Friday, May 26, 2017

Beyond YOUR Prison Walls: A Tribute To Ken Windes


I have a dear neighbor who gives me her cast off copies of the New York Review of Books. The other day, after not having received this bounty from her for quite some time, she bequeathed me with a good six months plus supply. Leaving me a note, explaining with her gift, I discovered she had just faced the illness and passing of her father.

How honored and precious it was to me that when she began to see Light in her tunnel of loss and grief, she thought of me, once again. So there they were, a whole stack of NYRBs for my personal indulgence.
To my friend and guide
in truth telling,
Ken Windes

I can’t tell you how very grateful and happy I was!

Immediately I organized these journals in chronological order, deciding to carefully peruse each and every one of them, from cover to cover, with luxurious leisure, beginning with the most recent. 

That one happened to be dated for March 23, 2017. As the contents of the NYRB are almost timeless, it was no surprise that what was written and published, more than two months ago, would be discussing Donald Trump and his near ceaseless, chaos creating. This is now our daily fare much to the dismay of many, including myself.

The article I dove into voraciously, I admit, was titled “What He Could Do” by Mark Danner.

Well, of course, this topic abounds ad nauseam these days. However, as the piece filled a good number of HUGE pages in the NYRB, it did have the added attraction of getting into a bit more substance than one can usually find in the print or online dailies, even in typical weekly columns.  I liked that.

Right away, when Mr. Danner spoke of our all now being Trump’s prisoners, he aroused a kinship feeling in me. Certainly that perspective is not far from my own daily distresses of which I go in and out these days. 

I thought this a well-substantiated piece, “What He Could Do.” Yet it evoked an uprising of resistance in me, bringing to mind my old and dear friend and mentor, Ken Windes, now deceased. I don’t want to write much of Ken here other than to state a few things in brief.

Ken was a former convict – and – protégé of my former mentor, Martin G. Groder, M.D.. This was during the time that Groder was the prison psychiatrist at the federal corrections facility at Marion, Illinois, built to replace Alcatraz. 

During that period of incarceration, Ken thought, wrote and practiced principles that were, in part, to become a portion of his personal signature as well as his legacy. He wrote of this in his piece "Walking Through The Walls." 

His main point, as I heard it many times over from him in the days I trained with him, developing skill at running what became New Horizons Truth or Dare Game, was –
We can walk through the prisons of our minds and not let them hold us hostage. Ken Windes
What I am getting at here is to state my own principle --
Donald J. Trump need not control your mind, your heart or your spirit!
Make up your mind, even though it might be a daily challenge now to walk right through those prison walls Trump is trying to instill in our minds, hearts and spirits, as Ken taught me and countless others in his lifetime.

This is some of what I have been practicing in recent days and weeks while I have been having trouble actually writing. I must do this and so must you.

I am back again now, I think, with more to come.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Signed A Mental Health Group Petition Declaring Donald Trump Unfit For Office


Today I am remembering some of the days of my life following my mother’s mental breakdown, after my little sister died. I was almost eight and had never known adversity at that age. I was very fortunate I realize now. I had had an almost idyllic childhood, embraced as an adored little princess in a huge extended family of loving grown-ups, nested, too, in the midst of a tight-knit Jewish community. My father, a young businessman was recognized as an up and coming leader of that community and the greater, civic community as well. 

Then all was dark and threatening; my mother’s mental illness looming over everything in my young life. The almost daily threats replaced what once had been, after she had thrown my father out of our luxurious home he had so prided himself on purchasing. 

From that time on, my mother’s beatings and ceaseless ravings that I should have died instead of my sister because…….; the reasons being numerous, became my daily bill of fare. My main fault being that I was alive and baby Sharon Iris was not, second that I was somehow “Just like your father.”

I have, long ago, with the help of psychotherapy, the sheer grit of determination and a devoted father who stayed as close to me as he could, overcome most of the debilitation these years of my childhood brought me.

But this morning I woke up feeling myself in the pit of despair like those years had held me in. Gone was my mentally ill mother. Gone were the years during which I had fought off almost daily bouts of feeling as if I wanted to die though my days might have been filled with almost undreamt of successes. So from where had this bout of fear come?

Trying to reach my mind beyond the darkness, seeking its promptings, my consciousness landed on a single source; Donald Trump as president of the United States of America!

Waking up to another day with Donald Trump in the White House sometimes feels like my mentally ill mother in charge of my little girl life; ceaseless chaos, lies and distortions of reality, fear for those less powerful (mainly me back in the days under rule of my mother.) Finding a way through the darkness to the Light sometimes feels daunting and exhausting these days. 

The single thing that makes it a whole lot easier, however, is that I know this time I am not alone in the craziness, as I was as an only child during my mother’s siege, holding me captive in her war with my father. 

There are almost endless checks and balances in our great country and the Constitution of our Founding Fathers. There were none of these for me when my mother held the reigns over my young life.

