Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Synergy, Like The Fingers Of One Hand Working Together

Think Tank participant, Sandi
Lee, arranges seating for event
I have always been particularly attracted to the notion of “synergy” being like “the fingers of one hand working together.” As far as I know the idea originated with Murat Yagan. I love that depiction and how it creates a picture that moves in my mind. Moderator Jim French gave the image even more motion at Sunday’s panel-led discussion when he added his reflection of the thumb being able to touch all the fingers.

If the aspirations of a group or organization are to be truly “exceptional,” the attainment of “synergy” may be the most essential quality. You can read about my view of the “exceptional” community and how that notion contrasts with “ordinary” communities on my Anastasia The Storyteller blog. See the “The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard” link to view an excerpt from my mss in progress for that discussion.
My concept of exceptional community life blends the ancient teachings Murat has so generously provided of his native Abkhazia with the strategies of therapeutic community culture as I came to know it in my years as a therapist.

To begin your own exploration of the principles of community synergy as Murat’s recounts the teachings of his culture, you can purchase a copy of “Building Up A Kebzeh Community,” one of numerous publications from Murat’s teaching series. This monograph is a wonderful study group manual for building an exceptional community life. It was from this that New Horizons, in 1999, began to set its sights on the purposeful attainment of AWE through community development.  Of course, we were blessed with personal guidance from Murat and the advanced students that surround him, hungry for the teachings he imparts. Nonetheless, for devotees of transformation through community I believe it is a must for indepth study.

For an initial public presentation, I was delighted with how our event, offered by the members of our budding Possible Society Think Tank, drew together a group of attendees that so eagerly did their best to co-create a high minded discussion. The event, panel-led discussion along with potluck dinner, was a distinct stepping stone to the level of cooperation that, over time, becomes synergy and beyond that can reach that high peak, the attainment of AWE. The attendees were a wonderful group. Thank you for being with us in support of me, personally, and these early efforts of our new projects and programs.

With Jim as our moderator, our panel-led discussion and potluck dinner gave us a taste of peace action in motion. And, Jim was truly the thumb holding the fork. With deepest appreciation, I congratulate the Think Tank members, Sandi Lee, Sue deVeer and Skip Cross, and, Jim French, of course, for a job well-done, synergistically, at Sunday’s very first Possible Society In Motion public event.

More to come on our Possible Society In Motion programs and projects as they now begin to emerge out of our new Possible Human, Possible Society Study.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Taste Of Peace Action In Motion

“Zones of Peace” Builders We Especially Appreciate 

Jim French, Moderator
Possible Society In Motion Panel and Potluck Dinner

Jim in non-verbal communication
with a Chinese-only speaking student
UNESCO Center For Peace,
Model United Nations Camp, 2010

"The girls from Brazil loved him," reported Guy Djoken, Executive Director of the UNESCO Center For Peace, sponsors of a Model United Nations camp program. They, indeed, sent fan mail for Jim in 2009 and looked forward to his return in 2010, Jim’s third year co-facilitating “Conflict Resolution and Anger Management 101” with me for the project.

I think he’s priceless! And I feel more than a tad bit of remorse for taking so long to publicly acknowledge this loyal, dedicated-to-peace-building man. While Sue and I will be celebrating five years together of our collaboration this year, Jim French is not far behind with four years accompanying us, also, in November. I can’t imagine the successes these programs accomplished without him.

Jim French, facilitating community
dialogue at our
Abkhazian Dinner 2010
A veteran of community dialogue, Jim has been a facilitator for Great Decisions, the Baltimore Symphony in Frederick, and the Maryland Shakespeare Festival. He has, additionally, been an active program designer as well as a facilitator for two of our three recent Abkhazian Dinners, for our Centennial Memorial United Methodist program and our participation in the UNESCO Center for Peace sponsored Model UN Camps for three years. With a long career in association management for high-tech industries and now a part-time educator, Jim continues to be involved in community and world affairs.

With that said, I now best use this space to say “Join us on Sunday, October 23 for our Possible Society In Motion Panel-led Discussion and Potluck Dinner. Give yourself the opportunity to be guided into fruitful, community-building dialogue sans polarization, if all goes well, as it should, with Jim’s skillful moderating. Following the discussion, take time to “break bread” with us as we, more informally, take a few next steps to building community unity along with our potluck dinner.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Horizons' Announces Possible Society Study

PRESS RELEASE for immediate release

Non-Profit Launches Regional Possible Society Study

Frederick, Maryland -- Sue deVeer, a life-long Quaker, was born into peace-building and service. Anastasia Rosen-Jones, of Jewish heritage and the step-daughter of a Holocaust survivor, was raised on social justice and the quest for tikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase meaning “world repair.”

With these cultural roots upon which to build, it is little surprise that the meeting of these two women would grow into a harmonious collaboration, as well as a successful community development model. For the past five years, as various programs of the model were being shaped and offered on a limited basis, the two women have paid particular attention to creating a format for community action through conversations.

During these years, the duo collaborated to create the New Horizons’ Cultural Mediation model geared toward overcoming barriers in civic and interfaith disparity. Their unique approach has resulted in the successful bridging of differences for numerous local groups to date. Now, with the launching of a new, four year study, also sponsored by New Horizons, the organization and its leadership will expand these early, successful Cultural Mediation efforts.

The new project, titled the “Study of the Possible Human in the Possible Society Within A 100 Mile Radius Surrounding Washington, D.C.,” will move local efforts forth, first regionally and then nationally. Drawing upon data gathered by the study, immediate attention will be given to utilizing strategies of the Cultural Mediation paradigm as a prototype for overcoming the severe polarization presently contaminating our entire country.

Designed by Ms. Rosen-Jones, the study and its related projects and programs will move forward under the name the Possible Society In Motion. Data from the study will be used for published reports that highlight public opinion in certain, designated areas that are relevant to the philosophies and earlier efforts of New Horizons. Fruitful discussion formats, focused on developing community unity, will also be created to expand both data gathering and public awareness and education.

A bi-weekly Possible Society in Motion Think Tank, open only to study participants, has recently been established. A panel-led discussion and potluck dinner will be hosted by study participants for interviewees and potential interviewees on Sunday, October 23, 2011. Both Ms. deVeer, who heads various New Horizons Committees and is on the New Horizons Board of Directors, and Ms. Rosen-Jones, New Horizons Executive Director and Founder, will be on the panel.

For more information on New Horizons and the Possible Society Study, visit our blog site at To participate in the study, volunteer to assist with projects and programs of the study or to make a tax-deductible contribution, contact Anastasia Rosen-Jones at 240.409.5347 or email:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Event Announcement

The Possible Society In Motion

Are you a part of the current polarization
problems our nation is facing, even subtly?
Or a consistent, active part of the solution?
Panel-Led Discussion 

Date: Sunday, October 23

Time: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Potluck Dinner Follows Discussion

Location: Friends Meeting House
723 N. Market Street   
Frederick, Maryland
  • Jim French  - BA Physics & Philosophy, Consultant & Educator, New Horizons Conversations Program Planner and Facilitator, Participating Member New Horizons Possible Society In Motion Think Tank
  • Skip Cross -- Possible Society Study participant
  • Sue deVeer -- MA Environmental Education, New Horizons Board Member and Curriculum Development and Steering Committees Chairperson, Think Tank Participant
  • Anastasia Rosen-Jones --Retired Psychotherapist, Community Development Coach and Consultant, New Horizons Founder and Executive Director, Possible Society Study Designer 
Keep Pace With New Horizons’ Possible Society Study!
Details and Reservations
(Space is limited)

Anastasia: 240.409.5347