Friday, June 23, 2017

The Squeeze


A nightmare brought me into the morning today. In it I saw an army intent on squeezing the life out of each and every person it could find.

This army sought to destroy life. At a more benign level they had no regard for the living; the people, the plants, the animals, the sun, the rain or the clouds. 

I wondered what they thought of their own lives. Then realized that they had little in the way of true human thought; the thoughts of a developed humanity.

Something was lacking in this army, something we equate with a true humankind at its higher levels; caring and compassion, developed to the level of beauty and love.

In my dream I saw myself running, trying to flee from this army that would squeeze the very life out if me, if they could take me over. I did not want this!

I was just one more obstacle in the way of their master plan to eradicate life; one more target to be done away with in their effort to lay low the landscape of a once fertile earth.

From where did this vivid nightmare dream come?

Dream theory has it that our dreams are often created out of the residue of happenings of the prior day.

Was it that headlines of last evening stated Trump was seeking a health care plan with heart and our Republican congress had disappointed him with that? Don't they know that nobody wins unless everybody wins?

Or was it the fact that yesterday I came face to face with the realization that someone I had trusted to be my friend had betrayed me?

Or, was it, as dream theory also suggests that every element in our dreams reflects an unconscious part of oneself. Consequently the Dark Side of me was bent on the destruction of those I experience as obstructionist to my life and well being?

Any way I look at it, it's not a pretty picture.

The potential for darkness exists in each and every one of us. But always we have choices about how to manage it.

I pray I will always make the best ones. I haven't always known to do that.

I hope in my maturing I am doing better.

How about you?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"Draining The Swamp:" Now Beginning To Look Like An Interactive Game In The Nation’s Capital


Check this out for starters:

The GAME Is On! A Modified New Horizons’ Truth Or Dare Game Seems To Be Coming To Capital Hill

When I started thinking of “Swamp Draining” as an updated name and theme for New Horizons’ “old” Truth Or Dare Game, I was developing a concept for application, for New Horizons, from all the hype being  spread throughout the media and various other places.    As I wrote, previously, on my Dark Side Warrior blog titled “Swamp Draining As A Metaphor For Social Change,” my plan did not quite fly when it came up against my trusty, devoted, long-term and sometimes laser-beam Communications Chairperson and board member, Lisa, who took issue with it.

So back to the drawing board I was sent by both her and myself; the former because she wasn’t “having it” as a way to tag New Horizons and its ultra-fine community development and reconciliation programs and projects. The latter because I, according to New Horizons principles and practices, couldn’t move forward without board synergy,  

But what about me, I wailed? What about what “I” want (all about ME).

This saga, as it is now unfolding  is a lesson in and of itself for those of you who regularly follow my/our blogs. 

You see at New Horizons we are certain that among the principles we must heed to be in alignment with our mission, both synergy and win-win have critically high priorities.

Take a look at our Climbing The Mountain of Awe page on the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project site to get a brief overview of some of our overarching principles.

Bottom Line: New Horizons and myself, the esteemed leader of our pack, were, thus, stuck for awhile. This is why there there were so few posts on our sites in May, I couldn’t figue out what to write while we were in that quandary.

Look for me to make up for lost time, now, from here forward, as we begin to untie the knots of our tangle. 

Today, the unsnarling is beginning to allow me to highlight some of these critically important points as they unfold and begin to illuminate themselves in the process. 

This will be how for me, Anastasia, to talk to you about what "instead of draining the swamp," as the politicians speak of it, while not allowing that drama to taint the message of New Horizons Small "Zones of Peace" Project. Fun ahead!

So if moving “Beyond Political Craziness” is something you’d like, not only for yourself but also for our entire nation, keep reading. 

My platform starts off with the following notions. 
  • As an agenda, as promoted by Donald Trump, as well as his predecessors who chose to use the metaphor, “draining the swamp” as an image for cleaning up corruption in Washington, the phrase has always  set up a no-win GAME.
  • So allow me, here and now, to suggest there is a developing possibility that this agenda is now to my EYE beginning to show evidence of containing within itself the seeds of an “everybody wins” potential. Inadvertently, without a doubt!
  • How this potenting "everybody wins" outcome might be germinating right smack in front of the eyes of the American public, is now being played out in the political arena, and is quite complex. However as it develops I will guide you to: 1. Recognize it; 2. Analyze it; 3. Comprehend/Understand it; and 4. Take some relief from what you SEE.
I  will do my best to guide you in this attainment, as almost everyone I know of or hear of, would truly like some relief from our current political craziness.’

