Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Love Is The Answer

Introducing my Journey Back To Me, Book Two of Anastasia’s Random House Trilogy

I had a wonderful experience last night. It gave me a way in to the topic, “Discovering What Really Matters,” that I introduced in the article of that same name. “Discovering what really matters” is the pathway out of the Survivor/Addict lifestyle  that I am taking great pains to guide you to take through this blog site and my new blog site, “Exploring Your Dark Side:The Adventure Of A Lifetime”

Today I am so “excited,” which for me is always a bit over the top of a true, healthy happiness as Murat would want for each of us.  In other words “excitement,” in my vernacular, means having a slight bit (quite manageable for me) of a survivor/addict relapse. 
Anastasia, circa 1966 as
Marcia E. Rosen,

But nothing too serious in the whole scheme of things.

Nonetheless, last night was the first occasion I have had – ever – to discuss my three Random House Books that I call my “Random House Trilogy” as the one set or series of books that they are, chronicling the incredible personal and professional journey that came of my years with Marty Groder.

Imagine that! The “why” is quite a story all on its own for another time.

My newest blog site, “Exploring Your Dark Side: TheAdventure Of A Lifetime,” has as its intention to only present Books One and Three of the series; Book One, originally titled Surviving Addictions, revised as Surviving Adrenalin Addictions and Book Three, Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime.

Book Two: Journey Back To Me, has hardly ever been mentioned so far. My design has been to incorporate that one into this blog site, somehow or other. But I had not yet, to date, seen how to do that. Last night, however, may have been a game changer in this regard because --

… last night at the Psychology Club I crossed over the doorwayto that intent. Once through, lo and behold, Journey Back To Me came alive for me as it has not been since the time I put it aside, twenty years ago.

Recall that on “Exploring Your Dark Side,” the blog site, I have said that there are many doorways to personal transformation. For me the practice and discipline my writing demands of me incorporates several of these, at least. And, a speaking engagement such as I did last night can bring the other remaining portals into play, provided one knows how to allow/enable that to occur.

So BINGO! One more deliciously transformative moment!

The situation of my crossing over last night was this.

I had been invited to address the Psychology Club at nearby Hood College in Frederick, Maryland; partially as a simple speaking engagement and partly in preparation for the club’s sponsorship of a forthcoming, campus-based Coffee House Conversation On Race Relations.

The college campus version of New Horizons’ flourishing Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations initiative is just one sign of the momentum building for New Horizons around this effort. In and of itself this new aspect of the over-all project mission holds exciting prospects for New Horizons.

It will allow us to, not only serve a local community as we are now doing in Frederick County, Maryland, but to expand our contributions to the reconciliation of present social problems, namely race and police relations, above and beyond our wildest imaginings. We are now situated, due to our originally conceived effort, Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations in local communities, to play an active part in aiding the healing of major and necessary social change in the United States.

Now our developing Coffee House Conversations at Hood College will take us into campus concerns at a most fortuitous time.  One need only read current news reports to recognize this; racist chants and fraternity scenes of rape spotlight some of the most serious.

So, beginning now I am trying to integrate the experience I had last night with the Hood College Psych Club. Hallelujah!

But I am, this minute, as I write this, so very excited about all kinds of related happenings I cannot stay on point. The problem, therefore, is that I am unable at this moment to keep myself on track to tell you about these. I can barely keep myself from getting off track trying to tell you about one single thing, my speaking engagement of last evening at Hood College.

Well, with that said and done, maybe, truth be told, I can’t just stick to that one subject today.  So my product here can simply be only to tell about my process.

Oh well! There is just too much happening right now that is exciting and wonderful for me to hold onto one focused path! 

I guess I will just have to come back later to tell you more. As it turns out, one of the most delightful new friends that I’ve made recently, Herman King, is about to bring about another incredible experience for me later this afternoon.

I will not be able to get ready for that one ahead if I write more about what was already.

Oh dear! Oh dear!

However, when I can get to it, in a day or two or so, I will do my best to write of all of this as best I can of what is happening here!

These days our joys and our sorrows can so easily be shared and matter for many through online communication. But for now the sunshine and fresh air, the abundance of bird song as mating season takes hold beckon me outdoors and I am off for that daily mountain road walk I’ve been missing these past months.

