Monday, July 24, 2017

Are We In A Growth Stage, Or Are We Merely Coming Apart At Our Seams?

My small “zone of peace,” at New Horizons, feels like a port of sanity these days, in a world gone crazy with conflict and upheaval. You, as a reader of this blog might not realize it -- and yet you might -- just how profound – and – welcoming it is to have safe, secure places, these days, where people are not coming apart at the seams, polarizing in this era of stormy weather. No matter how bright the sunshine looks outdoors. 

In reading my recent articles, you might think it is otherwise here, at New Horizons; stormy weather for our organization.  Just like many other places these days.

To be sure, recent announcements, related to our board activities, have garnered an inordinate number of emails and comments (see “Comments” section at bottom of this article for example) suggesting readers are feeling concern over our recent happenings. However, this is rather than the sense of growth and expansiveness actually taking place for us.

Without doubt, we, at New Horizons, are going through some growing pains. A simple review of our past year of programs and projects, as written in articles for this site, will tell you that, in a heartbeat.  Nearly everything we had been developing and working on for the past ten years plus has now practically ground to a halt, waiting for the chaos of our present day society and politics to settle down. 

Almost no one cares to overcome polarization these days, or make violence obsolete. As important agendas for social movements these days per se, there is simply little fit! No, indeed!

I can hardly wrap my mind around the shifting we are presently experiencing here, paralleling what is happening around us in society and politics. It is that HUGE! It’s almost as if we are now living on another planet; and a warring one at that.

These are the days of our coming apart. Not the time for unity, it seems.

Whoever intimated that growth and change come easily hasn’t raised any teenagers. That stage is all about identity. With no holds barred, this phase of development is more often a tsunami rather than any smooth sailing.  However, when mature people face an updating of their lives and relationships to one another, things do tend to proceed more easily. 

That’s how things are these days at New Horizons; we are in a crisis of self-defining brought about by our collective intentions to weather the storms now confronting our country – and – therefore us. But we have long-held, reliable principles we’ve been practicing for more than forty years, at New Horizons, that are seeing us through the choppy waters now. At the top of the list and the bottom line of it all, of course is dialogue, not debate which we are truly adept at. How sweet it is! 

I have never before experienced the personal being so closely entwined with the political. But here it is! Maybe that’s good, maybe not. Nonetheless, mature and seasoned, as is my wonderful board of directors, grown now from three members to six, we are, daily, drawing from the lessons we have offered you, over the years, and coming through the bumpy places change is bringing us, relatively effortlessly, given the scope of what is happening.

Having raised two biological children of my own and helped to round out the growing pains of countless others as a psychotherapist, I have become accustomed to the signs, the conflicts and the pain of working through the years of identity crisis that come naturally out of the thrust and the striving to reach maturity. 

The crisis of one’s seeking to discover and hold intact one’s identity is grounded in struggling to find wholeness. The process is a rocky road at best. In many respects the time seems to begin in adolescence. Yet it’s coming actually began at birth, when first we separated from our mothers. The entire process, in some regards, lasts, once consciously recognized, often volatilely at adolescence, throughout the rest of one’s entire life.

There is no easy way to go through this process, known in psychological terms as individuation.  Wikipedia describes "individuation" as the expressing of how a thing is identified as an individual thing that "is not something else. This includes how an individual person is held to be distinct from other elements in the world and how a person is distinct from other persons.”

Today we are seeing, more and more, that a Republican is quite distinct from a Democrat, a Liberal is different than a Conservative. Actually, in the world of my own, personal mind, I hadn’t paid too much attention to these labels insofar as they related to me, until now. I had adopted the Democratic voting position, along with its apparent values, because that was how it had always been done in my family.

With Barak Obama in office, I found that this designation on my voter registration was too limiting, so I had switched to being a registered Independent. By the time our recent presidential election campaign had ended, along with its attendant, highly charged and conflicted outcome, I no longer “felt myself” completely in alignment with that designation either. Still it is the best I can presently find. So I have no intention of reassigning myself further. I am truly enjoying, at this point, individuating politically. 

This means affirming who I am, with my own unique view of the world, not identifying with one ideology or another! In all of this shifting, for you and I, as well as those around us, is the issue of self-definition

Contemplating this state of affairs takes me back to my psychological heritage as a Transactional Analyst (TA). With TA as an organizing base I have looked at myself and my place in the world around me with the notion of having a personal life script, as TA holds that we all do. Script formation is based on the individual clarifying their personal answers to several basic existential questions –
  • Who am I?
  • Who are you?
  • What’s everybody doing here?
  • And, what am I to do, as me, with people like you, in a place like this?
These are questions each one of us must answer as we develop from childhood through to adulthood and beyond into our waning years. These are questions a society can also be charged to answer, collectively, as the collective is but a representation of the individual, multiplied many times over. Societies, too, have scripts, cultural scripts.

