Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bridging The Gender Gap

How the Harvey Weinstein/Hollywood scandal fallout can be a long-ranging opportunity

I took a risk a few days ago, with a male friend of mine, deciding to share an experience I had had of sexual harassment a number of years ago. 

As we were discussing the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein/Hollywood scandals the other evening and its impact on our personal lives, I thought I'd give it a try to be a bit more forthcoming than usual on this subject that is all abuzz these days; male sexual dominance, harassment and abuse -- and -- related issues.

Unfortunately, it took only a few sentences of exchange for me to discover that my friend’s level of compassionate listening and understanding could rapidly send me back into the private hidey hole where this one story of mine, and others like it, has generally been held in secret, for decades.

In this one area, the conversation was a disaster. However, given the assurance I had, based on past experience, that this particular male has an overall respect for me, as a professional and as a friend, he and I are about to turn the sour lemons of that discussion into lemonade, or so we hope!  

At least we are planning to give it a try, with a lengthy, serious attempt scheduled for my telling my story to him, with him taking up the task of doing his level best to be a compassionate listener.

Here is an example of how the Harvey Weinstein/Hollywood scandal fallout can be a long-ranging opportunity.  

(If you want to give this “storytelling,” story “listening” idea a try – and – aren’t quite sure how to proceed, follow my updates on how we are doing it on this end. Or, contact me, directly, to engage my coaching talents for yourself, personally. Contact details at end of this post.)

The man in question has been a participant in numerous New Horizons community-building conversation programs, over the past few years.  And, recently, he attended the launching of our Storytelling Workshop Series. He is, also, now on the New Horizons Board of Directors. In these programs and our various other community development events and projects, he has demonstrated some of the qualities I appreciate most in a man; humbleness and an openness to learning.

Almost unbeatable qualities in fact, in my book! And, so I trust him!

So here we go with a planned, quiet time set aside for this coming Saturday afternoon, weather permitting. “Weather permitting” is that I have been promised a respectable contribution from him, with the aid of his trusty chain saw, to help build up my wood pile in exchange for my time, coaching him through our planned exchange to develop some much needed listening skills for use with his partner.

Sean, as I will call him, has definitely been a good student, a conscientious participant and volunteer in all things New Horizons, showing marked improvement in his active listening and story "listening" skills from where he was a year ago. From this I have high hopes for our endeavor.

Even more fortunately, the good will this gentleman and I have established, over the time we have known one another, has built us both some equity in this thing we call our friendship. 

To add importance to our plan for our dialogue, Sean and I each have personal objectives to add to our general intentions for this little experiment we are endeavoring to pursue. 

On Sean’s end, he is being challenged by his engagement to a woman who has been raped numerous times. And his skill level for discussing such a sensitive and highly charged topic as sexual harassment and abuse with her, while fairly atrocious with me the other evening, is constantly brewing danger in terms of building health into this relationship of his. 

So, I am quite the right woman for him to practice on for improving these much-needed skills of his. 

My goals for our experiment are three-fold, and possibly more. For starters, I want to experience how New Horizons might best utilize storytelling to bridge the gender gap for other women and men, especially at this crucial time. Secondly, my spontaneous sharing with Sean, the other evening, up against all the scandals coming out of Hollywood and beyond, made me realize that I have rarely shared the all too many stories I am harboring about sexual harassment and abuse experiences in my personal life.  

On those occasions that I did, it was only with another woman or a therapist.

This is making me realize that the Cost of the Quiet in my life on these issues has continued to take a toll I hadn’t recognized, given that I had shared some. But, clearly, not anywhere near enough to completely free me from the damage these experiences bring into a woman’s life. Liberation is, thus, my third objective for the talk Sean and I are planning.

Sean and I, too, are hoping that in our elevating ourselves, personally, through our forthcoming conversation, we’ll, all being well, uplift as well, other of our male-female relationships. And possibly, light a path, by example, for other women and men who might be wondering, these days, how to bridge the divide that seems to be widening, considerably, the gender gap.

If now is not the time to give this holding of secrets up, I can’t imagine when else might be!  

So I am choosing, as many other women are, obviously now doing, to let my secrets go, in the service of a new found freedom.

For both Sean and myself, the encouragement men are now getting is that for them, too, a new candor might await, out of talking to the women in their lives about these long-hidden incidents and issues. 

