Site materials are based on the research, theories and clinical treatment and organizational development strategies of Martin G. Groder, M.D. and Anastasia Rosen-Jones (formerly Marcia E. Rosen). The Groder-Rosen formal name for the "Dark Side" is the "Survivor Addict".

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Swamp Draining As A Metaphor For Social Change

I had no intention, a few evenings back, of igniting a fervor. I had received a return call from a board member, regarding my needing to update said board member on the latest, developing plans for New Horizons, the non-profit organization I head. My update; the announcement of plans in the works to create a “Draining The Swamp Initiative" for New Horizons, along with a “Draining The Swamp GAME,” nonetheless, did set off a bit of a tension.

Oh my! Oh my!

A most apropos quote for the circumstances of that phone conversation, as seen on the internet, from Sheryl Sandberg, the morning after went like this  – 
“The people who have taught me the most in my career are the ones who pointed out what I didn’t see.”
If that wasn’t most apropos, I don’t know what else could’ve been.

I’m not completely certain I got the whole of what my board member wanted me to look at in that discussion. But I believe later, after I had had time to consider our talk, I did get the gist of it. She probably wanted me to respect the fact that the various activities of New Horizons are geared to improving social conditions. And, further, that New Horizons, as a non-profit organization, must always remain apolitical. “Draining the swamp,” on the other hand, was clearly, to her way of thinking, a political creed, most especially linked to Donald Trump.

Thus a wrong track for us.

We, at New Horizons, are seekers of solutions to problems of separation in our country. Polarization -- being the almost extreme example of our social problems (violence, of course, the worst).  “Draining the swamp” as a metaphor, currently touted by Donald Trump and team -- is about fomenting divisiveness in the way it is being used. Even worse bullying and deriding everything in sight Trump does not like, labeled as corruption by him, i.e. the swamp in need of draining.

With this thinking behind the phrase, darned if I didn’t spark a passion in both of us with my update. So much so that the reactivity in our conversation, along with the ensuing aftermath, managed to slip into my sleep that night, work its way through my unconscious dream state and be there to wake me up at 5:00 a.m. the next  morning.

After many long hours; too many interfering with the good seven/eight hours sleep I usually get – and conferring with another board member for input, I definitely SAW the Light Board Member #1 was prompting me to notice. As a result, with enhanced clarity, numerous win-win options to modify my original plan began to surface. They did not, however, quite ameliorate all aspects of the differences between she and I. 

Most significantly, my new, projected New Horizons initiative, if adjusted to accommodate her view; meaning discard my own, did not yet take into account how and why I came to the bright idea to take up that theme, “draining the swamp,” in the first place. And, why I still believed, in spite of my expanded perspectives that I, personally, needed to stand by my idea in certain ways. You see, I believe that swamp draining is an apt metaphor for the effort needed to rid our society of toxins both socially and politically.  So, obviously, Board Member #1 and I were definitely at odds, or so it seemed.

Where did this leave us? 

Well, fortunately we are good practicers of what we preach. So we both leaned in, involved ourselves in a dialogue and came up with, lo and behold, a “temporary” elegant solution. I would write about swamp draining as a metaphor for both social – and – political change on this site and my own, personal one, Anastasia The Storyteller, to my heart's content. 

That means, nonetheless, that swamp draining will not be used as a metaphor, at least for now, on actual New Horizons communications.

O.k. I can live with that! At least that plan doesn't interfere with my freedom of speech!

Next, it looks like time for a full board dialogue (not debate) to find some form of common ground on the issue of what to call our newest initiative.  (More on this later.)

So I leave you with this for now, by way of making clear the point of this missive  –

I hold that “swamp draining” can be used as a metaphor for social change. It is not necessary to relegate it only to politics; and particularly not Donald Trump’s version of politics!

What is your opinion?

I am asking this of you as the New Horizons Board of Directors wishes your input on whether or not “Draining The Swamp” is a superb, sparkly, brilliant name for our new initiative, as I believe.  

Or a very BAD idea as Board Member #1 thinks.  

Board Member #2, as usual, sees both sides of the argument. And the other board members have not yet been consulted.

Since our annual board meeting is not until mid-July. We will be considering the issue until then. When the issue will, also, likely go into discussion and then a vote.

Please either post your opinions on this issue on this blog site (or our other two, New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project or Anastasia The Storyteller) or email me, directly with your thoughts at