At this point, New Horizons is now beginning to re-define itself. I, too, am, deeply involved in that process, personally. Parallel to this, our society is in midst of a redefinition. As with adolescents and the adults around them, growing pains are often manifest in chaos. A coming apart at the seams is what this growing-up phase can seem like. With mature decision-making along the way, however, eventually all, generally, will turn out well, with the gift of many lessons accrued to look back upon from these growing pain.

Our present and societal and political upheaval, thus, also brings us to consider -- 
  • Who am I in terms of my place in this society?
  • Who are you in terms of your place here?
  • What’s everybody to do here, now, in this society?
  • And, what am I to do, now, in a place like this – and – at this time?
I bet you are wondering about these things, yourself, these days. Give yourself time and patience to sort the answers to these questions out – and – find your peace in the midst of chaos.

Perhaps this is where the United States of America is now -- in the midst of growing pains

If so, it is reasonable to fear not. 

But hold on to your hat!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Meaning Of Things And Why New Horizons And Anastasia Need To Separate

If you are a person of high ideals, at the base of everything you are and do, certain principles uphold the structures of your life, allowing you to build, sustain it and make it flourish. I am grateful that my personal heritage, rooted in the Judaism of the generations that preceded me, gave me a set of values and ethics I can rely upon to know how to live well, the “being” and the “doing.” I strive, relentlessly, to live by these ideologies and the ones I have added to that foundation, as do the people with whom I associate most closely.

Thus it is not surprising, given that the New Horizons Board of Directors is comprised of a group of people of this ilk, that a serious upheaval brought about by the outcome of our recent presidential election, now permeating almost all areas of American life -- from how we are, each and every one of us, to maintain good health, able to enjoy our natural resources, including our national parks and our availability to the arts -- has also entered into the discussions, operations and objectives of our non-profit organization, the New Horizons Support Network, Inc.

Personal ethics and values, under such circumstances, are often called up for review. As an almost natural outcome of these challenges, it came to pass that certain steps I was taking, on behalf of New Horizons, began to run into a bit of conflict, especially when long-term board member, Lisa Boyer, who we most rely upon to recognize injudiciousness, offsetting our prime agenda; the building (and sustaining) of small “zones of peace,” recognized we were in danger of getting off course. 

This might have come about, if we were to pursue my plan to develop and publicize future programs and projects under the heading of “draining the swamp” or even “instead of the swamp.”

It wasn’t that my idea was not creative or clever. Rather that it had the potentiality of making it “seem” as if New Horizons was leaning into politics, instead of “leaning” into people, all people, to foster the unity that is at the foundation of our mission. This potential was not necessarily a given outcome. But the line between what politics often breeds, polarization, conflict, special interest and a host of other nefarious outcomes that are the antithesis of coming together, might rise up.

In other words, my idea could have eventually taken us down a wrong path. Fortunately, we have Lisa, along with a now increasing (we have just gone from three on our board to six), board of dedicated people, to intercept such things. And our long held principles and practices to see us through. Dialogue rather than debate is at the top of the list of these.

Non-profit organizations such as ours, a 501 C 3, approved by IRS, must avoid even a hint of being involved in political campaigning. While such organizations may lobby in support of constituents or ideals they represent, such as the environment, homelessness and, yes, even human relationships, in some fashion or form, they must be extra cautious that political partisanship not infiltrate operations. 

With my personal/professional stance, as represented by my two other blog sites, Anastasia The Storyteller and Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure Of A Lifetime, jam packed with articles that come right up close to the conflicts that occur in individuals, including family, friends and communities and in both society and politics, in general, my “swamp draining” idea, while not actually crossing any lines, could, potentially, take New Horizons enough away from its clear cut agenda of building small “zones of peace” to muddy up the presentation and forward movement of our overall mission.

Unlike "certain others" (ha ha – here I go, getting our discussion into the danger zone of today’s politics), we are thoroughly committed to not only not corrupting our mission, but also doing our very best to not even allow any hint of it to look askance!