I picked up on the internet the other day, the words of Gillian Thomas, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project  --
"One of the many positive outcomes of the #MeToo campaign over the last week "is men of all ages realizing the ubiquity of this issue and going the next step further by asking the women in their lives, 'Has this happened to you, what happened?'  
This reaching out, if it includes respecting a woman’s right to not share, can carry a message of --
“Please tell me your story. I want to listen and learn from your distress. In this way, perhaps we can help make change.  
This is my commitment to you, and other women, to be a better man.”
In Sean’s case, for example, I am going to be encouraging him to reach out to his fiancée, saying something like this, to get a dialogue started –
Dear One, I know that the kind of things being revealed by the Harvey Weinstein/Hollywood scandals have happened to you. Please tell me about it, again. This time, not like the last, I will listen carefully to you, with as much compassion and understanding as I can.
I might not do this so well, at first. But if you give me a chance, I want to be a part of your healing from these past violations. And, I am going to do my level best to learn how.
Please tell me your story. Please tell me as many stories as you wish so I can support you and learn to be the best partner I can be for you.
This is one way that the Harvey Weinstein/Hollywood scandal fallout can be a long-ranging opportunity for both women and men.

For storytelling and story “listening" coaching, 
Contact: Anastasia Rosen-Jones
Email: Cell: 240.409.5347

Monday, November 6, 2017

Breaking The Spell

More unfolding, on this end, from the Harvey Weinstein fallout

A New York Times article titled, The ‘Click’ Moment: How the Weinstein Scandal Unleashed a Tsunami, calls attention to a Mss Magazine edition that put sexual harassment in the workplace on its front cover, forty years ago, this month. 

Where were you when this article – and – the ones that accompanied it were published?

Were you still in diapers, or possibly an unborn? 

Or were you, like myself, already an active part of the movement to liberate women that has been going on for well over a hundred years; the movement of women fighting the good fight for the respect and dignity we all deserve? 
Wow! What a brew
have we here!

Where was I?

I was deep into teaching women to honor their bodies through my first workshop series titled “Scripts, Sexuality and Self.”

For close to twenty-five years I continued on with variations of this program, often doing weekend intensives at beach and mountain locations. Whenever and wherever I could bring women together to help empower and support them. 

And help them draw support from one another; something almost none of them had ever done before; women as a sisterhood was something that just wasn’t done at the time.

Even when I did my last weekend retreat in 1998, right before I lost my eyesight

With more than forty years experience under my belt, helping to empower women, as you can imagine, I have much to throw into the ring these days, as we, as a society, seek to find our way through the chaos of women being sexually harassed, used and abused -- and -- finally the dirty deeds now being seriously discussed.

I have so much to offer on this issue to help it resolve. But I am world weary today from all the heavy-lifting, working to free my own body, mind and spirit from all that has been being bypassed, now, for decades, that is being uprooted personally, on this issue. 

So I think this is enough for today. It is not so simple, these days, to just sit down and produce an article. There is so much to assimilate. So much to contemplate on how to best move forward through these challenging times. On my end heavy, heavy lifting!

It does look, however, as if we are heading for a long-desired destination; “winning in the battle of the sexes,” a greater peace now on the horizon. 

But lots of work to be done to get to this place of potential awe.

Long time coming!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Battle Between The Light And Dark Sides of Humanity: Showing Now At Your Local Theatre, And Everywhere Else You Go!

Are we now at a time of an important showdown in our human evolution?  The evolution of humanity is what it’s, ultimately, all about, day in and day out, in this life we live.

Are the Dark and Light sides of both society and politics, as shown on the big screen of American life, now coming out of Hollywood, Washington and, especially, the Oval Office, literally and symbolically, putting the battle of the sexes, and the power dynamics of the elite, on view, as a serious platform for cultural change – and for the evolution of the person? 

Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood and its fallout -- and -- Trump and Mueller in Washington have cornered the market, for the latest war of the worlds, in real time. In this case the battle between the feminine and the masculine, the Dark and the Light, as big as Star Wars, that we might see just how this is going.

If so, what do we do with it all?

And, from this, afford ourselves the related chance to raise up from our baser selves to our Higher Selves.

But will we, individually and collectively, take the opportunity?

