Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Open Letter To Our Loyal Followers


Also posted to New Horizons Small "Zones of Peace" Project blog site.

The letter that follows is being shared with you, in advance of New Horizons Annual Board Meeting, being held this coming Saturday. The intention of it being put forward, publicly, is to allow you to see how New Horizons and myself are presently struggling through these challenging times and some of the measures we are taking, collectively, to move through the darkness into the Light.

We invite your good wishes and prayers.

Dear Board Members and those about to become board members,

New Horizons is at a turning point like never before. My immediate observation of the situation is that this pending shift has been brought about by the recent election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Never before has our country faced circumstances such as this.  And we are very much a part of it.

My Higher Self sees a broader vista; a sense that it was only a matter of time until the shift that is about to occur for New Horizons and myself would have taken place anyway. For the past forty years plus I have, in a manner of speaking, been hiding out at New Horizons, protecting myself from an onslaught of pressure that high visibility in the public sector could bring about.

In short I can explain this by saying that at the inception of New Horizons, in 1974, I was,  personally, needing to keep my life very private and more or less subdued. This was in contrast to the high profile, highly charged life I had been leading as Executive Director of the U.S. "Male" Service. 

To understand what all of this has meant for me and been like is a long and complex story. Yet it was always part of my plan, my hopes and dreams that somehow I would find a way to blend what I left behind of me, exiting my D.C. life, with that which I next created to make a return. 

There is, I believe, something in all of us that yearns to go home to our roots. And much of me is, and always has been grounded in Washington. I could not leave it behind and never come back.

The time for my return is now!

Up until this time, I have purposely guided New Horizons in such a way as for programs and projects to take center stage. My role was to stand behind this in second place, in terms of what was being publicly promoted. The change about to occur will reverse that priority, from here forth, with me being lifted into visible priority and New Horizons coming up behind me.

I don't know how to do this. But one thing I have known all along is that I could only take this HUGE step if I were part of a loving, caring, supportive community that I would do my best to represent. That perspective came to me very distinctly in the visions that, I believe, you are now aware are a part of the way I SEE things. You are that community for me, large or small.

So please, when we meet this coming Saturday, open your hearts and minds; your hopes and dreams, your highest visioning capabilities -- and – join, with me, at our annual board meeting to begin envisioning a new kind of future for New Horizons; not only for New Horizons, but for each one of us, personally; a developing direction that can help our world, at least our country, to come through our present crises in our society and politics, better than we have ever been before.

These are treacherous times. Let us help one another through them.

I give you my promise that I will do my best to represent us, in this coming phase, in ways that will reassure and make you proud.

Please help me do this, for all of us (and not last or least for my children and the legacy I/you will leave behind someday).

Please let us make a difference together.  That is my wish and my prayer.

With deepest gratitude and affection,

Anastasia
Executive Director
New Horizons Support Network, Inc.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why Telling The Truth And Knowing The Truth Are So Important: Part I


In my active years as a therapist, researcher and writer of psychologically and sociologically oriented books, I wrote one piece I have treasured ever since. And returned to, both for reflection and assorted teaching modules.

The piece was titled simply as “Telling The Truth."

It began like this – 
“Most of us like to think we are fairly honest. In fact, most of us believe, wholeheartedly, that we are committed to our personal integrity.
If and when someone questions our honesty or truthfulness, we are usually offended or angry.  Oh no!  Not I! What do you mean I am lying!
One truth I have come to realize over my many years as a psychotherapist and researcher is that the majority of people in our contemporary society are rather careless about telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 
How about you?
Realistically, the whole truth or the full reality of any given circumstance is pretty much beyond the grasp of ordinary folks. So the best we can do is tell the best possible truth as we know it, using that as our working truth until further notice. Overall, that is generally enough for most situations."
Carl Bernstein, noted investigative journalist, who along with his partner, Bob Woodward, exposed the Watergate break in cover up have, as one of their main principles about truth knowing (and I imagine truth gathering) that I rather like – 
“The best attainable version of the truth.”
According to Bernstein these words define the working premise he and Woodward use for their definition of the “truth.” It works for me.

We are caught in a political mess these days that is threatening every aspect of our lives. Based on the now accepted reality or “truth” that we cannot rely on the highest leader of our land to be truthful with us, it is more important than ever that we stand back and personally reflect on the role that truth; the whole truth and nothing but the truth, plays in our lives, personally, professionally and POLITICALLY!

The challenge for us all is that, typical of all survivor types (And who isn’t?), is an inclination to be somewhat careless about telling whole truths. There are many reasons for this. In a series of forthcoming blog articles I will be addressing this issue with the added benefit of my excerpting them from the “Telling The Truth” article I wrote more than thirty years ago that has turned out to be more timeless than any other single written piece of mine.

More to come.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Why "Finding Light In The Darkness" Is So Important, Especially Now!


Dedicated to G.M. “Mike” Corrigan who tracked me down and pressured me for an interview and then became my friend. In honor of his wonderful contribution to our local community with his Friday night, non-partisan supper club.

