Chicago Winter Training 2019-20
By Patrick Wooldridge
We had a wonderful winter training in Chicago. 46 current and new apprentices gathered in Chicago from shortly after Christmas through Saturday, January 4th. Margaret Olmsted, Sherry Kent and Greg Woodson served as our Legacy Holders.
We started with a few 8th level days where we welcomed 3 new members into the 8th level: Anne Smyers, Joan Campbell and Birgitt Krause. Subsequent days featured a balance of sessions where we all worked together as well as smaller classes. The B1 and B2 Apprenticeships were offered, as well as a Sensing Hands 1 & 2 update. Paul Campbell presented an experiential interpretation of the Thirteen Chapters and a standing meditation from Yang Cheng Fu, and then we played Sensing Hands both all together and in our various levels.
After lunch, we meditated together and did a slow round focusing on various principles. Sword Basics, Form and Fencing were offered, followed by a rich variety of seminars. Edna spoke on Chinese characters and tai chi and also on the difference between Confucius and Laozi. Sherry and Patrice gave 3 seminars on self-observation, one using video. In the late afternoon, we broke into smaller groups for 4A Seminar, Circulating Energy in Push Hands and the B1 apprenticeship’s second session. The last session of the day was Winter Form Work and Hall of Happiness.
Our facility – St. Mark’s Church – graciously offered us the use of their large, comfortable parlor for breaks and snacks and our main teaching room was large enough for everyone to do the sword form together. Most people stayed at a hotel nearby for $40 per night per person for a shared room – including taxes and breakfast. Social events included a welcoming lunch; a delightful New Year’s party at the home of one of the new apprentices; a private, inspirational visit to the Baha’i House of Worship, followed by a wine and cheese party at the home of another new apprentice; and a Chicago Pizza Party for our closing night.
Patrice and Patrick and the Chicago team did a great job making sure there were no major hiccups. The weather cooperated and a good time was had by all. We welcomed 6 new apprentices to our school. The training was warm, friendly, and inspiring. Sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who participated.