So in order that New Horizons continue to do its best to maintain clear-cut boundaries, distinct from politics, in every shape and form, it is best now that we begin the process of what will likely result in my eventually, when the time is right, removing myself from being Executive Director of New Horizons, sometime in the future. At this point, it is unclear how we will carry out this differentiation. But it is likely to come in this day and age of the political now having become so much the personal. Given that conflict resolution is so intrinsically woven into building “zones of peace,” you can count on us, however, to do this separating in a timely, thorough and harmonious manner. 

While both the social and the political upheaval, facing all of us now on a daily basis, is likely to continue to offer singularly profound examples of “what not to do” which I/we are likely to want to note as we go along, advocating for leaning in, the “what to do,” of our immediate challenge is well laid out for us now.

This is “Why New Horizons And Anastasia Need To Separate.” 

We want you to get clear cut messages from us. And we want to model how we, personally and collectively, handle ourselves in a fashion that will inspire you to trust what we do as having something to offer for how you manage your life and relationships.

So, now, watch us grow, stronger together with plenty of room for me to define myself, personally and professionally, through my two other blog sites, but not this one!

You can contact Anastasia,
The Super Sleuth at:

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Horizons Announces Anastasia’s Next Steps

PRESS RELEASE for immediate release

Finding Light In The Darkness, A Goddess Returns To D.C.

Frederick, Maryland -- The best kept secret of the New Horizons Support Network, Inc., a non-profit organization, is about to be brought into public view. As an organization, specializing in community development and violence prevention training, the secret New Horizons has been holding has to do, now, with WHO is behind this intriguing community education approach and what SHE brings to it.

To begin to uncover the secret, rewind back to 1966 when Anastasia Rosen-Jones (formerly Marcia E. Rosen) took the heart of Washington by storm with her U.S. “Male” Service reminder and gift shopping service and Special Delivery Messenger Service. Identified as being the first business of its kind in the world for executives, primarily male, Anastasia’s services made front page news in the Wall Street Journal – and – were featured, often in Washington newspapers, including one article headlined, “Burgeoning Business Pays Off,” as well as in the broadcast media, back in the day. 

With a fleet of motorcycles and hot pants and high boots attired models to man the delivery fleet, Anastasia and her staff, not only brought practical assistance to D.C. executives but also a sparkling bit of eye candy. Thus a twenty-six year old earned her way, almost overnight, into a full suite of offices at 18th and K Streets, N.W., the center of the lobbying community.

From that grand opening, fast forward to the words of former Frederick News Post reporter, G.M. Corrigan, who described Anastasia as an “Entrepreneur-turned-peace- educator, spotlighting the ‘dark side’ in non-violence training” in that publication. With such apparently diverse accolades of Ms. Rosen-Jones undertakings, one might wonder how she got from there; a glitzy, celebrity businesswoman at 18th and K Streets to her present position as Executive Director of a non-profit focused on peace and social justice training, based in Harpers Ferry and Frederick, Maryland.

No longer imaging Aphrodite, the goddess of charm and pleasure, as her branding, decades after those early days, Anastasia, now a more subdued goddess-type, still carries with her the charisma and creativity that once drew the attention of multitudes in D.C.

The tale is an intriguing one that has much of its grounding in the Watergate scandal, eventually ousting Richard Nixon, follows a trail into Ms. Rosen-Jones’ twenty-five years as a psychotherapist in Montgomery County, marriage and motherhood, a move to Harpers Ferry with the intention of building a training and retreat center and an eight year ordeal of blindness. 

Now Anastasia is setting her sights on returning to the D.C. fast track she left behind more than forty years ago at the time of the Watergate break in. In doing this she expects to bring Light into some of the dark corners of the nation’s capital in ways that have become uniquely her own. You will want to hear her story; the tale behind her leaving and the one about her return. And the adventures she has had between then and now. 

As far as New Horizons goes, Anastasia’s shift signals an expanding and redefining moment for both her and New Horizons. How this will shape the future is yet to be discovered. Nonetheless, Anastasia can be counted on to find the Light in the darkness of whatever lies ahead.

Information on New Horizons Support Network, Inc. can be found here: Additional bio information about Anastasia Rosen-Jones can be found here. For interviews with Ms. Rosen-Jones, contact Lynn Cullather-Popkin at: 301.775.1432 or

Sunday, July 16, 2017

When The Political Becomes The Personal

Well New Horizons’ Annual Board Meeting has now come and gone. Thank goodness we’ve had the prayers behind us we’ve had (see Comment from Lorenzo York "Open Letter To Our Loyal Followers"). We sure needed them for yesterday’s meeting. It was like almost no other, except for a rare few, I’ve ever known; stormy weather is what we got to, polarization for a time! 