If we get up high enough to take that metaphorical helicopter view of what is now happening down here on the earth plane, we might see, as the helicopter view urges that – 

“When something is distressing us, we’re so close to it, involved with it, part of it – it’s really hard to stand back from what’s happening. We see the close up view, but we can’t see anything else. It’s like the well-known saying: “We can’t see the wood for the trees”. If we could zoom out our view, like a helicopter hovering above, we’d be able to see the bigger picture. We could stand back, be less emotionally involved, and see a different perspective.
If we achieve this distance, even briefly, what do we see? And, what do we do, with what we see?

Many voices have been coming out of once quiet places, since the Weinstein incident began almost a month ago. 

In a circumstance, such as this, there are, generally, three main options of how to proceed; win or learn are the two best. Then shoving a circumstance back under the rug from whence it came, appears at the tail end, as the losers way to go.

The present battle that has now originated out of Hollywood, in what is actually an ongoing war, is based on courageous women coming forth, speaking truths;  many of which have been held, bottled up, for decades. If we look at what’s happening we can almost see, from the high up distance that what is now going on in this battle of the sexes has the elements of a showdown, like Luke Skywalker facing Darth Vadar; good and evil meet head to head.

The Force has been disturbed for months. And, many are saying that what we are now seeing out of Hollywood is, part and parcel, a reaction to Donald Trump’s election to the Oval Office.

Could this be true? If so what can that actually mean for the long term?

Now that the women of Hollywood and beyond are feeling empowered by the impact to take Harvey Weinstein down and a good many others with him, with their collective voices, hearts and souls, joined by feminist-leaning males, what next? 

Will the Forces of Light,in fact, be able to subdue those of the Dark? 

In ways that Anita Hill, Gloria Steinam, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the many others have fought for eons to achieve; the almost impossible dream?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Cost Of The Quiet, 2017

My continuing series on the Harvey Weinstein scandal and its fallout.

This morning, as I am coming into the day, I am reflecting on the notion of wholeness and the cost one pays for fragmenting or fracturing oneself from that completeness.

With this, in mind, the words of “Alfie," the song, ring through my mind.

“What’s it all about, Alfie? 
Is it just for the moment we live? 
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Also with this I am remembering how impacted I had been by the suicide of L. Wren Scott. 

For months after I carried the fact of her death and what could be made of it, for those left behind, in a central part of me. 

Looking back my heart and soul must have been fully captured by the situation. 

I wrote blog articles about it and did, at least, three radio shows derived from it.

Searching through archives on my computer, I find that that, while L. Wren Scott died on March 7, 2014, I was still compelled to think intently about her death in July of that year.  

Read my blog article of July 9, 2014, The Cost Of The Quiet, to see what I mean about how bound up in this incident I was.

I find other blog articles on the death of L. Wren Scott, dating as far back to March 24, 2014 and radios shows, beginning on March 29, continuing forward to July 5, 2014.

Question: Why did this particular death by suicide upset me so much?

Answer: Because whatever was happening for me in the center of Washington’s darkness was bad enough for me to contemplate my own death by suicide.

Today I am giving much thought to this, as I continue, #Metoo, to sort out the deluge coming out of Hollywood from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, trying to regain my own sense of wholeness that feels a bit fragmented these days.

Similarly I had been captured, too, by the murder of Chandra Levy, And I wasn’t even getting sexually harassed or abused, or in an affair with a Congressman! 

Here, again, the dominant thought for me, in this situation, was “there by the grace of G-d go I.”

Listen to my stories that directly relate to my Washington fast track life that left me, thinking of suicide and knowing how risky was life in that arena. And, get a hint of my back story throughout the various articles on this site, especially under the label of Hot Pants and Motorcycles.

Interestingly "hints" are all you get when a person is hiding the whole truth; another one of those costs of the quiet. Thus, you will find all kinds of these, related to what I was not saying, scattered throughout this site.

Look to what is coming out, now, from Hollywood, if you have any doubt of that.

Here are three of my stories on my Anastasia The Radio Show –

March 29, 2014 -- There By The Grace of G-d Go I -- A

March 30, 2014 -- There By The Grace of G-d Go I!

