Saturday, October 7, 2017

Storytelling Workshop Series: Anastasia”s Introductory Comments

I have many stories, obviously. That is why there is an Anastasia The Storyteller blog site and an Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show.

This past July, at New Horizons Annual Board Meeting, it was agreed upon by our board of directors that getting my stories out into the public domain was to, increasingly become a top priority. What was behind this decision, especially at that particular moment, is a good story.

New Horizons new partnership with StoryCorps has truly opened doors for me, personally, that are both surprising and wonderful. Out of our new partnering, I am, now, beginning to have great joy in not only sharing my stories, but the reward of others sharing their stories back to me, heart to heart. 

Out of that New Horizons Board decision, we began taking steps, on my behalf, to carry that decision into action. In the early, first steps of the effort, I was led, with the guidance of board member, Lisa, to StoryCorps; another good story for another day.

Now, it is almost as if this new adventure has brought me to a new world of treasure in human connectedness! 

Oftentimes, with what I/we are learning from StoryCorps about how to conduct storytelling and story “listening,” I seem to have found an entire new way of “being” with people that allows me to take the initiative to invite others to open up and tell me their stories, long before I open up and share mine.

The experience, which I have to believe has just begun and can only get better and better, is almost like unearthing buried riches!

Almost daily now, I am seeing the joy and connectedness storytelling can bring. Almost daily, I am seeing, with growing clarity, that our human connectedness is vital! (As if I hadn't noticed before.)

Our connections with others can sometimes even be lifesaving. In some circumstances,
storytelling can be a major vehicle that can help us with this. The tragedies of the Hurricanes that have so recently hit, bringing devastation and tragedy to countless people, brings our need for one another, regardless of political leanings, race or religion, into high relief.

Then there is Las Vegas! Lives lost and lives saved because of people helping one another. 

And the stories! The heartbreaking tales that go on and on, as do the ones from 9/11 and other great tragedies. Yet we do need to hear them. OMG!

We need one another. Like never before in this country. We need to wake up and pay attention to our needs for one another, our dependency on building bridges of connection to help us move beyond the polarization rampant throughout our country. And this we must do!

Giving generously of ourselves is something each one of us can do, no matter how humble our circumstances. One of the best ways we can do this, especially when we, ourselves, are fortunate enough to have distance from the tragedies is through storytelling and story “listening. Sometimes all we have are our stories to tell – and -- our willingness to listen. 

Fortunate people survive tragedies. In doing so, they learn valuable lessons that can be passed on to those who are struggling. Oftentimes tragedies, great and small, teach us the most about human dignity and strength.

But there is much work to do if overcoming the divisions that separate us are to fall by the wayside; many mountains to climb, hurdles to overcome.

These reasons and many more are why I will be introducing the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Storytelling Workshop Series next Saturday, October 14.

I will be there, along with some of my board members, who have been diligently working, day in and day out, behind the scenes to bring this program to you. 

Please join us! This is important!

The Storytelling Workshop Series 
A Vehicle For Overcoming Today’s Social and Political Polarization 

Saturday, October 14
2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Frederick Friends Meeting House
723 N. Market Street   Frederick, Maryland 21701

Your opportunity to get involved in a project that can lead your personal story to being archived, for infinity, in the StoryCorps/Small “Zones of Peace” Library of Congress collection.

For Details and Reservations, Contact: Anastasia Rosen-Jones
Email: Cell: 240.409.5347

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

We All Have Stories To Tell

Some of our stories, perhaps even many of them, are lost treasures, unspoken.

Back in July when the New Horizons Board of Directors agreed it was time to support me, personally, in what had been brewing for a good while; the notion that my stories, personal and professional, needed to be more widely aired than they had been, by way of offering a contribution to our national and local growth and betterment, the plan, getting my stories out into the world, felt both liberating and frightening. 
"Anastasia The Storyteller"
Marge Hulburt, Two Wise
Women and a writing coach,

Now I was to be given assistance to come out from behind the shield I had created out of my position as Executive Director and Founder of the organization. But I was feeling a touch of resistance; fear was what it was. 

Someday, on our shared storytelling adventures, I am likely to get around to telling this one to you; the one about Anastasia becoming an overnight celebrity entrepreneur and ruing the day she allowed the quest for fame and fortune to dominate her life; more precisely the life I lived as an excitement junkie.

