Saturday, March 25, 2017

Are You Thinking About The Place Of Truth In Your Life, These Days?

Also see a version of this article on the Peace and Collaborative Development Network.

I, Anastasia, sure am. Now that might be that I care a lot about it, even more than most folks. If you have been reading my stories on Anastasia The Storyteller, under the label Telling The Truth, you might have thought that. Maybe not, if you are kind of like me.

But strange as it might seem, I don’t think I really understood even half of why the issue is so critically important to me until I began preparation for my Anastasia The Storyteller Radio Show program, The Truth Will Set Us Free, with honorary daughter Terry, presented yesterday.

I learned so much from doing that show with Terry. I hope you will want to listen to it. I learned so much that I had to come back, again, today to do a follow up broadcast. In the meantime I wrote a blog article on the subject, posted today, also.

Here are the links you can follow that can get you into a conversation with me on the subject, if you are inspired to do so. I hope you are. Given my background, you will be hearing a lot more from me on truth telling from here forth. Especially if Donald Trump is able to keep himself in office with all the truth bending he is doing. So that we will have, at least, four more years of truth telling, or not, being a hot topic.

Two radio shows
One new blog article on truth telling
And a collection of Anastasia The Storyteller blog articles on truth telling.

Join in the conversation on truth telling. This is one way you can help you can help move our country forward.

From my perspective “The Truth Will Set Us Free” means that truth telling is one of the major steps you take for climbing the Mountain of Awe to reach its peak!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Coping With A Changing America

Looking for a way to get involved in "Overcoming The Polarization Of ..... Everything"?

Join New Horizons for ---

“Coping With A Changing America”

Mini Coffee House Conversation
Three 20 minute sessions

Saturday, April 1, 2017
10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

at the 

Details at:

Showcasing Frederick Maryland’s Diverse Non-Profit and Civic Community 

April 1, 2017
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center
5400 Holiday Drive Frederick, Maryland 21703

With special guest: Congressman Jamie Raskin

Details at:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Finding Joy In The Era of Trump

Also on Anastasia The Storyteller with lots of links to interesting related stories.

People don't, often enough, celebrate the profound potency of simply, but not so simply at all, speaking truth to power. But today the joy of it must not be passed over. All of this wordiness on my part comes of my struggle from the inside out to share how very much today feels like springtime, at last. 

Last week’s snow is melted and yesterday I had a joyous sunshiny day out and about in my beloved spanky clean red car, just fixed after months in and out of repair garages. So I was all set for happiness this morning when I work up.

It was just one of those, “It’s the first day of the rest of my life,” all is right with the world days. Then I checked in with the morning news. NBC’s Comey Disclosures Leave Trump Alone on Island of Conspiracy Theories, told me everything and more than I needed to know that springtime is really here, at last!

What a long cold winter season it has been! The whole time of the American public being held hostage to the worst presidential election campaign I remember, culminating in the devastating election of Donald Trump. Now don’t mistake this bold revelation to tell you where I might stand on politics. I am a registered Independent. I was ready, willing and able to vote for either major party or none. And, none is what I would have chosen if I thought it might be the right and just way to go.

But no, not voting wasn’t an option! So I metaphorically flipped a coin and picked Hillary though I sure wasn’t crazy about her – and – totally did not want to see Bill Clinton, again, anywhere near the Oval Office he had besmirched with Monica Lewinsky. No, for me it was about character in this election (Maybe it generally is, now that I put words to inner process on it.)  Anyway that’s how I voted.

So I was devastated like many others to see Donald Trump win the election.

And, it sure has been scary ever since. OMG!! What this man has intended for America!

But, bad as it’s been I have kept having faith in our constitutional democracy and all the millions of people in this country who unstintingly believe, like me, in speaking truth to power. And, now look what we get! Our system works! Yesterday’s hearings with Comey testifying say it all, for me. The truth will set you free. And darkness cannot survive the Light.

The Games On You, Mr. President!!! Meticulous fact finding and truth telling is about to topple your sloppy, shyster’s ways!

Thank you, Mr. Comey. Those of us who believe in truth and integrity and basic human decency, above all, needed what you gave us yesterday!

Welcome springtime in the U.S.A.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Coffee House Conversations And The Joy Of Words That Connect Rather Than Divide

I am preparing to attend another “civil conversation” tomorrow evening. Having had the richly rewarding pleasure of such a conversation several weeks ago, hosted by my friend, Mike Corrigan, and more of the same at New Horizons Coffee House Conversation on “Overcoming The Polarization Of……Everything” last Saturday, I am feeling all about having more, more, more of people talking civilly to one another!  Can’t quite get my fill!
What a refreshing change from the daily fare of our society and politics, at war with itself from every angle. I can barely wait for this next, upcoming dinner event where people will readily conduct themselves in a manner that creates enriching discussion, almost totally devoid of polarization. So enticing that a person can truly digest both spoken words as well as the food.

I left New Horizons Coffee House Conversation of last week happily reminded of the kind of joy and inspiration that flows freely and builds to a higher elevation of consciousness when people truly are of a mind to dialogue, rather than debate.

We had a bit of a discussion at New Horizons’ event on the merits of dialogue up against those of debate. What emerged, as eye opening for me from that discussion, was that, inadvertently I was presenting myself as one who does not approve of debate at all! This is not so about me! 

