Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Chosen

A few months back, (late October, to be specific), New Horizons did its first, official assessment of the data gathered, to date, from our Possible Human, Possible Society Study. In a press release, dated October 24, 2013, we announced our preliminary findings.

The release headlined the following –

Most noteworthy of the trends identified was the  following --

1.   Better than 90% of interviewees have no significant relationships beyond their like-minded groups. (i.e. less than 10% d0.)
2.   Better than 90% of interviewees are unmotivated to interact with others beyond these like-minded groups.
This is serious data, as far as New Horizons is concerned. And, no small challenge to be heeded. As I stated, however, in that press release,
These trends could be reversed by the simplest, most direct efforts.”
Since the release of these findings, New Horizons has kept an open mind to identifying what we could do next to help reverse these trends. 

Other than our immediate current agendas, of primary importance, which include –
  •  Communication and outreach through our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show and the blog articles on this site;
  • The Possible Human, Possible Society Study; 
  •  The ongoing, remodeling of our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center to ready it for trainings and retreats.
.. what else could we contribute?
At the time of the press release, we were open, colloquially speaking, to whatever guidance we would find – and -- from wherever it would come, as to our next steps. We had learned, through experience, to trust unknown and mysterious forces to be our guiding light.  
Not long after this, we were informed that our Beloved mentor, Murat Yagan, was seriously ill. Murat passed away on December 19, 2013.
This is a game changer for all that New Horizons is grounded in and for all that it seeks to contribute of our highest ideals. Murat has been our guiding light for many years. And, will continue to be.
Through Murat, New Horizons came to discover a greater vision (1999 – 2013) for the utilization of its unique community development capabilities. That vision, still in its embryonic unfolding, is represented, today, through our various projects and programs as presented throughout this blog site. Most importantly, Murat brought us to an expanded consciousness of how to create and sustain small communities built upon principles of  cooperation and concern for all, even brotherly/sisterly love.
Out of the monumental shifting, now taking place as a result of Murat’s passing, we, at New Horizons, will be developing new clarity in the months and years to come about how our various initiatives can best serve our community, locally and globally.
Central to this unfolding is the intention to make known the treasures of the inheritance Murat bestowed upon us.  And, the concern for all this responsibility entails.
Out of our present contemplations, honoring Murat, one new project has already emerged.

To launch this project, please note the following:

This project will seek to find those who are already doing their optimum to model, teach and guide what it means to be "all for one and one for all" as Murat guided his students to do. Our intention will be to introduce to this select group, perspectives and skills that can elevate what these people are already doing to more refined levels; head and heart and through practical applications. 

In the coming weeks and months, New Horizons will seek, through the process of our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, to identify those in the 10% category who have demonstrated, through their actions and activities, values and attitudes, as we know them, to be the most likely to benefit and carry forth what Murat bestowed upon us to pass on to others

Between ten to twenty study interviewees, of the less than 10%, thus far identified in the above study data, will be chosen to participate in a special introduction to our coming Mountain of Awe Guided-Climbing Tours, built as they are upon community development principles and skills way beyond the ordinary; the extraordinary.

Look for additional details and information regarding our unfolding plans and programs. And, find out more about our ….

…as New Horizons continues to look to Murat for the legacy we have had bestowed upon us to pass on to others.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Announcing: Mountain of Awe Guided-Climbing Tours

Turn your ideal into the real with -- a New Horizons’ Awe GAME guided adventure tour!
Destination: The Peak of The Mountain of Awe

Tour guides: Anastasia and Sue (with almost one hundred years, combined tour guide experience.)

Travel details: Lisa (Public announcements, Rules of the GAME , etc.)

Guidebooks: Courtesy of Murat Yagan and Anastasia Rosen-Jones

(Check out Murat’s “Seven Ways to Knowledge” and Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Universal Science of Awe, Volume II. Also, Anastasia’s excerpts from Surviving Addictions and Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure of a Lifetime.)

Responsibility of guides: “Show and Tell” and teaching the “doing” skills needed for trekking up the mountain. Read about "tell," "show" and "do" here.

Group Transportation Vehicle: Bus Ride Story Adventure

Special group tours, private accommodations and transportation available.

Coming Departure Dates: (Spring – Fall, 2014 (tours, now being arranged.)

Details and Reservations

(Alternate departure dates, travel arrangements, special group tours, accommodations, equipment needed etc.)

Contact: New Horizons

We want to travel with you!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Turning the ideal into the real

Chopping wood, shoveling snow: high ideals and practical applications

Last Sunday was a beautiful day out here in the mountains where New Horizons is slowly but surely revitalizing its training and retreat center. Our concern that day was, however, not much about the ideal. Rather it was the ordinary demanding  our attention. We had only two sticks of wood left from our former abundant supply, courtesy of Bobby Lowery, sawmill owner. And, a severe snowstorm with another period of freezing temperatures was on its way.