For the rest of my story, continue over to my Exploring Your Dark Side Warrior blog site for some of the theoretical underpinnings I will be attempting to share with you. (“I” the Wise Woman of Elk Mountain.)

My input on these perspectives will require that you read back and forth from this site, Anastasia The Storyteller, for back stories to Exploring Your Dark Side, to get the gist of my platform and my introduction to relevant theoretical underpinnings. Now in progress. Keep checking in as postings begin to be offered. (To obtain a deeper grasp of these, one must seek more than I can post in a blog. Contact me, if you wish access to this at: SuperSleuthDSW@aol.com.)

I intend to make the effort worthwhile for my devoted readers, as herein will lie something to think about – and sometimes – do rather than feel endlessly stressed about our troubled times. 

May the Force be with us all!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What About The Music And The Dance?


What about the sun and the sky, the moon and the stars, the birds and the trees, the plants and the flowers?

In tapping into daily human life in these turbulent times, it often seems we have forgotten the basics that support our lives; the oxygen and heartbeat of our lives that sustains us; the music and dancing that celebrate life.

We need these to replenish what the hard times demand of us.

Remember this.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beyond Political Craziness


I have long admired the organizational underpinnings of Alcoholic Anonymous. This is so as my twenty-five years of doing private practice psychotherapy centered on treating relationship and personality addictions. While these are addictions of the non-ingested variety, as opposed to the ingested  (i.e. drugs and alcohol), full recovery from these addictions follows along most of the same lines.  A particular focus in treating both is on the individual giving up ego-driven control.

The workings of the alternatives are complex to understand. In my three books, collected under the title "Anastasia’s Random House Trilogy," I have done a fairly decent job, especially in the first of the three, Surviving Addictions, to explicate the dynamics of the non-ingested chemical addictions in the relatively easy to understand language of Transactional Analysis, my home base theory for my professional psychological work.

One of the areas lacking somewhat in that book, or at least insofar as I have been able to present it, as a result of my losing eyesight, is the topic of the collusion between the aggressive addict and the passive addict.

Herein lies the essence of codependency.  And herein lies a major piece of the phenomenon that is Donald Trump in office; the collusion of the aggressive (power addicted) addict (i.e. Trump) and his adoring public (i.e. the passive addict); the ones that are sheep; adoring is the keyword here, implying the reactive, non-thinking element.


Ask any long-term Al Anon member and they will, likely, understand the notion of collusion with the addict in a heartbeat. It is the center of personal derangement.

On the other hand, those who are highly reactive and "fighting" either for or against Trump, without due civility  (i.e. the media, depending on attitude, certainly often those addicted to the media/internet), may not be functioning as much in a problem solving vein as they might like to think. 

Without doubt,  we are in a major crisis these days with Donald Trump in office as head of state. Yet the path to probable solutions may need more practical thinking through than many on the either side of the extremes regarding Trump are recognizing. And, far less reactivity about our problems.  If you had an acting out alcoholic or drug addict in your midst, do you think many of the things being done to handle the problem would suffice? Would endless late night comedy or personal bashing do the trick? Or, would totally ignoring trouble spots that others see as so blatant.

Noting the words of Charles Krauthammer, referencing “Trump Derangement Syndrome” in his article, “The President Can’t Govern By Id,”Krauthammer comes right up on the dilemma running rampant throughout our country. He offers --
“What distinguishes Trump Derangement Syndrome is not just general hysteria about the subject, but additionally the inability to distinguish between legitimate policy differences on the one hand and signs of psychic pathology on the other.”
Ask yourself, can you distinguish between these two that Krauthammer points out? If not, you may not be allowing yourself to support Trump where he most needs you, or, at the other extreme "enabling," simply by accepting conduct on his part that functions "beyond the pale" or emotional health and stability. The latter can be as destructive as pushing back against him, aggressively or passively.

To understand one simple trouble going on with Trump; his inability to get his policies operative, needs to be viewed, I strongly hold, by paying heed to a philosophy that has built the, almost incomprehensible success of Alcoholics Anonymous, a success founded on “principles before personalities. Trump supporters see this strength in him. Don't push them away, if you are on the opposing side with anger and reactivity. 

Rather lean in and learn from others who may think differently than you. This is the path to genuine problem solving which we are in dire need of now! 

Be part of the team where warranted! Not necessarily on the Trump Team, but especially be a team with your family, friends, neighbors and local community and strive to find the healthy places for yourself, as your baseline. 