Nonetheless, as usual the principles of New Horizons got us through the Dark into the Light. The very same ones I/we strive to share with you through our various programs and projects, including this blog site, hoping that our collective wisdom, accumulated over the more than forty years that New Horizons has existed, will uplift you.
Stormy Weather

Dialogue versus debate got us through, as indeed it should. Still we had some heated polarization on our way to the common ground we ultimately negotiated. And surprise of surprises that I would not quite have anticipated, the outcome was that the complexion of New Horizons is now about to change, markedly. 

The open letter to my board members  I shared with you certainly did predict that “the times they are a changing” at New Horizons, as well as elsewhere throughout our country!

I had also foreseen that a shift had been brewing for a while at New Horizons, somewhat independent of those brought about by Trump and Team. Yet I had not realized how very much of what I was sensing had to do with the fact that the political has now become, more and more, the personal and was intruding itself on our organization. Personally this had brought about an intersecting of what is personal and professional in me into a bit of a collision with long time board member, Lisa Boyer. All of this heightened by our present political climate and about to bring us right up onto major changes about to occur at New Horizons.

The bottom line which I will hope to be able to clarify and articulate, over time, is that I am about to be phased out of New Horizons and go off somewhat on my own!!

Imagine that!!

Yesterday’s board meeting brought that which had been brewing to a head!! 

Turns out that living out what my Higher Self was visioning, even though I had predicted it in my open letter, had a few bumpy spots when discussed at our board meeting, with more rocky roads to come before we get to the smooth sailing

So now what??  Well we don’t know yet.

What we do know is that the political has now become so very personal that a differentiating must now occur between me, New Horizons’ Founder and Executive Director, and New Horizons as a non-profit entity.

Isn’t that interesting?  But is it surprising?

Turns out now that New Horizons and I have out grown each other.  For more than forty years New Horizons and I have been able to grow together, harmoniously.  As far as I was concerned, as well as others, we were so symbiotically connected, like mother and child, that it was natural for others as well as “us” to almost always see us as one.  But wouldn’t that naturally be the way, as I am the Mother of New Horizons!

But politics has now become personal, especially these past months since Trump’s election and Hillary’s downfall (which I didn’t mind much at all except for the consequences of Trump being Trump) that New Horizons was kind of getting to be like too many cooks in the kitchen. Very much like when a mother and a daughter need more space for each of them to flourish. So they finally need separate kitchens.

The symptom showed itself around my strategy of bringing an outrageous plan, “swamp draining” or alternately “instead of swamp draining,” into the fold of New Horizons programs and projects. As you may recall, Lisa Board Member wasn’t having that at all!!

When that episode finally got clarified and articulated it turned out that my self-definition was definitively about getting to the root causes of the Dark Side, now being especially embodied in Trump and Team, shaking up that mess or mass, whichever you choose to call it, articulating how I have come to know and understand it – and – then setting out ways to transform it to its higher good.

Well that’s one way of addressing current political and societal circumstances. But, I was reminded in no uncertain terms that New Horizons is about unity! My personal/professional agenda, however, gets to unity, as an end goal.  But my approach relies on doing that -- after a long, arduous heated battle with the Dark Side that may, in fact, not ever pan out on the side of the Light.

So you see New Horizons and I have come to a parting of ways, at least in some fashion.

I will stay on, at least for the time, as Executive Director. But now I am to also go off on my own, more and more separating myself, as mischief-maker-in-residence while New Horizons moves forward with its every intention of building small “zones of peace.”

So you see, the turbulence of our political “climate change” has now become so very personal that it’s not quite certain what a clearing from the stormy weather of present day U.S.A. will look like when it clears. But we have our dreams and our intentions, translated into actions, and we will get to the other side, sooner or later.

No one and nothing can take this from us. That’s who we are, the collective of New Horizons, and each and every one of us individually.

Stay tuned in. More on the way!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Open Letter To Our Loyal Followers

The letter that follows is being shared with you, in advance of New Horizons Annual Board Meeting, being held this coming Saturday. The intention of it being put forward, publicly, is to allow you to see how New Horizons and myself are presently struggling through these challenging times and some of the measures we are taking, collectively, to move through the darkness into the Light.

We invite your good wishes and prayers.

Dear Board Members and those about to become board members,

New Horizons is at a turning point like never before. My immediate observation of the situation is that this pending shift has been brought about by the recent election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Never before has our country faced circumstances such as this.  And we are very much a part of it.

