Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Celebrating Nancie Rosenberg: Happy Birthday, Nancie!

A Network Builder Of Peace Buddies Is Nancie Rosenberg. 

Happy Birthday, Nancie!
My best effort for your chocolat cake.
There are peace buddies and then there are Peace Buddies!. Allow me to define the term here so you will understand the reference.

A Peace Buddy is someone with whom you currently have an ongoing, conscious relationship that has as its intent a striving for the highest levels of integrity, clarity, mutuality and synergy.

Enter Nancie Rosenberg, celebrating her (present) lifetime of birth – days tomorrow, December 1. Nancie, one of the first to sign on for the Possible Human, Possible Society Study, is a Peace Buddy par excellence and a networking maven.

I am so grateful to be the beneficiary of her generous, personal support and attentiveness for this endeavor. Above and beyond the call of duty, she gives of herself and nourishes me just when I most need it, like the freshness of rain and the glow of the sunshine. My gratitude is beyond words to have, additionally, been graciously welcomed into her vast network of Peace Buddies. And, oh, the delight of the people I have now met through her.

Nancie carries her messages with
the joy and inspiration of the hummingbird.
Lucky me.
Malcolm Gladwell defines a maven (word origin – Yiddish, among the richest languages for single descriptive words that I know) as someone who accumulates knowledge and passes it on.

Mavens, according to Gladwell, are essential links to creating the success of any project that has an intention such as our’s; to invite participation and impact, as directly and as soon as possible. Who wouldn’t want an enthusiastic maven behind a project like New Horizons, or a study like the Possible Human, Possible Society Study?

Connectors, people who, among other characteristics, know lots of people are also critical to the success of an endeavor such as our’s. Connectors are resources for spreading the word on the “important” things that are happening, ideas and intents. Blessing of all blessings, sometimes, suggests Gladwell, author of the bestseller, The Tipping Point, maven and connector attributes show up in one and the same person. In other words, a networking maven. Here we have such as Nancie Rosenberg, hopefully, having the happiest of birthdays tomorrow.

Nancie is optimal in her unconditional acceptance and support of others, as well as being well-informed on spiritual and peace-building matters and superbly connected to a bazillion people, I am sure, loving them all. With an innate love of people and an enthusiasm for life, she carries her messages forth with joy and inspiration like the hummingbird.

Luckily for me and New Horizons and the objectives of our new Possible Human, Possible Society Study, we are fortunate to have Nancie Rosenberg’s support behind us, a gift that has been making an enormous difference since the onset of the study.

Happy birthday, Nancie!

From Anastasia (and Sue too)
With the deepest of gratitude for the treasures of your being and my having your support and insight to help me move our project out into the world.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Peace Buddies Project

Open question to Possible Human, Possible Society Study participants

Do you have one or more people in your life that you consciously and actively practice peace-building with on a regular basis? And, who do the same back to you?

Sue and I call these "Peace Buddies." Obviously, she and I have become Peace Buddies with one another. Here is a bit of an introduction to how we think about and do our conscious peace-building that we call the Peace Buddy Project.

There are a bazillion ways to sabotage peace; things, even ordinary people need to pay attention to not doing, like being abusive or lying, even a little bit. (See blog article on "subtle violence.") Perhaps there are an equal or greater number paths to attain it. I hope so.

In keeping with New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project’s mission; to do our best everyday, in everyway, to carry out the vision suggested by the following quote of Mahtma Gandhi --

  • “We do best to begin by carving out territories or zones of peace in our personal relations where violence and deceit won’t be used.”
New Horizons came up with fourteen human attributes that Sue and I built into our Cultural Mediation Paradigm and the New Horizons Small “Zones Of Peace” model. There are tips galore about these attributes and how to practice them linked here for your your ease in accessing our suggestions.

Our original idea to build these attributes into all that New Horizons offers is based on Murat Yagan’s guidance for the building of exceptional communities. However, practice has added some pointers.

The fact is that the essential ingredients that build and sustain peace and well being and, therefore, create non-violence can be cultivated. The seeds of this potential already exist in everyone. If these seeds are nurtured in the proper manner, enduring relationships and community structures can be developed wherein, over an extended time, violence can become “obsolete.” Imagine that “violence can be obsolete.” And you have the wherewithal to help that objective along, right now. Only as far away as reaching out to another person with the intention of building a bond of peace, on purpose.