My friend Mike Corrigan and our local Frederick News Post gave me a priceless gift a few years back. As a gift that just keeps giving, it means more to me today than it did ten years ago when I first received it. The bestowal came in the form of a newspaper headline and a magnificent graphic accompanying an article Mike wrote about me.

The headline read “Finding Light In The Darkness” while the subtitle stated, “Entrepreneur-turned-peace educator spotlights the “dark side” in non-violence training.” It is the graphic presentation of the piece, more than anything that truly wins the day in my mind, tying the words of the entire article together in a stunningly impactful way. When you see the visual appearance you are almost immediately reminded that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

I am not one to seek publicity, especially of me, personally. You can write and publicize my organization and its many wonderful programs and projects as much as you like, but about me? 

That’s another whole story and a long and complex one at that, having much to do with what I learned from Watergate plus more. The plus is grounded in how, during my eight years on the Washington fast track, I acted out my own dark side until love pulled me out of it!  

The more shows up with what I did with what both the D.C. fast track, in general, and Watergate, in particular, taught me about the Dark Side so I could always be on top of its sabotages rather than allowing it to control me.

Interestingly I am not in a position yet -- regarding this article, published August 6, 2006, to tell you about the many gifts this article gave me. This is also the case presently about my knowing precisely what Watergate taught me. However, none of this has one bit to do with what anyone else thought of that article, then or since. 

I can, at least, share one point, derived from my personal relationship with the article; the visual presentation mirrors back to me a critically important message for me, showing me how I managed to survive eight years of blindness and recovery.  

In a way, that article is, today, almost a living, breathing entity helping me “see” who I truly am at my fullest, publicly announcing that “Anastasia is a woman who finds Light in the darkness.” In a nutshell this is what blindness brought me, as a result of how I chose to manage it.

What a wonderful way to be known! 

(Unfortunately, I do not presently have permission from the Frederick News Post to display the graphic. However, one of my volunteers will soon be working to obtain it.)

Nonetheless, there is, at least, one message of the article for me to pass on to you: transcend the challenges facing you on the earth plane and lift them up to that higher place above, the spiritual, if you want to move through an ordeal, optimally. 

Apply that notion to today's political chaos and what do you get? Some peace of mind in the midst of it all!

That message, in and of itself, becomes a reminder to myself that I carry that capability, “finding Light in the darkness,” as one of my personal attributes. 

You have it too! We all do if we exercise it. In times of crisis we must draw upon it, our spiritual capability, to help us with our physical plane challenges such as are facing our nation today.

For added emphasis here, a New Horizons promotional page for one of my three books in progress, To See Or Not To See And The Art of Transcendent Living: A True Story of Clarity, from an old, outdated web site of ours, spotlights the message I take from the article with slightly different words.
”Anastasia’s story is about seeking clarity with eyes wide open – welcoming “what is” even when it is painful. Scaling one’s personal mountain of darkness and reaching clarity (the summit) brings healing, joy and peace—the Light.”  
Lately, I have begun a serious in depth endeavor to seek a more comprehensive understanding of myself, regarding my ability to “find Light in darkness.” Donald Trump’s election to the White House has prompted this, I believe. And yet the prophecy I had at the time of Watergate also strongly influences this thrust in me. 

How these threads come together at the present moment seems to be that I believe that now is my soul-designed time to give back what I have learned through the journeys of my life, especially in this time of social and political crisis facing American citizens now.  

What it means to “find Light in the darkness – and – guide others to effectively do so seems to be an assignment of mine. “Finding Light in the darkness” is, to my mind, one of the most essential tools an individual can employ to manage today’s circumstances. A heightened perspective, beyond the internet and the daily barrage of media hype of what’s happening now can enable each and every one of us to lift ourselves up and out of the, sometimes frightening, distress of our daily lives.

Noted author, teacher and healer, Carolyn Myss, calls it the "helicopter view" of life. For me that is another way of urging “find the Light” in the darkness every step of your way.

All of this is why "Finding Light In The Darkness Is So Important, Especially Now! 

You can hear a bit more of my story of how I brought myself to learn to do this on my podcast titled, “The Art of Transcendent Living.”

You can do it too.  If you need guidance, I can also be available to assist you.

Contact me at: SuperSleuthDSW@aol.com

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What Did I Learn From Watergate?


I’ve been trying to articulate what I learned from Watergate as far back as when I first introduced my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show in 2013. (You can hear that show at this link.) Back when I began that show my every intent was to create a platform for myself from which I could begin to tell the many stories and lessons I had learned from my eight years in Washington and my connections to the fast track world I lived in there. 

I began that series, first with sharing my belief,  in The Art Of Transcendent Living, that we can all rise above the political trappings that seek to ensnare us as is presently going on. In my second show I shared the "Prophecy" that occurred the day before Nixon resigned and has guided my life ever since. At the time a wonderful group of my friends actively supported this endeavor of mine. As a result some of them, especially my long term friend, Gloria, participated on the shows with me as guests and my honorary daughter, Terry. (Terry still does this with me now, on occasion.)

