Saturday, November 26, 2016

Exploring The Spiritual Side of Society And Politics And The Gift Of Elders

Listen to our podcast from yesterday's Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show on 

an inspiring exchange between Anastasia and her honorary daughter Terry on the gifts of elders during challenging times in our society and politics such as we are now experiencing.

Every young adult needs at least one good "Elder" to help light the way. 

Hear Terry's version of how she found her "Elder" in Anastasia and 
the New Horizons Support Network Community

More on  the "spiritual side" of Anastasia and Terry

Monday, November 21, 2016

Post Election Blues? Here Are Some Words For Living Well.

I am thinking today about the notion of Divine Chaos; how I see it playing out in my personal life and in the greater world around me. Having been completely opposed to Donald Trump as president although not too crazy about Hillary though I thought her extremely capable and “presidential,” I am now stuck, as are millions of others, with adjusting to our new, unwanted reality.

What to do? What to do?

Is this Divine Chaos from which we will all rise in time like the phoenix bird rising?

Or, is this simply the time of Armageddon, the end times awaiting?  Wait and see, wait and see!

One thing for New Horizons and myself to do was, of course, our “Overcoming The Polarization of Politics” conversation last Saturday. My board and myself were gratified with this occasion that permitted us to join with others, in our local community of Frederick, Maryland, to share our immediate thoughts and feelings, about the generally unforeseen election outcome. In addition to the open, non-threatening discussions we had, in both small and larger group formats, the outstanding takeaway for me was the opportunity the event gave me of experiencing the resiliency of attendees who were predominantly liberal leaning.

One woman in particular, one of our most dedicated local peace and social justice activists, touched my heart, echoing my own personal distress, of the “morning after” election results shock. Sitting quietly, more or less, next to her as she expressed her grave sense of personal loss and concern, my very spirit ached for hers. As she saw things in the aftermath of a Trump victory, all she has built her life upon, in terms of values and actions, could easily be swept now away by this new administration.  

What to do? What to do?

Yet in the midst of her sorrow, the steadfast resilience I have seen in her over the years was there too.  She would pursue what she held to be right in spite of apparent obstacles ahead. After all, these were a manifestation of who she is, at her core, and no election can alter that!

Across from this woman sat, in an intimate small group conversation, an African American man. In his profession as a lawyer, immigration law is one of the mainstays of his private practice. As I looked at him I also saw pain; a deep sorrow of what immigration law has apparently been for him up to this point. And, now?

He, too, showed a resilient character, touching my heart in a somewhat different way than the woman had.  His briefly recounted personal story told of him growing up as a Black man in Alabama, attending school in a two room schoolhouse, accommodating five grades. Was that before or after desegregation, I did not know?

Whatever his age, it was clear he had not been untouched, one iota, by the fight for African American civil rights, including, having, as he did, older cousins who had been on the front lines of that battle. 

Although I left that small group conversation to visit the others going on simultaneously, I took with me the impression that while this man had not been a Trump supporter there was a level of anticipated acceptance, predating November 8, that he had come to, that this election was only one more in an uphill battle for American civil liberties. 

As I contemplated his story Saturday evening and yesterday, along with all else I had heard at Saturday’s event, how dearly I wished it would not be that way in America for any of us.  Yet it seems this is how it will be now. 

In search of courage and endurance, I turn my mind, once again, to the words of Viktor Frankl, noted psychiatrist and survivor of Auschwitz as follows --
 “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
These are words at the center or resilience! 

I heard them, again and again on Saturday from our attendees, in search, somehow of “Overcoming “The Polarization of Politics: Healing The Wounds That Divide Us.”

What to do? What to do?

I hope  -- and – trust your post-election sorrows, if there are any, are similarly finding resolve.

And, if you are celebrating?

Well then I hope you will be patient with me – and the others – who are now intent on “leaning in” to learn and understand your views of the way things are so we can, somehow, stand together, united in “liberty and justice for all.”

Friday, November 11, 2016

Be The Leader YOU Want To Follow

I was struck, this morning, by a CNN headline titled “Baffled Dems Have No Leader, No Bench To Pull From.” Before half a minute I found myself reacting with indignation at the notion. Not long after the words of my esteemed mentor, Martin G. Groder, M.D., echoed in my mind, from years back in the days when I sought out guidance from his brand of wisdom to help me make sense of Watergate and Nixon’s betrayal of the American people. 

The lessons I learned from Marty have, of course, now become the primary foundation of all that New Horizons and myself have become since. I have written books and more books on what Marty taught me and what I have gone on to expand in my own thinking since. 
Aim High!

It’s been a long journey from there to here. So I can hardly summarize all of these gifts here for you. (See fruits of my labors on my three blog sites, especially Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime, for some of these).  

However there are one or two striking highlights to consider that I would like to offer you here to help uplift those who are particularly distressed with the outcome of our presidential election. 

