Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So Beautiful, Yet So Challenging: The invisible Becoming Visible

More excerpted from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” – manuscript in progress.

How very strange, I reflected, that revealing the extent of my current eye problem crisis on this blog site brought a calm to wash over me; a lightness of such purity and subtlety that I felt lifted to a higher realm of being.

How could an experience like this bring such transcendence; simply sharing, openly, that which I, generally, so closely hold private?

It is not with any intention to be less than transparent that I have held the subject of my eyes and their ongoing threats of blindness, quiet . Only inadvertently has the subject;  not been shared more fully. And, yet in exploring my “Anastasia The Storyteller” blog site, today, for that which I have previously shared, I find I have written a fair amount on the subject. So my situation has not truly been kept secret.

(Check the labels on this home page for “Keratoconus,” “Blind/seeing“911,” "To See Or Not To See" and “Recovery from blindness” for these articles.)

Actually there has been more than enough about my past visual impairment to suit me to date.  Do you think, perhaps, that I have been too reserved on the subject? I have in the past and, thus, robbed myself and others of the growth possibilities that the sharing of sorrows and losses can prompt.

Please do let me know, if this is so, for you about me.

No matter, destiny seems to have pushed the issue, once again, to the fore so that I/we have another opportunity here, if we missed out before.

Journalist Mike Corrigan, writing under the name G.M. Corrigan, wrote a beautiful article about my experiences with and recovery from blindness in “Finding Light In the Darkness” (Frederick News Post, August 6,2006). I so much appreciate how he utilized his proficiency with words to tell my blindness story and capture the transformation that was also mine, along with my losses and challenges.  I hope you will take time to read the story, if you are so inclined.

Making my black-patched eye, half-blindness as big and bold as a Hollywood happening, my former press agent, Charlie Brotman, brought both my impairment of a time past (late 1960s, early 1970s) into the spotlight in tandem with the U.”S. “Male” Service. Charlie’s creative genius, also, gave immense dignity to my vision challenges.

The U.S. “Male” Service (circa 1966) is the entrepreneurial enterprise that serves as the foundation for “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street.” It was purportedly the first reminder and gift shopping service known worldwide according to Voice of America (1967) and also offered an all-female, in hot pants, motorcycle delivery service to handle its deliveries. The delivery service was called "Special Delivery Messenger Service."

(See "Hostess For 'Eye Patch Party' Has A Personal Concern: Marcia Rosen, Who Had Unsuccessful Surgery Helps Those Who Helped Her," Washington Evening Star newspaper, November 21, 1969. Article to be posted, pending copyright permissions.)

With all this past, I was so surprised and happy that sharing my eye crisis, in my own words on this blog site, quickly brought me generous notes of caring and concern to fill my email inbox. I was touched!

Yet with this outpouring, questions, generally held in my personal cold storage vault, now arose; the central theme being around my dread of more public visibility than I can comfortably manage and the consequences therein. 

Thus, inquiries, most appropriately made, prompted me to seriously ponder my responsibilities to others as well as my personal priorities, present and future. 

Legitimate questions such as --
  • ·         How recently did my present eye crisis arise?
  • ·         Was the loss of my right eye’s vision a certainty?

To respond to these queries, individually or publicly on this site, I had my own questions to answer:
  • ·     How big or how small is this present eye infection crisis for me, up against the backdrop of the overall framework of my life?
  • ·     How big or how small is the situation in terms of how I describe my circumstances to others?
  • ·     Is there a public version as well as a private version for the story of the situation?
  • ·     Where does one draw the line between the two; the private and the public?
  • ·     And, does that line drawing respect all concerned (not being too reticient, nor burdening others etc.)?
  • ·     What is the potential fallout for me and for New Horizons from my being more transparent on this issue than I have been so far 0f now being half-blind?
  • ·     How can I guide the effects of my transparency onto a positive track and, thus, offset the negative?
  • ·     And, above all, perhaps, how can I now find my voice and be an active part of the co-creation of beauty in this often challenged world, especially when I, too, am challenged (i.e. how does one bring this into balance)?