Last night I signed a petition asserting that “Donald Trump is mentally ill and must be removed.” The petition, originated with a psychologist, John Gartner Phd., who has been willing to break the Goldwater Rule and ask other professionals to join him. The rule states that mental health professionals cannot offer open assessments of the mental health of public figures. 

These professionals, of which I am now one, are willing to be rule breakers in the service of protecting our country. I totally agree! We, as mental health professionals, must take action and speak out that Donald Trump is dangerous, by virtue of being mentally unhinged; our collective professional opinion.

I am so grateful to not be alone in coping with craziness. And, so grateful to be a mental health professional, myself, with all the training and skills I have accrued, also applied to myself, and to know that I have a wonderful grounding in truth and reality that can help me through dark times such as these.  

How I wish such a petition could have protected my young life. But better late than never to make this world a better place.  Like Anne Frank said – 
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Horizons Announces Draining The Swamp Initiative

See this post for an update on this project.

I am sooooo excited! All the way from the tip of my toes on up, as high as I can imagine, from the top of my head into the great beyond.

After months, since the November presidential election until now, I have been off and then back on my center; my serenity all askew. I could not find my inner balance point and hold it for long. Trump and Company kept throwing out hard balls each and every day that kept getting me off. 

But I have a whole tool box full of strategies, accumulated for the past forty years or so, with a side pocket of good old Goddess medicine. I count on that tool box, “The Wise Woman’s Tool Box,” to get me through hard times.  So, relying on that equipage, I think now, especially after yesterday’s announcement of New Horizons "Draining The Swamp GAME," I’m strong enough to assert that I am getting my usual balanced, grounded togetherness back from here forth! 

Now I am ready and have gotten New Horizons ready with me for some fun and happiness. With the exception of other life shattering events, I am planning on holding on to this new state, better and better in the days ahead.

(In the case of earth shattering events, personal and/or collective, we will take that that issue up, if and when it comes.)

There is so much I could say on the subject of New Horizons new “Draining The Swamp GAME,” which is the crème de la crème of New Horizons overarching, new “Draining The Swamp Initiative,”based on our old Truth or Dare Game plus the entire cache of old New Horizons evolved into new New Horizons!

Whoopee! This may be the culminating moment of my prophecy.  I think. I think. I think it just might be!  If not, I’ll just need to keep climbing the ascension of my life, have more hard work ahead and celebrate bigger later.

For now, however, the top of my desk is a mess and my various other piles of “to do” stuff are lying all around. So I will just have to wait to get more of my good news out to you and see where it takes us. But it’s coming, now wrapped up in New Horizons “Draining The Swamp Initiative.”

Keep watching as we unfold New Horizons “Draining The Swamp Initiative” and make it work!

Next I am bound now for a good mountain road hike in the sunshine outside my office window and a bit of toning and stretching plus a good, but delayed breakfast before I go.

See ya! More later. 



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How We Play “The Games On You,” Mr. President


See Anastasia The Storyteller’s “The Game’s On You, Mr. President.” Saturday, August 13, 2011

It’s hard to believe I have been writing about the Dark Side of presidents and politics for going on six years on this blog. Back then I thought we had a hand full with the mediocrity of Barak Obama and the sludge in Washington. But we hadn’t seen anything yet until we got Trump.  However, maybe Trump is just what we need at this stage of the game, if betterment of our country is what we are truly after.

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, definitely makes the case, many surmised long ago; Hillary wasn’t a “choice” choice either. 

What else did we have but Trump? Are the Gods crazy or what? But maybe death and destruction are not what lie ahead for it. I see hopeful evidence of something else.

The way I see it, we have now gone from the passive and more subtle manipulations of Obama (and the Democratic party) to the blatant, bullying aggressiveness of Trump and team. That suggests to me that maybe out and out street fighting is what we need now, if the swamp in Washington, D.C. is to ever be drained, for real. Bad as this seems, sometimes I get to thinking this might just be the case nowadays. 

Seeking enlightenment, I recall the 1977 Nobel Prize winning work in chemistry of Illya Prigogine on dissipative structures. In this notable perspective, Prigogine tells us that if you overload an organism with stimuli it will fragment and reorganize at a higher level. Now isn’t this a good way to look at our current political and social crises? 

Perhaps the death and destruction of our democracy is not imminent; cultural evolution is what’s really happening here on a grand planetary level! Perhaps we are simply being overloaded with Trump’s data via Twitter and our daily barrage of every other chaos out of and around Trump’s White House as well as the upheavals running throughout our society so we can evolve to our better selves

Conclusion: We and the lives we are accustomed to are simply being fractured so we can transform.

Dontcha just love it? 

 I began writing, intermittently, about New Horizons’ Truth or Dare Game on the occasion of the 2012 election campaign of Mr. Obama. I was then watching and “seeing” the Dark Side of American politics from a perspective few others can claim. 