Whoa is me to anyone else that gets themselves caught in that trap! 

That is if what you truly value is compromised in the process. 

Tales for another time!

My board and myself had, nonetheless, come up with a press release we felt satisfied could usher in this new direction, in a way that appropriately represented the organization, New Horizons, I had long headed, circa 1973, as well as how I might present myself, taking this bold “coming out” step. 

Lisa Board Member, who chairs our Communications Committee, suggested that while we were intent on opening the door to the in depth, behind the scenes impetus, theoretical and operational foundations of New Horizons; its many projects and programs, along with my personal and professional experiences that had fostered it, we should research various media outlets to find where there might be a good fit for this outreach endeavor. 

Among the resources Lisa suggested was StoryCorps which, at first, did not seem to be an appropriate venue for my objectives. Then came the day; the day of the Eclipse, when something almost startling moved me to check out StoryCorps further. 

Now what might you expect on a day when our whole country was watching the moon completely cover the sun; an almost once in a lifetime event, if not something magical?

Boosted by the eclipse, I feel certain, I discovered much to my delight in contacting StoryCorps. Exploring the vast systematic approach and almost endless informational resources for storytelling, story listening and story recording, created by the StoryCorps project, including story archiving at the Library of Congress for infinity, I found a vehicle for, not only sharing my stories, but also a means for my doing that in company with others.

G-d bless Dave Isay who created StoryCorps and the entire StoryCorps staff for this gorgeous gift!


What could be better for a woman, me, who had long ago steadfastly decided she did not want to, ever again allow herself to be visible to the "public" eye, unless she was public in the company of others -- in other words a community?

Add to that fact that our storytelling project could now develop, communally, was that, most amazingly, just at a time when New Horizons viable possibilities for community contribution seemed to be nil, we had actually discovered a surprising next step for our overall mission; “building small “zones of peace” wherever we can.” Next we would carry forth our mission with storytelling as a vehicle!

Partnering with StoryCorps, as New Horizons is now doing, we are on our way to establishing a vehicle for not only sharing my stories, but engaging many others in the richly rewarding experience of sharing stories. Our overarching mission here will be to create a collection of stories, “The Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection, that can help the various communities within which we are active, Frederick, Maryland and the region of the one hundred mile radius of the White House, to strengthen personal connections within families, with friends, neighbors and the general community.

If we can, thus, combine my personal agenda, regarding my stories, with the rich reward of collecting these, along with stories of others throughout our community, we might again have something worthwhile to offer our various communities, even in this time of enormous societal turbulence and polarization. We are intent on doing our very best to obtain this objective!

So far so good, if we can judge by the growing numbers of people who seem to be enjoying the blog articles I am posting on our new Storytelling Workshop Series where we will be teaching people how to be both good story tellers as well as engaged and curious story listeners.

And the lively Anastasia The Radio Show that board member, Steve Lebherz, and I broadcasted this past Sunday, has, also, so far had a respectable listenership on podcast. Steve and I were pleased with how our teamwork progressed in the planning of the show and on the air. 

We are now looking forward to our next show of ---

“The Small "Zones of Peace" Storytelling Workshop Series Online” 
Thursday, October 12, 4:00 p.m. 

Topic to soon be determined.  Details will be forthcoming. 

In the meantime, find a bit of inspiration for what lies ahead by listening to the podcast of --

Small "Zones of Peace" Storytelling Workshop Series Online

This next show, will be just in time, we are hoping, to inspire people to want to join us at the first event of our new Storytelling Workshop Series.  

A Vehicle For Overcoming Today’s Social and Political Polarization 

Saturday, October 14, November 11, and December 2, 2017 
2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Frederick Friends Meeting House
723 N. Market Street
Frederick, Maryland

Reserve early, space is limited!

Donations are encouraged, suggested amount: $20. 

For Details and Reservations, Contact: Anastasia Rosen-Jones
Email: Cell: 240.409.5347

Your opportunity to have your personal story archived, for infinity, in the StoryCorps/Small “Zones of Peace” Library of Congress collection.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The World Of Trump And the World of Story Are Two Different Worlds

I got to considering the notion the other day that the world of Trump and the world of story are two different worlds. I wanted to share my thinking. But so far I am having a bit of a challenge, putting my thoughts into a coherent articulation. 