These are lessons Watergate taught me with Marty as my mentor. This guidance became a central facet of Marty’s showing me a way out of the despair I felt after Watergate which robbed me of my youthful idealism for many long years. (I don't want this for you.) This support also lead me to discover my own eventual pathway -- and create extensive healing strategies to pass on to others -- for healing and transformation, based on formulae Marty provided initially. 

Our endeavors also brought both Marty and I into the position of being among the first clinicians in the world to identify and treat power addictions more than forty years ago

The lessons I went on to also learn from Murat Yagan, later on, and his Kebzeh traditions took me/us (New Horizons) to higher levels of consciousness and behavior beyond these earlier teachings. You can learn this way of successfully approaching today’s social and political challenges too, learning to live by “leadership as a lifestyle” is one of the keys. 

With this modus operandi you can develop into the kind of leader you would look up to. New Horizons and myself are here to assist you on your ascent. The way is far from easy. But the rewards are beyond imagining!

You are not stuck without a leader!  You have one living inside of you, learn to follow him/her and count on him/her to guide you on the best path for YOU, hopefully one of love, sincerity and integrity.

Here are a few guidelines and tips
  1. “The selected  leader of a nation is elected to be “of the people, by the people” and instead of the people, serving as their representative to carry out what they only dream of doing themselves.”  
That’s just the way people typically do ("instead of the people"), mindlessly! Be mindful instead!

Translation 1:  Leaders are typically our very own surrogates (to use a term getting much play in our recent election).  In this position many, perhaps even most of the masses live vicariously through their chosen leaders. 

Have a life of your own! You will not regret it, I promise you.

Translation 2: Playing your game of life from this position is a surefire way of being co-dependent with said leader, a mindless way of being.

Again, be mindful and guide your own life! If you are old enough to vote, you are old enough to live your life, for real, not through others!

Ask yourself: Do I really want someone else carrying the ball for me in deciding where my life is heading and running it for me?  And  ask, too, what do YOU truly think and value?

2. Above all, don’t give up your ship based on what the politicians show you.
  • Marty’s and my studies, conducted over three decades, confirmed his premise that: High Leadership People (HLP) and convicts often  have essentially the same core personality traits; the latter (convicts), however, have different surface behaviors; convicts play their games of life in antisocial ways
  • HLPs play their life games in ways the culture accepts, even extols. Yet they are often far removed from authenticity, sincerity and frequently integrity.
  • Look at Hillary, even if you love her, Anthony Weiner, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby etc. etc. for examples. Are they not all guilty of some "dark side" manuevering?
  • Donald Trump may be an exception in that he shows his antisocial ways right up front, for better or worse. 
Ask yourself:
  • Since this is what America has now chosen what does that tell you about Americans at this time?
Ask yourself: What are rules I am choosing for the “Game” of my life

And, who can I turn to for role models, now, to show me a way to travel the footpath of my life while I pick up the pieces of this election aftermath (if Trump was not your choice) and choose what is best for me, from here forth?

If you are still unsure of your footing, try on some of the post-election guidance of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple and Warren Buffet and other wise ones, including Yoda who is one of my favorites.  

There are many worthy leaders for you to choose from to assist you in creating your own inner composite picture of who best to follow. That’s what women of my generation did when we discovered that our “break the glass ceiling” dreams had no one to lead us there.  As it turned out, we looked to the goddesses of ancient mythology to help guide us.

For my mind, I hope you will remember that you do have a bona-fide leader living inside of you. 

Learn to follow him/her and count on him/her to guide you on the best path for you, hopefully one of love, sincerity and integrity.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Basement Stairs Revisited

To soothe today's wounded warriors, I share "The Basement Stairs," a personal story.

I had such a strange feeling this morning as I began to wake up. Having voted for Hillary which was mainly about voting against Trump, I believed I was supposed to be upset, even terrified as I have found myself actually despising this man. Even though I also hold that “hate” does not have an acceptable place in my life; actually seeing it as the most extreme expression of my Dark Side, this is what I have felt and cannot yet imagine feeling otherwise.

(Update: Friday, November 11 (Veteran's Day, to boot -- the day I conceived my daughter, many years ago), I don't "hate" Donald Trump anymore and am still relieved to not have the Clintons moving back into the White House.

Today I am thinking of how much I detest the Washington D.C. power game and the endless collusions and conspiracies they give rise to. I wish we could look forward to a hoped for whitewash of it all; the lobbyists, politicians and many others who feed off of them. But this man, Trump, while I am letting go of my "hate," my concerns remain. I am concerned too about how the media may have played all of us (and we enabled them) -- and -- more than anything else contemplating a need to embrace compassion for the "white privelege" I have enjoyed, possibly at the expense of those, also white, who may have been more disadvantaged.)

Still I could not ignore that I also felt relief at Hillary losing the election while I, also, knew myself to be far from happy that Trump has won. I do not yet understand why I am feeling these various thimgs. So I contemplated and pondered this as is my wont to do each morning, blessed as I am to be my own boss; Executive Director does carry some privilege with it.

