Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Today I want to hear the voice of my heart speak clearly enough to me that I can, at last, prepare myself for my, again and again, scheduled and rescheduled, radio show, “Finding my voice.”

Almost one year ago, on my second radio show broadcast, on Anastasia The Storyteller, on January 29, 2013, I found myself, after years of dreaming it, situated so as to be able to share, in total, the story I have most wanted to communicate, “The One About What I Learned From Watergate.”  

With that show as a background setting, I set out to impart, that day, a central part of my life’s journey that I believe shaped who and what I am -- and -- from which, I believe, I can best offer back something of benefit to others.

Note: Listening to this podcast can be tedious I find. There are many strands introduced that cannot be followed through on, simply. Nonetheless, I hope this first offering can serve as a starting point for treasures to be realized as we go forth. And, that you will listen to it with an intention to build a conversation of significance with me through it.

I was grateful to have this opportunity. Before too long, through this radio show of my own, supported by the articles I write for this site, and with the encouragement of friends, I experienced myself as on the way to the realization of a long-held goal, sharing in a manner, I believed, that could, most fully, be useful.

By summertime, this platform of mine had freed up my voice so as to as be better able to articulate the story and its relevance to current affairs, both social and political. So much so that the first draft of a new book, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street,” popped out of me.

By early Autumn I was on the way of my mission, boosted by a hard-won, bountiful support network. At long last I could see ahead to a mission completed.  Then, in the midst of reveling, I took a hit; an eye infection of grave concern sent me back into the pit of potential blindness, again. I would need to cut back on outer involvements to concentrate on first things first; body, mind and spirit. Thus, from late September until now, I had little energy for offering my voice to greater concerns than my own immediate ones.

To know me, superficially, you would think, speaking comes, easily and naturally to me. So you might not have thought I’d be so challenged to keep up what had become my daily pace. In some ways that is accurate, conversation does come almost effortlessly to me. Yet I have come, more and more, to realize that much of that apparent ease is the product of a straightforwardness I was accustomed to as a child, but that was, over time, replaced by a mask, hiding the true voice of me.

That which had, originally, been authentically me became, later, a performance; a natural tendency converted into an artful tool, a craftsperson’s skill, designed to affect a desired outcome, maintaining connection without giving away what had, by then, become secreted.

Without my being conscious of it, until much later, my natural love for the people around me and the security and spontaneity, so much a part of that innocent world of mine, was replaced by fear and caution; a certain sense that simply presenting myself as the me I had been was no longer safe or uncomplicated; a usual set of adaptations for a child who was being abused which, by then, I was.

Having said all of this, I am accounting, to both you and myself, for the challenge I have had, recently, in preparing for, what I hope will be my next AnastasiaThe Storyteller Radio Show. (Consult this link to find details and scheduling information for "Finding My Voice".) It comes down to this.

“My head/intellectual mind has a voice as does my heart. The former is strong and articulate. The latter, the voice of my heart, is quiet and mystical, not easily given to words. Often she …. hides herself while the voice of my mind can readily make itself known, if I choose. Not so, the voice of my heart. She struggles to express herself.” Yet it is the two of these voices, together in harmony, that I must do my best to express on this show, on my blogs and in this new book, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street.”

This is what it means for me to “find my voice.” It has been most difficult to do this recently.

In summation, allow me to say that this has been a wonderful year for me; a year, perhaps more than any other, during which I found my true voice, more fully than ever before. I thank all of you who have been a part of this adventure, participating in it and, also, giving to me of your best self while supporting this growth of mine and New Horizons and its various projects and programs.

I hope you will continue, in the New Year, to do this and share with me/us your true voice as I/we struggle, sometimes, sometimes not, to do the same with our dearest wishes for a bright future.

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Marjah" and "mojo"

(Marjah = Higher Self. Mojo = Magical powers.)
Celebrating Murat's beautiful 

life, today, on his ninety-eighth 

Murat Yagan, New Horizons’ community development mentor, also my spiritual mentor, introduced us to the word – “marja" (sometimes spelled “marjah”). Murat who is ninety-eight today (born December 16, 1915) defines the meaning of the word as “Higher self; God within human.”

Note: Dr. Viacheslav Chirikba has written a wonderful profile article of Murat and his community of students in British Columbia, “Abkhazian Wiseman from Vernon.” You may find it to be informative as an aid to your understanding of New Horizons’ motivations for adopting Murat as our trusted community development guide. Published in "Respublika Abkhazia", Sukhum, Abkhazia, 21-22 April 2001.

I am understanding how to access the “marjah” in me, better and better, recently, thanks to Murat’s great clarity of instruction in his newest book, Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Science of Universal Awe, Volume II.

Several months back, two copies of that long-awaited tome showed up in my mail box; one each for Sue and I, for contributing an article to the book. We were just about ready to leave for our vacation to Canada, at the time, and were so grateful we had it to take with us and explore on our travels.

Delightfully the book, also, included a DVD with meditations guided by Murat. I welcomed both book and DVD, wholeheartedly, though the drawbacks of using WiFi on the island, without plumbing and electricity, that was our home for a week or so, limited my listening.

