Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pretender Peace Buddies Are People Who –

See how you score on the items below.

And, don’t be afraid to see (and even admit it openly) that you have a few dark spots. Twelve Steppers do it every day and look at the transformative power of these lives. Everyone has a dark side and a light. I do for sure (How do you think I came to know the dark side so well? I’ve lived it as well as taught it and treated it for more than thirty-five years.)

On that score, the dark side/Pretender Peace Buddy side, ssk yourself, “where is my dark side hiding?” You will be miles ahead on the noble path, if you know the answer to this question. The dark side is simply the shadow you that hides behind a mask. Knowing this is why Anastasia The Storyteller blog is so much about my acknowledging the 1,000 masks I wear and my struggle to take them off. Notice how hard I have to work at it. But I know from years of experience that the pain from this struggle births new life in me. What joy and liberation lie just past the dark night; the pain is well worth the gain.

Once you’ve honestly checked yourself out on this one, again read about the Compassionate Warrior’s journey that is the Peace Buddy’s basic training in the excerpt from my book Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime.

Pretender Peace Buddies are people who –
  • Mask their hidden agendas behind a surface self*;
  • Believe that others are enemies or that some people are okay and others are not (Or, as in Animal Farm (by George Orwell), believe that some people are more okay than others; 
  • Judge, blame or criticize others and/or themselves and/or are elitists or excluding of others;  
  • Isolate themselves and/or limit attainment of their highest potentials;
  • Are controlling, resistant and/or defensive regarding feedback from others; 
  • Discount the values, opinions, emotions and needs of others
  •  Leave relationships when conflict arises.
 (This last item has been my number one, all time high dark side/Pretender Peace Buddy behavior. Have you any idea how lethal withdrawing from people can be to both yourself and others? I know it for sure. And it is not a pretty picture.)

*A senior Transactional Analyst colleague of mine, Claude Steiner, M.D., wrote a brilliant fairy tale on this subject, The Warm Fuzzy Tale, a definite teaching tale still today, many years later. For me, a poignant part of this fun story has always been about how some people cover up their prickly dark side to make it look almost like cotton candy. They can look pretty but don’t get too close; after awhile close can feel cold and prickly.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Real Deal" Peace Buddies Are People Who –

Are you a "real deal" Peace Buddy?
See how you score on the items below.

Then read about the Compassionate Warrior’s journey that is the Peace Buddy’s basic training in the excerpt from my book Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime.

"Real Deal" Peace Buddies Are People Who –
  • Believe themselves to be worthwhile; 
  • Are committed to treating others with caring and compassion;
  • Have the commitment to set achievable goals and the motivation to carry them out;
  • Are willing to examine and learn from areas of conflict and/or mistakes;
  • Invest in truth and clarity;
  • Believe themselves to have an integral place in the universal order;
  • Turn away from elitism and any notions of “others” as enemies;
  • Actively seek out opportunities to bridge areas of difference and alienation from others.
Be a real deal Peace Buddy!

The world needs all it can get!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Real deal" Peace Buddies

Okay, now that I’ve liberally bathed myself in the gift that was a lift, I am just about ready to put that Pretender Peace Buddy Pod affair behind. And, open the way forward for new energies to flow into New Horizons beautiful initiatives; the Small “Zones of Peace” Project and the Possible Human, Possible Society Study. As captain of our ship, I am, more or less, responsible for putting the wind back in our sails and charting our most advantageous course forward; the pathway of progress.

We’ll not abandon whatever muddle and mess may still need attention. Not leave clutter behind us, forever and ever, mind you, as I believe in completing one’s grief work, letting go of a loss, when its work is thoroughly complete.

One doesn’t necessarily have a definitive time table for tidying up human affairs. As a dear friend of mine suggested,
“It will take as long as it takes. And be done when it’s done.”

A line (paraphrased here) from the noted teacher, Steven Levine, also, comes to mind,
“Grief work is a process, not an event.”
Both thoughts suggest, to my mind, how it is that a bus ride can become a labryintth-like progression rather than simply an excursion. Such as the myriad considerations on a tour bus do when someone, even a group/pod of someones, leaves the bus, way before it can even come close to its destination.

Okay. Now for some next steps.

Pledged from here forth to begin:

  • Putting time and life affirming energies into acknowledging some of the wonderful, dedicated “real deal” Peace Buddies that have already come to so generously contribute their time and energies into our Possible Human, Possible Society mission; wholehearted aiding our discovery of who is walking the walk for U.S.A. unity and how they are doing it in their own particular style.
  • Telling some of these Possible Human, Possible Society stories in the words of the walkers.
Coming soon!

