Wednesday, September 27, 2017

We All Have Stories To Tell

Some of our stories, perhaps even many of them, are lost treasures, unspoken.

Back in July when the New Horizons Board of Directors agreed it was time to support me, personally, in what had been brewing for a good while; the notion that my stories, personal and professional, needed to be more widely aired than they had been, by way of offering a contribution to our national and local growth and betterment, the plan, getting my stories out into the world, felt both liberating and frightening. 
"Anastasia The Storyteller"
Marge Hulburt, Two Wise
Women and a writing coach,

Now I was to be given assistance to come out from behind the shield I had created out of my position as Executive Director and Founder of the organization. But I was feeling a touch of resistance; fear was what it was. 

Someday, on our shared storytelling adventures, I am likely to get around to telling this one to you; the one about Anastasia becoming an overnight celebrity entrepreneur and ruing the day she allowed the quest for fame and fortune to dominate her life; more precisely the life I lived as an excitement junkie.

Whoa is me to anyone else that gets themselves caught in that trap! 

That is if what you truly value is compromised in the process. 

Tales for another time!

My board and myself had, nonetheless, come up with a press release we felt satisfied could usher in this new direction, in a way that appropriately represented the organization, New Horizons, I had long headed, circa 1973, as well as how I might present myself, taking this bold “coming out” step. 

Lisa Board Member, who chairs our Communications Committee, suggested that while we were intent on opening the door to the in depth, behind the scenes impetus, theoretical and operational foundations of New Horizons; its many projects and programs, along with my personal and professional experiences that had fostered it, we should research various media outlets to find where there might be a good fit for this outreach endeavor. 

Among the resources Lisa suggested was StoryCorps which, at first, did not seem to be an appropriate venue for my objectives. Then came the day; the day of the Eclipse, when something almost startling moved me to check out StoryCorps further. 

Now what might you expect on a day when our whole country was watching the moon completely cover the sun; an almost once in a lifetime event, if not something magical?

Boosted by the eclipse, I feel certain, I discovered much to my delight in contacting StoryCorps. Exploring the vast systematic approach and almost endless informational resources for storytelling, story listening and story recording, created by the StoryCorps project, including story archiving at the Library of Congress for infinity, I found a vehicle for, not only sharing my stories, but also a means for my doing that in company with others.

G-d bless Dave Isay who created StoryCorps and the entire StoryCorps staff for this gorgeous gift!


What could be better for a woman, me, who had long ago steadfastly decided she did not want to, ever again allow herself to be visible to the "public" eye, unless she was public in the company of others -- in other words a community?

Add to that fact that our storytelling project could now develop, communally, was that, most amazingly, just at a time when New Horizons viable possibilities for community contribution seemed to be nil, we had actually discovered a surprising next step for our overall mission; “building small “zones of peace” wherever we can.” Next we would carry forth our mission with storytelling as a vehicle!

Partnering with StoryCorps, as New Horizons is now doing, we are on our way to establishing a vehicle for not only sharing my stories, but engaging many others in the richly rewarding experience of sharing stories. Our overarching mission here will be to create a collection of stories, “The Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection, that can help the various communities within which we are active, Frederick, Maryland and the region of the one hundred mile radius of the White House, to strengthen personal connections within families, with friends, neighbors and the general community.

If we can, thus, combine my personal agenda, regarding my stories, with the rich reward of collecting these, along with stories of others throughout our community, we might again have something worthwhile to offer our various communities, even in this time of enormous societal turbulence and polarization. We are intent on doing our very best to obtain this objective!

So far so good, if we can judge by the growing numbers of people who seem to be enjoying the blog articles I am posting on our new Storytelling Workshop Series where we will be teaching people how to be both good story tellers as well as engaged and curious story listeners.

And the lively Anastasia The Radio Show that board member, Steve Lebherz, and I broadcasted this past Sunday, has, also, so far had a respectable listenership on podcast. Steve and I were pleased with how our teamwork progressed in the planning of the show and on the air. 

We are now looking forward to our next show of ---

“The Small "Zones of Peace" Storytelling Workshop Series Online” 
Thursday, October 12, 4:00 p.m. 

Topic to soon be determined.  Details will be forthcoming. 

In the meantime, find a bit of inspiration for what lies ahead by listening to the podcast of --

Small "Zones of Peace" Storytelling Workshop Series Online

This next show, will be just in time, we are hoping, to inspire people to want to join us at the first event of our new Storytelling Workshop Series.  

A Vehicle For Overcoming Today’s Social and Political Polarization 

Saturday, October 14, November 11, and December 2, 2017 
2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Frederick Friends Meeting House
723 N. Market Street
Frederick, Maryland

Reserve early, space is limited!