But I will give it a try here by way of communicating some and come back another time, if I have more on the subject.

I heard the other day, too, that contemplating might be understood to be a method of seeing. So, visionary that I am, I “contemplated” what I was seeing that brought this idea to  mind; "the world of Trump and the world of story are two different worlds." In considering this theme, no doubt, is another set of questions I have been pondering since New Horizons Storytelling Workshop Series began to get underway with a meeting last Saturday of our new Storytelling Steering Committee for our partnering with StoryCorps.

That meeting and the other start up projects we are now undertaking to get the whole of the project running has occupied my mind pretty constantly this week. Thus Trump and storytelling could not have been too far from it this week had I wanted them to be. Especially on Trump who thrives on every last bit of attention he can get. Thus one has to almost battle to keep him out of mind. So allow me to digress about my wondering about Trump and his world of storytelling, or lack thereof, and go to the other questions I was also thinking about this past week.

That set of questions has to do with a series Sue and I are designing for my first time of being interviewed for “The Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection" for our partnering with StoryCorps. When we have that storytelling interview completed – and – have learned to work with the technology involved, we hope to embed the story on this site with more to follow. If you participate in our story collecting, maybe your stories, too, might be shared, if you would like. On my end, it appears that I am going to have a whole series of these storytelling/interviews of my own to share!

Umm. What a nice way for me to come out of my hidey hole. I had been making myself as low profile as I could, over the years, as much as I could and still have an active presence behind New Horizons. Now I will be coming out  -- and – able to do that in the company of the many others from whom we will be collecting stories. 

I love the thought of it, as I had decided decades ago that I did not want to be too much in the public eye, except as a part of a community. And, now I have found my way to accomplish that through New Horizons' storytelling project. 

Lucky me!

Everyone at New Horizons is pretty excited about this next endeavor of ours, the Storytelling Workshop Series, which will be an important piece of our developing “The Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection,” but not the only one. What the other parts will be are yet to be discovered. Nonetheless, as we look at the gift of this single, new aspect of the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project, along with its assortment of other community building projects and programs, not only are we excited about it, but so is everyone else that we tell about it.

Why not?

As noted author, Father Richard Rohr suggests, regarding restoring connectedness –
"The greatest dis-ease facing humanity right now is our profound sense of disconnectedness - from God, ourselves, each other and the world." 
Rohr’s words strike a bullseye for me. They resonate like a beautiful, melodied song. Restoring (or establishing connectedness) is what storytelling is about; something our country is desperately in need of at this time.  At least, this is how I/we see things, presently. But then I have, over the years, become a devoted storyteller, as evidenced by my having both a blog site and a radio show titled Anastasia The Storyteller.

But from Trump’s world we hear no genuine, heartfelt stories. None, other than those that flatter his ego; many of them not even based on truth. Trump, in his dysfunction, has no concern with stories; yours or mine, not even his own, as in what is the "story" of his relationship with his mother?

We never, ever hear of her. Even searching for information on that endless resource for everything you ever wanted to know about anything, the internet, reveals almost nothing about Trump’s mother. It is almost as if she did not even exist.

P.S. the etiology of narcissistic personality disorder, which most educated people would agree appears to be Trump’s malady, is generally based on one’s relationship or lack thereof with parents, especially one’s mother.

The Mayo Clinic describes the roots of narcissistic personality disorder this way – 
As with other mental disorders, the cause is likely complex. Narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to mismatches in parent-child relationships with either excessive pampering or excessive criticism. Genetics or psychobiology — the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking -- may also play a part.
Oh well, so much for Trump’s world. In mine and hopefully yours too, I/we think storytelling is where it’s at, if connection with others matters. With that, I believe, that if coming from the heart, and seeking the heart of another counts, storytelling has more potential for helping us learn the truth of this old saying, than any other single activity  –
“An enemy is someone whose story you haven’t yet heard.”
I hope you love storytelling, too, for all the wonderful gifts it offers, particularly the idea that there is a great potential for turning enemies, or unknown others, into friends this way. Many of us have been doing way too much “othering” of people who are different from us, without much thoughtfulness, care or concern, particularly in recent past years, as the fallout from this last presidential election has shown us. 

