Sunday, September 30, 2018

Ethics Complaint Update: From Legalese To Love

Yesterday turned out to be another frustrating day of exchanges, mixed with some progress, on my ITAA (International Transactional Analysis Association) Ethics Complaint adventure.

The progress I experienced was achieved through a rather intense series of email exchanges with a TA colleague of mine I have probably known for close to forty-five years. 

She has most generously and graciously been willing to step in to assist, if she is able, to help me untangle the mess my Ethics Complaint issue has become; ending up, so far, with my having, not one, but two complaints: one, the original one charged against a former mentor for sexual harassment and power abuse, the second a complaint against the Ethics Committee for abuse of power and mismanagement of the first complaint.

My gratitude for this abundant giving on her part, especially in the midst of all this chaos, is boundless. 

However, the format we are utilizing, email exchanges, is far from conducive for anything other than bare facts. And, even these are easily distorted by the legalese that seems to sit behind them. 

So back and forth she and I go attempting to find the highest truths of my ordeal, seeking healing and reconciliation as an end result. The destination, unfortunately, is almost impossible to achieve in this manner, I feel certain.

We are talking, insofar as my complaint against my former TA mentor is concerned, about a resolve that, by necessity, has legal implications; damage was done to me in terms of emotional harm, as well as a significant career cost to me, including monetary. 

However, it is not only a legal problem, at issue here. It is an issue, involving real, human individuals, capable of wounding and being wounded, wonderful and awful, in the same being.

The internet does not allow us these textures and tones, any more than it did in the Congressional hearing regarding Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford that we saw last week, ostensibly centering on a Supreme Court appointment. 

An investigation of facts is needed here, many agree, to aid Brett Kavanaugh and the GOP to achieve their goals. 

But will that put an end to what he has suffered in the ordeal he is going through to achieve them?

And, what about Dr. Ford and her place in the drama? 

Will the legalese, resolved one way or another, surrounding her ordeal, be enough for her hopes and desires?

Of course not!

I keep wondering how this courageous woman, committed to doing her civic duty, is faring away from the madding crowd; wherever it is that she is now seeking solace and healing. 

It is no small feat that she undertook and the roar of the multitudes can hardly be fulfilling, especially at a time like this.

Whether Brett Kavanaugh turns out to be innocent or guilty, in this case, two relatively innocent human beings  have faced an inordinate trial in the court of public opinion. 

Through the medium of the internet and the almost insatiable quest of the masses for news in modern America , we often neglect the humanity of individuals such as these. 

Some try to do otherwise and not infrequently succeed, such as when we are alerted to hurricanes, fires and floods when they occur. But far too often legalese, politics and other ego-driven incentives and a thirst for the excitement our various sources of information provide, override humanity.

One of the causalities in such instances is that legalese usurps love.

I have much on my mind about this state of affairs, presently, as I entered the arena of my Ethics Complaint prompted, partially, by my love for an organization and the ideals and philosophies it has represented that became the foundations of my life in my early thirties.

However, the sexual harassment and power abuse of a mentor separated me from this. Actually, it was me that did the disconnecting.  I was carrying a dark secret. I didn’t know who to tell or how tell. So I went away. 

For years I have been trying to return.

When I discovered the documents that led to my Ethics Complaint, organized them and appropriately filed them, formally, one of the things I hoped for most, although there were many others of consequence, was to come home, so to speak, to my broken relationships,

So far, however, I have had almost no assistance for any of my needs, as far as my Ethics Complaint goes. Now almost ten months have passed since I took up this task. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that the limited efforts made on my behalf have mostly been addressed on the internet, with a only a few, very brief exchanges otherwise.  

And, with this, somehow the legalese buried the love component.

To complicate the matter further, the only people who participated in addressing my Ethics Complaint have been three, very remote, individuals: one in South Africa, one in the Netherlands and one in UK; people who do not know the person against whom the complaint is filed, nor me or the culture in which the invasion of me occurred.

Something has been wrong with this picture from the start. 

But, hopefully, with my bringing things closer to home I will be able to find, sooner or later, a balancing of the love and the legalese that will allow me the healing and reconciliation I am seeking.

