Monday, February 24, 2014

Turning Lead Into Gold: Principles and Practices

Sohbet/study group #3 is on its way!

(See general sohbet/study group overview at this link.)

Open to all qualified Possible Human, Possible Society Study participants
  •  “A sohbet is an informal discussion with a purpose.” (Murat Yagan);
    Lead into gold?
  •  New Horizons’ sohbet is a learning laboratory for personal and collective growth and development -- an advanced Coffee House Conversation for those with the highest of aspiractions for personal and collective transformation;
  • New Horizons sohbet is an informal discussion with a purpose, designed especially for our study participants;
  •  New Horizons sohbet  is one, exemplary, way to contribute to making a better world.
Date: Thursday, February 27. Time: 6:30 pm.

Location: Your telephone to our conference call-in forum. (Details.)

Would you like to, purposefully, turn lead into gold,
personally and collectively?

Sohbet Study Group #3 leads off with the following ---

Quote from Murat, Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Science of Universal Awe, Volume II, page 5.

"Alchemists worked throughout history to obtain what they called the philosopher’s stone, the elixir, the universal panacea, working successfully to transmute various metals in the complicated laboratories that they built. However, according to Ahmsta Kebzeh the true laboratory of the universal open for the sublime work is in the nervous system of Human and it is therefore at the disposal of all humanity."

Details and reservations:
Anastasia at:

In celebration of a well-lived life

New Horizons’ hopes and dreams to learn and pass on what we learn.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A snowy night, indoors and --

--   an unexpected “Lead into Gold Study Group” for those with the highest of aspirations for personal and collective transformation.

What are the options for a cozy evening when a massive snow storm hits, consigning almost everyone to stay indoors; travel perilous?

How about an (almost) coffee house conversation from your living room to mine, without anyone leaving the house?

That’s just what a small group of Possible Human, Possible Society Study participants created last Thursday evening when the whole of the Eastern seaboard, coming up from the South, was paralyzed by snow.

Mother Nature gave our “new” New Horizons’ changing "lead into gold-themed study group" an unexpected, early second gathering. Our physical mobility might have been limited but not that of our minds. Thus we came together for our second sohbet/study group via conference call.  Out and about in that venue while still warm, safe and cozy in our own homes. 

Oh, the wonders of modern technology.

(Jack and I rescheduled the February 13 Possible Society In Motion Radio Show for next Thursday, February 20. The notion occurred to us that a more informal hangin’ out with folks might be more in the way of a community-building service for that night than any topic we might choose. Given the frustrations, limitations – and – benefits of our severe weather, so it seemed to turn out.)

The idea that “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” (Margaret Mead) is the rationale behind this study group.

For discussion material we are drawing from the accumulated works of Murat Yagan, New Horizons’ community development mentor (recently deceased) to open these conversations. Then encouraging the group to go anywhere and everywhere our “informal discussion with a purpose” (called “sohbet” in Murat’s native language) leads us.

Exploring our individual viewpoints on the term “alchemy” was the point of discussion for this snow-bound, Thursday evening conversation. It must have been worthy for participants, as our energetic conversation lasted for better than one and one-half hours.

Drawing from Murat’s writings, we will, for a time, follow the line of thought quoted, here, from Murat’s native ancient traditions of the Caucasus Mountains (where Sochi, the current site of the Winter Olympics, is located) –
 "Alchemists worked throughout history to obtain what they called the philosopher’s stone, the elixir, the universal panacea, working successfully to transmute various metals in the complicated laboratories that they built. However, according to Ahmsta Kebzeh the true laboratory of …”
…humanity is within the Self and our relationships to one another, as well as to our environment.

With this as a starting point, the fun of this next program, especially designed for Possible Human, Possible Society Study participants, is really about to begin!

New Horizons, Jack and myself thank all of you who have already joined us to participate with this new sohbet/study group expansion. Having amply explored, stretched etc. etc. the definition of "alchemy," we think we are on our way, now. This added endeavor takes us one step closer, small though it may be, to being the best possible humans we can be, individually and collectively, building our possible society.

If you are a participant in our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, you are welcome to join us!

Details and Information

Anastasia at: or cell: 240.409.5347

Study participants, please contact Anastasia for next study group date and conference call-in number and access code. Study groups are audio recorded so you can, also, catch up with us through these, if you choose.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Turning lead into gold to be theme of new study group

New Program Announcement!

A new, ongoing study group, facilitated by Anastasia, exclusively for Possible Human, Possible Society Study participants, commenced last Thursday evening.

Presented as a Tribute to Murat Yagan (1916 – 2014)
In celebration of a well-lived life

Anastasia at: or cell: 240.409.5347

Study participants, please contact Anastasia for next study group date and call-in number and access code.

Murat Yagan, 1915 -- 2013
and Anastasia 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Storytelling As A Path To Peace (Original article, edited and updated)

(Original article, Tuesday,January 10, 2012)

Tell me about this and tell me about that. I will hear you and I will see you with these eyes of mine that have learned to see into the world that goes beyond the ordinary. (Technically only one eye of mine can totally see the physical world. Can that fact and the one about my having been blind and recovering from blind for eight years (1998 –2006) be playing its part in the stories you share and I hear?)
Telling our stories helps us
overcome differences.
“Hello, this is Anastasia. Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your willingness to participate in New Horizons’ Possible Human, Possible Society Study. You can,also, read numerous stories related to the study on this site

Now that we have settled in for our phone interview, there are ten rather simple questions I will ask you to begin the process. They are basically yes or no answers. 

However, you can feel free to tell me more than just the black and the white. For the purposes of the study I want to know about the grey areas in between. Please feel free to share that too.”