My Higher Self sees a broader vista; a sense that it was only a matter of time until the shift that is about to occur for New Horizons and myself would have taken place anyway. For the past forty years plus I have, in a manner of speaking, been hiding out at New Horizons, protecting myself from an onslaught of pressure that high visibility in the public sector could bring about.

In short I can explain this by saying that at the inception of New Horizons, in 1974, I was,  personally, needing to keep my life very private and more or less subdued. This was in contrast to the high profile, highly charged life I had been leading as Executive Director of the U.S. "Male" Service. 

To understand what all of this has meant for me and been like is a long and complex story. Yet it was always part of my plan, my hopes and dreams that somehow I would find a way to blend what I left behind of me, exiting my D.C. life, with that which I next created to make a return. 

There is, I believe, something in all of us that yearns to go home to our roots. And much of me is, and always has been grounded in Washington. I could not leave it behind and never come back.

The time for my return is now!

Up until this time, I have purposely guided New Horizons in such a way as for programs and projects to take center stage. My role was to stand behind this in second place, in terms of what was being publicly promoted. The change about to occur will reverse that priority, from here forth, with me being lifted into visible priority and New Horizons coming up behind me.

I don't know how to do this. But one thing I have known all along is that I could only take this HUGE step if I were part of a loving, caring, supportive community that I would do my best to represent. That perspective came to me very distinctly in the visions that, I believe, you are now aware are a part of the way I SEE things. You are that community for me, large or small.

So please, when we meet this coming Saturday, open your hearts and minds; your hopes and dreams, your highest visioning capabilities -- and – join, with me, at our annual board meeting to begin envisioning a new kind of future for New Horizons; not only for New Horizons, but for each one of us, personally; a developing direction that can help our world, at least our country, to come through our present crises in our society and politics, better than we have ever been before.

These are treacherous times. Let us help one another through them.

I give you my promise that I will do my best to represent us, in this coming phase, in ways that will reassure and make you proud.

Please help me do this, for all of us (and not last or least for my children and the legacy I/you will leave behind someday).

Please let us make a difference together.  That is my wish and my prayer.

With deepest gratitude and affection,

Executive Director
New Horizons Support Network, Inc.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

When The Force Is Disturbed: Six Months Later

I hit a hard spot on my recent road of always traveling to that Mountain of Awe I hold as an ideal for living my life at its best. I tried hard, as is my wont to get myself out of the pit which this hard spot soon brought me down into.

For several days I scoured my surrounding scenes to see if I could find how I had gotten myself into this predicament, at first unable to make any sense of it. My difficulty was especially noticeable to me as it is now my birthday month. And princess of my father and extended family I was raised up to be, I always look forward to July --- and – even halfway into August, weather usually accommodating, as a time for celebration. The fact that my daughter and husband also share July with me as a birthday month heightens the time.

But try as I might I could not find joy and celebration inside of me. And outside didn’t seem much better. So I thought and I thought. I meditated and contemplated. I added extra exercise and improved nutrition to my daily practices. Still the darkness lingered on.

What could account for this malaise I asked myself – and – my best friend, Sue who is, like myself also a teacher/healer.  Getting odds and ends off my chest with her, I finally came to a bit more clarity.  I was, emotionally, back where I had been struggling not to be last December. And, oddly enough, especially for me, I experienced myself as doing less well than I had been. Had I been riding on my natural optimism and idealism? Or was it that the brunt of reality, in our new order of living in the United States, was just taking time to impact me.

What to do? What to do?

I went back to my writings; blog articles and book stuff, revisited podcasts of radio shows from the end of last year, eventually finding one, When The Force Is Disturbed: What Do I/We Do?, that showed me the source of my distress. It seemed to be that six months into Donald Trump in the Oval Office, has not brought any discernable evidence of progress, as far as I can see. 

All I am seeing right now is a lessening of upward movement in this country that I am reminded, particularly on the fourth of July, I love so much. Maybe we are just simply in a transition and things will improve. But today the land of hopes and dreams my grandparents chose as the place for building a future for themselves and their future generations seems pretty much without hope and without much room for dreams.

I wish Donald Trump and all of us the very best success possible. And, now I know that many others in this country had been feeling ignored; their many concerns and plights disregarded. I don’t want that for anyone, including myself, my family and friends or nearby community.

With these thoughts in mind, my thinking turned, once again, to what I, and possibly others, had been suggesting as a metaphor for these troubled times, which indeed they are throughout our nation, the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars --
 “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror….. I fear something terrible has happened.” 
Do these words not reflect how millions of United States citizens are responding to Donald Trump winning the 2016 presidential campaign? Six months after I first took up this image, I am finding it harder, at least for the moment, to hold on to my optimism about positive outcomes with Trump in office.

