Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When Worlds Collide

This week on New Horizons' The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show
Thursday, June 26, 6:30 p.m.
Anastasia and Jack return with new stories that reflect the struggles and failures that lead –or not – to the kinds of successes that derive from the application of the principles of the “The Lean In Legacy Template.”

In this episode Anastasia leads off with a story from a recent experience where she, of an Observant Jewish family, collided, head-on, with a devout Catholic woman. For a time the interminable, age-old conflicts of Christians and Jews reared their ugly heads. But not for long as New Horizons’ Board Member, Sue deVeer, a Quaker educator whose timely intervention was welcomed by both women, gently guided the two to the safe shores of unity.
Again the on-air portion of this show continues with a conference call forum discussion. Guests are welcome to join in at: 712.432.0600, access code 640883 (also recorded).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Anastasia's Love Letter To Participants of The Possible Human, Possible Society Study

June 20, 2014

This letter was originally intended, of all things, to be "snail mailed" to participants of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study in June, 2014; a way of staying in contact that has come to seem, though time consuming, more caring and humane than other alternatives.

The writing of it came about because I had come to experience that posting articles on this site with the intention of keeping in touch with participants online felt as if I were a participant in one of the major ways I believe our citizens are creating divisiveness along with their efforts to be vocal and visible; selfies being one of the most offensive to my way of thinking.

Call it a protest, if you will but please no stoning of me, if you can help it.

Most of the personal letters have already been mailed out while some are still in progress with my personal notes of appreciation added.

The study was officially launched on January 1, 2012. Originally projected to be a four year study, concluding data collection on December 31, 2015, the wrap-up date has now been extended to December 31, 2016.

For further details, inquiries and participation,, please contact me, Anastasia, at:

In brief, this love letter of mine tells some of the most important background stories and related philosophies of the study from my personal perspective.

Among the most rewarding from posting it – online – is the opportunity this venue provides of enabling me to help you, my visitors, to connect the dots of the bigger story behind the stories that have been, formerly, posted on this site. As you are aware, no doubt, much of what is behind New Horizons’ story is my story.

I hope you will enjoy this love letter of mine. And, take the opportunity it affords to also visit, or re-visit, the many stories I have previously written about my “love affair” with Washington. And, the troubles of the heart such a love brings.

Dear Possible Human, Possible Society Study Participant,

Shortly after Barack Obama’s 2008 election to our presidency I made an extended trip to South America. For the better part of two months I lived among Ecuadorians, sometimes challenged as I did not speak Spanish.

The majority of people I encountered, personally, were of the intelligentsia: psychologists, artists, economists and so forth. Each, in his/her own time, would eventually come around to inquiring about what it might mean to us, Americans, to have elected this particular man, decidedly of African/American heritage.

These questions spurred my own contemplations on the subject. Because I was in a distant and foreign land, I reflected on this point with the added spice of the views these people offered back to me.

At the time, I was aware of only one or two personal perspectives on this state of affairs. The first was that after close to thirty-five years away from Washington, I had only returned one time with joy and hope. I had ventured into D.C. a few days after Obama’s election. I wanted to feel the upsurge of spirit, wishing that the Washington I had loved might rise again.

Although I had been very much engaged in high profile Washington (1965 – 1974), the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated I watched the Washington I loved “burn” from my high rise apartment near the Pentagon. That day was truly the beginning of the end of my active love affair with our nation’s capitol. The Watergate scandal finished it off.

Still, one cannot end a serious love affair and just simply walk away. Thus in 1974, I began what was to develop into a life-long passion to understand the Dark Side of Washington and its affairs. And, to do, with this understanding as a base, what I could to aid the transformation of it. At least, as best as a single, yet devoted and heartbroken idealist can. My first husband and I had, originally,come, after his college graduation, to Washington for JFK’s “Camelot.” Both of us, also, remained nearby these many decades later.