Because I had witnessed – and – studied Washington politics for close to forty years from a vantage place few others could, having been party to it, escaping from it, standing by the sidelines, watching it move forward, from Watergate on, I was intent on trying to analyze and remedy its manipulations and power plays. 

But the time had not yet been right to tackle Washington head on. In the meantime I put my efforts and attention into dealing with that same Dark Side into individuals, relationships and small group dynamics.  That was "old" New Horizons.

With a mighty impact, I am proud to say, earning me the reputation that “If she (Anastasia a.k.a Marcia E. Rosen) can’t cure ‘em, nobody can!”

Nonetheless, all along, I believed I would someday return to the Washington fast track and, indeed, have my small part in, not only addressing Dark Side dealings on the micro level but destined to, someday, assist in doing so on the macro. 

I’d take my Truth or Dare Game all the way to Capital Hill, I vowed in 1985! That was the day after I had spent the evening before with an old friend of mine; a dear friend whose Watergate office in the Democratic National Committee appears to have been the target for the break in (But who knows for sure?).

That bit of clairvoyance, gifted me thanks to my prophecy, has all along guided me in this direction. Now, I’m ready with my team to back me up! Washington here we come! It’s time for the Goddess in me to make my stand!

However, New Horizons Truth or Dare Game, of which I speak repeatedly, is only one vehicle, among many, that can assist people in getting to the fullest truths possible, consciously and purposefully and helping that truth to set us free! I am bound and determined to launch Truth or Dare in this direction, at its best, as soon as I can to truly be one of many helping to drain that swamp completely!

With Donald Trump in office and MILLIONS of people intent on not allowing him, or any others to slide by, with less than full accountability and transparency is another whole approach. Whether it is by taking to the streets to protest, calling your representatives in Congress, writing as essayists and journalists, broadcasters speaking out, comedians helping us find the Light side of the Dark through humor and folks meeting in town halls, we are now playing the Truth or Dare Game every day!

This is glorious!

This is how we play the “Games On You,” Mr. President. And, we can’t help but win, unless you, Mr. President, put your itchy fingers on that notorious hot button or take down innocent people by destroying things like health care, abortion as an option for those who choose it, cutting back funds for Meals on Wheels and National Public Radio.

I believe together we are stronger than you, Mr. Trump! And, quite possibly we have G-d on our side!

Of course, we can’t know but until we do, the “Games On You,” Mr. President!  And, those of us who don’t like you or your mean, nasty, manipulative and lying ways are going to fight you to the end!

From my end, personally, this what I have to do as my legacy, coming from being the stepdaughter of a Holocaust survivor, if for no other reason. “Survivor” is my key word here!

And “Winner Survivor” is how we play our GAME!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

On Why Presidents Lie And Some People Believe Them


Because I had just recently removed myself from the D.C. fast track; or the swamp as it is being called today. Because I still had friends in key places in Washington who were deeply connected to the center of Washington society and politics, including Watergate.

Because the Watergate break-in had occurred and Richard Nixon was being investigated by the Watergate Commission as he appeared culpable. Because the hearings were being televised and people, including me were drawn to watching. Because I was a captive audience lying in a hospital bed waiting for a cornea transplant and had nothing to do other than watch these trials. And, because I saw people around me seeming to believe Richard Nixon while my unsophisticated gut told me not to.

This is why I took on my very first super sleuthing adventure. Because I was in my first year of clinical training as a Transactional Analyst, I could analyze the transactions going on in this drama with my newly developing analytical skills. It was an intriguing exercise for a budding clinician. 

I needed to know how the president of the United States of America could lie to the American people – and -- how so many of his constituents could seem to believe him. 

(Many decades later I would discover that this pass timing activity of mine had much deeper roots in my own personal history. But that came later.)

So I dug in and I dug in further and further until I developed a passion for searching out truth and developed a great deal of understanding and expertise in handling these issues -- 
  • How the president of the United States of America can lie to the American people;
  • How so many of his constituents can seem to believe him;
  • What to do when the Dark Side of society and politics gets really bad, beyond the Pale.
These days I feel a particular imperative to share what I learned and what I have come to know out of my decades of investigating the Dark Side of society and politics in the U.S.A.. I want you to hear the stories I have to tell about my adventures having to do with this and on the subject above itself. 

I want you to tell me back your stories of Dark Side encounters and how you may have transcended or transformed them to a higher good. We absolutely must do this kind of coming together. Storytelling is one of the best ways possible to pass forward the wisdom of the ages on such things!

Let us join together, now, in telling our stories!

When I saw Alec Baldwin last Saturday, again impersonating Donald Trump – and – his play-acting devotees on Saturday Night Live, depicting believers of what many of us see as the dangerous manipulations of innocent people by Trump and team, my heart hurt and my gut wrenched. The faces of those actors called up memories for me of the disbelief and confusion people felt when Nixon’s behavior negated the esteem and trust people had placed in him. I felt sick.