Saturday night I looked at the dwindling remnants of firewood, knowing that wood gathering was top priority. OMG! On the one hand, we might be just fine. And, on the other we might be at risk; without electricity etc. for days. You just never know how things will fall out here, especially in these days of extreme weather conditions.

We had a good plan, however, based, for sure, on the principle of “leaning in.” By early afternoon we were well on our way; “doing” that which New Horizons represents; not merely talking community-unity, but doing and being it.

The trio at hand-- Sue, chairperson of our remodeling committee with her truck, Chris, our handy man with his heavy-duty chainsaw, and me, the best-intentioned gofer when it comes to practical endeavors such as wood gathering -- was well-aligned with our intentions to care for our small zone of peace; first things first; high ideals -- and -- practical applications.

(I can, still, barely change a light bulb. So you know success, other than organizing projects and bringing people together would, for sure, not rest on me. It takes a village, even a teeny, tiny one, right?)

Long story short: Off we went to the wooded areas of our retreat center property to assure winter storm survival out here.

Within a brief few hours, we had cut (that’s Chris), gathered, hauled, loaded and unloaded the truck (Chris, Sue and I) and stacked enough wood, two and one-half truckloads, indoors to last for a time. We would definitely make it through the cold, snowy days to come; all done with optimum, harmonious pulling together. Synergy, ummm, good!

Laughing and refreshed by the rare, above fifty degree weather and sunshine, Sue marveled at how well we had all worked together.

I tell you this story to bring home one important, but relatively small point:

High ideals and practical applications are what is behind New Horizons’ devotion to Murat Yagan and the prototypical Kebzeh community he built around him in Vernon, B.C.. Synergy, ummm, good!

Working well together, that’s how we all should/could be; "one for all and all for one"; averting crises. Certainly not passively allowing them to infiltrate our lives or, worse, propagating and perpetuating them.

New Horizons, unlike those who have, for many years, lived near Murat as have his students in Vernon, B.C., is not a spiritually-based community development effort.  No, indeed!

Humane and ethical principles, spiritual or not, are not dependent, however, upon one like-minded ideology as practiced by those in Vernon in their very exceptional community. The community traditions of ancient Abkhazia, as Murat has passed them on, can be interpreted and applied to all kinds and colors of people – and – collective endeavors. Any community, group or organization that wishes to and puts forth the effort, as New Horizons has done, can develop, over time, into an exceptional community.

New Horizons, as it is today, teaches community development skills and mentors individuals, groups, organizations and small communities to overcome polarization. Our methodology; much of it derived from Murat (and my earlier mentor, Martin G. Groder, M.D.), thus, helps  people develop into exceptional community participants. Be they leaders or followers.

Teaching people the fine art of building bridges across the rivers of diversity that separate us from one another in modern, mainstream America is our aim.  If this is what you are after, you learn to keep whatever has the potential to divide to the side and go for the common ground at its highest. Be it spiritual, cultural, gender-based and/or political.

Thus, last Sunday, one hard-core hermit, Chris, one former anti-Semitic, recovering Jewish American princess (me) and dear Quaker Sue, had a grand time working happily together to assure warmth for a possibly endangered mountain side dwelling; the New Horizons training and retreat center.

As happy as the birds outside my window, now, feasting at the bird feeder, Sue and I put the show and tell steps of Murat’s Seven Ways to Knowledge aside and simply got into the doing, the feeling (oh so happy) and the being. Which is, of course, how real deal peace buddies do it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Murat’s Seven Steps To Personal and Collective Transformation

The Treasure Trove

By way of introduction to some of the key principles New Horizons has taken from Murat Yagan’s teachings of the ancient traditions of his native Abkhazian people, called Kebzeh, we invite our readers to visit this page. It is  as one, very tiny open portal into the vast body of knowledge, guidance and wisdom Murat has left for us all as his legacy.

This page is offered by New Horizons in grateful appreciation and acknowledgement of Murat and his immeasurable support and love. It has been through Murat, his wisdom and inordinate adeptness, as a guide and teacher, as well as his dedication to communal and global peace, that we are flourishing today.

The principles presented on this page, in addition to other select precepts, are the fundamentals of New Horizons two main initiatives; the Small “Zones of Peace” Project and the Possible Society In Motion Project . The latter includes the Possible Human, Possible Society Study. The conceptual framework for the two initiatives is identified as New Horizons' “Cultural Mediation Paradigm.”

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Murat’s Gifts to Us, New Horizons Gift To You

With Murat’s passing we are brought to heightened levels of reflection. Death, as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the noted thanatologist stated, is the final stage of growth. It’s imminence calls f0rth an inordinate challenge as we seek to come to terms with the greatest of life’s mysteries; demanding exemplary comportment of those most closely touched by this transition of all transitions. Be we the one who is passing or those left behind.