And, sometime, soon after that, we will formally announce, here, online who has been given our first year’s Peace Buddy Award winner and why.

Read this link to remind yourself what New Horizons means by a Peace Buddy. Check it out, also, to discover what you might do to qualify for next year’s award, to be officially announced at next year’s Abkhazian Dinner, as it was, also, this year though it was temporarily buried while we cleared away our clutter.

Always, of course, in the words of old country Jewish tradition, “G-d willing.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Next Bus Ride Story Adventure Invitation

Do you believe that how we treat one another makes a difference in how we solve our problems; any size, any type?

We do! And, we would like to bring you along on this community unity building adventure we are creating to demonstrate that, sharing with you how we have been guiding others to achieve awesome results with our approach since 2006.

Travel with us, Anastasia and Sue, as your tour guides on a brief bridge building journey designed to cross over obstacles ordinarily separating well-intentioned “others” from one another.

Next rehearsal program date (#3 now rehearsing) --
Sunday, July 29, 2012. Time: 3:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. Potluck dinner follows program.

Location --
The beautiful, new country home of Sue deVeer and Paul Morrison
Directions provided with reservations.

Travel with us and help us, with your participation, as we rehearse our Bus Ride Story Adventure rode show, scheduled departure:
Fall-Winter, 2011-2012.

Find out where our tour bus will take you, if you want to come along for the ride.

For details on this event and the peace action philosophies behind it, keep reading our blogs.

And for a collection of stories on our Bus Ride Story Adventure, see this link

For specific questions, contact Anastasia at:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dancing With The Dark Side

Though some of us are more thoroughly and elegantly civilized than others, the fact remains that beneath a platform of social amenities, the savage self in each of us resists being wholly civilized. It is, for better or for worse, simply not our nature to be totally refined, at least, not by the standards of others. Herein lies humanity’s greatest challenge and the answer to the puzzlement --
"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"? Neale Donald Walsch,
To honor both the strivings of the interviewees of our Possible Human, Possible Society Study and the teachable moments derived, thus far, from our recent Abkhazian Dinner, let us take up this topic, dancing with the dark side, for a bit. Dip into to it, meander here and there and return again and again to one of my most passionate interests, exploring the dark side, which I hold to be the single, biggest adventure of a lifetime!

When I recently read an online posting by several respected conflict resolution mediators (Beware of the Dark Side?), lamenting the fact that practioners in this field were, perhaps, not being as effective as they might in dealing with certain emotions, I was both uplifted and frustrated. At issue here, in the online piece, was a discussion of the apparent challenge to conflict resolvers, mediators, etc. of our most primitive emotions; a topic I have addressed full well throughout my close to forty years in the mental health field. Amidst my frustration is the strongly known truth, as I know it, that transforming the dark side to its true place of higher consciousness and functioning is not only a skill, it is an art of the highest merit.

The ability to dance with the dark side and raise it up demands a lifetime of commitment, discipline and unending challenge, endurance and courage, sometimes not unlike entering a cage with some very big cats and coming out of that cage alive. Every caution is needed so as not to be endangered by a blood-letting claw. (I admit to my own life being at risk on more than one occasion “dancing with the dark side.”)

The dark side lives inside each and every one of us. So we best know how, if we don’t already, to respect it, live companionably with it, dance with it, and, yes, definitely transform it to its highest manifestation, the Compassionate Warrior that we, hopefully, see in all of our peace activists.

Writes Eric Berne, M.D. in What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

“…. Whoever is not aware of this force in his personality has lost control of it. He has not confronted himself and cannot know where he is headed.”
We have managed to continue the evolution of the species without being able to fully harness and direct our innate, instinctual savagery. It tests all in its time, professional and non-professional alike. This is the age-old challenge that has faced humankind since before recorded time; it is the law of the jungle, still with us today. Degrees and other credentials do not qualify anyone to escape beyond the pale. Though some aspects of the testing do become easier with experience.

Of course, the dark side is alive and well wherever there is conflict. It is alive and well, even where peace seems to proliferate. And, of course, the presence of the dark side tests us, sometimes mercilessly, and is, often, beyond the skill level of those trained in mediation and conflict resolution, even the best of these.

Some of our Abkhazian Dinner’s most teachable moments arose out of our "dancing with the dark side" which, truth be told was not, in this situation, particularly evil. This was merely an instance of a bit of uncivilized misbehavior, awaiting the proper timing and wattage for the light to shine upon it. Still it had its sting and it had its consequences. Thus it attracted the spotlight of New Horizons, as you can see by recent blog postings.