In the meantime, let me leave you with this, my talk last night, clarified by feedback I received at the Psych Club, underscored for me, multiple times, that whatever else I wish to impart to you, my readers, at the base the healing of our wounds and troubles, personally, societally and politically have “love” as the most profound answer at the foundation of it all.

I look forward to sharing my views on this one as soon as I can.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

On A More Down To Earth, Practical Level Day Among the High Spirited Ones

Tales from the Sisterhood Of The Traveling Skirt

(Of course our “Traveling Skirt" has a history! Stop by for some summertime storytelling and we’ll tell you all about it with tears and laughter.)

Our lovely volunteers; all members of the "Sisterhood" except one guy, spent Sunday afternoon doing some of what we love best; building community while working on remodeling projects at New Horizons Harpers Ferry Retreat Center.

Spring is here, at last!

So we had a delightful day being together cleaning up, fixing up, getting ready to paint and rake up to so we can be as pretty and nice as we can for all our lovely community gatherings coming soon to this land we love.

Just take a look at some of what we did.

That’s “Our Kim,” community artist hand painting beautiful cabbage roses on one of our dining room cabinets. She makes her artistry look as easy as writing cursive. But none of the others of us could do anything like this but make a smear.

Then there is “Our Sue,” who could single handed build a house, up on a ladder, spring cleaning our cupboards.

Of course, Chris, our Beloved Handy Man, slipped in to do a final, we hope, round of splitting and sawing wood for our enormous wood burning stove, named “Our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” that heats the entire house.

And, those are my toes and hands, Me, "Keeper of the Skirt."

We are getting ourselves ready for y’all to come join us in our kind of fun lovin’ community building at New Horizons Harpers' Ferry Retreat Center as sunshine and springtime brighten our days ahead.

A fine time was had by all.

We will be happy to soon share our good times with all who want to come and be with us in the good ole summer time. Hope you can/will join us.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Earth, Air, Fire And Water

An image came to me this morning. It brought me a rather elemental picture; as basic as earth, air, fire and water. Specifically it was a picture of how my new multi-cultural brothers and sisters and myself would/could be represented to one another through dance and music.

We would sing and dance, displaying for each other, the native music and rituals of the peoples of our origins. My personal version would be expressed by Klezmer music and dance, originating in Eastern Europe as did my grandparents. Klezmer is a melodious medium of expressing joy and other communal emotions that likely had its origins in Roumania, the birthplace of my maternal grandparents, known as Ashkenazi Jews.

Other Israeli folk dance such as the Hora, would also be a must to share. And, Israel’s national song, Hatikvah, would be presented too, expressive of the joy of a people returning to their homeland.

I am not a Zionist but the joy of song and dance often shows so much of who we are – and – certainly from where we come, beyond ordinary words. Klezmer, the Hora and Hatikvah are a part of me at my core.

I think I would like to experience this level of sharing with my new friends.  They are everywhere these days for me; the friends I am making through our Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations.  It would still be a little scary for me to be this open about my Jewish heritage. I am coming to realize this more and more since our conversations began. I have  learned, since I was of school age, that I needed to guard my Jewishness to assure my being safe.

But I want to grow this sense of openness with my new multi-cultural friends. And give this new way of being for me the tender care -- and more -- that I give to my rarest exotic plants. 

What we are doing means so much to me and others.

At the base of truth is this sense of oneness. It is as much a part of one’s whole nature as are the earth, air, fire and water. Love too is somehow a part of this though at the moment how and where escapes my conscious mind.

Nonetheless, more elemental richness and love in my life is what Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations in Frederick, Maryland is bringing me.  

What a wonderful, unexpected surprise!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Anastasia: Contrasting Starbucks and New Horizons Conversations On Race Relations

Love Does What Nothing Else Can

I still don’t fully get it, intellectually, how this is true; “love does what nothing else can.”

But my experience tells me it is so.

For example, far-fetched as the connection might seem at first, the contrasts Jack Slattery, my radio show co-host, made last night between the successful results presently gained by New Horizons’ “conversations on race relations” and the disappointing fallout from a similar endeavor by Starbucks, make the point.

The first undertaking, New Horizons’ Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations, one might say, was conceived in love. This initiative has, so far, managed to carry a sense of that love into its programs, to date.  With an accompanying joy, hope – and – love seeming to expand from itself and beyond.