July 5, 2014 -- The Cost Of The Quiet

Now think about this, if you will, for the thought for the day, derived from the Harvey Weinstein scandal etc. –

The abuse of power in the hands of the power elite, mostly male, can drive an innocent young woman to her destruction, especially if there is no one with whom she feels safe enough to tell what is happening for her..

In fact -- there is one the most serious costs accompanying the quiet; there is almost no one to tell. So you carry it all by yourself while it eats away at your soul!  

Here is an earlier article from October, 2013, that I wrote on this theme of power-over threats, There By The Grace of G-d Go I, long before L. Wren Scott's suicide.

For us naive women, I think it illustrates how power over abuses by men can almost be experienced as akin to same kind of threat as living under Hitler when you get right down to it; a mortal threat!

So what’s been happening in Hollywood to the young women who have been victimized by the power brokers of that system and the culture created?

What has been their cost of the quiet?

We must look hard at this for these particular, victimized women, especially in this day and age of understanding Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).

I grew up in Hollywood from age twelve on. I did not leave it behind until I married at twenty-one. Today I am wondering if knowing Hollywood games, as I watched them growing up, at the side of my father – and seeing the price he paid in that arena, “Big fish in small pond in Ohio, small fish in big pond in Hollywood," aided me in leaving the Washington games to save my soul.

Resilience, we are learning, is what allows an individual to overcome serious survival threats. 

The Hollywood women who survived Harvey Weinstein and others like him are incredibly resilient. 

And, winner survivors, at that, as they have, not only survived assaults on their person hoods and their livelihood. But they have also done remarkably well in coming through these ordeals as true achievers of the highest brand.

What can we learn here, especially as women, about both the "Cost of The Quiet" and the will to survive, under extreme threat and pressure?

Now, it's all about #Metoo!

More later.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Because We Are Liberated, But Not Yet Free!

Note about this article and subsequent related ones

Articles coming off of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the related fallout from it will be archived under the title "Hot Pants and Motorcycles".  Look for them, under that link, if you wish to follow my unfolding story and perspectives on this.

This will be necessary, as the deluge of reports, articles and commentaries inundating the media and internet are keeping many of us, certainly myself, pitched on the edge of near-constant reaction and response.

On my end, I can barely keep up with myself, as well as other women, putting out thoughts, feelings, experiences, verbally and/or on paper -- trying to integrate all that is being uprooted. 

Let alone do some normal, ordinary day things.

What a wonderfully, liberating tsunami this is!

I am so grateful to be a part of it.  Yet, it is all far off from fun!

As a result, my blog writing, at least on this site, feels as if it is almost becoming a stream of consciousness letter, to be shared with my site followers, especially women

Let me begin by recapping that yesterday I wrote of a most shocking discovery –

I Cannot (Yet) Find A Single Incident Of Sexual Harrssment Of Me In My Workplace!


NO sexual harassment of me – in the workplace!

Where does this leave me now, in alliance with my Sisters?

We definitely need to take a deep look at this.  

There might be good things to learn from how I managed to escape. We must not miss the opportunity for this, if there is one!

But it is all so BIG to sort out right now! 

So I will need to communicate in bits and pieces.  

I might even take to writing on my blog like a diary. It is all so very much, pouring out faster than can be assimilated.

I was up late last night and the night before exploring the ramifications, for me, of the revelations I have discovered thus far. And, of course, going back and forth to my Smart Phone reading, online, what others are saying.

The night before I spent reviewing my history with men, especially in the work place. Last night I was searching my mind and heart to find out how I had, apparently, become this anomaly of never having experienced work place sexual abuse or harassment, up against, possibly millions of other less fortunate women.

To set the record straight, there are exceptions of what you might infer from this "never" statement of mine, regarding sexual abuse and harassment from men. 

But these were on a personal level; same damn scenario, only the setting changes. 

For me, it went like this -- 

I left two abusive husbands. The first was a sado-masochist. I will just let you imagine what that was like. Omg!!

And he was the one for whom I saved my Virgin self. What a honeymoon night and the ones that followed did that turn out to be!

It took me four years to leave him. By then I had only begun to understand what was being done to me, after my ob-gyn pressed me to talk to him about my sex life. 

That’s how dumb and innocent I was back then!

This man is still punishing me, through my children and long term financial security, to this day. 

He has done everything he can, and still does, on occasion, to discredit me. It never ends. 