Nonetheless to help pull me out of this pit, I listened carefully to the radio show broadcast, When The Force Is Disturbed: What Do I/We Do?  I did right before New Year’s Eve with my honorary daughter Terry. And found myself reminded and uplifted by my words of advice to her – and – her conscientious insights, as she is struggling so hard to do the “right” thing for herself, her family, her clients (Terry is now a social worker) and her community in these challenging times.

In the discussion Terry and I are having in this program, she is stressing that what helps her most in times like these are –
  • Connection with others;
  • Validation of her emotions as a means for helping her sort out her thinking and feeling and gain clarity; and 
  • Self care.
I think Terry's formula for living through these hard times fits what I think probably helps me most too.

I invite you to listen to that program, now on podcast, to remind yourself of the right path to walk in these troubled times. The podcast lifted me. I hope it might do the same for you, along with its helpful hints on how to live through a time when the Force is disturbed and not promising to quiet down any time soon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How About Allies Rather Than Enemies?

Read my new posting today, titled "Allies And Adversaries" on coming together folks. 

Enough already with enemy thinking

It is not helping us get on with the business of managing our lives!


As an example of this idiocy, I just now read an article that I totally resonate with on the National Review, online. Titled "Addicted To The Apocalypse," it matches my thinking about the political craziness now in motion, especially as (non-chemical) addiction treatment is my specialty.

But, hey, wait a minute, I'm Jewish. That means I'm supposed to be a Democrat while the National Review is a totally Conservative Republican publication.

What gives here. OMG!

I was always a registered Democrat up until this last election.

Am I betraying the people of my tribe? I'm not a Republican but no longer am I a Democrat!

What gives?

I quit! Now I am happily an Independent. So what?

I remain and always have been a "people." What next!

I ask my Spirit Sister, Quaker Sue, how she thinks I might feel at ease with my reading this totally non-kosher fare, or so I think of it up until now.  

Quaker Sue says she learned in Sunday School to find and honor truth wherever she finds it.

I like that! I'm trying it on for size.

How about you? Are you open to looking at views that differ from your home base? I hope so. That's where the art of dialogue comes in to raise us all up.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Intersect Between Society and Politics

Upon reflection I can easily see how my board member, Lisa, and I might have gotten into the tangle we did about my wanting to use “draining the swamp as a metaphor for social change." She was absolutely opposed to the idea; unquestionably too political!

I have, for as long as I can remember, had a passion for the psychological/sociological side of politics. Lisa’s devotion, at least insofar as New Horizons goes, has consistently been focused on how we get our message out to the public in a clean and clear way.

G-d bless her!
Are we in "this" together,
or not?

From my angle of seeing things, my idea still looked good. For me, personally, it went like this…. 

I have, for many years, merged society and politics in my mind. Yet I have never been a political activist nor do I ever wish to be. Peace and social justice activist, yes, political activist, no. 

So it seemed to me, when I introduced the idea of “draining the swamp” for New Horizons’ next social action theme, that this branding would appear as totally equivalent to others, as it was for me. Alongside other initiatives/movement actions New Horizons has taken up, this label seemed no different to me.  

Take “swamp draining” out of politics and there is still plenty of swamp draining to do, in you and me.  Psychological toxins are no different than political, if you look up close. The differences are often only a matter of degree and context. Same games, different faces.

For example, I thought that “draining the swamp,” if viewed from a psychological/sociological perspective, could be seen as similar, in its message, to the Small Zones Of Peace Project, our overarching initiative and to the Study of The Possible Human in the Possible Society, our study to help us discover how citizens of our country might be viewing how we could work together at optimum levels. 

Making Violence Obsolete, is our initiative to stringently focus on the role both extreme violence and subtle violence play in obstructing our higher values and Overcoming Polarization, our best effort to try to heal the breach our politics and racism, fell right in line. Finally, Coffee House Conversations, our penultimate series, specially designed to promote the methodology and skills to make our other initiatives succeed, was also simpatico.  

These designations for what New Horizons offers had all been acceptable to my board of directors. And they did well enough with those who would likely be attracted to participating in our projects and programs. 

The branding had all come from me. I had, almost always, had my suggestions supported and been given the stamp of approval by my board, until now. 

(There had been a brief few instances of short-lived disagreement. Like the time I suggested the label for the Kids and Kops In Conversations project be called the “Kids and Kops In Konversation” project. Lisa got all riled up that time, too. But I could easily see that the “KKK” connection would not necessarily be seen as clever or appropriate.)

