Monday, May 26, 2014

“Life Is With People”

A Memorial Day Reflection

“Life Is With People” is the title of a book on the dying culture of the shtetl; its way of life, its practices and characteristic philosophies. The book was introduced in 1952, with a commentary by Margaret Mead, the renowned anthropologist. A shtetl is, or at least was, traditionally, an Eastern European, Jewish village.

My mother was an assimilating, Americanized shtetl Jew. She grew up in the midst of folks who shared a common heritage; shtetl life was central to their ways.  Of course, it was not completely like the “old country.” Still life among the Jews of Toledo, Ohio did revolve, as in Eastern Europe, around the shul, an Orthodox house of worship. 

Life in this community of like-minded, shared culture, individuals and families, had a long-cherished resonance to times past. Most notable, however, was that these people were safe from the pogroms of the Czar and what was to come of Germany and the Third Reich.

I have long treasured the rather beaten up copy I have of the book. It brings me to wonder if I have kept the words of the title close to my heart, only after finding it on a used book shelf, or had they always been as though cellular to me. I doubt I will ever know.

Well, no matter, now. The title means the world to me. It strikes the deepest cords within me, reminding me who I am and what matters most; a life shared with the people around me in love and laughter, joy and sorrow.

From the earliest days of my life, the experience of a closely-connected life with people was as familiar as my skin; the people of my family and those of my community.

My people are shtetl people. This is my history and my heritage. When I was not paying attention and honoring this, I was cutting myself off from myself, as we all do when we do not tend to our roots. This is simply a fact of human nature.

We are of something. We become something more. But whatever it is that we are at our roots cannot and will not ever be separate from who we are, now, and who and what we will become.

Part of the heritage of being Jewish is that you are, for better or for worse, a member of a tribe.

I remember, attending a high school that must have been eighty-five percent Jewish, if not more. At the time, an “in thing” was to refer to one another as “members of the tribe.” I didn’t think much about the expression then. It was just simply what one said, thought and, somehow, did. In short we were “MOTs” and proud of it. Later, though, and up until the recent past half-dozen years, I didn’t like being a member of that tribe. I wanted out.

So I proclaimed that I’d quit being Jewish. People laughed at me for my idiocy. “You can’t quit being Jewish,” they said. But I was certain I’d bought my freedom. From what I was not quite certain.

Nonetheless, tribal life and its implications came home to me the other day while I was picking something up at a neighbor’s. Walking onto a nearby friend’s yard, I chanced upon another neighbor, a Native American, as it happens. Seeing him standing there in the sunshine I was struck by the beauty of the rich color of his skin.  Then, jokingly I asked, “Do you think I look as Jewish as you do Native American?”

He chuckled and soon, as friends and neighbors do, we went on to the next lighthearted chatter. Tribal differences had not divided us.

Then, I heard, in the distance, another friend of his, unknown to me, calling out. This was a slightly accented voice of a male who turned out to be African American, from Ghana.

Growing up as the daughter of a die-hard shtetl Jew, as was my mother, I was not allowed to interact with anyone who was not Jewish. Anyone not of my “tribe” could not even be acknowledged as existing as a human, truth be told. Native Americans were, seen only, as performing exhibitions at the annual Sportsman’s  Show. An African American would be our cleaning lady.

How very much this breaks my heart when I reflect upon it.

But the times they are a-changing. I am changing too. For one thing I have now answered my query, “Am I an American Jew or a Jewish American?” Having resolved that “Yes, I am of Jewish heritage, I accept that in me. And, that I am equally an American. I hope I am never asked to choose between the two.

I have come to full voice of where lies my heart and soul; all the peoples of the world are members of my tribe. As it turns out, it was the separating from the rest of humanity that had made being Jewish feel so wrong for me.

But that was long ago. Today is the now. Still, if I allow my mind to travel, I am rather certain my “othering” mother would have difficulty accepting this way of mine.

What she might say about the joy and wholeness I find now in the varied array of people in my life I will not even entertain. In attendance, presently, at our Possible Society In Motion conversations forums and our bi-weekly Sohbet/study groups, I think we have, at least, one or more, people of Irish descent, a South American, several folks of German heritage and one person of mixed Bulgarian/Macedonian heritage; none are Jewish, other than me.

So what?

On a day like today, Memorial Day, I am so aware of the freedom I have to simply be me and an MOT of any tribe I choose. I choose the global village as my tribe and the land of this free nation.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Times They Are A-Changing

Thursday, May 15, 2014 6:30 p.m.