Having a Peace Buddy with whom you regularly, consciously and conscientiously practice your peace-building skills is one very profound way to nurture these seeds in yourself and others. Even if you are doing a great job as a peace-builder, a Peace Buddy gives you an extra edge and helps keep you on your toes.

When the blended ingredients of the best in human nature create synergy; a way of being with others that goes beyond cooperation and further than consensus, humanity can raise up its communities, large and small, to their highest potentials.

If you do not have one or more Peace Buddies, will you pledge to get one or more now?

The more you have, the better it is for yourself and everyone else. Although Sue is one of my Peace Buddies, I think I have at least fifty more. How about that? Can you identify that many and more for yourself? FYI, Peace Buddies are not about popularity, they are about authenticity and a sincere pledge to always do your best to resolve conflicts and overcome polarization.

Let us know. We are in the planning and development stages right now to make our Peace Buddy Project a part of our expanding efforts to build small “zones of peace” everywhere in the service of being possible humans in the possible society.

Study Report

Though we still be interviewing the "choir" these days of the study start up, almost all interviewees, so far, report making authenticity and overcoming conflict and, therefore, polarization to be priority values in their lives.

What do you think we will find when we start interviewing folks on Capitol Hill and around K Street?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Is It Truly A Puzzlement?

Anastasia’s Commentary and Study Report

I can almost hear the words now from the “King and I.” T’is a puzzlement,” sings Yul Brynner as the King of Siam. In my image the king is reading today’s CNN reports. That’s his puzzlement.

On the other hand, from the aerial view I’ve got as the architect and prime interviewer for our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, the current predicament seems as if remedial efforts are really not all that out of reach. If our representatives would just be willing to take a good look; first at their process, then at the content. Be it economics or whatever else. Let's hope they are getting closer than we think.

But who am I to throw my hat in the ring in this battle? I have mastered only a very few things in my life. On the practical plane, beyond psychology and related "soft science" analysis, anyone who knows me recognizes I can barely change a light bulb. Let alone offer anything to fixing the economy. Here I am all follower. Not a leadership bone in my body.

Some of our study participants, however, though they be, perhaps, no more than arm chair coaches, have far more wisdom than I on such topics. And, the "knowing ones" all seem to agree on one factor that could change the whole game. There is a common overarching value system "of the people, by the people and for the people,” that is crying out for our representation.

Address the good of the whole of our collective citizenry. Ego and self-interest (actually the bedfellow of ego) are to be left at the door. Find that value system in the Bible in both the old and the new Testaments. I am certain the notion must be repeated again and again somewhere in the Quran (though I have never read it), the teachings of Buddha and almost every other system that has endured. The good of the whole; one for all and all for one. That makes complete sense on even the most basic stress management level; body, mind and spirit. 

Maybe the super committee, which might or might not be super, needs a good break for the holidays to help them remember about peace on earth, good will to man (woman and child). Meanwhile I am grateful as Thanksgiving approaches. The progress of the study seems almost magical thus far. Lots of peace and good will in each and every Possible Human, Possible Society interview. Perhaps that’s because I am still talking to the “choir.” 

Thank you to all who have contributed their time and the sharing of their highest ideals to the building dialogue of this study and the wisdom being garnered therein. I am truly grateful for the abundance of insight that your responses provide.

When we get closer into doing interviews around the White House and Capitol Hill, will we still find that consistency of intent? One would hope so. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Innocents until proven guilty. I am a die-hard, practical idealist who doesn't want to soon be shaking my head, joining the choir singing that tune of the “puzzlement.” 

Meanwhile, keep pace with our study. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

More to come. By the new year I hope to be sharing a bit of what our study is discovering.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Search Of Someone Special

Efficiency Apartment, soon to be available at our beautiful mountainside property

C’mon, let’s all work together soooooo –

One lovely woman in need of housing and inspiration can have a beautiful, safe home and thrive as our non-profit organization grows and expands.
Definitely better than a tent

Rent -- Cash or work exchange (or combination)


  • Mature adult -- female, only;
  • Must have car and job;
  • Pets welcome (fenced in yard);
  • No drugs or alcohol.
Expected availability, December 1. Now in remodeling phase.