Today, this anguish comes out of me in the form of my wanting to urge you to use me now! 

More than ever, after my forty plus years of building my life’s work and my life’s passion for sorting out the ills of Watergate -- and -- doing my best to deter their being repeated, I have discovered how to move past such transgressions, or at least cope with them. 

Whether these ills have to do with the Dark Side of politics, corporate manipulations, street violence, domestic violence or child abuse, let us to talk to one another and learn from one another, NOW!

Right now, coping may be the best we can do. That and activism. Other than these there seems little else to do these days to set things right in our nation.

So please do use me! I am one of your national treasures.  Perhaps we are all that for one another.

You might be asking “What the hell is going on here?” and “What are we supposed to do with this?”

I don’t have all the answers. But I do have quite a few where these particular questions are concerned. 

At the top of my list of answers is that we must hang together, now, more than ever to pull ourselves together as one nation, looking out each for each other.

Storytelling can get us started!

With love for humanity in all its frailty,

Anastasia The Storyteller

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

“Today I Saw People Finding The Light In The Darkness”


It is Saturday morning, 9:30 a.m. and my Spirit Sister Sue, Beloved board member and program development collaborator, and I are walking ourselves into the Clarion Inn Conference Center in Frederick, Maryland. Our arms are loaded with fliers to hand out in the coming hours and tri-fold displays to set on our exhibit table. 

The Volunteer Fair, hosted by FrederickCares.org has arranged this event. With the assistance of the hotel, the conference room sure looks scrumptious! White clothed tables, coffee, tea, donuts and so forth stand ready for a morning into early afternoon event. With every intention of creating an occasion to bring peace and social justice oriented non-profit organizations, like ours, together with anguished citizens. These are people, identified with heartfelt compassion by Andrew Duck and his volunteer team, who are pained by the state of our society and politics, hungering to put their angst into meaningful action.

With this as an agenda, our day ahead promises to be noteworthy. None of us have been called before for such as this. 

To officially launch the day Congressman Jamie Raskin addresses the audience. When he does, I know I am in the midst of kindred spirits. His words reach my heart,  my mind and my soul. And, I, like the others in attendance, am further rewarded when Congressman Raskin takes the time with event organizer, Andrew, to visit each of our display tables for a personable one-on-one. With representatives like this, a person can feel that someone in Congress is looking out for them.

Yet this is only the start of a wonderfully, inspiring day of connecting that lies ahead.

Throughout the hours ahead, Sue and I have ample opportunity for meaningful talks with attendees. I am struck by the anguish, the shock and confusion I see on faces around me; the hurt coming through their words. Still I am immensely grateful for our connections; many with substance. Attendees here seem to have moved beyond the superficial, often seen at gatherings such as this. But these are times like no other.

I am a bit disappointed that my three scheduled mini Coffee House Conversations never get off the ground. Perhaps next time organizers can arrange for a loud speaker to call people to gather for these. No matter. I make use of my time not presenting by moving throughout the convention hall, beginning new friendships with kindred spirits that may take root over time.  We are, after all, in this time of crisis together. And, it looks like we are all going to need to hang tightly together in the coming weeks, months and even years, as we are truly facing a time like never before in the U.S.A.

The Volunteer Fair comes to its end with Sue and I packing up to depart. I look at her for a moment, catching a look on her face I have rarely seen. Her eyes sparkling, she leans into me with a sense of wonder, telling me, from a heart I know to be frightened and wounded, saying these words, 

“Today I saw people “Finding Light in the Darkness.” 

OMG! Had the day not already been full and inspiring I could not have asked for more, but there it is; the icing on the top of the cake! My best friend’s heart and soul are soothed by what we had just experienced in a few short hours. I can tell that her takeaway is that she is encouraged, as I try often to tell her to be these days. 

WE, the American people, are going to be okay – by connecting and holding together with one another. 

Devastated, heartbroken with much unhealed grief, my best friend, Spirit Sister, is soothed down deep into her soul, standing next to me at the Volunteer Fair. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

What To Do When Chaos Reigns Supreme


OMG! Life in these United States could not be crazier! Still every day I am heeding my own council and doing pretty okay given surrounding circumstances. But a person can certainly feel like life is totally out of control and scary these days. For that I refuse! Politics is NOT going to derail my life and hold me hostage! Forget that option!

Given this attitude, I took an important step this morning, trying to bring an enhanced level of order to the chaos in my office; papers mounting up on my desk and everywhere. And, yes, I admit it, they were all over the floor too. Well, I’ve never boasted of having any proficiency in maintaining my filing systems. I have learned, instead, to include the top of my, often messy, desk and the floor as legitimate places for that system, uniquely my own. 

Don’t anyone dare touch it!!!