On this episode Anastasia and Jack explore the positive changes in our society that they are witnessing around them and within themselves. A focus of the program is on how the contemporary "marriage of science and mysticism" is affecting our everyday mental mechanics. And how, as these shifts in perception unfold, they are making their ways into our general culture, enhancing and expanding our potentiality for a more positive cultural perspective.
A conference call forum follows and extends the on-air discussion. Callers can join the conference call at: 712.432.0600, access code 640883 (also recorded).
(If you miss the original broadcast, please contact New Horizons, the show's sponsoring organization, for access code for the conference call recording. Contact details available on blog site.)

With co-hosts, Anastasia Rosen-Jones and Jack Slattery

At its highest level, the vision behind the “Lean In Legacy Template,” the centerpiece of the Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, is that it offers a map to realizing a vast human potential for the transmuting of hostility, even minor separations, into cooperation and unity.

This principle exemplifies the notion that an act, as simple as “leaning in,” even in the most, seemingly, commonplace of ways is a viable pathway to the building of a non-violent culture.

By learning to utilize Anastasia’s recently introduced “Lean In Legacy Template” the new centerfold of the Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, each and every one of us can exercise our innate human capacities to be the change we are seeking, individually and collectively.

Co-hosts, Anastasia and Jack, expand this basic principle in their bi-weekly, Possible Society In Motion Radio Show.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

An Open Letter To Our Study Participants

You deserve a personal note

We want you to know the changes going on that are – and – will be impacting on our Possible Human, Possible Society Study and your participation in it. To do this, the following is a letter that will tell you: 1. How we got from there to here; and 2. Where we are now in terms of the study and its unfolding developments.

Snail's Pace?
No! No! Not So!
OMG! This is turning out to be a bit of a newsletter.

If you wish to bypass the story and find out more, now, about our developing plans, simply scroll down to #2 below.
  1.            From there, July, 2013, to here, May, 2014
Major changes are underway in the tone and activities of our Possible Human, Possible Society Study, operating under the sponsorship of New Horizons Support Network, Inc. and its two main initiatives, the Small “Zones of Peace” Project and the Possible Society In Motion Project. 

We are well aware of when these transformations became apparent to us. However, we cannot even begin to imagine where they will end. 

Noting the shift

The world, as we know it, is presently turning itself upside down. We feel certain you feel it as much as we do. We can trace the recent shift to the day Sue and I received copies of Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Science ofUniversal Awe, Volume II, the most recent book of our Beloved community development mentor, Murat Yagan.

It was early August and we had just passed our annual, July board meeting. Our plans for the coming year seemed to be set. Our main tasks would be to develop a teaching manual to support our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show and to begin raising the funds that would enable us to do this and our many other related projects and programs.

We were excited to see our own contribution to the book in print. But even more so was the wisdom and guidance Murat had so comprehensively put forth in this book. And, the many other contributions from students of his, like us, from around the world.

Upon reading the contribution of Lisa Talesnick, “No Good Can Come To Me Unless It Comes First To My Brothers and Sisters,” we both actually cried, spontaneously. Lisa, a long time student of Murat and Kebzeh heads a news company, based in the Middle East. Her article tells of the application of Murat’s teachings to the forming of the All Nations CafĂ©, “transforming checkpoints into meeting points” in Israel and Palestine. When you read it, you, too, might cry with joy and releasing sorrow.

Only days after receiving our books, Sue and I took off for a Canadian retreat at her family’s summer cabin. By the time we returned, the central message of Murat’s tome, his methodology for turning the lead of consciousness into the gold of transformation, had already taken hold in each of us.

For me, personally, I, also, returned with the almost completed draft of a new book, HotPants, Motorcycles and K Street: In TheEra Before Watergate. It had virtually popped out of me while I sat on the edge of a boat dock, enjoying the sun. I hope to have it completed and ready for publication by 2016. It is a memoir that is grounded in how my days as a celebrity entrepreneur in Washington, D.C. thrust me into the fire pit of my own transformation. And, how this experience, then, became the theoretical and strategic foundations that are, today, embodied in every aspect of New Horizons.

The challenges of Fall, 2013 through Winter, 2014

We might have, readily, carried this burgeoning force forth into our Possible Human, Possible Society Study – and – the various programs and projects emerging from it, under the auspices of our Possible Society In Motion Project.  But, life as it happens, soon showed up with an obstacle. A visit to Washington to begin research for my book, unfortunately, resulted in my attracting an eye infection that seriously threatened my sight in both eyes!