Still, overall, the descriptive labels I had suggested had been used as branding for our concerted efforts in a particular area; a highlighting of what we have seen as needing attention. Our overarching mission; building small “Zones Of Peace” wherever we can, would make some kind of headway, small or large, under these labels to help better our society.

One way, I saw for carrying out this intent, under current conditions, was by branding New Horizons’ next initiative as the “draining the swamp” initiative, or at least an instead of draining the swamp” initiative.  My idea was that New Horizons would highlight this as an alternative pathway to the political upheaval now going on. With this we would spotlight the effort of trying to get people to “point fingers” back at themselves and issues close in to their lives; a way to focus on the close up, where impact might take hold, and away from the "craziness of politics” where an individual’s impact is nil.

However, as you can see my idea did not fly. 

The rub was that it was “my angle” that was not in alignment with Lisa’s. Beyond that, it then turned into this branding idea of mine not being “our” shared perspective.

What to do? What to do?

The solution, on the board level, was what comes naturally to a board such as mine; we practiced what we preach; dialogue was our high road. Seeking synergy, elegant solutions, and hopefully some place beyond that, “Climbing ‘The Mountain of Awe;” always for the good of whole, pushing us forward to find common ground.

We haven’t yet found our sparkling new way to tag what we are up to these days. And, the effort is, indeed, a challenging one; how to gather people together and focus on the highest road attainable in these days of so much social and political turmoil.

So, now, instead of "my idea" for a possible tag line, I am writing here and on my other blogs the ins and outs of New Horizons adventure to find our organization’s common ground and how best to use carefully crafted language to send out our message of intent.

 Hopefully we can engage your interest and support in working with us on it. 

Still our new initiative which will incorporate all previous, remains without a name that clarifies the apolitical nature of New Horizons while keeping us in the intersect of society and politics.

One thing particularly occurs to me, as I ponder the snag we presently have at New Horizons on this topic; if I take the “helicopter view” of how I see society and politics now intersecting, certainly in my life, as never before – and – possibly in yours, it occurs to me that where the juxtaposition shows up may have more to do with many people now being at a crossroads on a variety of issues, not simply how society and politics are intersecting in their lives.

Thus we are in a time of crisis where finding common ground is quite a challenge. 

How do you think we can brand New Horizons efforts to do that anyway, build bridges and find common ground with as many people as possible?

Please offer your suggestions to help us resolving our quandary in this area; how best to now carry our message of peace and social justice out into our communities, in this era where politics has become so much the personal.

We will be gathering ideas up until our annual board meeting on July 15.  And keep you posted on updates of our adventure where dialogue can get us to awe.

You can do that by posting your comments on this site. 

Or by writing me at:

Monday, June 12, 2017

“A House Divided Cannot Stand”

Today: See “Updates” of New Horizons Possible Human, Possible Society Study.

An article this morning on CNN online, In Midwest, Some Concern About Russia, but Worries at Home Win Out, showed me the power of innate human wisdom. I particularly liked this piece as it did not: 1. Bash Donald Trump;, 2. Did not sound reactive in opposition to the more moderate, even left leaning views; 3 Seemed to pay more attention to policies and principles rather than personalities.

What a relief!

We’d like to know your thoughts on people either striving to actively overcome polarization as we are attempting to do at New Horizons, or at least not being all caught up in divisiveness, as the present Russia controversy seems to be fostering.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if we could just get back to the business of living without undue drama? And our politicians could simply take up the real business we elected them to do; running our country efficiently?

Let us hear from you on this. New Horizons is all about “Overcoming Polarization,” Dialoguing versus Debating,” and “Making Violence Obsolete, even “Subtle Violence” which actually, generally, turns out to not be subtle at all, especially when you are the target.

Please join us in these multiple efforts, so entwined.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beyond Political Craziness

I have long admired the organizational underpinnings of Alcoholic Anonymous. This is so as my twenty-five years of doing private practice psychotherapy centered on treating relationship and personality addictions. While these are addictions of the non-ingested variety, as opposed to the ingested  (i.e. drugs and alcohol), full recovery from these addictions follows along most of the same lines.  A particular focus in treating both is on the individual giving up ego-driven control.

The workings of the alternatives are complex to understand. In my three books, collected under the title "Anastasia’s Random House Trilogy," I have done a fairly decent job, especially in the first of the three, Surviving Addictions, to explicate the dynamics of the non-ingested chemical addictions in the relatively easy to understand language of Transactional Analysis, my home base theory for my professional psychological work.