Over the years I have refined my filing system to the point that I, if no one else, do know, more or less, what lies atop these seemingly chaotic paper-laden platforms. I have also learned to recognize what it is in me that encourages greater order out of this chaos versus what it is that incites more chaos. 

These reflections bring me, now, to surveying the mess on both desk and floor of my office, contemplating how to deal with my latest accumulation. And, what is behind it, just when I thought I had gotten it under control a few weeks back.

My Truth, Here and Now Is This, Blame Game or Not:  It’s the presidential presence that is now bringing chaos into the otherwise generally serene life I live!

While the presidential campaigns went on much too long, in my opinion, it definitely kept me feeling off center. Talk about chaos! Even with the meritorious and often successful centeredness I was able to sustain most of the time, I fought hard to maintain it, day-to-day. I pinpoint the beginning of the chaos as far back as June, 2015. Much, much too long!!

OMG!

But nothing compares to the chaos I find myself trying to deal with, now, with Trump in office; everyone around him in one fight or another; for and against and on and on. Tough work, these days, trying to stay balanced, centered and relatively serene! 

The day after the day Trump won the election I did my utmost to find the center of my gravity.  It’s been a struggle ever since. OMG!  Every day it’s something. You probably feel it too, no matter who you voted for. Who doesn’t?

To achieve the optimum, I find myself constantly striving to reach for the heavens; the world of spirit far off; too much chaos on ground level. Let me out of here! When the world is in chaos and our hopes and dreams seem to be tumbling down, where else can we turn?  

I, of course, often get to heaven by way of writing. It is my pursuit of that pathway that is now lying all over my office. Filing, I have discovered, can be an integration process; a way of pulling together scattered pieces of myself and gathering them into some kind of cohesive order. I like the process when I am in the mood for it, even if necessity prompts me to do it. Today the filing of my office papers has become that necessary.

I think I am grateful for it; a nice way to distance from the news and such and the cold and rainy day outside.

Tomorrow New Horizons will begin our next phase of Coffee House Conversations on “Coping With A Changing America.” I will be obligated, there, to teach, guide and lead others to find their own high road, who are similarly stressed with our current political and societal environment. So today I must strengthen my personal methodology in order to carry this out tomorrow. 

This is not easy; the chaos of the world around no longer provides a stable environment within which one can get their own act together and maintain it. Was it ever?

Probably not! As the election outcome demonstrated, any semblance of order was only that; a superficial appearance born of not knowing more of the story of life in these United States of America and how it was being played out for untold numbers of others.

Well, the election results definitely brought me up short in terms of bringing me a broader consciousness of the world around me. For one thing, it showed me that I didn’t need to always be so concerned about “Thinking global, acting local.” There is plenty for me to know and do about “thinking national, acting local” that is quite enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life.  

Tomorrow New Horizons will do just that as a part of a Volunteer Fair where we will present three mini Coffee House Conversations on Coping With A Changing America. Seems like the right way to go. And I am grateful for the opportunity.

I guess when you come right down to it, life is always about winning sometimes and being open to learning the rest of the time
  
And, doing your best to help your community!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Where Does Truth Fit In With Democracy?


I made a good case yesterday for revering truth telling and truth knowing, i.e. clarity, on my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show. You can listen to the podcast here at ---


the podcast

I was truly uplifted by having presented the topic of this program. And doing it with my honorary daughter Terry was a blessing for me beyond words. 

You’d have to know Terry and I and the story of our relationship to really understand how enormous was the whole of what we did yesterday; our back story is truly beautiful and wonderful. But what did I accomplish?

Having created this gratifying product, our The Truth Will Set Us Free, I was brought up short about its content when I shared it with another dear friend/kinda sister. This friend had traveled and shared some of the path Terry and I have covered for close to thirty years. Her take on the subject of the show was quite a different story, however, than the one Terry and I had.  

So much so that I will be doing a brief follow up show later today (unless otherwise scheduled, check here for program time). The issue at hand is this --



I had no idea yesterday when Terry and I presented this program I had intended to be inspiring that it would stir so much discussion and dissent on whether or not lying is ok.  

So I will do my best to be back on the air again today, save unforeseen happenings, to take up the issue.

Join me for discussion on the subject later today. And prepare yourself by listening to the podcast, linked above, to air your own views.  I will do my best to open up the lines in my studio to take callers.  The guest call in number is 646.787.8624.

Let’s get to the essence of the topic!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Finding Joy In The Era of Trump


People don't, often enough, celebrate the profound potency of simply, but not so simply at all, speaking truth to power. But today the joy of it must not be passed over. All of this wordiness on my part comes of my struggle from the inside out to share how very much today feels like springtime, at last.  And springtime for me is very much tied to the many ways truth can set us free!

Last week’s snow is melted and yesterday I had a joyous sunshiny day out and about in my beloved spanking clean red car, just fixed after months in and out of repair garages. So I was all set for happiness this morning when I woke up.