  • Material donations – Needed (tax deductible to our non-profit org.)
  • Volunteers needed for: drywall, gutter repair, tile floor laid (already donated), chimney repair, chimney sweep, strong man with chainsaw.
See details and stories about our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center Project.

Information: Anastasia, 240.409.5347 or

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Possible Society In Motion: Study Report

The fire in my soul has been ignited.

Interviewing participants started right off as an almost magical experience for me. Although I hold the values upon which this study builds its various hypotheses, enough to stake my life on them, I had not anticipated how close to the hearts and ethical practises of many others were they, also, being held. Then I started listening to personal stories about values and standards. Interviews soon became storytelling. In less the ninety days plus since August 1, when the study officially began, I have already been given, personally, more than I could have imagined.
Already in these early days of the study, I am being privileged to discover an enhanced viewpoint of both the head and the deepest yearnings of the heart. As well as the heart behind the distress people are experiencing under current political circumstances. The heart part, expressed in detail, in these one-on-one interviews, has been particularly profound. There is nothing like storytelling to expand one's consciousness and our human connectedness.

The internet cannot give us this sense of full-bodied personhood, person-to-person. No matter how advanced it becomes. There is something one receives in close proximity to another that high tech cannot replace; the flesh, the facial expression and the voice tone are parts of that “something.” But there is more, a subtle human vibration.

Right from the study’s start in early August, it prompted so much interest I wasn't sure we could manage it all. I believe, this was because many people are eager to speak the deepest truths of their hearts, as well as their mind, if there is hope that it can make a difference. For our parts, now, a few months into the study, we are beginning to accrue a decent enough flow. And, our every success with the project seems relatively assured, as much as anything can be predicted in these days of turbulence.

Note: This article is excerpted from another at Anastasia The Storyteller. "Alignment With Our Principles, Part II.

Keep pace with the process.

More to come.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Collaborators’ Celebration

Five Years of Ever-Increasing Synergy; like the fingers of one hand working together.

Five years ago today I had no idea that the blond haired woman with the healing touch would come to be like a sister to me and the collaborator of the next important, developing phases of the New Horizons Support Network, Inc..  She came simply offering to help lift some of the strain I was experiencing in my role as the chapter president of a national Jewish women’s social action group.

Disappointingly, the women’s social action group, unlike Sue, was to take no action whatsoever in responding to a local Jewish/Muslim upheaval, Nonetheless, out of that chaos what has come to be titled the “Cultural Mediation Paradigm,” came into being, publicly introduced at our recent Possible Society In Motion event, Now this approach to community development and the team behind it warrants a birthday celebration. Five years of ever-increasing synergy, community service and the development of a peace-building model with meritorious impact deserves commemoration.

To begin comprehending how momentous, in small, simple ways though with grand implications, has been our journey from there to here, first, picture one very challenged, dedicated, peace activist, Me, feeling unduly challenged in a highly charged and polarized situation. A state of local affairs that made a mockery of the Jewish ethic, tikkun olam, world repair, I still believe. Next, imagine my spirit sister, sometimes lovingly identified as Quaker Sue, raising her hand, saying “I’ll help,” as she has done more than once too often in the five years I have known her.

Prompted by true Quaker ethics to help counteract anti-Muslim backlash following the tragedy of “911, Sue had already pledged her support to neighboring Muslims when a mutual acquaintance brought she and I together. Initially we connected with the shared goal of offsetting the escalation of our local controversy. Since that beginning, however, auspicious only in retrospect, serendipity has guided us to become an almost magical collaborative team,  Synergy, like the graceful fingers of one hand working together, and the discovering of elegant solutions bear the signature of our fingerprints. 

So, today in honor of our five years together, as I have been promising to do for more than a year already, allow me to formally introduce “my Sue,” New Horizons’ most singularly active board member, chairperson of multiple committees and our esteemed Curriculum Development Director, Sue deVeer.

Sue deVeer is a career Quaker educator of more than forty years who knows that questions can be more important than answers. Strongly rooted in the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, equality and social justice, she has brought a unique perspective to recent developments in New Horizons’ various projects.  Her specialties as an educator are experiential education, environmental education, curriculum design and consensus decision making.
With all this and more to her credit, perhaps you, too, can see that “my Sue,” oftentimes raising her hand, enthusiastically stating, “I’ll do it,” says that phrase almost more than she should. 

Still isn’t she awesome, “my Sue”!