Friday, December 30, 2011

The Other Side of the Coin

Sabotaging “the walk”

We do this too; every one of us, sabotage the very “walk” we proclaim ourselves to be taking with devotion. Nonetheless, when asked, we might, at first, even suggest that we are almost flawless as builders of peace and unity. After all, we have our pride.

Still I hear of the challenges on this path; the courage demanded in pursuing the way of clarity and integrity, in the testimony of study interviews. We do not travel this road without facing our flaws. We have not yet mastered the traversing of the peaks and valleys of our trek, but we are in there making the attempt.

So there is also the other side of the coin, for each and every one of us. Proclaiming our righteous intent, in the next little while, we step into our control games. Hiding, even from ourselves, we mask our manipulations, seductions, judgments and assumptions; labeling others as “other” (though we wish we had not), being impatient, self-righteous, arrogant and covert, hurrying up into the next non-urgent “urgency,” justifying resentments, limiting our compassion as if it were a commodity as pricey as gasoline.

We can put a man on the moon and, yet, not be completely; no holding back, builders of “zones of peace” in our bedrooms, living rooms and neighborhoods. Thus we are humbled by the lessons of our lives. Coming out from behind these maneuvers, being straightforward, transparent and accountable while maintaining diplomacy, as we demand of others, is no easy task. Not at all an endeavor for the faint hearted. Gandhi’s words below are significant here:

"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."- Mahatma Gandhi

We are discovering the truth of this statement as well as its pitfalls. To be quite honest it is a treacherous road we are traversing; this path of honesty, integrity and non-violence, being fully accountable.

Networking maven, Nancie Rosenberg, is truly a messenger bird for me, bringing me tidbits from sources I would not ordinarily find on my own. Recently, she patiently read me the following quote from Neale Donald Walsch’s book, The Storm Before The Calm” which I embraced with relish.

"How is it possible that 6.9 billion people can all claim to want the same thing (Peace, security, opportunity, prosperity, happiness, and love) and be singularly unable to get it"?

Beautifully stated; I quote it again and again, these days.

As we face the realities of ordinary, day-to-day life, we see the challenges of our journey. If you are wanting to grow your peace-building quotient and/or iron out any wrinkles in your repertoire, you can look forward to our 2012 Possible Society In Motion programs, designed exclusively for study participants (unless stated otherwise), as tentatively scheduled below:

  • Think Tank, Open Meeting (Space is limited, so reserve early): Where we drop our assumptions in the service of inspiring dialogue and clarity. Thursday, February 9, 1 to 3 p.m.;
  • Awe Game Study Group: Based on Anastasia’s “Random House Trilogy” manuscript material. We are now working our way through part one of 10 in the series. Current main topic, transforming societal and personal sabotages into opportunities for peace and unity. Thursdays, alternating with Think Tank Meetings , 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Abkhazian Dinner EventAn oft repeated special event for the Frederick Season For Non-Violence, details to be posted early in 2012. Sunday, March 25, 3 to 6 p.m. (Open to the public).
  • Stretching Your BestHalf day seminar for study participants, using concepts from Anastasia’s “Random House Trilogy” and dialogue on building “The Possible Society.” -- April, Date (TBA)
  • Using Your Dark Side In The Service of Peace  – Half day seminar for study participants, using concepts from Anastasia’s “Random House Trilogy” and dialogue on being a Possible Human in a Possible Society. May, Date (TBA)
Link here to make a tax-deductible donation to help support our Possible Human, Possible Society Study and our Possible Society In Motion programs and projects.

New Horizons Presents 2011, Volunteer of The Year Award

Board Members Holiday Luncheon
Beans and the Belfry Coffee House
Brunswick Maryland

New Horizons Now Proclaims

Lisa Boyer

Volunteer Of The Year, 2011

Presented With deepest gratitude

in recognition of outstanding volunteer service, astute guidance, creative elegance &
eleven years of patience and loyalty!

New Horizons Support Network, Inc.