So I was appreciative that our discussion environment was not judgmental of me in that  apparent inflexible position. Thus allowing me the space to self-correct and acknowledge that I enjoy being a listener to debate but not much in the way of being a participant.

I also got to clarify, as well as join in discussing, the merits of weighing different viewpoints and positions up against one another. Interestingly, but not surprising, the discussion participant most dedicated to debate was a lawyer. Figures, eh? And as she pointed out I am, by choice, training and experience -- as a psychotherapist --- a connector. That figures too, doesn’t it?

A beautiful passage I recently read by Natalie Goldberg in her book “Long Quiet Highway,” aptly described the joy and the wonder these recent non-divisive conversations held for me. It’s well worth the reflection, especially in this day and age where words and how they are being used are so often unrecognized for the gifts they are to humanity. Thus well worth respecting when they are used.
"What I adored….was the opportunity to talk, not just myself, but as a whole class, to have a discussion. Someone said something, another person disagreed or elaborated, and all our minds were free, thoughts were free and equal… You had a mind and you thought. You had a right to form the nebulous energy racing through you into words, to form those words with tongue, jaws, lips…..and suddenly sprung to life.... mind and feelings had a voice and ... spoke words into the empty space…” Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg
Yum. Love those words and love loving them!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Coffee House Conversation and The Finding Of Peace With Election 2016

It is Saturday and the New Horizons Coffee House Conversations Project is presenting i a discussion seminar on “Overcoming The Polarization Of ….. Everything.” Most of the regular participants of New Horizons Counterculture Community Development Experiment are present with me. 

After close to one year of being, working and growing together these dedicated people –are beginning to be able to welcome newcomers to our fold with ease; 
synergy would best describe how well we work together to present a discussion forum such as this. The sense of community unity we have is what we are after to achieve and that presence, in and of itself, is a fine start to our event.
Potomac River At Harpers Ferry
at Sunset

For starters, after a few opening comments from me, the group of already active participants and newcomers begins to get to know one another and the wishes attendees have for coming together on this chilly Saturday afternoon.

Introducing themselves, people express distress about the current state of political and social conditions, on the heels of our 2016 presidential election. Yet, overall, we will spend our time skirting politics. Instead we will focus on personal reactions to what has occurred. And the effect the election fallout is having on close relationships.

To the person, each expresses a lack of ease with current circumstances, especially a disconnect with close family and friends over the election results. One woman poignantly voices the main thrust of hopes and desires; finding peace with the situation as it presently stands. After a few more introductory comments from me, suggesting the direction our program will take, attendees are willing to settle for improving communication skills with the hope that these may be able to increase their comfort, if only……, if only they can find ways to reach across current barriers.

So we begin. 
Dialogue versus debate as a practice takes center stage with people barely able to truly grasp the full significance of the exercise. But we make a start and everyone manages a respectable effort. By the end of our forum we have found an ease with one another that we may not readily find outside our meeting room, especially as most people say that these days it is even hard to acknowledge for whom you voted in the election without fear of stirring an upset.

I get high marks for content and presentation and feel gratified that New Horizons and myself have made a start going in the best post-election direction we can find; teaching the art of 
leaning in and, apparently, creating a safe, caring space within which others can make a beginning in that noble, often challenging, direction – leaning in.

I return home that night, get a good night’s sleep, waking to the joy of a sunshiny morning in the fresh mountain air. For my efforts of yesterday and all the pre-planning it took, I find myself, at last, feeling at peace with the election outcome and as at ease as I can be with the new administration under a president that I firmly believe "acts crazy" in my estimation regardless of what the psych tests might reveal.

I don’t like so many things now going on in our society and politics. I know I will remain cautious and vigilant for the coming term. And I don’t like that either.

I am tired of the shenanigans of both Republicans and Democrats but I’ll be darned if I will give up my faith in the Constitution of the United States and the American people and how these have successfully, until now, guided us to set our country aright in times it gets off. Barbra Streisand’s approach of blaming Donald Trump for her weight gain is far and away distasteful to me as an option for how to live my life under Trump or anyone else for that matter.

As one of my old friends once said, "I am not about to allow politics to hijack my serenity!"

I voted for Hillary but sure didn’t want Bill back in the White House. I wasn’t too crazy about her either. They were just familiar and might not have been better at all to help get this country where it needs to go.

Next month New Horizons and myself will put on another ‘Overcoming The Polarization of ….. Everything’ seminar, on April 1st. Our topic will be “Making Friends With The Enemy.”

I hope folks will join us as we get better and better, ourselves, and teach others the art of  “leaning in” in times of peace and in times of crisis in the U.S.A.

I think the magic lies in if we 
just keep talking as our friend Pastor George Earle, Jr. told us to do when we "saved Centennial."

After all, think about it; our First Amendment grants  us the freedom of speech. So if we are protesting, writing, teaching, lecturing as I am doing, meeting with others for dialogue as we did on Saturday, investigating and reporting as the media is doing, even arguing as lots of folks are now doing over social and poltical issues, we are exercising this freedom. This simple, yet not so easy track has brought us to where we are now, without too much bloodshed. That in itself is the stuff of miracles.

Let's keep it up!