Recently I have been in contact with three other TA colleagues; two that I have known for more than forty years from the United States and one, a new associate, from Canada. I think this will help. It seems as if it already is beginning to!

My heart is filled with much to say, today, on the subject of legalese and love. 

But I must now sign off here and try to get back to keeping up my commitments to the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project where I will tell you, our loyal readers, how New Horizons is faring, entwining truth telling with love in our Beyond Gender Tyranny project and programs; most recently our signature program, Truth Or Dare, formerly the Discount Derby.

It has been intended, since New Horizons Annual Board Meeting that I would cut back my hours for the non-profit by half in order to deal with the pressures my Ethics Complaint process was putting on me. Unfortunately in August and September I was not able to even do that. 

However, in managing what was being thrown at me in my Ethics Complaint ordeal, I think, along with Board Member, Steve, New Horizons now has two poster people to make our message clear, #MeToo is not a faceless movement! Listen to the radio show broadcasts of Steve and myself for more on this.

Be sure to keep up with my posts, from here forth on both sites and on our broadcast/podcasts as Steve and I offer stimulating discussion, tips and tools for moving, healthfully, through the challenges of the #MeToo era.

And, look for more posts on Anastasia The Storyteller on the subject of “From Legalese To Love" another day. 

I will try to make it back here soon.

More to come.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Excavating Me Out Of The Hole I’ve Been In

The real deal is in the telling of the story and the excavating of the body, mind and spirit that goes with it.

That – and almost only that – can right so much that is wrong! 

Reflecting on my recent progress on my Ethics Complaint, alongside my experiences over the weekend,  today I am like the kintsugi-appearing pot my Spirit Sister Sue brought me on Saturday, filled with fall flowers, to celebrate the very first Truth or Dare GAME, formerly the Discount Derby, I have led since losing my eyesight in 1998.

(If you noticed earlier announcements of our GAME, they did not come off. Now we think we were just ahead of time, as planned.)

We had chosen, carefully, to schedule the event to, also, celebrate the Fall Equinox, the mid-point between the longest and shortest days of the year.

It was a wonderful day for me and, hopefully, for the others, all New Horizons Board Members, who are, now, committing themselves to revitalizing our signature program, the Discount Derby (the DD). 

For our present objectives, we have renamed the program,  titling it the New Horizons Truth or Dare GAME.

This is in order to aid interested others in getting a sense, with this new name, of what the process of our GAME is about, daring to tell and hear the truth in a safe, healing environment. 

So gently, we sometimes refer to it as a love bath!

Refreshing, don't you think?

As New Horizons signature program, Truth or Dare (i.e. the DD) has, over the years, transformed the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people by teaching people how to do this.

We hold this process in the highest esteem and are forever proud of its history, as we look forward to its future. So badly needed in this era of #MeToo.

Can you imagine yourself, as we did last Saturday, talking honestly and endlessly about male-female relationship obstacles, with both men and women, and ending up with increased intimacy and celebration, especially in this day and age?

We accomplished that on Saturday, if not easily, at least with success, when all was said and done. 

It was only a start, but we will aim to do it again soon, on a Saturday in October, keeping in mind that, as soon as appropriate, we will want to open our Truth or Dare/Discount Derby doors to others, beyond our current GAME players, the New Horizons Board of Directors.

One of the major elements of healthy, transformative relating that our GAME demonstrates is: that if a listener or a group of caring, attentive listeners, open to receiving the stories of one another with caring, consideration, compassion and respect, the outcome can be close to an experience of magic!

We had a touch of that magic on Saturday. 

But only a touch, as we are just getting started at playing our new GAME. 

Yet, as it happened, on and off on Saturday, when our stories were told and listened to, a simple, easy kind of magic occurred; so gentle in its workings as to be almost imperceptible. 

Some, as did one of our board members, on Saturday, identify the experience as “intimacy.” 

At New Horizons we more customarily call it “awe:” that moment when differences and  discussions are set aside, while hearts and minds come together, resonating and resting with one another, at least momentarily.

On the heels of Saturday’s Truth or Dare GAME, my Ethics Complaint healing process, also, made a stride in the direction of progress, yesterday, giving me the sense, as I reflected on it in my evening meditation, that I was, at last, possibly on the road to putting the broken pieces of myself back, wholly, together with gold, as in kintsugi.

A kintsugi-like repair of me, encompassing all my Ethics Complaint has entailed, has always been my objective, since the onset. 

Myself, yourself, any one's self, can put fragmented parts of the self, back together again, when true stories are told and listened to, no matter how broken. 

Even if certain pieces cannot be fully mended in to their original form, still there is a kind of wholeness that transcends the break, bringing back to life something wonderful and beautiful.

I think now, at last, my true mending may have begun!

Oh, there have been fits and starts along the way since I began my Ethics Complaint adventure nine months ago. 

But none seemed able to pan out; mostly due to the excessive legalese and organizational functioning and dysfunctioning I was constantly encountering, at the hands of the Ethics Committee of the International Transactional Analysis Association. 

I still cannot reveal too much of the wretched ordeal just yet. But what lies behind this subject will be something I intend to be addressing here on this blog site for a very long time, in days to come. 

Nonetheless, in fairness to myself, I am trusting I can say this much: 

I have been through a horrific experience with this organization that need not have happened at all, in my way of thinking! 

And, that needs to be thoroughly "excavated" in order for us to get to the bottom of an ordeal that has held me hostage for more than nine months to date!

Especially appalling, in my mind, coming from a psychology-based organization! 

However, this seems to be the way of the world, these days. And, one must not expect much otherwise, as I, apparently, naively, have done in this instance.

But today I want to put that awfulness aside, for the moment, to celebrate the progress I made yesterday, at last, and over the weekend. 

For a moment, in each of these circumstances, I knew the feel of healing, truth and reconciliation. And the liberation of body, mind and soul that can be attained.

Brief as it was, I have every reason, at this point, to believe that the experiences I had in both instances, will be sustainable and grow, leading me out of the hole I’ve been in, now, for months.

Surprisingly, my advancement yesterday was not at all by virtue of anything coming out of the ITAA. Rather it came, unexpectedly from a sub, but related organization about which I will share more when the time feels right.

With these goings on occurring, today I am reminded of the backhoes I watched moving through Ground Zero in New York, when I visited it a few years back. 

I see them in my mind’s eye, now, excavating that ground that was to become hallowed by virtue of the destruction and devastation that had occurred there. As these backhoes lifted the dirt and debris of that site, formerly unseen at this level, since the early ‘70s, up to the light of the healing sunshine, they brought in the hope for a better tomorrow, on that spot that was once the site of the World Trade Center (WTC).

Like the WTC on September 11, 2001, I, too, have been leveled by what has happened to me. However, happily, I can say I have managed quite well, in spite of the challenge, even extraordinarily!

I had been cut down, not by anyone, truly, purposefully, wanting to destroy me, as had happened at the WTC.  

But carelessly intent, so definitively, on ego gratification, power over, dominance and control, so as to throw me off for a bit, costing me almost irretrievably career-wise, including financially.

No, not to hurt me in that mortally lethal way that took down the Twin Towers! 

But willing to damage me in that subtly violent way that is not so subtle when you are the target: the not so subtle violence that is running and ruining our country right now as I write. 

The not unsubtle emotional violence I suffered at the hands of my psychotherapy mentor plagues me now, driving me, up against the inordinate resistance I've experienced by the ITAA Ethics Committee, refusing to do their responsible part to help liberate me from the wounds and collateral damage I sustained.

Today, however, on my own, I am the backhoe excavating the rubble of me, body, mind and spirit, in order to build anew, feeling, at last, that I am progressing.

With that image in mind, I am turning from that darkness, focusing, instead, on the ways of kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of mending broken fragments with the liquid gold that can bind cracked pieces together again, into a new and enhanced beautified me. 

Today, I am the pile of rubble, accumulated from the excavation down into the deepest levels of earth, representing me, that must be uprooted and replanted, so that a new, sturdy creation can grow here on the soil that is me, that once saw destruction. 

The backhoe and the rubble come together in me, tearing down the old me that used to be, in the service, now, of building a new, earth and sky connected foundation, for me, that will soon be a healthier more whole self. 

I am the backhoe, manned (oops I think I mean “womanned”) in order that the excavation, needing completion, can proceed and someday establish and build the new, more holy structure that yearns inside of me to be born and move forward, unfettered.

Today, the hammering on my head and the banging inside of me, of a week ago, has stopped enough for me to glimpse this possible future for myself – and for many others who have been similarly held back, like myself.

Up against the efforts of the #MeToo movement, this potential is viable. 

Growing numbers of us can achieve this new, liberated way to walk in the world. 

When we can settle down enough to tell our stories, hear those of others and reflect back to one another, the essence of that magical moment we saw in Avatar: that moment when hearts and minds said “I see you” and truly meant it, comes to life to liberate us from the chains we now slough off.

At the Truth or Dare GAME/Discount Derby this is included, by nature, in the name of the GAME. We hope you will want to experience it yourself!

But can that truly happen in a congressional hearing? 

That moment of genuine "I see you," in my heart and mind?

Eric Berne, creator of Transactional Analysis (TA) whose very organization that has seemingly let me down these past months, wrote a book, published posthumously, What Do You Say After You Say Hello." in which he answered the question of his title saying, paraphrased, that the answer to that question is that "we happen to one another."

Can we happen to one another on the internet? 

In a blog or magazine or newspaper article?

I don't know. 

Still, maybe the noise we are producing is the start we need, again and again, in order to launch the processes that affirm that our female voices will be heard, even in the highest of courts.

Or, so it seems.

For myself,  I witnessed  and experienced the power of sharing stories, including our most closely held perceptions at New Horizons Truth or Dare GAME (formerly the Discount Derby) last Saturday at our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center. 

That kick off was so much in keeping with New Horizons pledge to help aid the #MeToo movement with our recently commenced Beyond Gender Tyranny project and programs, soon about to celebrate its one year anniversary.

Today, free of the drama that has followed me, almost every step of the way in my involvement with the ITAA Ethics Committee, the words of Helen Keller come to mind, as I am uplifted by recent events. 
"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." 

I have not been willing to creep. 

Today I am soaring, if just a little!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

When My Head Stops Hammering

When my head stops hammering (Is the pounding coming from inside or out?) -- and the ringing in my ears quiets down, I may begin to find my way, again, onto the sturdy, stable, serene path I’ve worked so diligently to build for myself.

When the hammering stops on that trash can I’ve been living in, now, for almost nine months, I think I will begin to discover that I have become a new me, a refinement of the me I used to be .

But today, as I wake up to a new life, I find myself, merely, in a puddle of tears

I feel me waking up to a new life, a new me,  a better informed me, an eyes-opened by circumstances me.

But who is it that I find here, now?

A Shaman/Goddess are the descriptive words that come to my mind.

Reflectively I am reminded that being blind made a shaman of me, years back.

Now my Ethics Complaint and the subsequent process it prompted, taking me down into the very core of my fears, anxieties and insecurities, has strengthened these latent capacities in me: the ability to face one death after another of ego-derived parts of me, resurfacing each time with greater clarity, enhanced humility and more compassion for myself, as well as for others.

And, as did my term of blindness (1998 – 2006), I am forever changed by what I have been experiencing these heart-rending, pressure-filled months.

In walking through the past nine months of this ordeal, I found myself reclaiming lost parts of me. 

At a point I noticed that even my body had come to feel different. Most amazingly, I realized that my body felt like my seven year old body. My little girl, ballet-class body seemed to be the one I was walking in.

One day, ambling on a pebbly road in modern-day, ballet slipper-like shoes, I found myself stumbling, feeling as if the young ballerina me did not know properly how to navigate a stony road in shoes so delicate.

Nothing else in me seemed out of place other than that my childlike walking didn't quite fit with the harshness of the road.

It was at that moment that I truly began to realize that my Ethics Complaint ordeal was truly changing me from the inside to the out, body, mind and spirit

I've walked hundreds, even thousands of miles, through the darkest places of the underground of my soul these past months, to come into the Light that yesterday ushered in for me. 

I had received an email letter from the Ethics Committee Co-Chairs that was so outrageous I felt shocked by its contents for hours after!

That communication, feeling at first like a sucker punch of rejection words, initially, seemed to be, not only a negation of me, personally, and all I had submitted, but also of essential reality, as I knew it. 

A redefining so outrageously bold, from my perspective, and out of touch with, even commonsense, that I found it almost difficult to comprehend.

Thanks to the wonderful support network of friends and family, available to boost me when I’m in need, later in the day I concluded that the inhumane treatment I had experienced throughout most of my dealings with that Ethics Committee seemed to be validated in that single letter, if one was aware of the context from which it came. 

Here, in my opinion, was a striking example, demonstrating that my original purpose in contacting them, based on an Ethics Complaint for sexual harassment and power abuse by one of my mentors, seemed, consistently, to be minimized and pushed aside.

However, sitting back, attempting to gain perspective, I realized that, with this letter, they had gone public, more or less, with their shocking emotional disregard of me. 

If I, too, chose to make my views public, they'd, likely, be called to account for their treatment of me, I thought, with immense delight, grateful for the documents I now held, illustrative of the difficulties I had encountered, almost ceaselessly, for nine months, with their demands on me.

Oh, the benefits of paper trails, I thought with a relief, feeling freed from bondage, at last.

From here forth it would not be me, cast as being the out of line one, as the insecure Child in me had feared being all these months, as their disrespect and lack of compassion for me built up, day after day, robbing me of the joy and well-being I had worked so hard to build into my life! And that I had entrusted them to help me more firmly secure.

Now they might, likely, need to be investigated!

Caught red-handed, in my opinion, and needing to defend their position!

Not I, the the suspect one, as they had portrayed me these many months! After all, how could a woman complaining of sexual harassment and power abuse being anything but suspect?

Now, however, with this one missive in hand to substantiate my complaints of them, my ordeal with the ITAA Ethics Committee was almost over; my term of travail could, now, begin to fade!

Soon my untold, held-back story could come out in full, if I chose to share it! 

And the strong inclination of organizational and business structures to disregard the #MeToo distress of beautiful women will be one brick closer to being dismantled!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ethics Complaint Update: Breaking News!

Would you believe it? 

By the time I arrived at the point at which I am today, I ended up with, not just one, but two Ethics Complaints (See below for details.) submitted to the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). 

And, they are doozies! 

If your mind finds that #MeToo matters, you will want to know about this story of mine which is so very complex, as things of this nature are, that I’ll be telling many stories on it from here forward.

For starters -- here are a few of my long-held up, most recent updates.

Keep coming back for more, as from here forth much more of the story of the adventure I’ve been on for almost nine long, hard months is likely to unfold on this end, shared here in postings. 

Oh my, how I have prayed for this day!

And, right now, I am trusting that the best is yet to come!

No more are Anastasia’s lips sealed due to endless legalistic b...s.. regarding my #MeToo-related story that, like all others, makes those of us, formerly victimized, stronger. 

Once out, my saga, which isn't over yet, will help to, no doubt, support those who are concerned enough to be inspired, uplifted and fortified, as to how to move through this #MeToo era, with dignity and elegance.

Which, I am proud to state, I have done, to date, almost meticulously!

Here’s the scoop! 

As of today --

Ethics Complaint #1 -- Regarding sexual harassment, power abuse and the sabotaging of my ITAA professional credentials by a former mentor/ colleague, has been partially resolved, more or less!

At least, soon I will be free to announce the perpetrator, an item I have done my best to carefully conceal for the eight, going on nine months, I have had my mouth zipped due to confidentiality rules and rules and more rules!!!

Stay tuned!!

Ethics Complaint #2: Submitted charging the ITAA Ethics Committee with gross mismanagement of Ethics Complaint #1 and power abuse, leveled against me, now moving into priority position!

Imagine that, a disaster in managing a #MeToo Ethics Complaint in a psychology-oriented organization! 

Who would have thought it?

I can hardy believe it myself? 

I had hoped for so much more from this organization  to whose principles I have dedicated the last forty-five years of my life!

Long time, hard road traveling.

Oh what a day this has been!!

Further details to come.