By: M. Anastasia Rosen-Jones, Executive Director
      Susan deVeer, Secretary-Treasurer

Officially Proclaimed
December 30, 2011

Coming soon, 2011 Volunteer Of The Year Award letter of recognition for service. Why we are so grateful to Lisa Boyer and you might be too.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Study Hypothesis, December, 2008: Who Is Gonna Walk This Walk? Let’s Find Out.

Update: 2 new hypotheses added, December, 2011:

1. How are folks walking the walk?

2. How are they not?

It was three years ago, just about this time of the year, when I happened to find myself in South America, Ecuador to be exact. Our new president-elect, Barak Obama, was much in the news at the time, world-wide. Ecuadorians I chanced to meet were curious about what we, Americans, thought about this seemingly significant elected choice. They were a well-educated, high-minded group. So I heeded their inquiries, wondering myself what the “us” back home were thinking about this newly selected leader-to-be.

At the time, I was, personally, willing to be open minded about Mr. Obama’s potential for success; in spite of having become jaded through my own adventuring into the political foray of our nation’s capital. Nonetheless, though I thought Obama particularly na├»ve about Washington’s political games, I was up for giving him a chance. I had even voted for him, a straight Democrat ticket. The Republicans having nothing startlingly better to offer, I thought.

On the other hand, I wondered if Obama’s constituents would really be up to supporting the glowing platform of our new man. Intent as he appeared to be, I believed, in rekindling the spirit of our nation to raise itself up. Inspiring folks in the manner that had once brought young idealists like myself to the nation’s capital as Kennedy had. Though I had become cautious over the years, I was not without hopes to see a national renewal of spirit.

To date, Watergate had been the last straw for me and, I must admit, I had forfeited my right to vote several times after that. Having put that privilege aside and, once more having chosen to honor it, my mind was now focused on what we, Americans, might contribute in the coming four years to support our new president. Possibly blessed with a leader who might well be challenging us, again, to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?”

The Possible Human, Possible Society Study was birthed of these musings. Almost as soon as my return plane from South America landed in Miami. Maybe even a step ahead of my rejoicing that I was able to, once more, use bathroom facilities on U.S. land, again. Without bringing my own paper, tissue paper, that is. We carried our own in Ecuador.

I soon put the idea for that study aside, however, and went on to other things. Until this past July when I could no longer turn aside from the polarization of the debt-ceiling debates and the ceaseless commentaries accompanying it all. Then I knew it was time to bring my plan for the Possible Human, Possible Society Study out of storage, thinking that it was one small thing I could do for my country.

If you have been keeping pace with the study, you probably can see that the project moving forward beyond what was expected; a sign of our times, of course.

You would have no way of knowing, however, one of the most startling discoveries, so far: The spirited involvement and support the study has garnered of the many people who have now become aware of what we are up to. (Yeah, I know, some of you might be thinking I am still only talking to the choir.)

Nonetheless, what I/we have discovered to date is presently that everyone interviewed is doing their utmost for this country. The very best they know how, to date. Thus "who" is walking the walk now needs to be expanded to add several corollaries to the original hypothesis. Now there are three.

1. Who is walking the walk (for peace and unity in this country)?

2. How are people (including the president) walking the walk?

3. How might they still not be (including the president) walking that walk?

Take a chance and see how your present activities fare.

More findings and further details to come.

Be sure to check out the stories on Anastasia The Storyteller from above, including the “We Came For Camelot," "Alignment With Our Principles," and "Society and Politics"  related labels. They are worthy, at least, of reflection and, perhaps, a chuckle or two.

More on the way. Keep pace with the study.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When I Am Without Words

Dissipating Structures In Action

When I am without words to bridge the chasm that separates me from you, I am unable to write my blog articles. My assignment, under the astute guidance of board member, Lisa Boyer, designer of these blogs and patient mentor on this project, is to write two blogs for each site, weekly; a total of four per week between them. Not infrequently enumerable obstacles arise that obstruct this responsibility of mine. I often fall short of the mark but I am always learning, hoping to do better.