I am a far way away from understanding this reaction in me. Thus I am really looking forward to New Horizons’ forthcoming “Overcoming The Polarization of Politics” Coffee House Conversation. I see that as a potential way to sort myself out in a communal setting where I am trusting I will listen and learn from others also trying to sort themselves out too.

However, that event is ten days off and I must still live with myself between now and then. So I must gain some degree of settled within myself in order to maximize each day that I go on living my life between now and then; community conversation is not always enough!

I haven’t yet found my balance point. However, this seems as if this might be a stretch as it is only a bit after noon. And Donald Trump’s startling election upset will certainly need to grow on all of us who absolutely abhor the idea of this man as our presidential leader (As I write this I feel my stomach tense with the very notion of what might lie ahead for those such as myself who are today feeling similarly.)

Nonetheless, what keeps repeating in my mind this morning that seems as if it explains some of my reaction to this staggering upheaval is a story I wrote back in August, 2012 titled –

The Basement Stairs

I reprint it here that it may sooth some of your distress today, if you voted for Hillary, or against Donald Trump. I hope you may find solace in my childhood expressions that seem so much beyond politics.  And if you are troubled today, or if you simply just want to be a heart of the healing, maybe you will come and join New Horizons and myself next week on November 19.

As for me, the Super Sleuth part of me is now setting herself to investigating the inner workings of my mind and my heart, hoping to better understand my neighbors who will have now put Donald Trump in the White House and why I am not any more upset about the election outcome than I am.

Anastasia’s Story

I am five years old, sitting on the basement steps, wondering. My mommy and daddy are right before me arguing while I sit there—on the basement stairs, second or third from the bottom. I don’t recall ever having seen arguing before, upset, conflict, division, chaos, upheaval.

Mine is a world of order, unity, practical day-to-day doings, comings and goings; family, community, participation in life, mostly lively and happy. A few tears now and then, nothing very big as I think back on it now.

But now in this moment, something different, bringing confusion to my child mind, just as I am entering an age and stage where I am beginning to wonder, am called to consider, as I sit here on the basement stairs, the meaning of things. So I ask myself, “What am I to do with what I am watching here?”

After all, we had only come down here to the basement to work on mommy’s canning closet. A brief family time of seeing the pears and the peaches on the shelves daddy built. And, of course, the pickles, bread and butter pickles, and always lots of kosher ones with dill.

I watch now – mommy and daddy – upset, arguing, angry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anger before. Certainly not between mommy and daddy, maybe once or twice at me but I forget. This I will remember.

Who am I that is sitting here watching this upset?

Who are they? Still mommy and daddy?

And, of course, almost biggest for me – what am I supposed to do here?

Later I will know. And what I know will become New Horizons’ Small Zones of Peace” Project and the Possible Human, Possible Society Study.

At least as far as I can figure it out for now.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Shining A Light On New Horizons Council of Elders

I dreamed a dream, visioned a vision, more than twenty years ago; New Horizons would create our very own special, unique version of a “Council of Elders.” Last night at our final Summer In The Mountains community gathering, we finally did it!

With that as a backdrop as well as the main feature, Sue deVeer, my Spirit Sistah collaborator, and I celebrated the ten year anniversary of our adventure of developing New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project. And our “official” Council of Elders was anointed; Anastasia, Sue and Paul.

Read about our "debut" in 

Oh my, oh my. There have been so many blessings and mini miracles to bring us from there to here. Many intriguing stories to tell!

Where was “there” you might be asking?

It was the “Middle East Crisis In “Our” Backyard” that actually brought us from there to here. And, it was that life changing incident for me that also apparently made a dent in Sue’s life too, launching us on a shared journey. We can always trace back to its beginning but we do not notice any end in sight.

The beginning was a Jewish Muslim controversy in our local town, inspiring Sue and I to -- put our minds and hearts, our gifts and talents, hopes and dreams and the distress each of us was feeling about this situation --together initially, at the prompting of people we both knew.

So…. as we brought our Summer In The Mountains community gatherings to an official close last night, out in the woods at our Beloved fire circle, Paul, Sue’s husband, our official videographer of the event, captured the essence of how profound and powerful was this year’s conclusion.  

The grand finale was of Sue and I lighting our “anniversary” cake which says it all in spirit, pictures and Paul’s words –
“From a single candle into a bonfire!"
Paul should know!  He has suffered through it all with us – and – not always silently! Nonetheless, here we all are! 

I (Anastasia) was the single light that started us off. Then “we, like our tiny “struggle” to get our candles lit, struggled to birth something that only our idealistic passions could envision. Now, “we,” like the passion and burning energy of our new “Making Violence Obsolete” movement are the bonfire, shining brighter and brighter, as we take our place in our local community – and – beyond, in giving our best to “thinking global, acting local.” 

Add to that, twenty years later or so, back from my original dream/vision, New Horizons has grown into even having our very own “Council of Elders,” at last, till death do us part. (You kinda know when your fellow journeyers are lifers!)

We are so blessed and so grateful! And we have only just begun.

Indeed, magic is afoot!  More to come…