I think it is time and way past to give that up.

New Horizons path and my own, personally, look to soon be reveling in this activity, storytelling, more and more as a part of our daily fare. 

I look forward to sharing the adventure with you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Finding Tranquility In The Era Of Trump: A Personal Experience

Listen to my new Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show episode,  Tranquility In The Era Of Trump: A Personal Experience,  now on podcast

Here is the description. Enjoy. 
Anastasia shares her recent experience of committing to a diet of tranquility and finding lost dreams in the era of Trump.
For an introduction to Anastasia's adventure, visit New Horizons Small "Zones of Peace" Project to read "New Horizons Update,"Announcing New Horizons' Storytelling Workshop Series and other stories on how New Horizons, under Anastasia' leadership is making it through these tough times.
Also read Anastasia's personal stories: The Freedom To Choose And The Five Things I'm Electing In Order To Stay Sane In These Insane Times at Anastasia The Soryteller blog site and Finding Light In The Darkness.
And, be sure to let me hear about your stories of “finding tranquility in the era of Trump."

Every day, now, as New Horizons moves forward with our new Storytelling Workshop Series, I am realizing, more and more, that storytelling is where it's at!

  • Add your comments below; or
  • Write me directly at

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Anastasia Endorses A Political Candidate, First Time Ever!

I am now endorsing a political candidate, first time ever!

I can do this because I am separating from New Horizons. On my own, I can be as partisan or non-partisan as I like. Umm. How very strange!

Well, as the Church Lady says, “Isn’t that special.”

Never before have I even considered taking an out and out position on a candidate for political office. 

But now I've done it! And it feels quite strange and wonderfully liberating!

Why me, I ask myself? And, why now?
And, my candidate of choice

I can't quite put my questions together to get a clear answer. But here is what I did --

Letter to the editor
Frederick News Post 
September 6, 2017

Building A Better Tomorrow, Today 

I am a relative newcomer to Frederick, having previously raised my children and conducted my private psychotherapy practice in Montgomery County. I love Frederick, and have become active in the community as the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization, New Horizons Support Network, Inc., which sponsors the Coffee House Conversations project. 

In this role, I have come to know many of Frederick’s key leaders, and have made a disappointing discovery: there are often contradictions between what many of these leaders say, versus what they do. When I witness incongruity, especially in those whom we have trusted to represent us, I am disturbed. I am even more troubled when the perpetrators are people running for elected office in Frederick County.   

It is because I am so greatly concerned about these incongruities, and because Frederick means so much to me, that I am taking the time to write this letter. Frederick is a community filled with people of high moral values and integrity—and we can do better. We must elect the kind of exceptional leadership that can lift people to their highest aspirations; leaders who embody compassion, vision, and accountability—and who have enough wisdom and experience to govern intelligently. 

The objective of New Horizon’s Coffee House Conversations project is to bring people of diverse backgrounds and cultures together, to cross the chasms that divide them. The main vehicle of the program—creating conversations to help us build a stronger community— allowed me to witness the kind of leadership I value. It was during one of these conversations that I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Roger Wilson, a Frederick leader who exemplifies the qualities I admire most.  

As Frederick grows, and the demographics of our area continue to change, we must all learn how to embrace this change, leaving no group behind, as we make our way through the many other complexities that growth demands. To me, Roger Wilson offers the kind of leadership that can help us build a better Frederick. I hope his efforts to become an Alderman will succeed, and enable him to accomplish even more for our community tomorrow than he’s already doing today.

Will it be published? I have no way of knowing. But it sure felt good in the doing!  

Maybe the bottom line is my belief that, as Helen Keller favored in this line from her friend, Everett Edward Hale –
I am only one,But still I am one.I cannot do everything,But still I can do something;And because I cannot do everything,I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.  
Or maybe it is the belief I have come to hold dear that –
"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men (and women) to do nothing.”
So now I have done something, speaking truth to power, another ideal I have come to hold dear.  

Or maybe, most pointedly, for this time and place, the paragraph below I omitted when I sent in my letter to the editor is what prompts me, now, to come out of my hidey hole in every way possible.
Our country is presently in a mess, with a president residing in the White House, who may be among the worst offenders at attempting to mask lies, self-centeredness, personal aggrandizement and cunning, as charm, consideration for constituents and presidential.
Whatever it is, I am glad I’m doing this! And, I hope you, too, are doing something to help our country, your community and your loved ones build a better tomorrow, today. 