One of the areas lacking somewhat in that book, or at least insofar as I have been able to present it, as a result of my losing eyesight, is the topic of the collusion between the aggressive addict and the passive addict.

Herein lies the essence of codependency.  And herein lies a major piece of the phenomenon that is Donald Trump in office; the collusion of the aggressive (power addicted) addict (i.e. Trump) and his adoring public (i.e. the passive addict).

Ask any long-term Al Anon member and they will, likely, understand the notion of collusion with the addict in a heartbeat. It is the center of personal derangement.

On the other hand, those who are highly reactive and fighting against Trump’s brand of chaos (i.e. the media, depending on attitude, certainly often those addicted to the media/internet), may not be functioning as much in a problem solving vein as they might like to think. 

Without doubt,  we are in a major crisis these days with Donald Trump in office as head of state. Yet the path to probable solutions may need more practical thinking through than many on the anti-Trump are recognizing. 

Noting the words of Charles Krauthammer, referencing “Trump Derangement Syndrome” in his article, “The President Can’t Govern By Id,”Krauthammer comes right up on the dilemma running rampant throughout our country. He offers --
“What distinguishes Trump Derangement Syndrome is not just general hysteria about the subject, but additionally the inability to distinguish between legitimate policy differences on the one hand and signs of psychic pathology on the other.”
Ask yourself, can you distinguish between these two that Krauthammer points out? If not, you may not be allowing yourself to support Trump where he most needs you. This can be as destructive as pushing back against him, aggressively or passively.

To understand one simple trouble going on with Trump; his inability to get his policies operative, needs to be viewed, I strongly hold, by paying heed to a philosophy that has built the, almost incomprehensible success of Alcoholics Anonymous, a success founded on “principles before personalities. Trump supporters see this strength in him. Don't push them away, if you are on the opposing side with anger and reactivity. 

Rather lean in and learn from others who may think differently than you. Be part of the team where warranted! I spoke on this topic, at length on my most recent show on The Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show. Soon, again, I will be discussing more on this theme.  Take heed!

The American public, to weather the storm, we are now living in needs, needs more than any one thing I can see, to adopt this AA tenet. The goal, as in the Twelve Steps, is “recovery” of the United States of America, at its best, demanding that “we the people” stop colluding with Trump.  But also stop fighting him, just because you may not like him or his acting out ways.

It is important to note here that passivity, reactivity and anger are all corresponding roles responding to the aggressive/power addicted addict. Each is based on some form of “discounting.”

So be sure, whatever you choose to do minimizes passivity, anger and reactivity as much practicality as possible. In other words, do your best to stay calm, under the stress. Of course easier said than done in these times!

The three blog sites for which I write are designed to be linked with one another. Here is how to use them in this way.
All three of these sites have the principles of non-ingested chemical addiction recovery at their base, as developed originally by Martin G. Groder, M.D. and expanded by Marty and myself, as well as others that Marty mentored.

Also, listen to the discussions on my two radio shows for inspiring and informative conversations on society and politics from a variety of angles, both personal and professional.

Anastasia The Storyteller; and 
The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show
  • Please read/listen carefully what is posted here and on my other blog sites from here forth, if moving beyond the craziness of our current political crisis is your intent. 
  • Remember, pointing your finger at Donald Trump will only get you so far in handling these crazy times. 
  • You need, also, to get yourself out of the chaos, out of the reactivity and find ways in which to hold to your own center of values and ethics and think practically. From a New Horizons perspective, we hold that “life is with people.”
  • That means "lean in" to others who are different, ethnically, from yourself or merely think differently than you.
  • This means active grassroots involvement as much as you can manage, not just talk. And, also not fighting just to fight.
This is what we are offering here to help us all move “Beyond Political Craziness” and be able to survive – as well as we possibly can --- this challenging time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I Am Soooo Sorry: Another “Instead of Swamp Draining” Post

Looking for a way out of the daily political crazies “swamping” and sweeping our country right now?

Open your mind and your heart to the formula I am offering. 
Hear the path I, personally, am pursuing – 

Now on podcast!!


Suggestion: To get to the heart of my message, begin your podcast listening at around thirteen (13) minutes. This bypasses some of the introductory discussion that you might find tedious.

Enjoy. Be inspired. Have your heart warmed a bit, if you dare --  at a time when it is often hard to find inspiration.

And, let me hear your comments by: 1. Posting a comment on this site; or 2. Writing me at: