New Minds Group

We are a weekly group that is taking back the power of live discussion. We are reclaiming dialogue, rising up against "alone together", and risking our cliches to be united creative and wild! Come to our next event - New Minds welcome!

New Minds Discussion Group Monthly Roundup 3/14

Not a word was spoken. Which is strange considering New Minds is a discussion group. But for nearly 20 minutes, all that was audible was a mix of whispering “ooh’s” and “ah’s”. Each group member waited eagerly for the next page to be turned.

Group member Tristan Cosino brought in Aaron Becker’s Journey: A Wordless Picture Book to share with the group. With elbows on our knees, we traveled along with the little girl protagonist. After the child-like story time, there was a moment spent to soak in the whimsy and then discuss it.

This experience goes to show that being quiet, and remaining patient can allow for the flows of different energies inside of us. Amazingly, all kids do this, remember that? Of course, there couldn’t be too much time spent away from words, I’m a writer after all, and we need words to have a decent conversation.

Matt Bors, a political cartoonist added some word bubbles to our March exploration of illustrations. These word bubbles, however, were deeply political.



These cartoons were shared by yours truly, Sean Froelich, and I was proud to take part in the grouply tradition of bringing something of my interest into discussion. We explored timely issues such as corporations gaining human rights, the cycles of fighting fire with fire in war, and the dwindling illusion of a prosperous job market.

We looked at the cartoons, had a chuckle, but then had to confront the smiling faces of Ronald McDonald and Chester Cheetah whom mask the ugly injustice of human beings, like you, being marginalized for the success of Corporate America.

In group we spend weeks and hours opening up to our thoughts and feelings, however we do find it essential to keep a firm foot in the world at large. It is our duty as citizens. It’s also true that inner and outer realities are connected. For example, When do you put on a Chester Cheetah smile for the sake of masking inner deceit? Come explore these questions with us!

- Sean Froelich

The Reality of Dreams: Exploration into the symbolism and metaphors of the psyche at the Dreams Workshop - Sean Froelich

Where can you go to speak with a two-headed snake monster and not get your head chomped off? Well, to the imaginative underworld of the psyche of course! The curious folk at Igloo spent a whopping 14 hours on Saturday March 1st exploring the mysterious and magical images of the underworld in the first Annual Dream Workshop. Through several hours of dedication, the attendees discussed the writings of renowned archetypal psychologist James Hillman. Quotes from Dr. Hillman set the stage for the sharing of dreams which each member brought to the discussion. Rather than landing on a single literal meaning, the explorers pondered meticulously the strange dream images: like a door with flapping tentacles and a flying motorcycle. Through art, theatre, and dialogue, we gave these images a space to exist. The inner world is one that does not abide by the rules of waking life, and it was delightful to relinquish the laws of conscious nature in order to follow the odd and boggling situations that come up in our dreams. There was also time dedicated to improvisation where everyone assumed character roles, like a rigid cloud and a beanstalk that’s tired of being climbed, to bring dream energies to life, because, dreams are the theatre of the mind, and the actors and actresses in the sleeping world demand to be recognized!…and the Oscar goes to….a magical floating elf!?

Dream on and stay confused,

Sean Froelich

New IGLOO mix

Every month at the IGLOO (Integrative Group Learning cO-Operative) cO-Op meeting we put together a mix. This one includes some original songs from our members, and a mix of other tracks we liked. Enjoy! http://www.igloochicago.com/mix

New Minds Discussion Group Monthly Roundup 2/14

Well, the cold and harsh conditions of Chicago still refuse to cease. This town feels like Gotham City taken under siege by Mr. Freeze and the Penguin. Good thing we have such brave crusaders like the ones in New Minds Group to fight injustices and explore the unknown through the mighty power of discussion! Half of the month was spent wishing warm farewells to the space where the New Minds group budded and grew, Kyle BD King’s ocean green basement, while the final two weeks were spent adjusting and being excited about the new Igloo office on 18th street. The new space is much larger which expands the possibilities for group activities and more seats for you to sit in! Unfortunately, no pets are allowed in the new building. Cat Woman, Kyle’s blue Russian cat, who often sat on group members’ laps during discussion will no longer be attending group because Kyle’s house is her home and Cat Woman decided she doesn’t want to pay bus fare.