By early December when the most serious potentials of that infection had been averted, we were headlong into the cruelest, bitterest winter we can remember. The rest is history, not only for us, but for all of you, as well. Suffice it to say that almost until May Day, we were managing an on-going, uphill battle to simply stay warm. This is an especially challenging endeavor if one does, as we do, heat on wood that had long been exhausted in terms of our original winter stockpile.

The upside of Fall, 2013 into Spring, 2014

Paralleling the trials of this time, our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, co-hosted by Jack Slattery and myself, was, by this time, advancing beautifully and evolving into a teaching series. Integrating our developments on-air with all that was going on behind the scenes, another creation of mine, also, "popped" out of me; the “Lean In Legacy Template” which has, now, become the centerpiece of our radio show.

In the midst of this building momentum, however, a winter storm, power outage re-routed one of our scheduled radio shows. To save the day, our program for that evening became a conference call forum, only. (With no electricity I was finding script preparation and the various other intricacies of radio show production a bit much for that night.) Thus another new creation emerged, the “Turning Lead Into Gold Sohbet/study group.

The gifts of this serendipitous happening were and are immeasurable; the greatest one that our Beloved Murat had passed beyond this earthly plane only a month or so before. And, our Sohbet/study group would allow us to share what we had gained from him, along with being able to continue to celebrate his well-lived life and the teachings given so generously. In a world so much in want for role models, sharing, even stories of this noble man is a gift.

(Do I sound as if I am a bit pregnant these days. Actually, I do believe I am! I am pregnant with creations born of turning the lead (i.e. clutter) of oneself into the gold of personal and collective transformation.
It is all happening so fast in my life, these days, I frequently feel quite upside down!)

You, finding out more

Well, I could go on and on with New Horizons and personal tales ad infinitum. I do hope I can share some of them after a while with you, face-t0-face; the most precious way, as time such as this is so hard to come by these days.

However, you can keep abreast of some of these tales and transitions by listening to my/our radio show, The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show at:

And, reading my blog posts at -

2.      From here, May, 2014 into the future (listed, only, by item). If you wish details, please do not hesitate to contact me at: Cell: 240.409.5347 or email:

·         We are seeking to recruit an administrative/research assistant (or volunteer) to help manage the study data, now, being collected – and – our growing correspondence and communication demands;

·         We will soon, also, begin recruiting student interns (or volunteers) to assist with data collection for the study as well as enhanced communication efforts for increasing the visibility of the study and its findings;

·         The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, the “Turning Lead Into Gold Sohbet/study group and the Possible Human, Possible Society Study personal interviews will, most likely, move into high gear, now, taking precedence, at times, over the blogs, in terms of keeping you abreast about our current (and very inspiring) interactive efforts;

·         We will, soon, begin re-contacting study participants to, again, update our data on your attitudes and activities to better our society – and -- yourself;

·         We will, also, again, be organizing -- or attempting to organize -- community building gatherings in the coming, warm weather season, at our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center (we will keep you informed as details emerge);

·         We will continue to post blogs on our study activities and findings, as time allows;

·         By year’s end, we are hoping to have prepared and sent personal report cards to present participants of how we have observed your attitudes and activities to be measuring up alongside those of our whole body of study data collection. (Should you wish a personal report and not have received one, please do contact our office to request your respective evaluation.);

·         We will, also, soon, be letting you know how you can best support these exciting efforts of ours.

New Horizons' Possible Society In Motion Project, underwritten by the Possible Human, Possible Society Study is a winner!

Stay informed! Stay in touch!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Snags to Synergy: it’s All About Attitude

Thursday, May 1,   6:30 p.m.

With co-hosts, Anastasia Rosen-Jones and Jack Slattery
At its highest level, the vision behind the “Lean In Legacy Template,” the centerpiece of the Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, is that it offers a map to realizing a vast human potential for the transmuting of hostility, even minor separations, into cooperation and unity. This principle exemplifies the notion that an act, as simple as “leaning in,” even in the most, seemingly, commonplace of ways is a viable pathway to the building of a non-violent culture.
Co-hosts, Anastasia and Jack, expand this basic tenet of the “Lean In Legacy Template” on tonight’s show with a discussion on how this model regards our innate capacity to shift out of our snags in human relations onto a pathway of healing and growth. Thereby we can turn all potential problems of an interactional nature into possibilities.

Co-hosts, Anastasia and Jack, focus on “snags to synergy – it’s all about attitude” on tonight’s inspiring episode, tonight at 6:30 p.m

By learning to utilize Anastasia’s recently introduced “Lean In Legacy Template” the new centerfold of the Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, each and every one of us can exercise our innate human capacities to be the change we are seeking, individually and collectively.