter what you have in mind.

As for me, I want to park that story I've been yearning to tell in its proper place and unload it by sharing it.

It will do us all a bit of good, I trust! At least in the long run. Not surprisingly it's a lot about beating the stress.

Now I am particularly glad that over this holiday break, I began preparing to make the entirety of my story available as quickly and completely as I am able. 

Not only at long last, the unpublished manuscript material of my Random House Trilogy with the launching of our Exploring YourDark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime blog site, but more and more of the memorabilia, including newspaper articles of the time; about me – and – others – and the times -- and -- what they taught me that I, personally, can pass on to you.

Especially about transforming the Dark Side into the Light; the Dark Side being the stressed side and the Light Side the side that can carry us through it.

The graphic piece shown here to the right is an example of one of the ways I, apparently, looked to some (but not to me) when I was at the peak of my own stress city life.  Who would have thought I even had a brain! In retrospect I am surprised I got so much credit for my gifts and talents as a businesswoman with that costume.

But I did!  So I still contemplate, now and then, how I was lucky enough to have both sides of me so recognized.

Yup! That be ME! Circa late 1960s. (See bottom of this article for an expanded version where you can read the text.)

For more of my views on the situation of stress of high achieving woman -- and -- the ills of this society at large -- as I see it today, January 2, 2015, keep reading what I have in store for you here. 

And, pay particular attention to what the new blog site, Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime, offers in terms of really, truly getting to the nitty gritty of my message!

For starters, read this article, One Key Fits All Doorsto help ready yourself for the adventure of a lifetime I am proposing. If you haven’t already yet begun to dig into the treasure trove the new site affords, this one article is the place to start, if you read no other. One Key Fits All Doors.

In the meantime and all along as we go, have a happy and blessed New Year, 2015!

Anastasia, circa 1966

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Yunus In Me, The Yunus In You

The Yunus in ME, the Yunus in YOU, the Yunus of all that is Divine, ummm.

The “Yunus” in me is the G-d* in me. The “Yunus” in you is the G-d in you.

That is the reason I thought to share Murat’s story ofYunus, especially the “Dervish Prayer” as my New Year’s wish to all of you who are my devoted blog post readers.

Have a wonderful year ahead in 2015! 

May the G-d in all shine through this year and we all be blessed and protected!

With much gratitude,


* (Jewish people leave out the “o” to acknowledge the holiness of G-d and to, thus, show respect. As Tevye sings in “Fiddler on the Roof,” it is “Tradition.”

Remembering Yourself As Yunus

A treasured and beautiful story translated by our Beloved Murat Yagan is offered here to welcome in the New Year and in Remembrance of Murat.

Murat, known worldwide as a prominent Elder of the Abkhazian diaspora and the ancient spiritual traditions of the Caucasus Mountains known as Kebzeh, was the Beloved community development mentor of New Horizons and my (Anastasia’s) spiritual mentor. Murat passed away in December, 2013, leaving all those who loved him and learned from him a rich teaching to follow for our personal and collective transformation.

Excerpted from “I wrapped myself in flesh and bones and I appeared as Yunus,” translated  by Murat Yagan.

About Yunus

“Yunus Emre was the Minstrel of Sufism. A simple man with the vocabulary of a shepherd he lived at the turn of the 13th century in what is now central Turkey. Like the English poet Chaucer, he was the first to express himself in the common language of his people. 

Today he is equally appreciated and honoured by scholars and academics. Yunus Emre’s songs are still sung, beloved for the simplicity and clarity with which they reveal the experience of the human heart.”

The two tales that follow are from Murat’s translations of Yunus Emre. They are presented here by special permission of KebzehPublications from whom Murat's books may be purchased. The third tale introduced here is included in these.