Donations are encouraged, suggested amount: $20. 

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

Your opportunity to have your personal story archived, for infinity, in the StoryCorps/Small “Zones of Peace” Library of Congress collection.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The World Of Trump And the World of Story Are Two Different Worlds

I got to considering the notion the other day that the world of Trump and the world of story are two different worlds. I wanted to share my thinking. But so far I am having a bit of a challenge, putting my thoughts into a coherent articulation. 

But I will give it a try here by way of communicating some and come back another time, if I have more on the subject.

I heard the other day, too, that contemplating might be understood to be a method of seeing. So, visionary that I am, I “contemplated” what I was seeing that brought this idea to  mind; "the world of Trump and the world of story are two different worlds." In considering this theme, no doubt, is another set of questions I have been pondering since New Horizons Storytelling Workshop Series began to get underway with a meeting last Saturday of our new Storytelling Steering Committee for our partnering with StoryCorps.

That meeting and the other start up projects we are now undertaking to get the whole of the project running has occupied my mind pretty constantly this week. Thus Trump and storytelling could not have been too far from it this week had I wanted them to be. Especially on Trump who thrives on every last bit of attention he can get. Thus one has to almost battle to keep him out of mind. So allow me to digress about my wondering about Trump and his world of storytelling, or lack thereof, and go to the other questions I was also thinking about this past week.

That set of questions has to do with a series Sue and I are designing for my first time of being interviewed for “The Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection" for our partnering with StoryCorps. When we have that storytelling interview completed – and – have learned to work with the technology involved, we hope to embed the story on this site with more to follow. If you participate in our story collecting, maybe your stories, too, might be shared, if you would like. On my end, it appears that I am going to have a whole series of these storytelling/interviews of my own to share!

Umm. What a nice way for me to come out of my hidey hole. I had been making myself as low profile as I could, over the years, as much as I could and still have an active presence behind New Horizons. Now I will be coming out  -- and – able to do that in the company of the many others from whom we will be collecting stories. 

I love the thought of it, as I had decided decades ago that I did not want to be too much in the public eye, except as a part of a community. And, now I have found my way to accomplish that through New Horizons' storytelling project. 

Lucky me!

Everyone at New Horizons is pretty excited about this next endeavor of ours, the Storytelling Workshop Series, which will be an important piece of our developing “The Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection,” but not the only one. What the other parts will be are yet to be discovered. Nonetheless, as we look at the gift of this single, new aspect of the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project, along with its assortment of other community building projects and programs, not only are we excited about it, but so is everyone else that we tell about it.

Why not?

As noted author, Father Richard Rohr suggests, regarding restoring connectedness –
"The greatest dis-ease facing humanity right now is our profound sense of disconnectedness - from God, ourselves, each other and the world." 
Rohr’s words strike a bullseye for me. They resonate like a beautiful, melodied song. Restoring (or establishing connectedness) is what storytelling is about; something our country is desperately in need of at this time.  At least, this is how I/we see things, presently. But then I have, over the years, become a devoted storyteller, as evidenced by my having both a blog site and a radio show titled Anastasia The Storyteller.

But from Trump’s world we hear no genuine, heartfelt stories. None, other than those that flatter his ego; many of them not even based on truth. Trump, in his dysfunction, has no concern with stories; yours or mine, not even his own, as in what is the "story" of his relationship with his mother?

We never, ever hear of her. Even searching for information on that endless resource for everything you ever wanted to know about anything, the internet, reveals almost nothing about Trump’s mother. It is almost as if she did not even exist.

P.S. the etiology of narcissistic personality disorder, which most educated people would agree appears to be Trump’s malady, is generally based on one’s relationship or lack thereof with parents, especially one’s mother.

The Mayo Clinic describes the roots of narcissistic personality disorder this way – 
As with other mental disorders, the cause is likely complex. Narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to mismatches in parent-child relationships with either excessive pampering or excessive criticism. Genetics or psychobiology — the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking -- may also play a part.
Oh well, so much for Trump’s world. In mine and hopefully yours too, I/we think storytelling is where it’s at, if connection with others matters. With that, I believe, that if coming from the heart, and seeking the heart of another counts, storytelling has more potential for helping us learn the truth of this old saying, than any other single activity  –
“An enemy is someone whose story you haven’t yet heard.”
I hope you love storytelling, too, for all the wonderful gifts it offers, particularly the idea that there is a great potential for turning enemies, or unknown others, into friends this way. Many of us have been doing way too much “othering” of people who are different from us, without much thoughtfulness, care or concern, particularly in recent past years, as the fallout from this last presidential election has shown us. 