It was just one of those, “It’s the first day of the rest of my life,” all is right with the world days. Then I checked in with the morning news. NBC’s Comey Disclosures Leave Trump Alone on Island of Conspiracy Theories article told me everything and more I needed to know that springtime is really here, at last!

What a long cold winter season it has been! I think it lasted from the summer of 2015 until now. That whole time of the American public being held hostage to the worst presidential election campaign I remember, culminating in the devastating election of Donald Trump to our presidency. That was the winter of the U.S. A.!

Now don’t mistake this bold revelation to tell you where I might stand on politics. I am a registered Independent. I was ready, willing and able to vote for either major party or none. And, none is what I would have chosen if I thought it might be the right and just way to go.

But no, not voting wasn’t an option! So I metaphorically flipped a coin and picked Hillary though I sure wasn’t crazy about her – and – totally did not want to see Bill Clinton, again, anywhere near the Oval Office he had besmirched with Monica Lewinsky. No, for me it was about character in this election Maybe it generally is, now that I put words to inner process on it.  Anyway that’s how I voted.

So I was devastated like many others to see Donald Trump win the election. But liking Trump or not liking Trump is not necessarily a political call.

And, it sure has been scary ever since. OMG!! What this man has intended for America!

But, bad as it’s been I have kept having faith in our constitutional democracy and the millions of people in this country who unstintingly believe, like me, in speaking truth to power. And, now look what we get! Our system works! Yesterday’s hearings with Comey testifying say it all, for me. The truth will set you free. And darkness cannot survive the Light.

The Games On You, Mr. President!!! Meticulous fact finding and truth telling is about to topple your sloppy, shyster’s ways!

Thank you, Mr. Comey. Those of us who believe in truth and integrity and basic human decency, above all, needed what you gave us yesterday! A sure sign that our constitutional government is not easily corrupted.

Welcome springtime in the U.S.A.!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Finding My Peace With Election 2016


It is Saturday and I am conducting a discussion seminar on “Overcoming The Polarization Of ….. Everything.” Most of the regular participants of New Horizons Counterculture Community Development Experiment are present with me. 

After close to one year with some of these dedicated people – and – of course more than ten  with my Beloved collaborator, Sue deVeer, we are beginning to welcome newcomers to our fold with ease; synergy would best describe how well we work together to present a discussion forum such as this. The sense of community unity we have, in and of itself, is a fine start to our event, held, once again, at the Frederick Friends Meeting House.

For starters, after a few opening comments from me, we get to know one another and the wishes attendees have for joining us on this chilly Saturday afternoon.

To the person, introducing themselves, people express distress about the current state of political and social conditions, on the heels of our 2016 presidential election. Yet, overall, we will spend our time skirting politics. Instead we will focus on personal reactions to what has occurred. And the effect the election fallout is having on close relationships.

To the person, each expresses a lack of ease with current circumstances, especially a disconnect with close family and friends. One woman poignantly voices the main thrust of hopes and desires; finding peace with the situation as it presently stands. After a few more introductory comments from me, suggesting the direction our program will take, attendees are willing to settle for improving communication skills with the hope that these may be able to increase their comfort, if only……, if only they can find ways to reach across current barriers.

So we begin. Dialogue versus debate as a practice takes center stage with people barely able to truly grasp the full significance of the exercise. But we make a start and everyone makes a respectable effort. By the end of our forum we have found an ease with one another that we may not readily find outside our meeting room, especially as most people say that these days it is even hard to acknowledge for whom you voted in the election without fear of stirring an upset.

I get high marks for content and presentation and feel gratified that New Horizons and myself have made a start going in the best post-election direction we can find; teaching the art of leaning in and, apparently, creating a safe, caring space within which others can make a beginning in that noble, often challenging, direction – leaning in.

I return home that night, get a good night’s sleep, waking to the joy of a sunshiny morning in the fresh mountain air. For my efforts of yesterday and all the pre-planning it took, I find myself, at last, feeling at peace with the election outcome and as at ease as I can be with the new administration under a president that I firmly believe "acts crazy" in my estimation regardless of what the psych tests might reveal.

I don’t like so many things now going on in our society and politics. I know I will remain cautious and vigilant for the coming term. And I don’t like that either.

I am tired of the shenanigans of both Republicans and Democrats but I’ll be darned if I will give up my faith in the Constitution of the United States and the American people and how these have successfully, until now, guided us to set our country aright in times it gets off. Barbra Streisand’s approach of blaming Donald Trump for her weight gain is far and away distasteful to me as an option for how to live my life under Trump or anyone else for that matter. 

As one of my old friends once said, "I am not about to allow politics to hijack my serenity!"

I voted for Hillary but sure didn’t want Bill back in the White House. I wasn’t too crazy about her either. They were just familiar and might not have been better at all to help get this country where it needs to go.