So we begin. Before too long, you are telling me stories to illustrate your answers to my questions. Next you are telling me that which sounds as if it has been stored up inside of you, just waiting for someone to simply ask the right questions. Apparently I am able to do that. You honor me by releasing, to my listening ears, that bottled up genie inside of you, wanting to speak your truth about today’s socio-political climate in America.

I ask and you explicate why it is that the polarization of our national politics, the economic depravity of this country, the wars in the Middle East and the devastating decisions that our politicians are making, is so personally upsetting. This is your life and what matters most to you and those you love the most.

Later, when I reflect upon our interview, I am moved. I am changed somewhat. And the alteration of my consciousness that you have effected is far more than just a subtle nuance. Listening to and telling personal stories can have that effect.

You are almost every man and every woman I have interviewed thus far. Your stories – and the you that you have become – call me to realize that you, personally, are an important part of our national treasure chest.

The stories you tell me need to be told. They tap into the very heart of the collective perspectives behind being upset with America, now, when cultural upheaval seems to be at its peak. Your heart-felt sentiments and plain talking stories are what is, too frequently, masked bythe  complaining and “othering” we all do from time to time. Some of us, more than others.

When you pause and talk to me, as you do in our interviews, I am hearing that which goes beyond this. Your stories are profound, as well as moving. Drawing from the now-famous words of the Twelve Step programs; trite as they may sound, “Thank you for sharing.”

You have freely given of yourself and some of the principles of living you have meticulously carved out for yourself; your own unique paradigm; crafted just so, each piece in its place. Set by the master crafter of your heart and your mind.

My interview assistants tell me that most of you are finding study participation to be “thought provoking, interesting and even fun.” Most amazing to me, however, are the reports I am now getting that some of you are even calling it “magical.” Whatever can be going on here to merit that accolade?

Perhaps it is simply that 
Anastasia The Storyteller has learned how to invite out the storyteller in you. Your stories must be told, if reason is to remain in the insanity now surrounding us; personal stories of dreams and concerns.

The tales we will, collectively, leave behind for generations to come. Stories that depict the logic and the passion that has and can, again, make America great. Your stories tell of a new kind of pioneer spirit, a pioneering of the heart and the mind of twenty-first century U.S.A., striving for expression in all that you are and do.

Interestingly, one of the most uplifting things I am privy to, in your time with me, is that you are choosing, in heart and mind and action, to keep doing your best 
rather than accept the quagmire our leaders are creating. In spite of them, you are finding your own, particular way to press forward.

Thus I am hopeful as it seems as if more and more people are, now, taking back their rights and responsibilities. What to do? What to do? 

At the bare minimum in a land of freedom of speech, we know to, at least, keep talking.

So we are Possible Humans striving to make a Possible Society.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Storytelling As A Path To Peace: Revisited

I’m reviewing a select, few blog articles I’ve written, half-heartedly searching for a connection between one particular piece and a story Jack, my co-host on The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show,“ recently told.

There is a niggling link between that earlier item, “Storytelling as a path to peace,” and Jack’s story. All day long I find myself challenged to locate it. But discovery does not come quickly or easily.
Jack Slattery, storyteller 
and co-host,
Possible Society In Motion 

It’s not simply the most obvious connection; both items involve “storytelling.” And, both; my blog piece and Jack’s story, are presented within related contexts; New Horizons’ sponsored communications. The former is my article for New Horizons’ blog site, here, and Jack’s story was told on our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show.

Still it takes me all day, once started on this discovery mission, to find the missing link. Meanwhile I am drawn, again and again, to some small point, yet not small at all. By sunset the connection still eludes me, however. Have I now lost a day hunting wild geese, I ask myself?

At dusk, light begins to dawn. Jack’s wonderfully, heart-warming tale is about an incident that occurred, recently, at the Homeless center at which he volunteers. Somehow this juxtaposes with my experience, as main interviewer, that, generally speaking, “storytelling” has played a central role, thus far, in the data gathering for the Possible Human, Possible Society Study.  Interview subjects share their values, viewpoints and activities related to building that “possible society” for which we are yearning through the study process.

Storytelling is often the vehicle for conveying these.

Jack’s heart-warming story about a touching experience with a homeless man suggests these, too; values, viewpoints and actions. With that telling, beautiful all on its own, Jack personifies and spotlights an important notion; storytelling, on this site and on our radio show, may be a magical ingredient for achieving important results, at least, as far as New Horizons’ is concerned.

If you read my piece, “Storytelling as a path to peace,” you will see, right away, what I mean, in terms of the role of storytelling for the study.

The intention of our radio show is to offer a community conversations forum to inspire social change through the sharing of personal, evolving community-unity building perspectives, philosophies and activities.  Jack’s story hit the mark by exemplifying what New Horizons wants most from sponsoring and producing this show; to contribute our small part to social change, now, in this present moment, and support others doing the same.

With his tale, Jack personifies a “possible human” doing his best to help create a “possible society.” (This link will take you to original telling of that story.) His story, also, recalls a quote from an earlier show (also introduced by Jack). You can hear it on podcast.
"The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there." The Zen of The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.
I am gratified, personally, whenever I have occasion to witness, as I have in this instance, someone representing values and matching actions embody Pirsig's words. For me,the translate into something like this –
“I want to be a better person than I am right now. Even if I am doing o.k.. I am open to learning. I will step into the process, risk the pain of loss and ego death, revise and update my view of the world and expand my comfort zone for this.”
You can hear this, personified, in Jack’s story of an everyday task made noble and great.
Listen in, again, this Thursday evening, February 13, 6;30 p.m. when Jack, and I, again, along with our friend, Gloria Livingston, offer our considered perspectives -- and – more stories, honoring the great and the small in everyday life.
With lots of room for your stories, too, (on our conference call, second portion of the show), with the intent of our joining with you to help build that hoped for “possible society in motion.”