Could a new day be a coming, I pray?

I have been, at least, liberated by the Harvey Weinstein scandal enough to find the words to lay out what has been happening to me by confronting my two children with their participation in the collusions and conspiracies that have kept me frightened, subdued and quiet all these many years.

The second husband I left was a rage-aholic and an alcoholic. He was really scary!

Fortunately, he was not and is not evil like Husband #1. 

Yet both of these men have wrested my children from me with their money and power-over, used to warm the effort.

We are going to really start talking about this stuff -- BIG TIME -- from now on, for my part, 

I am finding that there is an astounding difference in what I lived with in my first two marriages and how I have lived my life in the work place. Sorting this out looms above me.

Still I Cannot (Yet) Find A Single Incident Of Sexual Harrssment Of Me In My Workplace

I will come back to that shortly. It is quite a story, especially as it centers on my life as Founder and Executive Director of the U.S. “Male” Service!

How’s that for a business name! And, one that, somehow, just might have shielded me from sex abuse and harassment. If it did, I must give some of the credit to my Beloved press agent, Charlie Brotman.

We will come back to that shortly.

Right now I need a break from this outpouring. I think I should get some breakfast as it is already 10:30.

Friday, October 27, 2017

What's The Deal? I Cannot (Yet) Find A Single Incident Of Sexual Harrssment Of Me In My Workplace.


I am writing this on my phone today as I go from appointment to appointment. So I will need to fine tune this message when I get back to my office.

We definitely need to take a deep look at this. I was up quite late last night reviewing my history with men, especially in the workplace.

Have found NO sexual harrassment of me!

More later.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Before I Knew……

Reflections on “trying” to manage power and sex abuse in my life.

Before I knew how to effectively challenge the dark side, I had, at least, learned how to leave it. 

By that time I could go a good bit farther than my little bike could have taken me. In that I found my saving grace. But leaving, rather than staying to fight, had its costs and its consequences.  Yet, perhaps, asserting my freedom to leave a culture behind, built on the foundations of darkness, is the first lesson I learned from Watergate

I am reflecting on that today, as I look out my office window at the chickadees frolicking on my window screen, playing their aerial games on and around the bird feeder, swinging just beyond, sunshine on leaves turning from green to gold in the distance.

Tranquility and peace must also have come, eventually, of my leaving behind a culture that was pulling me into my own Dark Side to cope with it. 

But my introduction to peace and tranquility, as an alternative lifestyle to the darkness my D.C. fast track ways were drawing me into, came a long time later. I, definitely, had to grow into that state through immense discipline and determination. But I had pledged to not sink in, ever again, into my own darkness. Not if I could help it!

I had made a start and if it was tempting me, I needed to, at least, reach out for the many safeguards against further falls I had created  to protect me, to help me turn back from my shadow self.

This, of course, is the “power with” path I had not known, at all, in an earlier time. The way one must go when the personal “power to” and the “power within” cease to be enough. This way, of course, is a life-long practice; the staying out of one’s own personal darkness; the dark side is always there, in the not far off distance, beckonging for your return.

The battle, however, is well worth the effort, if you know what I mean!

(My recognition of the power it takes to hold off the darkness and the enormity of the just rewards, I believe, is much of what I heard in the story I introduced in my article “On The Magic of Storytelling." I will look forward to sharing more of the story I heard that day in what, I believe, will be New Horizons first submission to our StoryCorps/Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection.

Wherever the "power of the one,” or the collective can win against the Dark Side, there is cause to celebrate!)

Yesterday, as I struggled to find my way out of the personal dark spaces the Harvey Weinstein scandal has uprooted in me, I was fighting, once again, to find my way through to the Light. Definitely the path ahead was for the better though I don’t always feel better yet. As many others do, also, I hope for a new world order, at least in my own backyard for starters. But I don’t know it yet, so there is still fear and doubt.

You see, although, I am now far away from the drama of the Hollywood expedition into attempts to find the slimmest glimmer of Light in all that darkness, #Metoo is very much present in my daily life. For darkness drains Light and the battle to regain the latter, the Light, is hard won. 