Next month New Horizons and myself will put on another Overcoming The Polarization of ….. Everything seminar, on April 1st. Our topic will be “Making Friends With The Enemy.”

I hope folks will join us as we get better and better, ourselves, and teach others the art of  “leaning in” in times of peace and in times of crisis in the U.S.A.

I think the magic lies in if we just keep talking as our friend Pastor George Earle, Jr. told us to do when we "saved Centennial."  

After all, just think about it; our First Amendment grants  us the freedom of speech. So if we are protesting, writing, teaching, lecturing as I am doing, meeting with others for dialogue as we did on Saturday, investigating and reporting as the media is doing, even arguing as lots of folks are now doing over social and poltical issues, we are exercising this freedom. This simple, yet not so easy track has brought us to where we are now, without too much bloodshed. 

Let's keep it up!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Is It Truth Or Not?


On Playing New Horizons Truth Or Dare Game 

Thirty men and women are gathered at New Horizons’ Harpers Ferry Retreat Center for a weekend intensive. They are the self-proclaimed “Truth Squad”; New Horizons’ warriors of truth and reality. These are the regulars of New Horizons therapeutic community project that have endured the rigors of our Truth or Dare Game, originally called the Discount Derby. And come through it with their metaphorical badges of courage.

Having accomplished this, Truth Squad members know full well how to spot “untruths’ and systematically transform and transcend them to reach the higher levels of human consciousness.

No guessing here, as the American public is now struggling to do!

In the process of systematically working on this endeavor; knowing truth, to its completion, as best possible, we find so much joy, freedom, creativity and love we can hardly wait for the next round of Truth or Dare, one month away.

Imagine if you will, this group of thirty people happily packed together into a not particularly huge space for a weekend, having as their main objective the “vacuuming” up of each and every indicator of these things we call “discounts (i.e. “elements of reality being ignored or minimized),” as if they were dust motes. Each discount must be located and done away with for the GAME we are playing to have a successful outcome.

Not easy to imagine, is it?

That’s one reason why New Horizons’ Truth or Dare GAME is one of those most powerful processes and programs where you just have to be there and experience it to know it. And knowing “about it” will not get you very far into experiencing the MAGIC!

Because MAGIC is what it is, and a hard-won MAGIC at that!

I can try and try to tell you “about it” and still you will never know “IT” unless and until you experience “IT”; the alchemy of shared human transformation.

Now, as it turns out, New Horizons’ Making Violence Obsolete/Counterculture Community Development Experiment is heading itself into a new, updated Truth or Dare GAME format, along with our Bus Ride Story Adventure. Look for details as they unfold.

To say the least, given the conditions of our present national dissonance in society and politics, learning to know when truth and reality are truly the whole truth and nothing but the truth has now become a survival necessity. And knowing when a lie is a lie or not a lie – and – then what to do about the “lie,” if there is one, has now also become a national pass time, as well as a survival necessity.

Thus I/we strongly urge YOU to learn to play New Horizons Truth or Dare Game. Knowing its intricacies and skills can make all the difference in your health and well-being and that of those nearest and dearest to you in the coming weeks, months and years.

Maybe Trump and team are our great blessing, now, to clean up many of the dust caked corners of life in these United States where we haven’t been dealing with full reality for a very long time, if ever.

Now is our time and our opportunity!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Watching A President Lie


August 7, 1974; The Day Richard Nixon Lied And 
Anastasia's Prophecy Came To Be

I am a captive audience, bound to the television in my room at Doctor’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. I am scheduled for a cornea transplant. In these days of relatively early tissue donation procedures, recipients must be hospitalized, often for days as in my case, awaiting the death of someone whose cornea tissue will next be theirs.

I am not typically a regular television viewer but there is nothing else for me to do here, in the hospital day after day as I wait. But the watching is not as dull and boring as it might be, as I have created an interesting pass time for myself.

I am in my second year of clinical training to become a psychotherapist, using Transactional Analysis as a treatment modality. This is the psychological approach that bases its analysis on recognizing the ego states, Parent, Adult and Child, and the dynamics of interpersonal exchanges, identified in this model as “transactions.”

The Watergate hearings are being televised and it is them that has attracted my attention as I sit here, propped up in my hospital bed waiting. Friends and family visit. They too are drawn to this televised inquiry. We are actually all quite stunned. 

Could it be that our president, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, has been lying to the American people about his involvement in the scandal of a break in at the Watergate complex where the Democratic National Committee is housed? 

Trying to make sense of this devastating situation, I am entertaining myself analyzing the ego states of the players in this drama, especially Richard Nixon and John Dean. Without realizing, I am, right here and now, in this instance of watching the Watergate trials, developing skills of observation that will last my lifetime.

Out of this will grow my devotion to exploring, analyzing and understanding the Dark Side of humanity, especially how it plays out in society and politics. In the process I will develop expertise at transforming the Dark Side; lead into gold!