I think it is time and way past to give that up.

New Horizons path and my own, personally, look to soon be reveling in this activity, storytelling, more and more as a part of our daily fare. 

I look forward to sharing the adventure with you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Finding Tranquility In The Era Of Trump: A Personal Experience

Listen to my new Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show episode,  Tranquility In The Era Of Trump: A Personal Experience,  now on podcast

Here is the description. Enjoy. 
Anastasia shares her recent experience of committing to a diet of tranquility and finding lost dreams in the era of Trump.
For an introduction to Anastasia's adventure, visit New Horizons Small "Zones of Peace" Project to read "New Horizons Update,"Announcing New Horizons' Storytelling Workshop Series and other stories on how New Horizons, under Anastasia' leadership is making it through these tough times.
Also read Anastasia's personal stories: The Freedom To Choose And The Five Things I'm Electing In Order To Stay Sane In These Insane Times at Anastasia The Soryteller blog site and Finding Light In The Darkness.
And, be sure to let me hear about your stories of “finding tranquility in the era of Trump."

Every day, now, as New Horizons moves forward with our new Storytelling Workshop Series, I am realizing, more and more, that storytelling is where it's at!

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Anastasia Endorses A Political Candidate, First Time Ever!

I am now endorsing a political candidate, first time ever!

I can do this because I am separating from New Horizons. On my own, I can be as partisan or non-partisan as I like. Umm. How very strange!

Well, as the Church Lady says, “Isn’t that special.”

Never before have I even considered taking an out and out position on a candidate for political office. 

But now I've done it! And it feels quite strange and wonderfully liberating!

Why me, I ask myself? And, why now?
And, my candidate of choice

I can't quite put my questions together to get a clear answer. But here is what I did --

Letter to the editor
Frederick News Post 
September 6, 2017

Building A Better Tomorrow, Today 

I am a relative newcomer to Frederick, having previously raised my children and conducted my private psychotherapy practice in Montgomery County. I love Frederick, and have become active in the community as the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization, New Horizons Support Network, Inc., which sponsors the Coffee House Conversations project. 

In this role, I have come to know many of Frederick’s key leaders, and have made a disappointing discovery: there are often contradictions between what many of these leaders say, versus what they do. When I witness incongruity, especially in those whom we have trusted to represent us, I am disturbed. I am even more troubled when the perpetrators are people running for elected office in Frederick County.   

It is because I am so greatly concerned about these incongruities, and because Frederick means so much to me, that I am taking the time to write this letter. Frederick is a community filled with people of high moral values and integrity—and we can do better. We must elect the kind of exceptional leadership that can lift people to their highest aspirations; leaders who embody compassion, vision, and accountability—and who have enough wisdom and experience to govern intelligently. 

The objective of New Horizon’s Coffee House Conversations project is to bring people of diverse backgrounds and cultures together, to cross the chasms that divide them. The main vehicle of the program—creating conversations to help us build a stronger community— allowed me to witness the kind of leadership I value. It was during one of these conversations that I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Roger Wilson, a Frederick leader who exemplifies the qualities I admire most.  

As Frederick grows, and the demographics of our area continue to change, we must all learn how to embrace this change, leaving no group behind, as we make our way through the many other complexities that growth demands. To me, Roger Wilson offers the kind of leadership that can help us build a better Frederick. I hope his efforts to become an Alderman will succeed, and enable him to accomplish even more for our community tomorrow than he’s already doing today.

Will it be published? I have no way of knowing. But it sure felt good in the doing!  

Maybe the bottom line is my belief that, as Helen Keller favored in this line from her friend, Everett Edward Hale –
I am only one,But still I am one.I cannot do everything,But still I can do something;And because I cannot do everything,I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.  
Or maybe it is the belief I have come to hold dear that –
"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men (and women) to do nothing.”
So now I have done something, speaking truth to power, another ideal I have come to hold dear.  

Or maybe, most pointedly, for this time and place, the paragraph below I omitted when I sent in my letter to the editor is what prompts me, now, to come out of my hidey hole in every way possible.
Our country is presently in a mess, with a president residing in the White House, who may be among the worst offenders at attempting to mask lies, self-centeredness, personal aggrandizement and cunning, as charm, consideration for constituents and presidential.
Whatever it is, I am glad I’m doing this! And, I hope you, too, are doing something to help our country, your community and your loved ones build a better tomorrow, today. 

That’s how "tough people get through tough times!

Wishing "my first ever endorsed candidate," Roger Wilson, well at the polls in Frederick, Maryland, Tuesday, September 12!

Roger prompted my first ever endorsement and I add to that my support for Kelly Russell.

Good luck to both!!