As to what the group worked on this month, there was a change in the program. For the first time in New Minds Group the members took time to draw pictures and trade them with one other person. After we accepted a drawing that was not our own, we sat with the picture and pondered the images that were before our eyes. This was an important exercise in allowing the imagination to flourish openly. Each group member then gave an interpretation of what was happening in the doodles which led to realizations about the ways we perceive the world. Looking at one drawing drew light on how we see everything, and becoming aware of this allows us to shake up and refresh our outlooks. This is important because there are always ways of seeing things that become old and stuffy, and it is crucial to open the windows and let the fresh air flow! That is what group offers, a natural air freshener to brush away the dust and cobwebs. 


New Minds Discussion Group Monthly Roundup 1/14

2014 continues to look like a big year for the adventurous folks here at IGLOO. These forthcoming developments are rooted in the exploration of mind and spirit done in the Monday night groups, and there is a process of actualization occurring both on a community and personal level. As is often the case in New Minds group, we learn from wisdom of past thinkers who laid guiding groundwork for personal development. That is why it is important to take time away from looking at gifs of cats wearing sequined sweaters and open up a crisp book. New York Psychologist, Abraham Maslow was the source of multiple weeks of discussion about his hierarchy of needs which can be seen here:



The group saw the base level (physiological) as the most surface of needs, but also necessary towards building up towards the top (self-actualization) because you need to eat if you want to love. Working up the pyramid while also diving deeper inwardly allows us to become more in touch with our souls, whatever that means, because the soul is infinite and mysterious! Maslow’s hierarchy opened up a process for group members to explore where on the pyramid they feel most comfortable and also what is preventing movement into one of the higher categories. It was an eye opening experience to see what needs are being met, and which were not. Seeing what needs aren’t being met encouraged group members to articulate those needs to others. We are a social species after all! Our new, bigger space means opening up for more members in our New Minds Discussion group. Check out the page here and send us an email!

-Sean Froelich

Integrative Group Learning cO-Operative Meeting February 9th!

Heads up, Chicago! Igloo is expanding! On Sunday February 9th, members of the Igloo community came together for the very first time in our new official headquarters located on 18th street near Halsted. The attendees expressed shared excitement and varying visions for developing the layout of our now nearly empty loft space. This is a new stage and very exciting transition for Igloo and this move will extensively open up opportunities while creating a more professional foothold that will aid in public outreach with open house and activity events forthcoming. Those who are leading groups were able to formulate plans for future groups which will all be under way shortly, like the second craft workshop. Discussions lasted for over three hours with small breaks for pizza eating and an impromptu stand-up routine from Igloo comedian, ecologist, and city planner Charlie Corwin. In accordance of recognizing our joined creativity, schematics were hammered out so the inaugural Zine, tentatively titled Igloo Inside, can be delivered to a café near you. Serving as a record of our development and a collage of artwork from our very talented group members, the Zine will serve as a keepsake for Igloo enthusiasts and an informative collection for those still curious about getting involved. Igloo is happy to welcome our new office administrator, Amy Dondaville who will be aiding in the necessary task of keeping the gears moving and getting our work distributed. The ideas for what can be accomplished in our new space are grand, and aqueous, but upcoming projects are sure to wow! Check out our new groups, workshops and seminars at http://www.igloochicago.com

-Sean Froelich

Let the Feedback Flow - Alex Williams

This Thursday, the thirteenth, yes, the Thursday three days from today, is the beginning of a new Feedback Open-Mic Workshop of 2014! I am so thrilled to get this off the ground and running, and in talking to many people around the neighborhood and Chicago, it sounds like I may not be alone in the excitement!

Much like a traditional open-mic, members will bring a piece (poetry, stories, monologues, performance art, guitars, zithers, whatever!) to work on and perform for a supportive audience and get some solid feedback on how to really get to the good stuff flowing out of the work! We will also be diving headfirst into some amazing depths and incredible discussions on the creative process, what it is to live the life of an artist, and many questions about performance as a medium for human expression! 

"A creative person is one who has insight, who can see things nobody else has ever seen before, who hears things that nobody has heard before—then there is creativity." - Osho

Feedback Open-Mic Workshop will meet every Thursday from 8pm to 9:30pm at our new space. RSVP for location and to get a spot on the IGLOO page. 