While I was not, particularly, enamored or impressed by Obama, I was somewhat intrigued by his platform that seemed rooted in an expansion of a national grassroots’ effort. With these in mind I returned, in late December, 2008, to Maryland with Obama’s inauguration near.

Having previously discovered the pitfalls of inaugural balls and other related revelries, I observed the happenings from a distance. Yet the spirit of celebration did not pass me by. And, given that I was a lifelong Democrat, I was satisfied for the moment. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder at the seeming naiveté of our new president, especially in his perspectives regarding the Washington political game. After all, I had been a player in it, having served clients in the White House, on Capital Hill and throughout the lobbying community.

Oh, well, thought I, let’s just wait and see. But social activist that I had become, by then, waiting and seeing was not quite enough for me. That’s when I, first, designed the Possible Human, Possible Society Study. I imagined that from my own grassroots position, as Executive Director of New Horizons Support Network, Inc., my organization and myself, personally, might help further Obama’s grassroots’ agenda.

Somehow, though, this idea of mine did not take root very deeply. So I shelved the study for a time and went on to other things. Then, in July, 2011, with the debt ceiling debates grabbing daily attention with outrageous partisan blaming, hostility and polarization, I came to believe that our country was in an irreconcilable mess. And, that no one, on either side of the aisle, could or would, competently – and – graciously, lead us out of it any time soon.

At that point, I turned my attentions away, as much as possible, from Washington, once again, taking to the hills (one of which, calling itself a mountain, I live upon) to initiate and develop the Possible Society In Motion Project. Of which the Possible Human, Possible Society Study is the focal point.

From that time on, officially beginning January 1, 2012, I began a new love affair; a love affair with you and others such as you; the various and sundry people who make up the regional community, residing within the one-hundred mile radius of the Washington, D.C. White House. You, the soon-to-be participants of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study!

From then on, I began asking each and every one of you that seemed interested and appropriate about your hopes and dreams for this country’s healthy future; your perspectives on how we might find our way out of the painful polarization that has overtaken our country. I asked for your personal opinions on how we can grow together and move beyond our differences.

How we could, again, be that one nation, under God, we set out to be. (Given that I come from a small town in Ohio this is the view with which I grew up.)

Maybe the Camelot that, originally, brought me to Washington will forever remain the myth it has always been. Nonetheless, each and every day I spend engaged with participants, such as yourself, in the study I designed after leaving this country for a time, I am heartened by all of you.

Nonetheless, I have one regret in the carrying forth of this project. I have been unable to adequately communicate on a regular basis with,you, as a study participant. You see in doing the interviews I came to know how very important are the bonds of community-unity that we build with one another. These connections are precious and require care. Our busy world does not offer us much opportunity for this.

Initially I attempted to call or write participants to keep you updated on study progress, developments and projects. But soon there were so many enthusiastic participants I could not manage this. Next I tried to post blogs to keep you informed. This format, as it turned out, seemed to be both too impersonal and difficult to manage in terms of detailing, even the bare minimum of unfolding and, frequently, inspirational perspectives and personal stories.

After all, who would want to miss out on the “good news” in these trying times?

Thus, secondarily to my expressing my gratitude to you, I am writing this letter by way of pledging to keep you better informed, from here forth, on developments of New Horizons most “awesome” Possible Society In Motion Project and its related study. (Dare I say so myself?) My intention is to do this by snail mail, if possible, believing the old-fashioned way to be so very much more personal and, thus, more appropriate for the very special ways in which this study has been evolving.

While we, at New Horizons, strive to improve our communication with you, our treasured study participants, please know the immensity of my gratitude for your participation to date.

From the bottom of my heart, as well as the top of my intellectual, research-oriented mind, I humbly thank you for the hope and inspiration your contribution to the Possible Human, Possible Society Study has brought me.

The generosity of your transparency, time and support have shown me the stronger stuff, beyond polarization that we, Americans, are made of, regardless of who it is that sleeps in the White House!

We, the people, shall overcome!

