Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Update: Storytelling Workshop Series.

The New Horizons Small "Zones of Peace" Storytelling Workshop Series 
In the service of affecting social change

November 11, and December 2, 2017 Workshops  

Instead, arrangements are now underway to take our next storytelling workshop series events to Hood College, as well as to other project sites. See a list below of what we have in the works for this critically important, community development project, the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace Project Storytelling Workshop Series.

Look for details and read our many articles on our unfolding Storytelling Workshop Series

These are troubling times! Nonetheless, along with our rights to freedom of speech, a free press, to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances these, we have the right to tell our stories – and – to listen to the stories of others. From storytelling – and story “listening,” we gain insight, inspiration, connection, new found levels of wisdom and creative solutions to problems we are presently facing.

Participate in creating and supporting New Horizons StoryCorps/Small “Zones of Peace” Library of Congress collection.  

Your opportunity to have your personal story archived (and those of your friends, family and other associates). We'll show you how!  

What we have in the works 
  • Storytelling (along with an introductory Coffee House Conversation program) to be added to the list of coming activities at a seniors’ community;
  • A pending project to bring storytelling, as a unifying activity, possibly focusing on the gender divide, at Hood College and on other campus sites;
  • A storytelling project geared to drawing out stories of female, adult Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), specially designed to empower and support women with healing and integrating trauma, some long hidden, from situations such as the Harvey Weinstein/Hollywood scandal has unloosed. Study in progress for data gathering on this. Contact Anastasia;
  • A pending project for our local community to gather stories from our key leaders, political and ordinary citizens;
  • A project to arrange Storytelling Holiday Workshop Parties (2 slots still available)
A great start, dontcha think? We sure do!

New Horizons is a 501 C 3  non-profit educational organization 
Partnering with StoryCorps’ “Listening Is An Act Of Love” Project

Please support our project with your donations. We take cash and gifts in kind!

For Details, Contact: Anastasia Rosen-Jones
Email: HarpersFerryNH@aol.com Cell: 240.409.5347

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Can Storytelling Be A Vehicle For Resolving Social Problems?

I have already written, some, about the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” newly refined agenda to shift our attentions away from community dialogue, as we had been doing for years with our Coffee House Conversations programs, to an intention to focus more on one-on-one dialogue.

Using our partnering with Storycorps, as a backdrop, we have, now, beginning with our Storytelling Workshop Series, live and online, launched this new plan over the past month. 

Our introductory pathway was about strengthening bonds, designed primarily for our local community. Following up on the countless things we learned in the process of teaching skills to attendees, in our live workshop, we moved our storytelling project forward with a mission of utilizing storytelling as a viable vehicle for resolving many and varied social problems beyond that. 
We all have lots to learn ---
from one another.

As a result an overview of programs we are currently developing includes these items –
  • Storytelling (along with an introductory Coffee House Conversation program) to soon be added to the list of activities at a seniors community;
On this item, ask yourselves –

Might we take up the gender gap with storytelling on college campuses?  We think we're gonna give it a try!

Might you, personally, like us to, also, bring this project to your college campus and help you begin setting up your own StoryCorps platform? 

Imagine what it might be like to have your college campus have its own StoryCorps archives, with your voices and stories, preserved for perpetuity!
  • A storytelling project geared to drawing out stories of female, adult Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), specially designed to empower and support women with healing and integrating sexual harassment and abuse trauma experiences, some long hidden, from situations such as the Harvey Weinstein/Hollywood scandal has unloosed;

  • A pending project for our local community to gather stories from our key leaders, political and otherwise;
  • A project, now in motion, for me, personally, to collect stories from neighbors, living in the magical locale we share up in the mountains above Harpers Ferry.  (A great way, possibly, to pass through the cold winter weather that sometimes makes driving difficult up here and, maybe, walking a little less so.)
  • A pending project to arrange one or two Storytelling Holiday Workshop Parties
Sounds like a great start, right?  

Especially for a building small “zones of peace” project officially, launched slightly only a month ago!  

We are on our way and thought you might like to know about our progress!

See how our storytelling approach can work? 

Each and every one of these projects has direct tie-ins to an intent to elevate some social difficulties out of the problem area into the possible. Such as bringing seniors, living in community with many new people they may never have known in their earlier years, to grow their new community bonds stronger.

Your family, friends, neighborhood, group or organization can do it too!

Keep in mind that "An enemy is someone whose story you haven't yet heard."

What turns the enemy situation around? Storytelling, of course!

We will be glad to guide your unique efforts.

For details, Contact: Anastasia Rosen-Jones

Email: SuperSleuthDSW@aol.com,  Cell: 240.409.5347

Monday, October 23, 2017

On The Magic Of Storytelling

There is wonder and magic in storytelling. Of that I am certain.

Well, at least, I can say there is all of that in story “listening,” if you are fortunate enough to be able to “interview” an individual with an intriguing story as I was able to do this afternoon.

Today I did my first “official” interview for New Horizons new StoryCorps/Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection.

The experience, which lasted for around ninety minutes, was awesome!

Our New Horizons Storytelling project might differ, even significantly, from what other groups or organizations, partnering with StoryCorps, might do. However, our approach, as it is developing,  will include our Storytelling Workshop Series and lots and lots of interviews with people who may or may not attend these events.

The scheme we have developed, in addition to the tools and skills our workshops are designed to offer, is to do one or two rehearsal-type interviews with an individual in preparation for a recorded interview for our StoryCorps/Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection.

In this way, we are hoping to contribute interesting, somewhat well-thought out and prepared, though unscripted stories that, at their best, can become gifts we are giving by storytelling and story “listening.” 

If our stories can make the cut and be broadcast on NPR as many StoryCorps stories are, so much the better.

In the case of today’s storytelling, the person I interviewed is unlikely to attend any of our workshops, particularly as they will interfere with his work schedule. Nonetheless, I, personally, am already getting enough out of our behind-the-scenes Storytelling Workshop Project Steering Committee Meetings and practice sessions our committee members are doing with one another, that I was well-prepared as an interviewer. 

Add to these activities the fact that I have a long-term background as a psychotherapist and you can well-imagine my interview skills of an individual’s personal stories are, by now, well-ingrained.

If you’ve ever been to a therapist, no doubt, you understand, right off, what I mean. Who else, other than a family member or best friend, could possibly care enough to focus on you, and only you, for almost an hour? And be totally wrapped up in the process?

Well, I absolutely loved this storytelling, story listening process.

Was it like doing therapy?

Not at all, as I did not need to be doing any problem solving of anybody or anything! 

So I had the leisure to just sit back and enjoy entering into another person’s adventure who needed nothing back from me, other than the receiving of my attention, interest and probably a good dose of caring and compassion. I’ll grant that.

My first storyteller has an incredibly interesting story, with a number of gifts he will be giving from his telling. In particular, a story that goes from a serious, life-threatening drug addiction from which he has recovered and into q new life in which he has now chosen to become a Monk. 

His story, which we have agreed might even have two or three offshoots, was so intriguing I can hardly wait to pick it up again when we do session number two.

However, this one, alone, had all the elements of magic I love; excitement, intrigue, adventure, challenge, a downtrodden person surmounting life-threatening obstacles and coming out the other end as a hero!  

I absolutely love this kind of hero!

So I know, for sure, I am going to totally love this new project of New Horizons!

Perhaps, once developed, I will enjoy it even more than any other!

I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, I hope you will be inspired to start down this storytelling, story “listening” path too and find yourself a bit of magic. 

We could definitely use it, these days.

For details on how you can join New Horizons and myself, contact: 
Anastasia Rosen-Jones

Email: HarpersFerryNH@aol.com Cell: 240.409.5347

Be sure to join New Horizons in this endeavor. 

It is an important one!

Could Storytelling And Story "Listening" Bridge Even The Gender Gap?

Read Anastasia's commentary on --- Could Storytelling And Story "Listening" Bridge Even The Gender Gap?

The New Horizons Board of Directors began exploring this possibility over the past weekend, in light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood -- and -- its fallout across the nation.

We would like to hear your views.

Do you think that storytelling and story "listening" workshops focusing on bridging the gender gap be helpful.

Let us know what you think.

Contact: Anastasia Rosen-Jones

Email: HarpersFerryNH@aol.com Cell: 240.409.5347

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Developing The Art Of Sharing Stories In The Service Of Building (and Rebuilding) Our Communities

What if more and more people in the U.S.A. came to realize that “sustained” polarization was destructive to their well-being; not an answer to what ails us, in the long run?

What if more and more people recognized the validity of Ben Franklin’s words –
"We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately"?
Wikipedia suggests that the meaning of this phrase by Franklin,  at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, meant that signers of the Declaration, as well as colonists in general, had to help each other and support each other or they were doomed.

What if more and more people took heed of these words, reinforced, in recent days by the tragedies of our recent hurricane devastations and the mass shootings in Las Vegas – and realized that we need one another more than we need our divisions, regardless of the differences between us of race, religion or other creeds.

Bridge Building: One Person
At A Time

Polarization can be a necessary and good thing, as mostly we are different enough from one another to need to define ourselves with some intricacy. But, at a point, we must unite to find common ground in order to move forward. 

My hope is that we will come through these troubled times we are now facing to discover the importance of this, along with an awareness that we will need time in order to heal our divisions. One of the examples of a project I have long admired that has successfully helped heal deep and serious wounds that divide is the Compassionate Listening Project.

Recently I revisited the web site of that project to review their achievements for myself – and – draw hope and inspiration from the work they have accomplished in the twenty years or so they have been active in reconciling divisions of the most horrendous divides, particularly in the Middle East and between both Jewish and German Holocaust survivors. In becoming somewhat familiar with this project through a friend who was the daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, I discovered that storytelling was an intrinsic piece of the success of this project.

Their success reassures me that New Horizons and myself are on the right track.

Imagine healing wounds between Jewish and German Holocaust survivors with a respectable number of these people being either former Nazis or their children?

We do not need to bring ourselves to a bloody war of factions, with more causalities than we have already seen, in this Beloved country of ours, to start looking toward a brighter future than we have presently -- and beginning to build it now, even in the midst of our polarization. Small steps in leaning in to one another can be a beginning. Storytelling and story “listening,’ as we officially launched as a project last Saturday is a further step.

Please consider this an imperative next step for yourself, personally. 

We believe this is a critically important next step, if what you have now is not to your liking!

Developing the art of sharing personal stories, in the service of building community (and rebuilding) unity in our country will not come easily, even with the best of intentions. Yet the yearning to tell and  listen to stories is ingrained in humanity. This is a very special way we connect to one another.

We may be the only animals that do this. Yet given half an opportunity, the exchange of stories arises out of our depths as naturally as sunshine and fresh air. We saw this occurring at last Saturday’s workshop. We needed only to provide a minimum of guidance and structure to set the ball rolling. 

Once we did we were pressed to find an ending to the delicious exchanges that were then created.

The vehicle, storytelling and story listening, that circumstances have now led New Horizons to offer in order that we continue on with our exceptional community development mission, centrally focused on building small “zones of peace” throughout our local community and beyond, will grow from here forth, we anticipate. 

In our county, alone, there are pockets and pockets of individuals and groups who are, minimally, finding unity in churches, synagogues, special interest and support groups. Within these, people often find their way to one another, based on the likemindedness they share. We are after a stretch beyond this. 

We want to fortify the links that are relatively still intact, even if minimally, and also reach across the divides that are less than the ideal of like thinking!

Few people, as we saw on Saturday, have yet attained the level of artfulness needed to significantly overcome the hurdles we are currently facing in our nation and even in our local communities.  But we can learn. And, in that realization lies our hope!!

One thing is certain, once we get started telling our stories with the true potential for connectedness we all carry, more and more people will be wanting to continue on, almost non-stop. Our new “Zones of Peace” Storytelling Workshop Series is already showing us this.

Please plan on joining us for our next “Zones of Peace” Storytelling Workshop event on Saturday, November 11.

This is important! You won’t be sorry!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Storytelling Workshop Series Hopes and Dreams Coming True: We are on our way!


When the intention of a workshop, such as yesterday’s introduction to New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Storytelling Workshop Series, was to be -- and – you begin at two and are still going str0ng at 8:30, you have no doubt you have reached some kind of magic. 

At New Horizons we call that a climb to the peak of the Mountain of Awe. In this case, the outcome was built upon storytelling, lots of creative contributions and good will. 

What a fine example this was of the way we all might be able to use storytelling to build, or help re-build, old timey community where people treat one another with caring and respect. And take time to listen!

Yesterday we were already germinating that which we envision we can become through New Horizons new  storytelling community.  We weren’t anywhere near the level of The Moth or what we would like to see of ourselves for our submissions to our StoryCorps archives, under the heading of The Official New Horizons Small "Zones Of Peace" Storytelling Collection. 

Yet there could have been little doubt, as we spent long hours, during the workshop, which went way over time and continued over dinner at a nearby restaurant , that we were on our way to helping one another develop the “art of storytelling and the art of story “listening.”

This is the path, beyond polarization, we are seeking with this next New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” project, the Storytelling Workshop Series. A genuine storytelling community in embryonic form

We did not have a lot of people in attendance, but we did have the right people!

I, Anastasia, found myself searching for the proper words to start off the event. Unable to find them, myself, I found them in the words of another “storytelling to build community” organization that described our vision just right.

Here we had words that helped our defined mission take shape.

Our mission: to build small “zones of peace” wherever we go by assisting others to develop skills that enable them to move beyond all elements of human separation wherever they exist.
The workshop will demonstrate and train participants in how to design and hold intentional and strategic community storytelling events that help build relationships, create shared vision, heal some community wounds and celebrate community accomplishments and heroes.
During the workshop participants will learn how to plan a storytelling project utilizing storytelling circles, create community timelines, creative visioning and time capsule activities. Courtesy of David Hunt & Associates
These words, that beautifully represent the vision of the New Horizons Board of Directors, seemed to almost immediately resonate with our guests. It was wonderful. We were off and running, without stop, until we were almost too tired to continue.

More to come when we’ve had another day or two to assimilate – and – in my case digest the food I was shuffling down, almost mindlessly. 


Our Storytelling Workshop Series Hopes and Dreams Are Coming True: We are on our way!

Join us next for the next in the series on Saturday, November 11.

Contact: Anastasia Rosen-Jones for details and reservations.
Cell: 240.409.5347, emal: SuperSleuthDSW@aol.com