A president is not supposed to be akin to the Messiah. That means, use your own personal power to join with others in taking practical, united stands, without reactivity, to better our society in ways that matter most to you.

This is how you can make a difference, almost every day!  I have been practicing this lean in strategy since the election and have found amazing results, as I learn from people who voted for Trump while I did not. (I was not a Hillary supporter but did not know who else to choose so voted for her.)

I spoke on this topic, somewhat on my most recent show on The Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show. Soon, again, I will be discussing more on this theme.  Take heed!

The American public, to weather the storm, we are now living in needs more than any one thing I can see, to adopt this AA tenet. The goal, as in the Twelve Steps, is “recovery” of the United States of America, at its best, is demanding that “we the people” stop colluding with Trump.  But also stop fighting him, just because you may not like him or his acting out ways.

It is important to note here that passivity, reactivity and anger are all corresponding roles of responding to the aggressive/power addicted addict. Each is based on some form of “discounting” the solvability of problems. Reach beyond this for yourself. To something higher.

So be sure, that whatever you choose to do minimizes passivity, anger and reactivity with as much practicality as possible. In other words, do your best to stay calm, under the stress. Of course easier said than done in these times!

The three blog sites for which I write are designed to be linked with one another. Here is how to use them in this way.
All three of these sites have the principles of non-ingested chemical addiction recovery at their base, as developed originally by Martin G. Groder, M.D. and expanded by Marty and myself, as well as others that Marty mentored.

Also, listen to the discussions on my two radio shows for inspiring and informative conversations on society and politics from a variety of angles, both personal and professional.

Anastasia The Storyteller; and 
The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show
  • Please read/listen carefully what is posted here and on my other blog sites from here forth, if moving beyond the craziness of our current political crisis is your intent. 
  • Remember, pointing your finger at Donald Trump will only get you so far in handling these crazy times. 
  • You need, also, to get yourself out of the chaos, out of the reactivity and find ways in which to hold to your own center of values and ethics and think practically

  • From a New Horizons perspective, we hold that “life is with people. That means "lean in" to others who are different, ethnically, from yourself or merely think differently than you.
  • This means active grassroots involvement as much as you can manage, not just talk. And, also not fighting just to fight.
This is what we are offering here to help us all move “Beyond Political Craziness” and be able to survive – as well as we possibly can --- this challenging time.

Monday, June 5, 2017

I Apologize


  1. Hear more details on this story, Tuesday, June 6 on The Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio --

Why I Am Soooo Very Sorry –And – So Grateful!

Join the discussion by calling in at: 646.787.8624. 
Tuesday, June 6 at 2:00 p.m. Also on podcast.

I was horrified, heart sick yesterday when, after trying to reach my Beloved cousin, Sallie, I found out she had been avoiding me. The political toxicity of our nation, spreading in epidemic proportions, had infiltrated our relationship.

OMG!

It was an awful experience to find out this had happened, in spite of my every effort – and – possibly hers -- to not allow this to occur with us.

OMG!
From the little girl
sitting on the
 basement steps!
Now if I am to turn this ordeal into a “teachable moment” here, I must allow it to actually become a series of teachable moments, shared on this site. This has its drawbacks as I have discovered in the past that when I see that a topic I wish to present here begins to take shape in my mind, as a series, I often don’t get far in to developing the theme before something else attracts my interest and I go on to that.

Hopefully, the archives/labels on this site help you, my devoted readers, follow some of these threads over time. I certainly hope so.

Nonetheless, here I go with another thread for I don’t know how long.  I could actually do a whole series on my cousin Sallie. She and what she means to me would be well worth the time and effort. Nonetheless, for now I will simply try and stick to this one UPSET!!

Oh dear! Oh dear!

Well here goes my story about this awful upset.  I sincerely hope that sharing my tale of woe might help enlighten your thinking, if nothing else.

To set the stage:
  1. I am a registered Independent, formerly, as the majority of Jewish people would be, a registered Democrat. And, now for, as far as I can see ahead, a registered Democrat no more.
For all my former allegiance, I feel totally betrayed by the Democratic party, at least as I thought it was. I think, as a group, Democrats are not paving the way, at all, for the vision I hold of a healthy U.S.A.!