Personally, what is now happening in Hollywood that is spreading, thanks to the Goddess, throughout our country, pushed me to write long overdue letters to my children regarding the sexual abuse I experienced within our family and the family secrets, collusions and conspiracies that had, to date, kept me silent. Struggling, as I was yesterday, to find the Light, while still feeling despair over what has occurred over many years, I found these words of Native American wisdom by Jamie Sams in her book that I have long cherished , The Sacred Path --

"The shadow side of self, which inhibits growth, is constantly forced to die. These deaths occur on a daily basis, whether they be our fears, our doubts..., our self importance. ….Every death of a part of the shadow announces the birth of a… Each victory over a part of self that does not Walk in Beauty is a rebirth in itself."
There is so much I know now about the Dark Side of society and politics. I had only opened my new eyes that day in the recovery room when my prophecy helped me begin, for the first time, taking what would become, over the years, a studied look at it, guided by something and from someplace on high I had never known before – and – thus, changed the course of my life forever.

So now I know a few choice things I am here to share: 1. I know how and why presidents (other politicians, Hollywood producers, doctors, lawyers, rabbis, husbands, fathers etc. etc.) can lie and manipulate – and – many people not only believe them, but enable them; 2. I know how to get out of this blindness trap for myself; 3. I know how to guide other people to surmount that trap too; and 4. I know how to keep myself distant from the darkness.

But I still don’t yet know how to come out of the darkness of others unscathed!

One thing gives me hope, however. The same as it is now doing for countless other women. 

I know, now, that I am not completely alone, bearing the many burdens power and sexual abuse and the collusions, conspiracies and enabling of these that are imposed on women. 

Perhaps there may even be new ways in the future to not only fight these off, but more and more people, including men, to take care to believe women and protect our rights!

For this, I join in with many, with prayers, hoping, that perhaps there will be, sometime, in the not too distant future, a safer, more loving, caring culture within which to live and raise our children, especially our girls.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Could Storytelling And Story Listening Bridge Even The Gender Gap?

Still struggling to settle my mind and my heart about the Harvey Weinstein scandal and all it has uprooted in me, this is what came to my mind in my morning meditations today. 

Please feel free to offer your comments.

What if New Horizons expanded agenda for presenting storytelling and story “listening” workshops, geared to overcoming the day-to-day social polarization, included trying to bridge the gender gap?

I say “trying” purposefully, as attaining the goal of “winning” in the battle between the sexes still has its hidden war zone, almost everywhere. Thus even the hardest uphill climb, if successful, even moderately, might be considered a “win,” but not quite complete. 

In fact, we are, often, grateful for those small “zones of peace” where women and men co-exist with unbridled equanimity and joy.  My brief, personal story below certainly illustrates this.

Our successes are typically hard won in this often secret war, especially when strong emotions and sacred values are at issue. We have, however, over the years since the women’s movement moved into full swing in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, made some strides. 

Yet we are still, often reciprocally, seeing the opposite sex as the “other;” not unreservedly our friend.

I have been in an on again, off again relationship with a man to whom I was once married and still remain friends for going on thirty-two years! It took me, however, until just about a year ago to, finally, have a heart-to-heart, no holds barred conversation with him about how I had been managing my perception of his power-over me for all these years by selling myself out in ways that robbed me of peace and self-confidence.

Among other things, I, finally, got around to telling him that even the booming, powerful voice he has and the way he has, at times, diminished my intelligence has robbed me of the well-being I pretended to have with him. Since that talk, which we had a year ago this November, I have definitely felt stronger, more whole and even more loving, as I continue now to take risks and show myself as other than the people pleaser and harmony holder I have been portraying all these many years.

Do I feel totally liberated in this situation? Not yet. But I do feel myself growing. Still it’s been a hard won battle that the traditional power-over position of men in our culture sustained.

Imagine that! And I am a seasoned psychotherapist with more than forty years of experience in working with women’s empowerment issues and male-female relationships!

This example of mine is so typical. Too often, we women act as if we were of foreign cultures, different races or religions, from men, even when these are not the issue.  Frequently we even forget that this secret war between men and women is ongoing.

So we come to have a truce with the opposite sex; a state of indulgent acceptance for one another, with unspoken features, where we give up fighting over what we decide might be small things in the whole scheme of life, even if the hurt and accompanying loss are great inside of us. 

While, at the same time, as we are now seeing, again, we live in a state of not only seeing the opposite sex as the “other,” but in some instances believing that they are the “enemy.”  