So -- long and short of my story, here -- this morning as I was contemplating whether or not I could, in fact, do my next scheduled Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show, titled “Finding My Voice,” tomorrow as planned, I got to wondering if “marjah,” as defined above and “mojo,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “a power that may seem magical, allowing one to be effective and successful, might come together, for me, over the next twenty-four hours, so I can, finally, do that show I’ve been planning, scheduling and rescheduling, now, for more than two months!

So sorry about that.

Nonetheless, if you’ve been wondering what’s going on about this seemingly negligent management of my broadcasts, just when we were getting going, the explanation lies in: 1. My recent eye infection; 2. The identity crisis I’m having as I embark on my adventure of writing, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street;” and 3. New Horizons going through a reorganization as we expand our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, remodel our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center and increase the accessibility of our Cultural Mediation community development programs.

If you like what we have here on our two blog sites and two radio shows, please do check back for updates. We will keep you posted here and on-air as our perspectives and plans unfold. Providing, of course, that, over the coming months ahead, “marjah” and “mojo” stay with us.

With gratitude and love to our dear Murat, as always abundant in his marjah, on this, his ninety-eighth birthday today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Leaning in rather than not

Last year’s “Overcoming Polarization (of politics)” event which just passed its one year anniversary date this past week taught me some hard-won lessons this past year.
We must all learn how to
dance with the Dark Side.

The idea for the event had been mine, originally growing out of New Horizons Possible Human, Possible Society Study. Data being gathered from the study was already revealing interesting trends and several interviewees I had met through the study and the insights derived from our annual board meeting signaled the plan for the event as an appropriate direction. Added to this was what I had long known of my own, personal destiny (More on this as New Horizons various projects, programs and my two radio shows continue on from here forth; Anastasia The Storyteller and The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show.)

(To hear podcasts particularly related to my notion of destiny, listen to Anastasia The Storyteller. Significant background information is presented in "The One About What I Learned From Watergate," January 29, 2013.  

Note: Listening to this podcast can be very tedious I find. However, if you listen carefully, pick out only one or two points that are significant for you --- and -- ask me to elaborate on any one of them, you will begin to discover, for yourself, a treasure trove of data that is relevant to how we can now help to transform the darkness of the society within which we are now living.)

The short version is that I believe, unequivocally, that I was given a definitive  assignment in August, 1974, derived out of the Watergate scandal, to someday return to the fast track world of our nation’s political arena, having exited in January, 1973, with a distinctive message on –

“How to transform the dark side that thrives here, there and everywhere into the light.”

I have built and staked my life on this assignment ever since!

Throughout this site, as well as on my various Anastasia TheStoryteller Radio Shows, especially those highlighting my new book in progress, “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street” you will find hints of this “coming attraction” (targeted for release February, 2016), throughout. The real deal whole of the story, however, and how it can serve is yet to be fully revealed but it is in progress, here and now, as I write.

Now, back to my original point for this article, “Leaning in rather than not.”

Last year’s “Overcoming Polarization” event was conceived of by me, supported by New Horizons Board of Directors and put into motion by me as a “lean in together” community project.

Given that Hurricane Sandy prompted the rescheduling of the event and the other this and that things on the way, the event came off rather successfully – on the surface – while on another level, behind the scenes, it was a travesty of every good intention upon which it had been conceived.

I say that now to mark the occasion and the lessons its anniversary calls to mind. Just as our most recent Abkhazian Dinner had its dual levels; success on the surface and some overriding gunk underneath. Prompted by these lessons, as well as those accrued earlier out of an earlier, “MiddleEast Crisis In My Backyard” with the intent that this site, as well as our New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project site will -- in the coming months and year ahead -- hope to draw from these events, the teachable lessons that may, with the refinement reviewing their subtle nuances can potentially offer, serve to raise our collective consciousness to a higher vibration in the future ahead.

This has been one sorry-ass year for polarization, if you ask me. Thus, I offer my slight slivers of insight with the hopes we can do far better next year.

“Leaning in rather than not,” in each and every way one can, can make a huge difference for the society and politics of this country, if you ask me!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Finding the voice of my heart

My head/intellectual mind has a voice as does my heart. The former is strong and articulate. The latter, the voice of my heart, is quiet and mystical, not easily given to words. Often she (I am quite certain “she,” the voice of my heart, is wholly feminine while the voice of my intellectual mind is rather androgynous) hides herself while the voice of my mind can readily make itself known, if I choose. Not so, the voice of my heart. She struggles to express herself. Nonetheless, both voices are equally passionate about life, love and social justice.

During the past two and one-half months that I have been dealing with my eye infection, I have been wrestling, inordinately, with these two voices of mine; the intellectual one held back in its yearning to speak and interact while the voice of my heart was drawn inward, needing to tend, first and foremost, to my personal wellbeing. As a consequence of this internal struggle, I found myself, also, confused as to who I am, in truth. A painful identity crisis, once again, constantly loomed over me.