I hope if you are a registered Democrat, you will, at least, give me the respect and courtesy of not disparaging me for this!  And I truly mean this in more ways than I can say right here and now; Number One being, however, that I think enough is enough of the American public polarizing like most politicians are doing, more so these days than ever before, at least as I recall. But then, perhaps, I was only operating with some kind of childlike fantasy of what the world was like or could be like, thinking that Democrats, possibly, held the key to it.

How totally naive!

More, much more on this in my series ahead, if I ever get it all out!

2. Cousin Sallie is now a registered Republican; also a formerly registered Democrat, coming from much the same stock as me.

3. Cousin Sallie is totally Pro-Trump;

4. Right now I am not pro anything, or anybody. 

5. I just want people to come together and stop polarizing!!

Remember I am the little girl sitting on the basement steps! I don’t like it when people argue.

Over the years, as I have grown and matured, I have come to accept, even appreciate the need for conflict, debate and, at times, even marked polarization. However, I have also come to see that there is always a way through points of separation, if only as a temporary détente. 

If a higher good and peace and reconciliation are valued enough, people can stop fighting and bashing one another!

It’s an attitude thing, as far as I’m concerned!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

“Thin Places: Where We Are Jolted Out Of Old Ways of Seeing The World”


“Thin Places: Where We Are Jolted Out Of Old Ways of Seeing The World” was the title of a New York Times article on March 9, 2012. I had been searching under the key words of “thin places” when I came across it. I had just finished a first draft of “Chapter Two: Controversy” for my current book in progress, The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard: How Communities Come Apart and How They Heal. The chapter was to be critiqued this coming Sunday at the Frederick Writer’s Salon, the group that is a central support for me as I make my way through the, often arduous, writing of the book I now am devoted to completing asap.

Working on this book is a true labor of love with “love” being the keyword here.

I have never before written a full-length memoir although I have started two others; Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street and To See Or Not To See: The Art of Transcendent Living. Doing so, now, is demanding all that I’ve got inside of me, it seems. Nonetheless, I feel that I must tackle it though sometimes I literally hate it! 

There are some parts, however, that I like, a few I even hold with fondness though they are still in first draft form.  One of these is the section I finished last night. In that piece I am describing my drive home into the mountains where I live at New Horizons Harper’s Ferry Retreat Center. I offer it below.
Potomac Gap At
Harpers Ferry

The peaks of green I saw ahead, beckoned me as if welcoming me home. Soon I would drive through them and into them to actually be home, again. Nestled in the place I love most in the world, my private sanctuary awaited my return, abundant in lush beauty and serenity. Here, “away from the madding crowd” of town, I would sink into the richness and just let go; birds and trees, critters too small to see, deer roaming freely; sometimes too much, as they come close to my private dwelling for an early evening dinner feast, black bear hovering, I hope, beyond the boundaries I call home. 

Driving through the valleys on my route, the combination of mountains and valleys felt every bit as if they were the slim places of Celtic lore, where heaven and earth embraced, with little distance between them. Blessed was I, to be able to meander my way through such splendor, famously known by the words of Thomas Jefferson as being -- 
“perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” 
New Horizons and myself live just above what is known as the Potomac Gap of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The location rightly earns praise such as that of Thomas Jefferson. Truly it is one of the precious “thin places” that draw heaven and earth together.

As I write my book, based on a local Jewish/Muslim controversy in which I played a central role in its resolve, I write of my travels back and forth from my mountain sanctuary into the nearby town, seat of the conflict. In the telling of my tale, I find myself intrigued by the sparkling reality that, apparently, my life in these mountains, likely played a not insignificant role in helping me, no matter what, “Finding Light In The Darkness," that surrounded during the time of that episode.

I wish everyone would be as fortunate as I am, to have a “thin place” to call home. However, many people would probably not even enjoy what I consider to be luxurious living; quite a step down from a five star Hyatt accommodation.  Aside from the type of option I hold dear, I wish, minimally, all could, at least, visit sacred places such as this, routinely. I think if would help so much, especially in the era of Trump where so much turmoil abounds.

That New York Times article concluded with the writer’s assessment of the inclination for this neglect in people for personal care of body, mind and spirit with these words --
Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked. 
Eric Weiner, New York Times, March 9, 2012.
Could it be that the avoidance of places in which to experience the coming together of heaven and earth, the “thin places," is, in great measure, how many, if not most, people, these days, keep themselves excessively caught up in the day-to-day upsets of Trump and Company pitted against the Democratic party and other anti-Trump factions?

I can’t help but see a connection here. The “thin places” are about coming together; heaven and earth especially, not separation. 

Think about it!