That’s how "tough people get through tough times!

Wishing "my first ever endorsed candidate," Roger Wilson, well at the polls in Frederick, Maryland, Tuesday, September 12!

Roger prompted my first ever endorsement and I add to that my support for Kelly Russell.

Good luck to both!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

How Anastasia’s GRAD Theory Offers Hope In These Troubled Times

Also posted to Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime

Do you wonder, these days, how we, as Americans, are ever going to get through these troubling times with Donald Trump in office?

It would be hard to be fully present to what is going on around us, day in and day out, under Trump’s administration and be completely at ease. 

But I am here to tell you, with all my many years of experience working with individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations, added to more than forty years of research and strategic intervention development, based on what Watergate taught me, that we, the citizens of the U.S.A., our Congressional representatives and our courts, are on the right and proper track.

Do you want to know why I believe this, so wholeheartedly, even though I, like yourself, am struggling most days to remain “tranquil”?

The bottom line for me can be found in the almost bottom line of my GRAD theory.

Interpreted it goes like this: The Dark Side (i.e. addictions and/or any other manifestation of the RSC) cannot hide out, indefinitely in a community. Community life will not sustain it!

The reason being:  Over the long haul the character aspects (of the Dark Side Warrior) are antithetical to community life – and – humans are, by nature, communal animals. Thus, in a democracy, to go against that which builds and sustains communal life cannot sustain itself, indefinitely. The weight of the majority will not tolerate it.

Trust in this! And, do your best to be the best you can to be a part of the healthy whole!

To the end of strengthening your resolve  -- and – your efforts to hold on to your hope, your highest ideals and your everyday commitments, today I am editing and adding to my description of the GRAD theory to provide you with highlights and guidelines to help you navigate this challenging era.  

The Power of One is what I am stressing, added to the power of the many.

Please use what I am offering! 

Apply the tenets laid out, as best you can. And contact me at:, if you need further assistance.

Together we can weather this storm, as people are doing, this very day, in surviving Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Freedom To Choose And The Five Things I'm Electing In Order To Stay Sane In These Insane Times

“….. the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,” 

...words of Viktor Frankl that have helped me transcend treacherous ordeals before, like losing my eyesight. 

When selecting a top of the line president from the bill of fare offered in “Election 2016” didn’t provide much of choice, what was the fall back alternative?

Certainly, we must, if we are to remain sane, make up our minds to work with what we’ve got in some reasonable way. Don’t you agree?

That's Plan B, as we have, collectively, elected a less than ideal preseident.

So, here’s what I’ve figured out….

I have been reaching for Frankl’s ideal to help me find my way through the duplicities of Donald Trump. I know I must, not only stay sane in this insane time that grows increasingly dark with each passing day, but, somehow, transcend the nightmare Trump is bringing to bear upon all good and honest people.

For months, I have risen above the stormy sea, then dipped back, again, into its torrential, soul-bashing waves. Thank goodness I’ve been strong enough to not sink. And, fortunate enough not to be sunk, as in not being an immigrant.  Thank goodness, my family's now got four generations to back up our right to be here!

I am certain you have been doing similarly. 

This is no longer a dress rehearsal, as we might have considered it to be, maybe around Halloween time last year, as we weighed in during the presidential campaign cycle, sorting out for ourselves for whom we should cast our one single vote.

Ha ha, if you think the grim reaper was only a costume! Fooled you, didn’t it, when that same darkness showed up in the formerly “White” House!

Look at this, will you? It’s been almost a year of our lives gone by, maybe more. Politics has become so personal that not a day goes by that I don't take, not only a peek at the weather forecast, but, minimally also, a survey of the news headlines. The weather report lets me know, ahead of time, if this will be an indoor or outdoor day. 

All well and good! 

However, it is the news that alerts me as to whether or not a metaphorical Hurricane Harvey is on my doorstep in the upheaval Donald Trump is creating that particular day. In those earlier campaign days, Hillary and Bernie, too, were not averse to keeping our lives stirred up. After all, this is what American politics is about – people bashing, crisis and chaos. Apparently to make a point, belonging to whomever’s agenda.