One of the most fun times of that period was the online birthday party show I had. It didn’t turn out to be much in the way of a high quality radio show program. And, it certainly didn’t go much of anywhere in furthering my effort to share what I had learned from Watergate. But we sure had a lot of laughs doing it, particularly as all kinds of tech problems were plaguing me that day. They definitely put a spotlight on how un-savvy tech-wise I was at the time and still am, more or less. 

Still the show did go on. We made it through and now, to boot, we have a podcast to hold in perpetuity, at least as long as the internet and the world survives. 

You can hear some of my early stumbling around on the issue (this show has been renamed "Storytelling As A Vehicle For Change) and a handful of abortive answers to the question if you visit the web site of Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show and listen in to any of the podcasts from 2013 – 2014. They aren’t very elegant but you might learn a thing or two, or have a laugh or so, especially if you listen to my online birthday party, July 18, 2013.

At the time of these early shows I was focusing on writing my Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street memoir. I thought at the time that my broadcasting of these programs could readily combine with my book writing project to help me reach my goal of sharing “what I learned from Watergate.”

(I have since put that piece down, replacing it with The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard memoir for the time being.)

Also at the time, I spent a good bit of time considering where Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street needed to go if it was to have the impact I wanted it to have. In particular I wanted it to  reflect the power games of Washington and their effect, as I lived it. These game continue on today and they can be deadly, especially for the innocent (Think Chandra Levy). They especially affect the many thousands of young people who flock to Washington to work on the Hill, in the White House and in the many surrounding government agencies and non-profit organizations. 

I know that world well. And I know its dangers. (Think that old timey book/movie “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” and you will know why I thought it important to reflect on the suicide of L. Wren Scott on several of my online radio shows. Been there, done that!

Yet at the time of my investment in that book, I was still in a wait and see mode, depending on how the 2016 presidential election campaign would turn out. If Hillary was to win, the book would have incorporated how I had become involved in the women’s movement at the tail end of my days in Washington. Certainly I could not imagine where life would head if Trump were elected. Unfortunately life these days now remains a toss-up about any future plans as a result of his win, at least as I see it in our society and politics.

The home front life, for now, remains pretty much the same, give or take.

In the early days of my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show I kept asking myself this question, “What did I learn from Watergate? and trying to articulate my answer for my listeners. But I never did nail it down. Now I am asking myself again in this season of my serious annual July Birthday Month reflections.  That’s just how I am.

I do not yet have THE ANSWER of what I learned from Watergate. But here are a few of the things that stand out for me now.
  • How to identify a power/aggressive addict;
  • What to do about power/aggressive addicts when they show up in my life and/or those close to me, personally and/or professionally;
  • How co-dependent personalities intertwine their passive addictions with the power/aggressive addict to foster a whole multitude of problems;
  • What the dynamic exchange of power as a currency looks like between these two types: power/aggressive addicts and passive/codependent addicts;
  • How to break up this dysfunctional system;
  • How to transform the toxic energy of that toxic system into something life-affirming and wonderful;
  • The role lying plays in the GAME between the power/aggressive addict and the codependent/passive addict;
  • How swamp draining in Washington can be accomplished, for real, one person at a time.
and probably a bunch more.  But I will stop here for now as I think I am beginning to see, for myself some, succinctly, of what I learned from Watergate.

I think I’ll now take time to chew on what I’ve learned while I consider what to do next with my bounty.

If you don’t have these lessons down pat for yourself as I absolutely know I do for myself and anywhere I am asked to serve on these issues, just ask Anastasia The Super Sleuth

She/I will be more than happy to share what we know, intellectually, and guide you to know the answers for yourself, experientially.

Anastasia The Storyteller/Super Sleuth can be reached at: 
SuperSleuthDSW@aol.com.



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!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Beyond YOUR Prison Walls: A Tribute To Ken Windes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His main point, as I heard it many times over from him in the days I trained with him, developing skill at running what became New Horizons Truth or Dare Game, was –
We can walk through the prisons of our minds and not let them hold us hostage. Ken Windes
What I am getting at here is to state my own principle --
Donald J. Trump need not control your mind, your heart or your spirit!
Make up your mind to make this notion your reality, as Ken taught me and countless others to do similarly in his lifetime. Be determined to make this way of thinking a top priority for your healthy living under sway of Trump and his adminstration, at least for the next four years. Even though it might be a daily challenge to walk through those prison walls Trump is trying to instill in our minds, hearts and spirits.

Your survival depends on it. This is the way of the Compassionate Warrior, choose it!

(Compassionate Warriors carry within themselves a gentle strength combined with a determination to fight for peace and social justice. This gentle strength is based on a love of self along with a love for life and humanity in all its frailities. Compassionate Warriors, thus, fight on the side of right ahead of brute might/the Dark Side. i.e. on the side of the Force.)

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

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