With boundless appreciation for your participation in the study I designed,

Anastasia Rosen-Jones

Executive Director, New Horizons Support Network, Inc.
Lead Researcher, Possible Human, Possible Society Study

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bedtime on the Bus: Beyond Reactivity

My old, fuzzy, worn down Care Bear sat on my bed for decades.  These days he has found a new seat -- on my couch. He sits a-snuggling in the embrace of Bunny Bear, an even older relic of days long gone.

I moved my two old companions to this new seating arrangement so they would be an audience for me while I host our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show. My co-host, Jack Slattery, manages our studio way off in another state.  Such is the marvel of modern technology.

So there sit my two audience non-participants, quietly and patiently, now for more than one year. Not much interaction but present for me, nonetheless, without one bit of trouble.

Still I do crave interaction. Not too much, mind you. I am a diehard introvert who, loving people as I do, knows when too much of a good thing is just too much.

I am discriminating, perhaps to a fault, about when, where, with whom and for how long I join in with others. If you don’t know me well, you might be surprised at how sparingly do I allot my time. And, believe me, I am not substituting that sparseness of face contact for time spent on the internet. I am, truthfully, often bored with the internet. That’s why my bears suit me so well. They are most honoring of my taking the space I desire.

At my core I have truly become a writer. I like nothing more than days spent in solitude with only my writing (and nature) as a focus.

Yet I am a tribal being by nature, as much as a lover of solitude. These two sides of the coin in me show up like this –

When I speak of the interactive I have a particular kind in mind; high contact-fullness,  rich in the sincere devotion to open-heartedness and mindedness, truthfulness, integrity; individual and collective transformation. Being with others who stretch the outer limits of my humanity.

This is what our new Sohbet/study group has brought forth.

Last week’s Sohbet/study group is a definite case in point. Here are a few hightlights.

Thursday evening,  June 5, 6:30 p.m.

Sohbet/study group main topic:  “Bedtime on the Bus” (i.e. how a small group of devoted and willing people can move from snags to synergy, thereby creating the magic of the Bus Ride Story Adventure.)

Picture this scenario.

We are becoming a working forum with a small group of people, most of whom have never laid eyes on one another. Each of us has pledged to travel on a journey that has been recommended as a small, but profound adventure, promising the potential for individual and collective transformation.

In other words we are, via conference call, engaged in a bi-weekly discussion with Murat’s Bus Ride Story Adventure as a metaphor upon which our journey is unfolding.  The anticipated destination has been identified as “awe.”  I am the participant guide of the adventure.  And, next to Sue, I am, probably, the only one present who genuinely knows where and what this place might be like.

We are now at Sohbet/study group #10. The program has been going well to date.
However, in Sohbet/study group #9, May 22, 2014, I become aware of a heightened state of reactivity in our discussion. I came away from that group meeting somewhat challenged.

Drat. What should I do here?

We’ve got such a harmonious group forming.

Should I just let sleeping dogs lie and keep my mouth shut about the “snag” I experienced?

I ponder. Should I be stretching my own compassion and gratitude etc. for others; the attributes Murat stresses as the pathway to higher humanity?

Days pass. Time nears for the next Sohbet/study group.

I decide to risk. I put myself out on a limb.

The group turns out to be intense, complicated, challenging. But we come through with shining colors; a bit of alchemy in the process!

We have “leaned in” to Murat’s “Bedtime On The Bus” practice, coming away with snags moving to synergy and the magic of the Bus Ride Story Adventure affirmed.

I am joyfully amazed!

A gentle, respectful vibration of unity has developed in our Sohbet/study group discussion along with an abundance of patience, caring and compassion – for me-- the provocateur! 

Care Bear and Bunny Bear have, momentarily, been upended. Life is truly with people.

Here’s a peek at Murat’s “Bedtime on the Bus” tradition. Like the Twelve Step approach it centers on self-assessment, making amends; heightened responsiveness, collectively.

Would you dare?