But how much bad weather can a person endure without getting far more than cabin fever, but an all-out sickness from undergoing the constant stress of such dire times?

Further, on my end, I, not only, abhor ceaseless bad weather, but I am not a political person, per se. I don’t find constant news and endless views entertaining, enlightening or intriguing. I do not aspire to build my life, paying attention to the daily news, the internet, talk radio, Twitter or Facebook, as a source of sustenance. 

I like the great outdoors, tending my deck top garden, watching the birds, especially the hummingbirds, and, in peace, the setting sun and the night sky.  And, most of all, being with people I care about and respect.

I find, even late night comedians, the Weekend Update of Saturday Night Live and Alec Baldwin, tedious, leaving me weary soul wanting, after a while. I seek something more that truly fills my heart and soul for a day I can enjoy.

It's been awful and still is!  And, no doubt, this will continue as the new normal, with no end in sight, right now.

But I do not intend to live this way!  I am intent on taking back the reins of my daily life, as best I can during these trying times!

Basic Step Number One For Me

Long ago, under the tutelage of my psychiatrist mentor, Marty Groder, I learned how to heal myself of my tendencies to be driven by a state of excitement (i.e. adrenalin addiction). I learned, too, that the inclination in this area was based on biology. And, that my free will gives me an out, as I come to understand and manage it, from that which I find unhealthy and that no longer satisfy me. 

So I am averse, now, to allowing Trump and Team to sabotage the tranquility I have worked so hard to establish in myself.

It has been a whole lot of work and relentless discipline to get where I am now, harkening back to my days, just after Watergate, when I left D.C. and its drama behind. So I am determined to sustain my tranquility, no matter what!  

Even with my intent, now, to return to that scene, the D.C. fast track, my plan is to reengage, somehow, sans the drama! 

Drama all around me, doesn't mean I have to be in it.

Here are the other four things I will now do in order to, personally, manage the great disturbance in the force, as I perceive it -- and -- keep moving forward in these crazy times.

Four More Things I Am Choosing To Help Me Stay Sane In These Insane Times

1. Having reviewed various perspectives on Donald Trump’s mental health – and – having found the diagnosis I can best live with, I pledge myself to now to proceed, as I would, ordinarily, as a therapist; our entire country on my couch, so to speak.

Additionally, I am figuring out how I might apply said experience and skills to my personal life. 

Thus I will give up trying to make sense of Trump’s insanity, accepting that I have a workable “clinical diagnosis,” as a working hypothesis, to help myself, and those closest to me, get on with the day, as best one can, with a mentally deranged person living in one’s midst!

Enough, I say, trying to making any further sense out of this man’s aberrant behavior!

Now, I will accept that it is what it is. And, go on to figuring out how to live with the insanity in our midst. I might even get bored enough with it all, to go fishing! 

2. Having had the miracle that Monday’s Eclipse brought me. That then brought New Horizons and I to StoryCorps; an idea that sprang up out of the blue/black of the skies, I now know how for me best to speak; the what, the when and the where.  

Thus I pledge myself to continue staying out of debates and other forms of controversial conversing – and – take up New Horizons next mission, storytelling in the service of: 1. Building bridges not walls; 2. Ensuring that I give and have ample, local community support to strengthen others and myself to make it through these turbulent times, as best we can.

Isn’t this what people should do in a hurricane? 

Figure out how best to lean in one's community (i.e. “think global/national and act local”)?

3. I also pledge that I will avail myself of the opportunities partnering with StoryCorps provides to, personally, speak my piece. 

How wonderful! 

And, with this opportunity, I, no longer will need to take center stage on my own. 

Instead I will be doing it, along with others in my community, sharing our stories of “tough people, getting through tough times,” for all of perpetuity. This I will do, in order to articulate my stance, my personal definition of self, while, at the same time, connecting with others in getting through this trying era.

Hopefully, this will be a way I will support and inspire others – and – more than anything – provide a legacy for my children and grandchildren and beyond, demonstrating, as best I can, what to do during challenging periods that, hopefully, will have their end, though we have no idea when. 

In other words, I pledge to be a role model and a leader of what to do when there is almost nothing to do. 