This past month or two my best intentions fell short again. Yet, upon reflection, I found it hard to pin down what was interfering. I did not experience myself as being snared by that inevitable demon writers dread, writer’s block. My blinded right eye has not been the reason either. While my vision has not markedly improved, it has not worsened. Rather it seems to have stabilized enough to require only careful monitoring while its future takes time to announce what it needs next. Admittedly, I hurt my right hand this past month which did slow down my writing progress somewhat.

However, that did not adequately account for the lag either. Not satisfied with simply “writing” off my inability to produce that which was expected of me as evidence, once more, of my very human limitations, I continued to contemplate the obstacle I was unable to transcend.

Before too long, it seemed right for me to mindfully take my query into my daily meditations, asking the light within as well as beyond to please illuminate the path out of my somewhat disturbing circumstance. Thus I was called to turn my attentions to the intense process that is never far from my mind and, generally, my activities these days; doing interviews for our Possible Human, Possible Society Study. Here I found insight.

What were the study interviews revealing to my questing mind, drawn to probe the human processes of personal and societal evolution occurring, now, right before our eyes? Could I possibly find answers to my inability to write my blogs by viewing the data being gleaned from our study participants? If I paused to reflect on what I was learning from the study data, would I find the key to that which I needed in order to free up my words to write?

I already knew that that which was so generously being given by study participants through the interview process was remarkable to my eyes. Precious time given by each participant was opening my eyes to subtleties of day-to-day life in the U.S.A. that I had not considered. By participants contributing their precious time to the study I was being allowed into the hearing of cherished American dreams, Upon my request, participants of the study were enabling the study to proceed and sharing stories that would, when collected into a whole, provide insight into the wisdom of conscientious Americans in this era of now. My sacred task would be to preserve this data and share it with respect.

Reviewing study interviews, I dug into the data, still limited to date, then paused to reflect. In stillness I sought answers to my writing obstruction where logic had failed. This is what I saw.

In my mind’s eye I saw the beautiful people I have interviewed, not infrequently, sharing intimate dreams, through one-on-one telephone dialogues. (Now numbering over fifty participants in various stages of the study process with only Phase 1 underway, so far.) And I saw me as being privileged to hear the deep heartfelt brilliance of their questing for a higher consciousness; a quest that was a daily commitment to living in integrity with the truth of that consciousness. None of it easy!

Admittedly, the past ninety days of active interviewing have concentrated on interviewees in the first two sub-groups, most of whom have some sort of regular spiritual discipline. You might want to write off that finding as somewhat like “preaching to the choir.” I, however, do not.

(Launched, officially on August 1, 2011, the study was interrupted for close to sixty days to tend to the first public event of our Possible Society In Motion programs, emerging out of the study) (See link for details on study sub-groups.)

There is something much bigger here than any mere assumption of value, I believe. Of course, time will tell as we still have approximately 350 more participants to engage. And, those to come could be of significantly different varieties. (Again check out link for details on the sub-groups for our study.) Nonetheless, what I am observing that is almost magical is that people who might be assumed to be only ordinary parts of the silent majority or middle America, are choosing to respond to the stressors of our nation by reorganizing their priorities on a day-to-day basis.

This is not ordinary. Rather it is quite extraordinary as the price exacted for the sacrifices are immense. At the topmost, these priorities include living and modeling the highest of human principles, including honesty, straightforwardness and integrity; principles that are now being cried out for among our leaders.

Noting this realization to be evidence of the 1977 Nobel prize winning biological theory of dissipative structures in motion, by chemist, Ilya Prigogine, those interviewed to date appear to be responding to stressors in their lives by reorganizing their minds, their spirits and their day-to-day lives. This is conscious evolution in action; the Possible Human, “Possible Society In Motion.” All should take heed; many are walking the walk, generally without fanfare. Please note, these are not simply ordinary "church people but folks from all walks of life!

As for me, my conclusion is that I am doing the same, perpetually evolving my consciousness and my day-to-day, behind the scenes and quietly. Conclusion: sometimes the levels of expanding consciousness in me simply do not have the means to be readily put into words, even to write what might appear to simply be a study report.

