Friday, September 30, 2011

We Are Running As Fast As We Can

We have a slight bit of a delay with posting our promised announcement for our first Possible Society event scheduled for Sunday, October 23, 2011.

Pushing forward, amidst flooding this past week at our Harpers Ferry retreat center, emergency family health problems in Sue's immediate family and the start of the Jewish New Year's "Ten Days of Awe" which began Wednesday night, a brilliant shift in our programming arrangements emerged out of the past week's challenges.

Major Program Change:

Jim French will replace Anastasia, New Horizons Executive Director and Founder, as program moderator.

What a treat this will be for both panelists and attendees!  Once the announcement is up we will be introducing you to Jim and keeping you informed, as best we can, as our event nears.

Once again New Horizons' blossoming team of peace builders has created elegant solutions; lemons out of lemonade. Keep posted for our event announcement over the week-end. And, look forward, if you can attend, to finding out more about how this change is one more in a long string of examples of how it is that we "walk our talk, creating  our own version of "awe" behind the scenes with whatever we attempt.

My best Jewish holiday wishes for Jews and non-Jews alike!

"Le' shana tova tikatevu ve' tikhatemu."
"May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

From Anastasia who will be without water over the week-end till the plumber comes again on Monday for the fourth time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our Next Steps

Michael, one of our
dedicated, hard working
Only six weeks into our new Possible Society Study and this project is already moving a whole lot faster than I anticipated. Oh my. Oh my. I told you there was a lot going on behind the scenes of our organization. It only looked like things were moving at a snail’s pace from the outside.

I already need a vacation and it is still only September. Or, at least a snooze like our summer volunteer helper, Michael, as pictured here. 

The activities listed below are the highlights of what we have planned for the coming months, until the end of 2011. As our Possible Society study moves into high gear and we do our best to achieve this with awe, we are going to be needing a lot of flexibility to roll with the shifts and not get ahead of ourselves here. That means we may need to make adjustments which we will do as necessary; first things first. Nonetheless, here is our planned menu.

1. Possible Society interviews (remember the intention of our study is do 400 interviews by December 31, 2014);

2. Training of interviewers and other volunteer staff for our expanding activities. (As of last week, we now have donated office space in Frederick, Maryland!)

3. Developing a viable Possible Society In Motion Think Tank, open exclusively to study participants. Now meeting Thursday afternoons in Frederick County, Maryland with intentions to expand as we proceed forward. (Space donated courtesy of Sue deVeer.);

4. Securing our organization’s infrastructure in order to support the expansion the Possible Society study is now bringing and ensure our growth and stability;

5. A Volunteer Appreciation Day luncheon, tentatively scheduled for November, 2011, to express our gratitude to our volunteers, leisurely hang out with one another and boost our already buoyant teamwork energies.

6. Fundraising Our price tag for the developing and growing of our study and the programs, projects and publishing efforts emerging from it for the remaining months of 2011 -- $50,000 (many times over for 2012).

And, to be announced on our next posting, our first Possible Society In Motion event, Sunday, October 23, 2011.

Make your tax deductible contribution to our efforts soon. Avoid the last minute rush.

Please support our Possible Society In Motion Project in any way you can!

We need:

Volunteers to assist and support the study;

Volunteers for the retreat center remodeling project. (We would like to be able to start doing retreat weekend trainings in 2012);

Gifts In Kind for our Habitat For Healing remodeling project (Contact Sue for these donations. She is also the chairperson of our retreat center remodeling project. Her cell number is 240.367.4403.)

Cash donations. Help us raise the dollars we need:

Price tag, 2011: $50,000.

You can also help support us by purchasing Pearl LED bulbs. Help us light a path to peace.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our Gift As Wrapped Up For You

Meaning: Anastasia committed to presenting as visible a picture as possible of the whole of that which the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project is comprised to date; our gift to all who would receive it for the good of the whole.

All you have to do to receive our gift is be open to accepting it in your own unique way and then give away what you got. To "know about" our gift, read everything on this blog that you like, add some spice by checking out Anastasia The Storyteller, visit our “old” New Horizons web site and ask the “right” questions.

If all you do is read about us, you still won’t have taken all that is being offered, however, because the true gift is inside of you connecting with us and everyone else with the best of intentions.  The awe is the taking it all into action. Then you will have an experience backed up by some data. Will that be enough?

I said I’d complete my commitment to inform by September 15. I completed that task, officially, by reporting into my small but mighty board of directors, Lisa Boyer and Sue deVeer. My initial report was to Sue who is also our steering committee chairperson. Generally I meet with Sue two or more times per week and talk to her, even multiple times per day or text. Lucky me! Lucky New Horizons.

Lisa and Sue at our
Annual Board Meeting
July, 2011.
Next I "tried" to report in to eleven year board member veteran, Lisa Boyer who is under much pressure at her "day job." That report is still pending.  Hopefully my humble offering to her will be well received. Lisa is the one who pushes my ground level limits! I can't imagine where I would be without her. Sue, the one who climbs the more mystical path, is a bit easier on me.

As a working team we, three, always reach awe. And, what a team we make. So synergistic are we that we hesitate to enlarge our board though at this stage we probably must.

Sue, as I can count on, was happy with what I did. Even a bit impressed and certainly inspired. She is all about thinking global and acting local with me while we keep climbing. Lisa, how to describe Lisa, our Volunteer of The Year Award Winner? Lisa has and does keep us on track, after more than a decade of our ups and our downs.  How does one describe a blessing like Lisa? More to come on Lisa as we get closer to our Volunteer Appreciation Day.