What I actually yearn for most is the calm, washing over me; the lightness of purity and subtlety in everything I say and do that can bring healing to our troubled world.  As well as the healing of my wounded eyes, lifting me to that higher realm where all things are possible; the “universal awe” to which Murat, New Horizons’ community development mentor, so devotedly directs our attention, as his most recent book, "Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Universal Science of Awe, Volume II," so profoundly explicates.

Now, however, as fate would have it, it is time to light the first candles of Chanukah and to usher in Thanksgiving day.  So, for now, I will seek to find my peace in being thankful for what I/we have.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finding my voice

Another excerpted reflection from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street

I was all set to go on to what seemed to be the next logical step in a sequence of articles, following on, ‘In A Different Voice.” I thought I’d hit on something visitors to this site would appreciate as having some fundamental value in the grand scheme of things; the sharing of my personal story and finding my true, authentic voice for whatever inspirational benefit it might provide. Or, as a prompt for others to similarly share back, as my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show intends to do.

Patience, the mighty
The goal of my sharing on this topic, finding one’s voice, was a gift to be tendered, arising from the deepest parts of me; the home of my soul.  Yet I have fallen short on this objective, to date; this summit I have been seeking of late, as evidenced by my absence, again, here for a time.

Unanticipated obstacles arose, obstructing my goal. Among them, and not the least of them is that I, once again, have come close to blindness; the result of a recent infection to my right eye. And, just when I was feeling most expansive about my recovered life after blindness, all the many New Horizons' advances – and – my new book writing project, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” I took a tumble. I fell off my bike, so to speak, and had a great deal of difficulty getting back on.

But I am here now to tell that tale, where and when appropriate. And, thus, get myself back in the saddle.

What happened behind the scenes was this.

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday near the end of September, I was, at last, heading into the underbelly of the beast, the K Street/Connecticut Avenue corridor, central scene of this tome of mine, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” intent on, at last, officially beginning my on-site “research” for the book. Confident in my vision for the book, the chapter outline completed, in first draft form, my plan for the manifestation of the book in print, determined, when a horrible bacterium infected my eye.

By Monday, after that important weekend, rather than moving on to the next steps of my book writing plan, on the heels of that long-anticipated sojourn into D.C., I spent the next day in Baltimore (Maryland) at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute emergency care. With another six or seven emergency care visits yet to come throughout October and into November. (My right eye gained some sight back from this previous infection but was still legally blind. It is now more scarred and blind.)

Of course, I was humbled and, of course, needing to remind myself, again, of who is really in charge of my plans. Which, obviously is not me! Still, I must confess that, for my part, all I found myself yearning to do was to write my blog articles. Eye infection be damned! 

Held back by the needs to care for my eye, unable to reach my pinnacle of articulation as I had envisioned it, my plan to follow up on my trip into D.C., each and every day I found myself frustrated by my physical limitations juxtaposed by this longing. Nonetheless, win or learn is truly the name of the game of life with the latter my immediate destiny. 

Now you know why I could not show up here.

I was too drained, emotionally; physically weary and scared to even try to climb to this hungered for peak of communication though I, also, found myself truly without words to, authentically convey. I was sunk in a pit of physical challenge and psychological identity confusion, simply unable to know who I was anymore. Physical health, God and serenity need to rise to the fore before I would be able to find my voice again.

In the meantime, reaching the crest where my long-held, treasured tales, as well as the lessons learned thereof, would be spoken, readied as they are, now, to be emptied from my personal records vault, would just have to wait.

What I had held so deep inside of me for decades could not realize release. My words free, at last, to carry the promise so long in anticipation of their days of liberation were not yet to be written, spoken nor heard.

What seemed to bother me most, besides my fear of once again being blind was my pressing, innate belief that holds to the importance of contributing to the greater whole of life and society as a necessity for a human existence well-lived. Would I be blind, again, I certainly feared. And, if so, how would I complete this new book in progress, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” intended to aid me in fulfilling that obligation.

But what to do, what to do when the writer could not write?

“Patience, cried a tiny, weak voice inside of me. What is truly authentic must make its way forth in its own good time.”

Sue suggested this complication, my eye infection and, once again, threatened blindness, could be viewed as a time of further gestation; a time whereby the Wise Woman of Elk Mountain I have grown to be would be maturing her voice to be shared in the future.

But would this time of threatened blindness pass? I had no way of knowing. And, still do not.