Am I more definitively aligned with the voice of my intellect, the one most often expressed in my interpersonal relations? Or, is the quiet voice of my heart truly who I am?

I knew I had, over time, developed a voice, as surely as I had come to develop a Self. Yet, I could not come to terms with what the voice of that Self sounds like, if not totally mute.  Thus I found myself wary of speaking at all, feeling as if any words expressed at all brought forth pain. I didn’t wish to disappear but could find no way to truly be present.

Then, yesterday, as snow and freezing rain fell outside my doors and windows, clarity came to me that has put my quandary at ease. Though I have grown, immensely, since the time, in the early 1970s, when I chose to exit my fast track D.C. life; the starting point for “Hot Pants, Motorcyclesand K Street,” the voices of my mind/intellect and that of my heart are, still, in the process of expressing who I am as an integrated whole. Never quite arriving at completion.

The point of departure for that tale is a time and place where most of what could be seen of me was a performance, barely the true me at all. Yet it was and has become much of who and what I am, fundamentally, today. Further, I came to realize that while these two primary voices of me are expressive of who I am, at any given moment, they are, additionally, always in flux, a product of interactions with others, updated, moment by moment; the certain truth and clarity one moment, always, potentially, giving way to updated information that, then, creates of me, a new Self, in the next. This, then, is my current, greatest challenge in the writing of “Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street;” finding the true voice of me, the author.

Out of this awareness, I came to realize that my hope is that, your voices and Self, too, are always in motion. In this way we each stand firm in the knowing of who we are. Yet, also, open to the expansiveness we help bring forth in each other.

This, to me, is the “possible human” creating the “possiblesociety.” The potential integration of intellectual mind and heart in motion.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Touch of Progress

Update on Anastasia’s (right) eye crisis

After two more emergency visits to Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore this past week (added to the two months of challenge to date), improvement has, at last, been marked yesterday and today.

I thank all who have expressed their concern and support with my recent vision challenges. An update will be posted, if significant changes occur. In the absence of this, please assume that my sight is steady and I am, again, back in upward motion.

With gratitude,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Finding the light in my darkness

After two months of, again, finding myself on the edge of threatened blindness, after achieving, in recent days, a modicum of progress, I wanted nothing more than to stow myself away, alone, over Thanksgiving, out here in the mountains and write.

As most writers appreciate, when one is cut off from writing, it can feel akin to separating from one’s soul. This is, truly, how it is for me. So solitude, combining with the ambiance of the natural settings surrounding me, out here in the mountains, was what I was craving; turkey and the trimmings could wait for another time. Then the eve of Thanksgiving approached, ushering in, too, the Jewish festival of lights, Chanukah, to bring in that day. Settling myself into my holiday plan of relaxation and writing, I, thus, awaited my next inspiration, gratefully, all alone, readying myself, as it were, to write and, quietly, revel in the once-in-a lifetime union of these two celebrations.

But -- just as my holiday plan was being launched, another eye crisis surfaced. Carefully observant, by now, of the nuances and subtleties of what I can and cannot see out of this troubled right eye of mine, I systematically watched and waited. Then watched and waited again.

There was no one, but me, within assistance distance by this time. And, only the specialized care at Johns Hopkins, a good distance away, could treat my complex eye disturbance, I was certain.  What to do? What to do?

Thinking to contact the on-call Emergency Room ophthalmologist, certain my own cornea specialist would, without doubt, want me to do this, at least, I made that call, only, simultaneously, to reassure and frustrate both the doctor and myself. Reality was that I was stuck on a turbulent sea of threatened blindness, the water around me, swelling, as if I were in a rowboat on stormy waters, without even an oar, the on-call doctor, my life guard, unable to reach me. With one, stop-gap, potential antidote; returning to a prescription I had just come off, supported by the on-call doctor, again, I set my mind to calm and relax. There were no further hoped for advances for this twenty-four hour span.

My threatened eye's recovery was, now, in the hands of fate. By this time, it was sundown; time for Chanukah and the eve of Thanksgiving. For the next little while, I determined, I would allow myself to float on waves of gratitude and celebration, sink or swim; marking what I did have at hand rather than not. Maybe, like the Maccabees whose saving of the Temple in Jerusalem is marked by the Chanukah commemoration, I, too, might have enough light to make it through a pending threat.

Setting concern aside, I lighted my menorah, sought and found numerous YouTube versions of Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights” and various renditions of the “Dreidel Song” I grew up with; the Disney cartoon version, my favorite, and turned my heart and mind to celebration.

Guess what happened next? Adam Sandler and his song made me cry with delight, reminding me that I am one hundred percent joyful that I have, now, become the former Anti-Semitic, recovering Jewish American Princess, without separation, a member of the tribe of Jews just like me who are American too.

Thanksgiving arriving on the first day of Chanukah brought me to rejoice. Like the Maccabees, I had just enough light to make it, in my case, through to the Monday after Thanksgiving, when I finally did get to Johns Hopkins, still on the edge of threatened blindness in my right eye, yet, having, once more, found light inside of darkness.