However, the incident has been a turning point for us, allowing a point to be made here, the dark side when heeded rather than ignored is truly one of the gatekeepers at the threshold to our higher consciousness and, thus, our evolution as a species.

My hope, thus, evoked by the generous invitation that this online posting that I read evoked in me is that respect, perhaps, even reverence, is deserved for those frontline conflict resolution and mediation practioners, both the new and the seasoned, for the sheer courage and artistry of their endeavor, dancing with the dark side. May their frontline efforts never be seen as less than the huge giving that it is.

Transforming the dark side, “the determined-to-survive, no matter what warrior” that resides in the very deepest recesses of each and every one of us, is truly the adventure of a lifetime.

Don't miss out! Don't run for cover!

(For now, for the truly courageous, the tough stuff comes through Anastasia, one-on-one. However, our new Bus Ride Story Adventure, also, offers some tools and guidance for this adventure of a lifetime, transforming the dark side, personally and collectively, in a relatiely benign fashion.)

Take your personal Dark Side/Compassionate Warrior inventory at this link.
See what your Compassionate Warrior needs for its nurturing.

Or for a guided Dark Side inventory and your personalized map on how to transform it to its highest good, the Compassionate Warrior, contact Anastasia at: zonesofpeacenh@aol.com..

Check out excerpts from my still unpublished, Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime (By Marcia Anastasia Rosen-Jones. Copyright Random House, 1998) --

"....about the mysterious capability the personality’s most powerful biological influence – your survival instinct and how it spontaneously assists you to either reach the highest levels of consciousness, health, compassion and spirituality or to self-destruct." M. Anastasia Rosen-Jones

Monday, July 9, 2012

In The Scheme Of Things

Posted also to Anastasia The Storyteller

In the ordinary scheme of things our Abkhazian Dinner incident might have been written off as just one more instance of the way things are. However, this was the Abkhazian Dinner, presented on behalf of the annual Season For Non-Violence, commemorating the lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Additionally, the locale for our event was a Quaker Meeting House. Quakers, one must remember, stake their lives on the belief that violence/war is not the answer.

The necessary elements were, thus, present for what occurred to not be taken lightly. Several days after our Abkhazian Dinner, a guest called me to report that a brief, but traumatic, encounter had befallen her right in the midst of our beautiful event, leaving its sting. I knew right away that what she was reporting, though a short-lived incident, could not be disregarded. However, reported our guest, a lovely woman I had no reason to dismiss, was, at the moment, too upset to discuss what had happened.

As far as the principles of New Horizons go, the incident could not be simply ignored. After all, subtle violence is not so subtle, especially when you are the target. And, we had, quite pointedly and successfully, been protecting people from subtle violence since 1980, doing our best to guide them to do otherwise through many teachable moments.

I had staked my life, personally and professionally, on doing my best to put a stop to unseemly interpersonal interactions, especially violence, the subtle and the not so subtle. Still the means to do otherwise are not always simply and easily determined, particularly in the “subtle” department. Nonetheless, this, effort is, sometimes, a necessary precursor to the possible human building a possible society.

The situation suitably in motion, I thought, and myself amply fortified with a growing team of peace builders, I had no reason to doubt that all would be well. The woman would get back to me with details as soon as she felt able. In the meantime, she wanted to apprise me that something of an emotionally violent nature had occurred for her at our Abkhazian Dinner, the last place she’d have imagined.

Duly alerted, I reported the incident to my board of directors, told several others I knew I could trust, putting the matter on hold, pending further details. Given the composition of our group of attendees, study participants, local peace activists and a mix of supporters of the Season For Non-Violence, I believed that, collectively, whatever went awry would, of course, be set aright. This is the heart of community-building, right? All for one and one for all.

After about one month the woman came forth with her story, having no apparent agenda other than telling her story, being listened to and her distress acknowledged. We were grateful that this was all she needed for healing.

It might have ended there – and -- even better, lifted us all to our higher selves, individually and collectively. But another chapter, related to the incident, began just as this one came to an end. And, here, more significantly, than the original incident itself, is what brought me, New Horizons and, especially, our Possible Human, Possible Society Study to a turning point. Another teachable moment.

To be continued.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Pretender Peace Buddy Pod

There was an incident at the Abkhazian Dinner and several more that became the fallout from the original. I’ve been hedging about what occurred. It was not comfortable to publicly reveal what happened. I trust you will understand and, perhaps, be moved to examine your own actions in situations similar to what I did in this one.