Gloria adds that my struggle, these days, to speak from the depths of my soul is, also, everyone else’s through times of joy and sorrow, hope and despair. She is right, so, I see that I must content myself these days to stumble along here.

Still, I am hoping that I am on way back now, as I feel most whole, body, mind and spirit, when a piece I am writing has just been completed. Nonetheless, beginning, middle or end of a cycle, Gloria and I will take up this topic, “finding my/our voice/voices” on the Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show.

This week’s show  is on Wednesday, November 27, 11:30 a.m.

Please do join us and let us hear your stories about finding your voice.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

In a different voice

An excerpted reflection from “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street
The year is 1972. My best friend, Sarabess and I have ventured to a Consciousness Raising group (CR), sponsored by the National Organization of Women (NOW). I have a toddler. Sarabess is pregnant.

Up until the time of this attending, my life centers around my businesses; the U.S. ”Male” Service and Special Delivery Messenger Service (Also see *note below), my husband and two young children; one a little over a year old, the other going on nine. 

Summertime adds another layer of importance to this emerging adulthood life of mine. Three times weekly my friend and I make trips to the beach; Sarabess and I are devout worshippers of Amaterasu, Japanese  goddess of the sun. As often as we can, on the road by 7:30 a.m. to return by dusk, we devotedly travel the road to Ocean City, Maryland to bask in her light.

We, too, are goddesses, though still only initiates at this point. This we do not yet know of ourselves, though by instinct it is both to the beach and the goddess we are led. With reverence we, ritualistically, guide ourselves onto the prayer path of sand, ocean water, suntan oil and the rays of this goddess; a pilgrimage, taking us close to five hours per day, round trip. Obviously, we are not worrying about gas prices.

Five hours each day, times three days a week, we travel. Fifteen hours total drive time, plus the five hours on the beach each of our days, times three days; almost a full time job. Our reverence for Amaterasu, paid in the cherished sun time veneration we savor.

Without doubt, we are sun worshippers, Sarabess and I. We are, also, under the thumbs of our husbands. This factor ensures we return home each day of our pilgrimage to have dinner ready and on the table for the men.  No other alternative occurs to us, such as simply staying overnight sometimes to minimize our drive time.

Then comes the Consciousness Raising group.


Women’s voices, women’s perspectives, women’s emotions, the boundary-less support of other women; women like us, discovering a possible world out from under the thumbs of our men.

Not long after this a new goddess potion releases me from an alcoholic, rage-aholic husband. I leave fast track Washington, D.C. behind, return to college and enroll in a post graduate clinical training program with the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). I am privileged to be excepted and accepted into it as a “mature” student. I am on my way to becoming a feminist psychotherapist, a Certified Transactional Analyst and Gestalt therapist. (However, my reoccurring threats of blindness and treatment, beginning with my junior year, take me on a maverick route through all of this.)

Sarabess becomes a yoga teacher. She will, someday, obtain multiple Masters Degrees, go on to do a television show, teaching yoga, and coach countless others to develop finely tuned disciplines of body, mind and spirit. She battles her way through the struggles of her marriage and motherhood, surmounting them to achieve many of her life’s dreams.  She stays in her mariage. I do not.

In 1980, I become, also, a researcher of socio-psychological dynamics and cultural evolution. This turns out to be my great passion. Thus, a time of transition, brought into being in 1972, turns out to be, with Watergate underscoring the era, the beginning of my identity in wholeness, still without end.

Though I had not yet gained the observers’ wisdom of distance at the time, I can always trace back to this summer of Amaterasu and Conscious Raising groups as the start of my finding a different voice for myself;  the voice of a woman who views herself as a goddess; “I am woman, hear me roar.”

That’s what “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” sets out to tell; the tale of how one woman, Me, left behind the near-tears of identity confusion, thinking of myself as “better than other woman, less than a man,” to find her own, personal way through the the dark side of society and politics with a woman’s dignity.

*Note: If you care to do the research prior to our clearing copyright permissions, you can find the source for this, now, in the archives at the Smithsonian. The book in progress,“Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” most directly ties to “Burgeoning Business Brims Over: Twenty-seven year old starts runaway personal shopping service” – Washington Sunday Star newspaper, September 24, 1967. Check it out, if you like.