More than anything, I want the generations I leave behind to be able, if nothing else, to see in me, the Power of One in living action, now that I have figured out how best for me to speak my piece!

4. Finally, I will continue to update, as I go, my answers to the basic existential questions: 1. Who am I; 2.  Who you are; 3. What is everybody doing here; and 4. What am I supposed to do in this place, with circumstances such as they are -- and -- with people like you?

Hopefully, these steps and the answers to my several questions above, will help me take back the reins of my daily life and more fully detach from the chaos over which I have no control.

What are you up to on this challenge? I'd sure like to know and exchange stories with you.

So, let me hear from you by commenting here or by contacting me, directly at:

Have a happy day and let the news and views go!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

To Speak, Or Not To Speak? I Just Don’t Know

Maybe the issue for me is what to speak, how to speak, when and where.  So, for today, while I think further on this issue, here are a few of the things that stand out for me on the subject of “to speak, or not”:

I believe:
  • In conscious action and conscious inaction. This means, for me, that like my dear collaborator, Quaker Sue, I need to find my grounding before I speak out and take a stand on things
  • Also, like Sue, I am an introvert. So I may take longer to consider, in silence, what I want to speak before I take action;
  • That the power of one might be simply to not act, unless it’s the right action;
  • That it is even okay for me to act outrageous, if it suits me. Or that I might express myself in a vague or an obtuse way; much like the Sybils of ancient lore, known to be oracles. Or, like Coyote, the great trickster, who might even end up tricking himself.
Then, there is the issue of bashing people.

I like the AA principle of paying attention to principles rather than personalities. The kind of stuff I have listed below takes us into the realm of finger pointing, in my opinion.

But it is only opinion. Certainly not the gospel!

 While there might be some "principles" and even good intentions, people get too much into "blaming the actor" rather than actions 

This morning I found the proliferation of people bashing, at the cost of respecting and honoring the dignity of others, a bit over the top; the arrogance and one-sidedness of some that I read.  

Here are a few things that set me thinking a lot about the issue of speaking or not, leaving me to accept that, for today, at least, I just don’t know.

For example

On the subject of Steve Mnuchin

Ok, so his Yale classmates want him to resign. 

Is that okay for them to voice that opinion? I think, yes!

But he thinks not to take up their admonition.

Is somebody in the right here, or the wrong? I think not!

What I think: Everybody’s welcome to their opinion. Nobody has to be judged as right or wrong, just different views. Let it be! Everything doesn’t have to be a fight these days!

On the subject of Ivanka Trump’s “moral failing” regarding Charlottesville and Trump

What I think: Come on, folks. I surely wouldn’t join in with a public bashing of my dad. If I didn’t agree with him, I might say so. But not on twitter, you can be certain!

On the issue of Tina Fey and her cake eating suggestion/demonstration

What I think: I think Tina Fey is a trickster, like Coyote. Google offers these words on the trickster –
“Whatever the medicine is, good or bad, you can be sure it will make you laugh, maybe even painfully.
You can also be sure that Coyote will teach you a lesson about yourself.
Coyote has many magical powers, but they do not always work in his favor.”
Enough said! Different strokes for different folks. And, “for everything there is a season.”

For me leaning in, dialogue vs debate, blogs, storytelling, writing memoir, tranquility and centeredness are factors in my ways and means for speaking.

But that's me! The one time I did things in a way that, now, I think was rather thoughtless and out of character, I didn't like what came of it one bit. In fact, I am still trying to clean out the fall out!

Hearing and being heard make a difference to me, but with depth and substance.

Like with so many other human issues, it takes a village” of viewpoints, types of people, activities; cake baking and eating, tending babies, moms and dads and kids, students and teachers, people doing repair work, doctors, lawyers, activists, priests and rabbis to help us all get where we are going.

Find your way, Be sure I will be seeking mine, too, as we go along in this brave new world of ours. 

P.S. I found this piece on NBC today, Seven Ways To Be A  Better Activist.

 You might find it helpful as you go along sorting out your way to make a difference in these trying times.  Good luck, whatever you do! 

Just make it something you can be proud of, for always!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Moments That Change Us And Help Us Grow

Please join me in creating “moments that change us.”

See details for Joining The Tranquility Diet plan at end of post.