How else can it be, when someone has power over you, even if its subtle, when what you wish for most is power with?

Wouldn’t it be a relief if we could come a bit closer to feeling wonderful, both in and out of the bedroom? 

But right now, one thing, if no other still is between us, though generally unspoken; the issue of the imbalance of power.

Could storytelling and story “listening,” especially at this volatile time of the gender gap tipping point, brought about by the high profile scandals of such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, make a difference in this state of truce so familiar between the sexes, making, instead, a genuine peace? 

Help move our culture forward?

Maybe not everywhere and with everyone, but with some folks, perhaps, we could make a few inroads. 

Countless others, such as participants in the Compassionate Listening Project, beneficiaries of the Tunisian Dialogue Quartet, winners of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize and the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, have built bridges of healing and reconciliation where even life-threatening divisions existed.

Why not American women and men?

The New Horizons Board of Directors and myself are inspired now to attempt this gender gap bridge building as part of our Storytelling Workshop Series project. 

Possibly, today, we might be able to approach the effort with an enlightened perspective. 

Building, as we might, on previous successes in this area, perhaps we could help more people, than previously to succeed at reaching the deepest yearnings for connection that lie, innately, in all of us. Our past efforts (1973 – 1998) impacted the lives of thousands of individuals, couples and families.

Why not now, again?

Back in the days of “old” New Horizons (1973 – 1998), we had winning in the “battle of the sexes” as an important priority. This, of course, made sense as I had started off my clinical training to, specifically, become a feminist therapist. Actually, I don’t think I even thought, at the time (1973), about working with men at all, or even with couples. That came a few years later when I began to realize that a woman's identity had everything to do with our bodies. the men with whom we related most closely, thus often involving our bodies, as well as our souls. 

Initially, however, I thought only of how the scripting that accompanied being a woman downplayed many of our rights and, thus, our freedoms. Today I am replaying those early days of mine as a budding psychotherapist. And how entrenched I was, at the time, in supporting other women in being all they could be. But I was, also, still at the point of fortifying my own fullest sense of self.

Board member Sue pointed out this morning that what makes storytelling possible is story “listening.”  No listeners, no real storytelling, except perhaps in one’s own head.

I hadn’t seen that angle until she suggested it. But once I began to wrap my mind around the notion – and the images it brought to mind, I began imagining how a blending of some of the key principles New Horizons holds as a base for our over-arching mission, building small “zones of peace” wherever and whenever, could be brought together to contribute some to this societal challenge; the dominance and oppression of women by men in positions of power.

Storytelling and story “listening” could likely assist in bridging the gender gap, dontcha think?

If the males we care about and who care about us would be willing to sit down with women and, first and foremost, listen to our tales of dominance and oppression with open minds and hearts.

What if this present tipping point, spotlighting as it does, the age-old issues of power imbalances and, thus, dominance and oppression of women by powerful men, could serve as the next gateway to helping all of us reach a higher vibration, among men and women, of genuine love and respect?

From some of what I read in the media today, it sounds as if some folks are now beginning to want to move into some kind of forward action out of this Harvey Weinstein scandal. It does get old rehashing the same drama, again and again, around the two week mark. 

From reports, it sounds as if some feminist-leaning men are beginning to ask –
“What can we learn and how can we help the women to get past this horrific ordeal Harvey Weinstein’s outrageous behavior has surfaced? 
I know I might be part of the problem, if I am not a part of the solution. Help me do better”
The whole of this situation brought out into the open by Harvey Weinstein’s victims has brought New Horizons and myself back to the drawing board, once more. We see a potential for storytelling and story “listening” workshops and the skills they are geared to teaching and supporting to help this situation move up to a higher plane.

We will keep you updated as we research and discover how we best might proceed.

Imagine what it might look like, feel like and accomplish, if men that care, could sit down with us women, face-to-face, to hear our stories as part of an essential, healing dialogue.  

In my imagination the men, also get equal time. But not before they can embrace, even a bit more than usual, what it feels like to be a woman overpowered physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise by men.

No debate allowed. Each woman's truth deserves the utmost respect, if for no other reason than that it belongs to her!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Storytelling Workshop Series: Anastasia”s Introductory Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please join us! This is important!

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

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

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

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