- Alex Williams


The trick to being slow in a culture that wants you to move fast

You can especially see this is the Chicago Loop, people are going so fast they don’t want to wait 10 seconds for the cross walk to say walk. The lunch breaks at work allow you enough time to inhale your food and get back to work. And god forbid you have to wait for more than 2 minutes to get your coffee in the morning. The question “How often do you allow yourself to be slow?” was raised in the Tuesday Meditation Group. I wanted to say 70%, I love being slow! I kept the question on top of my mind all week and came to the conclusion: I allow myself to be slow MAYBE 5%. I found myself rushing to get ready and be on the train to work on time and rushing to the coffee shop around the corner. Even when I had time to sit and enjoy my oatmeal I did that fast too!


The trick to allowing yourself to be slow in a culture that wants to be fast? Awareness and structure. You need to give yourself the space and time to be slow and you can’t do that with out structure. Having structure will free up energy because you won’t have to worry if you’ll be somewhere on time or if you’re forgetting something, it’s all set up for you. Then comes in awareness. What good does having time to let yourself be slow if you don’t even know you’re being fast. It was amazing the first time I was aware how I was eating my oatmeal. I could barely taste it! Or enjoy it for that matter. The second I decided that I was going to be extremely slow I could taste the bursts of blue berry and the crunch of the chia seeds. Was I really missing out on this every time?

So I’ve decided to get my things around my apartment and life in general organized and structured so I can enjoy these small moments more like actually tasting my oatmeal and noticing how beautiful Pilsen’s architecture is because I’m not focusing on getting to the train.

Needless to say I got crafty! I will be sharing one of my organizing projects in the future Craft Workshop!

-Michelle Mills

9 Beginnings - Alex Williams

This weekend, I was fortunate enough to experience an amazing performance called 9
Beginnings
http://everyhousehasadoor.org/projects/9-beginnings

9 Beginnings: Bristol restages the beginnings of nine historical performances by nine different artists or companies found in the archive, and reimagines them as a new composition.

For me, it was an incredibly moving piece. Being very new to the world of performance
art, I tried to go into the experience with no expectations, completely open to anything it
may offer. Not having that technical lens to view it through like I sometimes bring with
me to experience music performances, I was completely engaged with what was
unfolding in front of me. It is truly incredible the intensity to which these performers are
able to communicate with their bodies as their main instrument of creativity.
After the performance an enlightening question and answer forum was held, which
ended up being very illuminating to what it is that I love getting into most: the creative
process!

A few responses have stuck with me:
An audience member asks about the physicality of the movements, what intentions
were behind what movements and such. Selma responds, “I truly don’t know, I am
discovering this as I perform, this is why I perform.”
Another audience member asks about making the performance their own, when the
premise of the performance is to reenact each beginning from archives of historical
performances. Sebastian responds, “Yes, at first I learn the movements of the performer
and mimic much of the original performers movements, and through this practice I begin
to draw out that of myself that comes through in the movements. A performance isn’t
something that happened. It lives and it breathes, and revisiting them breathes life back
into them.”

Even the artists we look up to most are still engaged in the process that you may be
only beginning, every performance can be a learning and a discovery, and the process
of creating, on the stage or standing in line at the post office is always occurring, and
this is a wonderful place to live from.

Check out the Open Mic Feedback Group that I co-lead to get into much more depth and discussion and wildness with and on the creative process!

-Alex Williams

Integrative Group Learning cO-Operative meeting Jan 5th!

The first IGLOO meeting of 2014 was held Sunday evening, January 5th which was open to all members of any group. This was an opportunity for people of the multiple groups to see faces they normally do not and discuss future plans for the Pilsen based cO-Operative. The weather was harsh, and historically cold, but a committed bunch braved the chaotic conditions to contribute their thoughts and questions. Leader Kyle BD King began the discussion with a go-around, a common group structure in igloo, where all the attendees discussed what they envision for future projects. Those who volunteered to come were given the opportunity to share their input, creativity, gifts and talents in order to give IGLOO some momentum at the start of this New Year. There is plenty to be excited about in 2014 and the Igloo meeting was a productive outing in establishing plans for new groups that are currently in development and retool the groups that are already underway. Time was also spent in exploring and making plans to reach out to other exciting projects in Chicago. Igloo is thankful for the relationship that has been struck with Halfwit coffee, who will be graciously providing their delicious product to the gleeful groupers as they explore life through discussion. The folks at Igloo are excited to get out into the city and connect with the diverse and exciting people through a variety of groups coming soon! Check out the currently run groups like New Minds Group, Craft workshop, Sustainability group, and Feedback group, and stay tuned for future groups that are currently being developed! Happy New Year from Igloo! - Sean Froelich