Murat, in his passing, as in his life, showed all of us who called ourselves his “students” a certain and highly disciplined pathway to Divine connection, relentlessly guiding us as to how we might live abundantly, individually and collectively, with or without material riches. Others, world-wide, have, also, been called to reflect on his meritorious life and praise this great man, Murat Yagan, a “famous” representative of the diaspora of his native Abkhazia. A man who was both noble and great as well as unpretentious and humble.

New Horizons gratefully acknowledges that it has been through Murat, his wisdom and inordinate adeptness as a guide and teacher, as well as his dedication to communal and global peace, that we, at New Horizons, have had the audacity to invite others to follow our lead as guides, targeting the ascension of our metaphorical “Mountain of Awe.”

Murat was our loving and patient mentor as well as our inspiration. He elevated our vision of the possible human that lives within each of us and taught us how to realize this in concert with others. Because of him and the love and dedication of those closest to him in Vernon, B.C., New Horizons was able to undertake its two main initiatives; the Small “Zones of Peace” Project and the Possible Human, Possible Society Study. 

Without Murat we would never even have dreamed of these. Let alone risked the appearance, at least, as some have viewed us, as brash and arrogant in the certainty of our capacity to reach our destination, the “Mountain of Awe.” Certainly, there have been a handful of detractors who have thought us na├»ve or misled in our dedication to Murat and the teachings he brought us.

Based on Murat’s brilliance and proficiency as a teacher, our “Bus Ride Story Adventure” was designed to amplify the training and support group model New Horizons originally created, the “old” New Horizons. Today, “new” New Horizons exists in the splendor it has come to, out of the riches Murat imparted to us. From this inheritance from Murat and the Vernon community, “old” New Horizons has evolved into an exemplary community development and violence prevention model. However, only by joining with others can we make our dreams for peace and unity an achievable reality.

This aim is New Horizons’ every intention and upon which our every action is predicated.

From Murat’s gifts to us, comes our gift to you.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Walking in the air

A tribute to Murat Yagan, Beloved Mentor

Serendipitously I found “Walking in the air” and the “Snowman,” as I gave my self to being with my Vernon Kebzeh family, in heart and mind, when I could not be with them, “for real.” The animated story is about a snowman who comes alive, taking the little boy who built him to fly in the night sky. Oh, that we could fly for real!

But what is really “real,” anyway?

Now, I am listening to the music and watching a YouTube segment of the “Snowman” every day to continue keeping me close to them in these tenderest days of letting go.  Thus I find myself  flying with Murat and my Kebzeh family into the “universal awe.”

With joy in our hearts for
the jamboree that was Murat's life!
I believe Murat would enjoy this. He’s "my  snowman.” He taught me to fly.

Below are a few of the words from “Walking in the air” that lift me that high. I hope Murat’s presence on this earth and all he contributed has or will inspire you to fly high too.

So join me, every once in a while, if you think of it, to walk in the air as a spirit lift -- and -- a tribute to Murat.
 “We’re walking in the air…. 
…We´re holding very tight
…We’re walking in the air 
...We’re dancing in the midnight sky 
...And everyone who sees us, greets us as we fly.”
From "Walking in the Air," a song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs' 1978 children's book The Snowman. (Per Wikipedia)

The Passing of our Beloved Mentor, Murat Yagan

Friends and supporters: We have been out of touch with our Kebzeh family in B.C. since shortly before our Beloved Murat’s passing. We had been waiting day and night for updates, after our last communication on December 10th.  We did not find out until last night that our loss of Murat had already occurred.

The following words are taken from an announcement of Murat’s departing, published on December 23, 2013 for the Threshold Society, written by Diane Wilson.
Murat Yagan,
December 15, 1915 --
December 19, 2013

“Beloved Friends, this letter comes to confirm that our respected and beloved Murat left this world on December 19, 2013 at the age of 98. He made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the spiritual journey, both in terms of his unusual clarity of mind and in demonstrating the beautiful possibilities of spiritual community. He carried the wisdom of his ancient ancestral tradition from the Caucasus, as well as having undergone a Bektashi training in his youth….

Murat you knocked. You became. You triumphed. And you left us with the tools to leave our exile and to triumph and enter higher states of Consciousness too.

May you be greatly blessed. We will love and treasure you, our splendid Elder always and forever. And we will honour you by following you, by also fearlessly embracing our potential as human.

We WILL be Kings and Queens, and one day you will say with joy, ”These are the seeds I planted and they have claimed their birthright!” Beloved friends, all of us here send our love to you. And our love for you too is for now and for always. Bless your steps on this infinite journey we share."


To honor Murat’s passing, New Horizons will dedicate the next few days to memorializing his life.

Note to friends and supporters: For other recent, behind-the-scenes developments impacting on the emerging direction of New Horizons, you may, also, find (Anastasia) latest articles from my series on “Recovery from Blindness,” of interest.