However, the latter, Starbucks’ initiative with its baristas serving up their daily fare with a message for customers to join Starbucks’ “Race Together” campaign, has seemingly birthed an abundance of resentment, mockery and disparagement, if not out and out hostility.

But it too was conceived in love, I believe.

So what went awry in the Starbuck’s scenario that was set so right in the New Horizons version, both having to do with conversations on race relations?

Could the error be similar to bringing a newborn baby into a home of planned and stable parenting with a parallel birth into a home ill-prepared and ill-equipped to guide that child’s life into its fullest expression?

Perhaps there is this similarity. Still the answer is complex. And, Starbucks has given us a gift in their attempt from which we can learn many lessons if conversations on race relations are ultimately to do what they must; help this country heal from wounds embedded long ago in slavery.

As Jack drew me out on last night’s radio show, “To Talk Or Not To Talk: Considerations,” he made some astute observations of his own, recognizing the intricacies of what conversations on race relations entail. And, indeed what is at hand warrants serious and lengthy deliberation.

Love and how it is manifest is a central ingredient of my considerations on the contrasts between the success of New Horizons’ Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations project and the downfall of the Starbucks initiative.

One hypothesis might be this –

Starbucks is not a venue that can carry forth the countless back stories, born of loss, pain and anger that are part and parcel of healing race relations in our country. These cannot be carried forth with a cup of brew in a busy coffee house.  A safe, loving environment must be established for this.

An environment with -- ample structure, guidance, time, experienced program coordination, such as my volunteers and myself provide, well-prepared and trained facilitaters and time commitments set aside expressly for the purpose of what is needed to affect a healing of the divisions that set people apart in this country – is some of what is needed – and -- more.

The essential ingredients that are trust, safety and the love that is necessary to bring forth healing need a much richer setting where such as this can grow and thrive.  

Listen to Jack and myself take up these contrasts, as we did live last night. Then let us know what you think about “talking or not talking” about race relations; where, when and how.

And, be sure to look for the love in the contrasts.

Love Does What Nothing Else Can!

New Horizons Coffee House Conversations On
Race Relations, March 21
Audience in rapt attention

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hillary Makes My Point And I Wish She Hadn’t

In nineteen eight-four when I was back in school, for the umpty umptieth time, finishing up undergraduate, I was entrenched in researching the survivor/addict theories of my psychiatrist mentor, Marty Groder, M.D..

This research, though done on an undergraduate level, became the basis for my three Random House books (still unpublished) as well as the foundation of everything I have ever done since; personally and professionally.

(The original research was done in the Women’ s Studies Department at the University Of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, circa 1985.)

That is why I take so much time and pain to share this stuff of my still unpublished Random House Trilogy with you!

I know how critically important is this research!  And, I want it out and into your minds as much and as quickly as I can through my three blog sites.

Between Marty and myself and others who learned at his feet, this research and its applications has changed thousands upon thousands of lives. (Folks in and out of prison I might add.)

It can help change your life too, once you grasp its significance.

Nonethess, today in light of Hillary’s recent blunders regarding her emails, I want to draw your attention to the way I see this misstep within the context of that research.  Maybe it is my way of doing a bit of presidemtial campaigning of my own.

One way you can play along with my “game” such as it is – and – find your own comfort zone on this pertinent presidential campaign issue is this –

Pretend you are Hillary Clinton and take my “Do You Have A Survivor Addict Personality Type” inventory.

·         See what you discover from it about Hillary (as if you didn’t already know it);
·         Then ask yourself what difference it makes for you;
·         How truly different are you than this in the whole scheme of things?

Come on folks, truth be told, we are all in this “game” together!