But today I pledged to remove the masking I’ve been doing. I cannot do the revealing all at once. It will take time. But in the interest of preserving the integrity of New Horizons’ two main initiatives; the Possible Human, Possible Society Study and our Small “Zones of Peace Project, today I begin to come clean about my beating around the bush.

I thank you for your patience.

Please keep coming back to read what will be revealed here in the coming month ahead about our challenging incident that brought me to identify a pretender peace buddy pod in the midst of our Possible Human, Possible Society Study. I have pledged -- to myself and my board of directors -- to clean up my act in honor of our coming annual board meeting, scheduled this year for August 11 or 12 (tba.)

I will do my best to tell the story back and forth between our two blogs. And do it in the most compassionate way that I can. May the highest good be our reward.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Bus Ride Story Adventure:

What It Is And What It Is Not

I might be able, with Sue’s help, to make a list or two about what our Bus Ride Story Adventure is and what it is not. But I will hold off for now on the list making. I feel inclined, instead, to “try” to explain our mission by drawing from Murat Yagan’s monograph, “Transformation And The Seven Ways To Knowledge.”

My excerpt from this is offered on the page linked here. (Hopefully completed and posted by Saturday.) This will aid you, I trust, in being able to more fully grasp that while Sue and I are presenting, presently, merely, at the “Show and Tell” level, the true destination for our tour.

Still only the courageous adventurers should get on board.

Assuring participants and participants-to-be that we have a viable model for, nothing less than personal and community transformation, is no simple undertaking. Definitely not something readily described in a how-to travel brochure, even with our very best articulation skills, accrued to date.

So there we are, stuck on the language part though not stuck at all on guiding the experience and always learning through the mishaps of our own limitations. However, one must have patience with the process and endurance to bear with us, as we, co-creatively, move through our labyrinth. (Remember, I stated earlier, a bus ride can be like a labyrinth. But you must stay the course to get the rewards.)

The course = a minimum of four to six Bus Ride Story Adventure sessions plus personal processing and guidance between sessions. (Travelers are welcome regardless of length of travel. Reaching awe, however, takes this long.)

Today, having been, once again, called to the undertaking of attempting concrete articulation, I offer this humble formulation, knowing, full well, it is certain to fall short. However, after spending a richly rewarding one hour plus yesterday, via conference call, obtaining feedback on our possible mis-steps from a generous participant of our recent Bus Ride Story Adventure rehearsal, I know I must try and try again to describe that which by its very nature defies easy description.

Sue and I did a complex dance with our generous attendee evaluator, doing our best to learn from the view of another, as to how we can best be effective as guides. Thus we were reminded, again, how much our students are our teachers and just how very steep is the climb.

We are, after all, regardless of how our destination is described in earthly terms, within the limitations of human language, intent on reaching the peak of the Mountain of Awe! Words and explanations only go so far to articulate such a culmination which emerges only through the cumulative efforts of a group going through a process, not an event.

What that means, in the most easy to understand language I can offer, is that we are intent on guiding those who have the courage and commitment to travel/work with us, so that we may, collectively, experience the sense of high unity and cooperation we call synergy and supreme well -being.

Not readily attained human commodities. Attributes of our reaching that peak include, but are not limited to, a collective experience of clarity and win-win outcomes on every level for each and every one of our travelers (No one wins, unless everyone wins.).

Our prayer is that each and every one who chooses to travel with us will have the courage and the commitment to stay the course.

Oh, this is quite an adventure! We are definitely up to it, Sue and I. And we hope the others will be too.

With the challenging effort (Could it be futile as in “you had to be there” ?) in mind to “try” to, more concretely, describe our adventure, I am posting an excerpt of Murat’s “…. Seven Ways To Knowledge” – for the edification of all. And, I reiterate, as on an earlier post, Sue and I, as tour guides on this adventure, are currently presenting only up to levels one and two, the levels of “Show and Tell.”

Will you trust us to guide you to the peak we are after?

(Books by Murat Yagan are available through New Horizons Support Network, Inc. and the Kebzeh Foundation.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Pebble Polishing Pouch

Help me shine is what I ask of you. And, I will give that gift back to you.

If you will take time to notice; notice me, notice you, notice us together, you will see; you and me, us and them. We are like pebbles gathered in a pouch; the sand at the ocean front. As we come up against one another, we are polishing, building up the shine, smoothing off the rough spots.

Please, if you will, take time to notice; notice me, notice you, notice us together, notice all of us gathering together with our high ideals. Notice that we are polishing up the shine on one another.

Inspired by words of wisdom from Murat Yagan, one great teacher that we appreciate.