This morning I started the day by focusing my attentions on “tranquility.” Thus when I read two  NBC news articles on people standing up for their values, in ways that truly resonated with me, I felt I had company on the “what to do” track rather than the Dark Side, “what not to do” trail. 

Charlottesville Mayor Changes Position and Arts Committee Resigns En Masse reminded me what Compassionate Warrior-types do and that I am not alone in seeking the high road when some are “going low.” The actions reported in these article were demonstrating ways of fighting back against perceived tyranny – with heart, not aggression and violence!

I loved it!

Others, also, were taking steps that aligned with “My Tranquility Diet” pledge, made yesterday at New Horizons volunteer work day.

Oh my, how wonderful! 

The actions of these folks were in line with the words of Anne Frank when she said —
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
These leaders were doing it, today!

Thus for me, today, as it was, yesterday, out here in Harpers Ferry, the natural beauty that surrounds one here was as much in me as around me! 

Yesterday, I started the day feeling tranquil and moved into joy! Reading these articles is now helping me recreate that, again, today. Perhaps where we look for inspiration makes a huge difference.

Yesterday we planted fall harvest vegetables. Dug into corporate records to get them organized, had our usual steering committee activities, assessing New Horizons plans for the Fall and doing our general reaching-for-awe practices. It was a lovely day.

We even made good use of the thunderstorms that rose up during our time together, doing indoor kinds of things, involved mostly with our corporate records straightening-out project.

For me, personally, the highlight of the day, besides the planting of more beans and swiss chard, was Sue’s working with me in such a way, attributable to her beautiful gifts as a teacher and healer, resulting in my making a pledge to both New Horizons and myself to make living and being in a state of tranquility for one whole month as my top priority. Today is to be Day One, heading toward my destination of "mission complete" on September 18.

Because we are in such a state of flux, now, at New Horizons which affects me most, as Executive Director and as the person who is now intent on "coming out" of how I have been, into something bigger, this seems to be a wonderful path for us all. 

In the midst of our challenges, I will now be giving attention to staying calm – and – happy under stress and role modeling it for the others, concurrently.

We are having a taxing time, these days. With the chaos Trump is creating, keeping our country in an upheaval. That -- and -- the fact that many people are preferring polarization, presently, to being “united states,” has created a situation wherein we are almost out of work. Thus we must now re-define ourselves. This seems, at present, to possibly mean that we may need to be more selective in choosing who we deem to be appropriate to work with in designing our programs. 

The part about my “coming out” is testing me to the max, too, as I am now having to walk myself back through all the many reasons and accompanying thought and behavior patterns that have shaped me since leaving the D.C. fast track. What a learning process this is, definitely making my coming out a process rather than an event!

With only a few elements, solidly in place, such as: 1. Anastasia is now “coming out” of her leaving-D.C. –created-cocoon; 2. New Horizons stands for unity and that mission must be preserved at all costs; 3. New Horizons is now undergoing re-construction to make way for our new face in the era of Trump. 

When so many seem to prefer polarization to peace, Coffee House Conversations are not, now, in high demand. I definitely have my work cut out for me, especially given that “tranquility” needs to be my over-arching practice in the face of it all.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Joining The Tranquility Diet plan.

In the meantime, consider joining me in pledging to make “tranquility,” or some variation of it, as your priority for the coming month.  This is truly a Winners Paradigm adventure. One of its main tenets comes from the following thoughts of Viktor Frankl, a prominent psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camps. as originally offered in his profound book, Man’s Search For Meaning, on how people lived and survived that ordeal – 
On Choice & Dignity 
But what about human liberty? Is there no spiritual freedom in regard to behavior and reaction to any given surroundings?  
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that 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.
Let’s discover together where choice and tranquility can take us, in the coming month, to living with this kind of “dignity”!

If you would join me, it would be like we are being diet or exercise buddies. 

Even better, we would be fellow travelers seeking “awe” in a time of extreme stress!  

What might that turn out to be like?

I’ll be posting my side of the adventure. And you, too, could share yours, by posting comments to what I write. 

You might even like to join me on my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show for a discussion on how you are doing staying on the “Tranquility Diet.” (One show we have already broadcast, on this theme, "When The Force Is Disturbed What Do We Do"? is now on podcast.)

Or, email me at: with your news.