But here initially, I, like others around me, are shocked. Richard Nixon is lying!

No, how can that be? Presidents don’t lie!

Look back at George Washington, one of our Founding Fathers and the first president of the United Sates. George Washington is known for telling the truth! This is our standard for presidents. 

And, look back to Abraham Lincoln, another of our hero presidents!

What about Franklin Delano Roosevelt? I remember my mother crying as she sat by the radio listening to news of FDR’s sudden death.

And John Fitzgerald Kennedy? I can still see, vividly, in my mind’s eye, the very instant my friend and I discover that JFK has been shot. That moment and that day and the one’s following are indelible in my mind. We are devastated, our world turned upside down!

Our presidents’ lives are inextricably interwoven with our own. Presidents are our pillars of security, the highest leadership in our land that we honor and look to to keep our country and its people safe.

How could it be that the president of the United States of America could be lying? Shocking! Frightening! Devastating!

Our world is turned upside down, once more. Recovering from the three assassinations of the 60's; JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy. And now this! Our innocence is truly gone now.

But it is true! Richard Nixon has lied to the American people, leaving many of us traumatized by his almost unheard of actions in an American president. Later, of course, we will come to know of more moral failings in presidents. But for now we are still quite innocent. 

Next there is Bill Clinton. I see him, too, in my mind’s eye, lying to the American people about Monica Lewinsky in his Map Room address to his loyal followers. We, the people of the United States of America .

This time many make light of the lying. Why is that so?

Not I! I actually go blind as a result. But that is a tale for another day.

Now we have Donald Trump and millions seem to have little to no difficulty at all in accepting his lies; big and small, as ordinary.

How did this happen? Where has it all gone; the values of human valour and integrity that made this country great?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why Telling The Truth Is So Hard


(Even the New York Times, in their new ad campaign, “The Truth Is Hard,” is pushing the message that we’ve  got to all get on board with truth.)

Here is a selection of articles from my take on the issue.  Dig into them, again and again. They are filled with nuggets of wisdom on truth telling!

The “real deal” about telling the truth that makes it so hard is that –
  1. Most of us learned to, at least, bend the truth as kids growing up to keep the grown-ups off our backs; and then --
  2. Certain of our experiences even went so far as to teach us the lesson that our survival might depend on not telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth;
  3. Furthermore most of us have not gotten a fair enough dose of healthy role modeling on the pride and the joy of truth-telling;
  4. Finally, for now, ours is not a culture where truth telling is praised and honored. Quite the contrary, frequently there are daunting consequences for truth telling.  
Here is a quote from noted psychiatrist R.D. Laing that I have found to best state some of our learned challenges with truth telling, even knowing how to assess truth. I’ve witnessed the difficulies repeatedly in my close to forty-five years in the mental health field --  and – in my personal life too.

Lecturing on findings of some of his important research on the origins of mental illness, Laing stated –
In most families, children are taught “not to see what they are seeing, or to forget what they have seen, and then to remember to forget what they have seen, because if you don’t remember to forget you will remember. So, you’ve got to remember to forget it, or you’ve got to remember all the time not to see what you are seeing.  And then you’ve got to somehow or other cut yourself off from a recognition that that is what you are doing – so that you no longer are aware, or you can no longer know that you are remembering to forget what you’ve seen. Or you have to act upon yourself in order not to see what you are seeing…. 
All is finally cut off by a final injunction… against seeing that any of that behind what you are allowed to see is going on at all. And by that time, you have rendered yourself, by action of your mind on your mind, almost totally unconscious.
Now, take a moment and think on that!  Pretty complex stuff to wrap your mind around, dontch'a think? But unfortunately more true than not!

Then go further and ask yourself how a person like Donald Trump might have learned to separate himself so fully from seeing and dealing with reality! And what does his election say about his supporters who think his lying is okay? (Not all do, I know. They are not who I am addressing here.)

Now what about you?

If you’ve been reading my blogs you know I have been believing for a long, long time that my eye problems are directly tied to an injunction I experienced as coming from a mentally ill mother to not see what I see! An even greater difficulty seems to have been, however, that somehow I did not have trouble seeing and knowing what I saw. Rather my borderline mother cursed me not to“say” what I “saw” under threat of punishment by death!

Or so I believed, as that is what I was told, often while I was being beaten. 

I’m doing real well now speaking of whatever I see. Writing for this blog site has helped me immeasurable. Additionally, I have, for close forty-five years, been teaching, guiding and supporting others in learning to do the same; telling the truth to power or otherwise, just to know it and say it.

Please get out from whatever obstacles you may be facing about telling truth, knowing truth, facing truth and expecting others to do that same!!

Our country’s well being needs this kind of soldiering from each and every one of us.

Now please join New Horizons and myself in our Truth or Dare campaign, a part of our new Making Violence Obsolete Movement which is under our overall Small "Zones of Peace" Project.