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 Roundup 8/14

“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.



New Minds Discussion Group Roundup 5/14

So, you’ve found yourself a little curious about what goes on in New Minds Group and you’re looking for answers. Well, Detective, let me fill you, I’m happy to be of assistance. Let me to garner a seat and wet my whistle with a sip of this smooth lemonade…ah, that did the trick!

Ok, so this past month in May the temperature took so many upward and downward spikes I didn’t know whether or not I should pack some spray tan or a wool scarf, crazy, I know. That’s Chicago for ya. Anyways, getting to group is only part of the process, and the folks at New Minds are a committed bunch. Did you know that it’s actually extremely rare that anyone show up late! Well anyways, I get to group and I’m greeted by hugs from the other members, I like that, we could all use a hug every now and then, I’m not bashful!

We then entered a moment of silence, another structure of the group, it allowed me to stop worrying about getting to my nephew’s grade school performance of, “The Lazy Bee” the next night so I can center myself before discussion, but I digress.

Group member, oil painter, and Drawing Night host Michelle Mills brought to group an activity that was going to help us explore how we communicate emotions. It was really insightful, and creative, honest! We sat with a certain emotion, be it anger, happiness, sadness, or loneliness, we all want to avoid that last one, am I right? After invoking the feeling, we communicated via a pen and paper, lines and shapes filling a small square of scrap. Then we collected the drawings and taped them on the wall. It was a real pip comparing and contrasting the results. Need some more evidence, Detective? Well I thought ahead and snapped a photo, here you go:

Now, isn’t that interesting? After the activity had concluded, we began making observations like Darwin did in the Galapagos. We saw that anger and happiness produced the boldest results while peace and love created the most symmetrical. Sometimes I’m not as crisp as I’d prefer, so excuse me while I lean on this Tom Robbins quote which surmises the whole experiment quite nicely, “Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.” Now detective, feel free to put down that pensive demeanor and come be a part of New Minds where you can meet some friends, talk meaningfully, and learn something new!



New Minds Discussion Group Roundup 4/14

Sometimes recounting groups from the month passed can be a challenge. I ask myself, “What occurred?” “What did I learn?” Being part of a process takes time and facing the hanging question of “what’s the purpose?” requires a mature approach, and we as a people are incredibly results oriented. “How will your experience in college land you a job?” “What’s the point of growing rutabagas in your home garden if they’re not going to compliment your summertime soup?”

What I can say and I don’t feel at odds speaking for the other members of our groups, is that my pool of thought has deepened.This is due to a willingness to explore ideas and strap on a pair of trunks in order to dive, rippling our still waters.This is where change occurs.

The dams that held back development were opened after a discussion at one of Igloo’s Movie Nights. In March, viewers came to celebrate women’s history month by watching and discussing Miss Representation, a necessary critique on the manner in which women are represented in the media. During the post movie discussion, leader Kyle King suggested a start to recognizing women every month of the year and not just one!

In April, Shannon Delaney wrote up the first of her monthly Woman’s entries, “Woman of the Hour,” about the wise author and Jungian psychologist, Marion Woodman. We read from many of her scholarly prose to explore our rigidity and what keep us from surrendering our inhibitions. We also expanded the discussion to look at the neighborhood around us. Living in Pilsen, we are exposed to struggle. Seeing deprivation is crucial in gaining understanding and sympathy for our fellow person and recognizing the power holders who make injustice possible.

Woodman says: “At a cultural level, I believe that the power principle is going to destroy us. Most people are taking their identity from having power over something.”

Shannon made this artistic interpretation of Mrs. Woodman, and then she asked the group: “Think of a time you surrendered (to) something. What did that look like… was it your choice, or forced upon you?”

In group, we balance looking inwardly, “In what ways do you enact control over yourself?” and looking outwardly, “Who is enacting control on you? Do you enact control over others?” Heavy questions allow us to sink deeper into the pool, leaving the surface behind to find a pearl of truth.

Take a dip,


Integrative Group Learning cO-Operative Meeting April 9th!

It was the Wednesday evening of April 9th when several men and women of the Igloo team sat in the newly constructed outdoor patio at La Catrina Café in Pilsen to discuss progress within the Organization. The air was brisk, as was the energy of the Igloo veterans. There were also a few new faces at the meeting bringing fresh perspectives to the table in our opening go-around. Curiosity and spunk were on hand as we clarified a united vision for running revolutionary groups and fostered plans for the new groups being run at our space on 18th street.

Since the last Igloo Meeting in February, we have seen plenty of development in essential areas. Two new groups have been successfully rooted, bringing the total number of groups in Igloo to five. The Sustainability group and the Open Mic Feedback group have been running on a regular basis for a couple of months now with new members still being welcomed.

Commitment and structure have been essential qualities for us as we have gotten the new groups off to a fantastic start while keeping the older groups running strong. Social networking has also been growing, for the past several weeks email have been piling up inboxes due to the high degree of incoming inquiries. We’ll get to all of you, no worries. We are professionals and we take pride in that!

We also take pride in the ability to balance looking inward, see the Dream Workshop, and looking outward, as in our connectivity with organizations throughout the city. This has ignited the fires of our engines to go out and make an impact.

We spent the final minutes of the meeting writing down factors in our neighborhoods that PISS us off! Be it trash, violence, or administrative corruption, as Saul Alinsky teaches us in Rules for Radicals,  it is important to find the troubles of our surroundings in order to excite us and keep the gears turning. Stay provocative!

-Sean Froelich

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!

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

-Sean Froelich