Having done as I said in a most timely fashion (actually I was a day early), I now put that assignment and commitment aside and move us forward to what’s in motion for now and the future for New Horizons and its many facets. If there is more I/we can offer you so you can know and join our efforts, your requests, comments etc. will be most welcome. I hope that what I posted here was ample for you to get enough of the picture of our gift for now.

All that is behind is our foundation. Forward is now moving through the Possible Society Study and programs and projects to emerge from it. That is until further notice.

From Anastasia
Up in the mountains on a dreary day outside but a happy one inside.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our Package: One Year Later

A year ago I wrote posts announcing the intention of the New Horizons’ Small “Zones of Peace” Project of contributing to a resolution of the controversy then raging over the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. 

We knew then, as well as now, that what we had learned from guiding the resolution of the local “Middle East Crisis In Our Backyard” (See “Local Muslim Leader Talks Peace” Frederick News Post, August 18, editorials and comments – September, 2006) had brought us profound wisdom on how to successfully move through polarizations of this sort.

We had effectively guided our local controversy onto a, not insignificant, path of reconciliation (see Frederick News Post, December, 2006), as well as utilizing the lessons learned in this venue elsewhere.* We were, thus, eager to, once again, be called into service for a similarly, challenging project. Even if the “calling” was only that of our own minds and hearts. However, this one turned out to not need our assistance.

Reflecting back on our local Jewish/Muslim controversy of 2006, and contrasting it to how the Ground Zero mosque 2010 controversy was de-fused, I felt a degree of loss that we had been so lacking, locally, in outside support and intervention. It might have made a difference to where our local community stands today in terms of overcoming the polarization of diverse racial and faith-based groups.

Though there has been progress since, it has not been nearly enough. Unfortunately, deep wounds and scars still remain from the episode. What will these prompt in the future, one must, on occasion, contemplate. Hopefully, delayed healing and growth will emerge someday.

Nonetheless, as it turned out for New Horizons, other goals attracted our attention that, now in retrospect, appear to have made more appropriate use of that which the New Horizons’ Small “Zones of Peace” has to contribute. Thus, we made our way from a consideration of how we could aid the mosque controversy back to our remodeling concerns for our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center, thinking globally, acting locally. With the retreat center as our revised focus, we re-grouped and moved forward, mostly behind the scenes.

Then in the early part of this year, based on to my growing distress over the national "mediocrity of the masses," my volunteer team agreed to support my desires to update the "old New Horizons' Game." As executive director of our organization, I could no longer sit on the sidelines. Nor could I allow this organization to be less involved than it could be. Since Labor Day, 1998 when I lost my eyesight, I had done a relatively miniscule amount of offering the best of what I have that could be used for the collective good.

Of course, I had been doing my best. Still, the knowledge and experience base I had accrued over my more than thirty-five years in working with groups and organizations to guide them to be exceptional, a far cry from mediocre, needed to be fully utilized and now!

Needless to say, I could not have imagined what would occur, if I pursued this course of outward expansion. My growing frustration and the impetus emerging out of it led to my coming out of the closet for both “old New Horizons” and for me. The result to-date is a monumental change in the complexion of New Horizons; a dramatic rebirth out of that which seemed dormant in my life. I am amazed at what it occurring. Seems a bit like Botox for an entire program, as well as for me. Just goes to show that timing is critical in both comedy and tragedy.

The endeavor to bring back and update the GAME put a spotlight on the need for my, still, unpublished “Random House Trilogy” manuscripts to be brought out of the mothballs. With all my expansiveness of vision, I had not seen the need, until it smacked me in the face, to share what I almost thought of as "history." How unseeing of me!

To make the best use of their own gifts, talents and experiences New Horizons’ volunteers and participants need an expansion of their understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of “old New Horizons.” I now see that these that I was holding back, until now, are needed in order to augment their knowledge base and wisdom and for us to move forward into a synergistic interweaving that would make the best use of us all. Without seeing it, I was robbing us of the opportunity to make optimum use of our collective best.

To make a long story short, we are now right sided up. With the generous contribution by Saba Direct, Inc. of a limited quantity of a portion of one of my unpublished manuscripts, it is now being used in our study groups. It is also beginning to be used, as well, as one of the basic texts for our new “Possible Society In Motion” think tank.

Only one month into our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, programs related to it, the think tank and the manuscript availability are now on the drawing board but not far off. The first one, a panel-led discussion and potluck dinner event, is already moving forward for Sunday, October 23. Details to be posted.

Thus, as we cross the threshold into Fall and Winter that Labor Day brings, our project has now transitioned into a mega-intentioned, three year study of the “Possible Human, Possible Society.” I, for one, though still challenged with my eye problems, am increasingly fulfilled by taking our efforts out from behind the scenes and countless returns to the drawing board into the "big" world.

The future for New Horizons bodes well in the area of serving our various communities, locally, regionally and nationally. Visible impact is expected in the coming year ahead for the very first time since I lost my eyesight Labor Day weekend, 1998! All this, of course, is baring the unforeseen, of which we have had plenty.

The entire package that is all New Horizons has ever been or will be; past, present and future, is New Horizons' gift to you as well as our celebration. Thank you for your support.

More to come.