Seeing this more clearly, perhaps, I can now, during these last days of the year, allow myself to simply relax into the great gratitude I feel for the generous participants in our study. Whether they can see it, yet, or not, I can see that we have taken the first steps on a wonderful shared journey, revolving, markedly, around sharing our stories and some of the most closely held dreams of our hearts. With my deepest regrets, I cannot always report on the happenings on clock or calendar time. I know you will understand.

To be continued.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What I Saw On Christmas Morning

Sunday, December 25, 2011

So much feels right this morning as I awaken to Christmas Day. Is it an illusion? Perhaps the concentration of love and light; the abundance of spirit that infuses itself into everyday life during the holiday season?

Of course, it is beyond my limited human capacities to truly determine that which is in the nature of wonder, much less readily find words that adequately describe it. It is mine only to revel in the mystery. On a very personal level the spirit of the season lifts up high for me in celebration of my son’s birthday. What a blessed babe, now grown into a man, was he; born on the first night of Chanukah which was also that year the Winter Solstice and a full moon, coming home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, incredibly profound for a baby born of a Jewish mother and a Catholic father.

This morning, beyond words, beyond the knowable, a sense of light and purity permeates my body, seems to fill the spaces surrounding me. It feels so ordinary, yet extraordinary that I am called to know it as awe. Is it Christmas? Is “it” me? Maybe the new moon, Christmas, Chanukah, the Winter Solstice all merge together?

Truly today I feel “that kind of hush all over the world” that speaks of peace on earth, goodwill to humankind. Stillness, sparkle, sunshine outside in the crisp, cold air of December.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Think Tank: Invitation To Study Interviewees

The Possible Society In Motion Project Moving Forward

Possible Society In Motion
Think Tank
A milieu in which human variables
move in peace with one another
for the good of the whole.

Think Tank Open Meeting

Participation Requirement:
Possible Human, Possible Society Study participant

Date: Thursday, February 9, 2012

Time: 1 pm to 3 pm
          Refreshments will follow

Location: Frederick Friends Meeting House
              Frederick, Maryland

RSVP: By Monday, February 6, 2011
Contact: Anastasia Cell: 240.409.5347

Anastasia’s Think Tank Vision

The vision I have for our think tank, at least for this coming 2012 election year, is that we will create a forum within which study participants feel free to discuss their personally-held principles and beliefs in a thought provoking and safe environment. In this way, I would hope that through non-destructive, though sometimes, temporarily polarizing discussions, we will assist one another in clarifying what we each can effectively do in order to help create a healthfully functioning U.S.A. in the coming years.

My hope is that through respectful discourse each participating think tank member will experience this group as a venue within which confidence in personal, possibly cutting edge, viewpoints will grow as we think out, speak out and clarify our personal perspectives. Thus each participant will, at least, be better informed on issues that affect, not only ourselves, but the rich diversity of others in our country. In this way, I would hope that this think tank, in its first fully operational year, will contribute to, even in a miniscule way, public opinion for the good of our citizenry as a whole for a healthful future of our society.

The vehicle for our think tank to serve as a contributer to public opionion may take the form of a radio talk show that I would host and to which Possible Society Think Tank members would also participate. This is one possibliity now being discussed that could grow out of the study, the think tank and the various other programs now on the drawing board that will support the study. Certainly, published reports will emerge from the study and incorporate our think tank process and development as we move forth. One certainty is that the think tank will serve, not only as a discussion forum, but also as a data resource for the study.

How will this group of people, the study interview participants, shape and develop their viewpoints in the coming four years as collective, community unity building agents in the U.S.A.? We are all participating in, while also observing, the conscious evolution in progress of a nation. What will we create, individually and collectively?

Keep pace with the study and our Possible Society In Motion Project.

Think Tank Mission Statement,
Members Draft, October 14, 2011

To create a growth enhancing environment for dialogue wherein participants, to the best of their abilities, will help one another refine their thinking, support one another’s personal, professional, civic and interfaith activities of a peace-building nature and offer the processes and output of their collective efforts for public consumption and publication related to the findings of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study without assumptions, expectations, judgments or ego-attachments.