“It keeps taking longer for me to get home!” I said to Sustainability Group Leader Charlie, wagging my arm in the direction of Simone’s where I saw some of the other Igloo members chatting. Charlie furrowed his brow and pursed his lips in understanding. Charlie had to tend to the plucky beets and kale in his home garden but I walked home with road bike in hand alongside group member, Jakki to discuss our summer plans.
The curious and open minded walk their way or bike their way to group every Monday, causing a congestion on 18th street every time they have to stop to speak with a friend in which they may have not seen in a week. But the commitment of New Minds group members gives each individual a sense that they will see their friend the following week on 18th street once again, witnessing the unique changes we humans make in our development.
As I’ve spent more time at the Igloo space on 18th street every Monday night, I have experienced a growing sense of community. About a month ago, I sat down at Belli’s juice bar with a holistic healing student who had jumped around the United States before deciding to plant herself in Chicago. In between sips of her blended kale, apple and banana juice, she told me how she has experienced a greater sense of community than she had in Los Angeles or New York. Take that LA! I didn’t ask her to extrapolate at the time; rather, I just let it sink into my brain bank for future pondering.
Community and commitment are the key words here, and they outlast the month of July. These two words may grow flat when you see them on every pamphlet or High school pep-rally banner, but the experience of New Minds Group brings those oft overused words alive! One group, Abby returned from a excursion in the Big Apple to share with the group a poem from Anne Sexton. We explored the meaning of the images, the inspiration for the writing, and how we each related to the poem. Community comes alive through the uninhibited discussion in which all taboos are made naked and the usual classroom etiquette is replaced with REAL human interaction that can be sometimes ugly, but often times beautiful. A microcosm of life is how I like to see it. After group, I was delighted to know that my commute home was going to be stalled by various mingling between the members of the second New Minds group.