Check it out and see if you would risk joining a group of unknown people for a seven day bus ride such as this purports to be and come out so well.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I Am Changing, We (New Horizons) Are Changing. Are You Changing Too?

Jack and I presented a wonderful radio show episode, “The Times They Are A-Changing” on Thursday, May 15. Be sure to check it out if you have not already.

I, admittedly, was almost shaken by our exchange on-air, even more so by our discussion forum after, on the conference call. So much that I felt prompted to contact several loyal supporters, requesting that they give me feedback on the show. I was that much in need of checking out my perceptions.  I never did quite get what I was after.

Oh, well. The perceptual gap might be reconciled by checking out various theories about it. But who has time these days to bother over such minutiae?
Oh, dear!

Like the White Rabbit of Alice In Wonderland, most of us are feeling perpetually as if we are “late, late” for the next thing, whatever that is. No doubt about it, we must run off, quickly, trying to catch up with something.

I drew attention to the idea of slowing down in my “Overcoming The Polarization of Politics Address presented at Hood College, not long after Obama’s second presidential victory.

Emphasizing a quote from  Mary Pipher in her book, Writing To Change The World
“The two most radical things you can do in America are to slow down and talk to one another.”
I made the assumption that this suggestion meant, also, listening to one another. And, I might add, listening, carefully.

Each time Jack and I do one of our Possible Society In Motion programs, we embark upon this “radical” endeavor; slowing down and talking and listening to one another. The effort has seemed to bear fruit, especially, since my “Lean In Legacy Template” was introduced, becoming the center piece of the show. The intentionality of this formula as an antidote by which one can offset polarization, socially, culturally or politically, comes clearer to me, program by program.

As a “teaching series,” we now have a a specific framework for an emerging curriculum for the program. And, in the “doing” we are slowing down and listening and talking to one another, along with whoever joins us. By taking time to be with one another in this way, we are establishing a venue for a purposeful, yet informal discussion, heightening our consciousness, individually and collectively. Then we carry the intention forth into the conference call portion of our program that follows. 

We are doing the same, digging even deeper within ourselves and one another, in our new Sohbet/study group. As a result, our discussion forums are, even now, hinting at the potential for our offering to reach the peak of the Mountain of Awe, that magical place where each and every one present can feel the beautifully, compelling sense of synergy that becomes the foundation for collective unity.

The intimation is there, perhaps most noticeably to me, having had decades of experience in creating the conditions for transformation within sustainable communities.

I am delightfully amazed that the group of guests and participants New Horizons has drawn together, most of whom have never even met one another, face-to-face, with only a telephone call connecting us, has been able to achieve this.

Our Possible Society In Motion Radio Show is now growing a group of strangers into a unique and wonderful, community discussion forum. We are becoming that “radical” venture – and will do so more and more as we gain experience with our project.

Apparently, it was the doing of this on-air and on a conference call that frightened me. I think it was the expansiveness, especially in a public forum of my “doing” that scared me so. I’d been so long, only imagining the experience of creating a forum for heightened and shared consciousness that when it came right up close, I wondered if something might not be wrong. As if I might get in trouble, somehow, for talking about, doing and “being” in an authentically personal and collective transformation mode, in public.

Nonetheless, in spite of my fear, I see that I am changing and New Horizons is changing too in the ways for which we’ve been striving.

Are you changing too?

If you are, how about sharing your adventure with us by updating your Possible Human, Possible Society Study interview. Or, perhaps, you might like to be a guest on our radio show. 

Please feel free to contact me, Anastasia, by email ( or cell: 240.409.5347,

However, we can find pathways to "lean in" towards one another can only up the abundance we are experiencing. 

Take a moment to consider how you might join us, as we become increasingly interactive with real people in real time.

We will even be making mistakes, publicly, as we learn and grow. You can join us in that too!

Note: In case you missed this past week’s The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show, we actually were not on-air as scheduled for May 29 due to a scheduling snag. But we will be back, again, in two weeks on Thursday, June 12 at our regularly scheduled bi-weekly time.