Now back to Hillary and my personal opinions. Here goes for me --
  1. I want Hillary for president. That’s my personal choice, as of now, so, as it stands, I will most probably vote for her.
  2. On the other hand, New Horizons Possible Human, Possible Society Study has truly opened my eyes to a great deal. In some ways its not so very pretty about any of us.
  3. This is why I intend to vote for Hillary. And, I hold that her caginess is totally unacceptable in our leadership, especially our president (as is also your caginess and mine)!
  4. But what can you do, except voice your dismay and keep on talking until things change which they will, if no one blows us up first such as ISIS or worse tears down our ethics, dignity and diplomacy such as Donald Trump;
  5. Who else is better equipped than Hillary to handle our congress and our foreign affairs is my position? Your not after the job are you? (I wouldn't vote for you, if you were.) But let’s not debate the issue.
  6. Things are changing and will continue to, if we: 1. Keep speaking out; 2. Do the next right thing and the next right thing after that ourselves.
  7. I believe “we” need to accept that we have co-created a culture that is far from exemplary.
  8. Its not going to change but for one person at a time. And, YOU must be that person, if your words mean anything at all.
So now here is an Anastasia Super Sleuth suggestion for what you can do today on your end!

As I said before, pretend you are Hillary Clinton and take my “Do You Have A Survivor Addict Personality Type”inventory.
  •  See what you discover from it;
  •  Ask yourself what difference it makes for you;
  •  How truly different than Hillary are you than this in the whole scheme of things (according to Anastasia’s truth).
  • To make the points I am after here, please reference Research Hypothesis III below. (We will get to Research Hypotheses I and II at another time. They are critically important to my way of thinking but “III” takes precedence for today.)

Hypothesis III, when researched, told us that today’s women are very different, for the most part from their predecessors.

They are no longer addicted as they once were to their co-dependent ways.  

Now they have taken on the addictions of men; addictions to power, money, status, control and righteousness to note the main ones! (Where does this fit with Sheryl Sandburg's version of leaning in?)

Obviously, according to Anastasia's truth, Hillary is a surefire survivor/addict type. And that always goes with a whole lot of Dark Side attributes. So, accordingly she definitely has a serious lack of regard for rules other than her own (and Bill is  definitely no role model in this regard as we well know).

But how about you? How often do you break or bend a few yourselves?

And, how about others that you know, especially in politics, who is doing much better?

OK! Here’s my bottom line for today from all this rambling which is actually worth its weight in gold!

Really folks how different are you?  Check yourself out on Anastasia’s Survivor Addict Inventory.

Trust me, no matter how good this survivor/addict stuff looks on the surface there is always a price to pay sooner or later, if not on earth. Then where?

Obviously if power, money, status, control, righteousness are the aim Hillary's got it! But isn't there some small place where you realize that you, too, are a player in the GAME?

More to come.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Growth, Rebirth

The last thing I remember seeing the day I lost my eyesight was a rune of the ancient oracle of the Vikings, typically carved into stones.

The one I had selected, Isa, signified “standstill, withdrawal,” stillness, “the winter of spiritual life.”
Runes: Barakana,
Growth, Rebirth

The Ralph Blum version of this runes’ interpretation continues, “You may feel powerless to do anything except submit, surrender, even sacrifice some long cherished desire. Be patient for this is the period of gestation that precedes rebirth.”

And so it was to be for me for eight long years. But I am awakening these days, it seems, into a springtime season of my life.

To that message, named Isa, I was faithful, allowing my life from that day forth to be one totally of surrender. It was the dark night of my soul, the winter of my life in which everything I held dear until that moment was released.

What the Twelve Steps considers hitting bottom became my only true companion.

In the midst of this came my dearly Beloved mentor, Murat Yagan.

If you haven’t read it before you might appreciate here reading of my meeting with Murat and how it came to be that he became the devoted guide for both New Horizons and myself in the years that followed the development of our relationship, coinciding with my time in the dark into which he brought great light.  I have no idea how I could have navigated the depths of being I explored during that time had it not been for Murat and the Kebzeh community surrounding him.

Today, however, a new rune has come to me. This one, called Barkana, signifies growth and rebirth. It tells me to notice gentleness and the penetrating aspects in my life at this time.  It signals me to let go of any resistance I may have and draw upon my abilities to be modest, patient, diligent, fair and generous.

I will heed this as conscientiously as I did my surrendering. This has become my way over the years. 

Today I am aware of my need for guidance from beyond my own consciousness which is what brought me this morning back to the runes. Coffee House Conversations II On Race Relations is on its way. And, I am challenged to expand many parts of myself beyond their comfort zones to do my part for its success.

Wish me well, I am indeed challenged by this new project in ways I had recently forgotten. I am pressed, once again, because of my commitment to it to reach beyond the blindness of my interactions with the world around me.  What I see is not always pretty in me, or in others.