Knox College, Room 4, 59 St. George Street
between College & Harbord
Entrances on St. George and King's College Circle,
accessible entrance from lot on north side of Knox.
Street parking or lot available
Sunday, January 11, 2015
2 - 4:30 p.m.
Topic: WILFULLY EVOLVING THE EXPERIENCE
Speaker: TED ENGELS, Physicist Systems Engineer, Psychotherapist, Healer
Ted Engels is a self-schooled evolutionary research professional whose purpose is
to discover, grow and especially practice and teach the emergent skillset which
results when the fundamental disciplines are integrated into a complete approach.
His particularly engaged disciplines are physics (cosmology), systems engineering
(in situ evoked intelligence and neuroscience which is often called "ai"),
psychotherapy, tantric chi-gung (directed energy circulation) and many forms of
conscious movement. Ted Engels is the equivalent of a 5th degree black belt. The
purpose of the integrated skillset is to unify the world of specialization and
separate disciplines into an integrated universally-applicable soulful and technical
wisdom and knowledge through which the resulting generalist can thrive.
Wilfully Evolving the Experience of Living highlights Dr. John McLeish's Ulyssean Society founding theme by pointing to the realworld consequences of adopting our creed, namely that nothing is inevitable. It is most compelling to intend in terms of lifelong, unbounded creativity and growth. However there are other pervasive consequences to this predisposition. Once the seeker pushes back culturally concretized yet largely untested limits, not only do we position our soul to sing in the satisfaction in reaching for, and becoming, more, we also have to discover that "reality" must be more if we can pry it away and still be alive and well. It follows that we come to see that "reality" is largely subjective; we may indeed see much of what we intend, and not much else. Once the seeker experiences unexpected gain, a commitment to self-directorship soon follows.
Visitors are welcome
INTEREST GROUPS AND
Sunday, January 11
TIME: 2 - 4:30 p.m.
PLACE: Knox College, 59 St. George St., Room 4
Topic: Wilfully Evolving the
Experience of Living
Speaker: Ted Engels
Systems Physicist, Psychotherapist, Healer
Saturday, January 17
TIME: 2 to 4 p.m.
PLACE: Wychwood Library
Convener: Marie Paulyn
Mosaic Planning Lunch
Monday, January 26
Granite Brewery &
Restaurant, 245 Eglinton Ave. East (entrance on Mt. Pleasant)
Contact: Daniel Karpinski
January date TBD
Contact Virginia Rock
Date and location TBD
Contact Vivian Haar
General Meeting Report
December 14, 2014
Presenter: George Meanwell, Musician
Program: Autobiography: A Concert Review
by George Mean well
Our annual music program celebrating the anniversary of the founding of The Ulyssean Society in December 1977 - 37 years ago! - illustrated Ulyssean determination by both our President and our presenter. We were happy that our President Virginia Rock at the last minute decided that she would attend despite her continuing pain from a recent fall, though she declined to chair.
Shirley Gibson called the meeting to order and welcomed all to our anniversary celebration. Tom Mortensen lit the candle and read the Ulyssean Creed. Linda Stitt read the last portion of Tennyson's 1833 poem "Ulysses" in which the aging Ulysses urges embarking on further adventures: "Come, my friends, 'tis not too late to seek a newer world..."
Shirley introduced George Meanwell, relating that she first met him after a concert, when he reminded her he had played cello on an LP recording (remember those?) by Norm Hacking, long before she managed that singer-songwriter. George has had a many-faceted musical career, most famously with Quartetto Gelato, as a songwriter and actor.
George prefaced his "Autobiography: A Concert Review" program by sharing that today this career overview, which he has presented elsewhere, would be lacking representation of his song writing, as a recent cold had temporarily taken his singing voice. His speaking voice was excellent, and could be heard without amplification, no doubt aided by his theatre experience. The presentation of his musical (and theatre) career in narrative and in varied classical, traditional and original instrumental music was entertaining and beautiful. No one felt any lack of variety.
The cello was the first instrument George introduced to us. His was made by Goronok of Cleveland, an excellent cello he purchased 20 years ago to replace one "someone fell on!" just before a tour. He played the beautiful Johann Sebastian Bach solo Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, in six movements.
Before starting and touring worldwide with Quartetto Gelato for ten years, George was a free-lance cellist and a multi-instrumental member of the folk trio Short Turn. He joked that the name outlived the group, as any TTC rider can see it all too frequently on streetcars. He also played in major orchestras.
Ten years on the road with Quartetto Gelato, including multiple trips to Asia, brought the desire to spend more time at home with his wife. He entered "active semi-retirement" by being in the orchestra of long-running shows at Toronto's Princess of Wales and Mirvish (Canon/Pantages) theatres.
When keyboardist Rick Fox, also in those shows, became Director of Music at Stratford Festival, he invited George to be involved in his new acoustic production of Jacques Brel at the Patterson Theatre. The show consisted of George and three other musicians on stage playing and singing Brel's songs with choreographed acting. (Several Ulysseans, including myself, enjoyed this wonderful show on Act II Studio's bus trip; perhaps others went on their own.)
George loved the Stratford theatre experience of watching a production being put together. His latest on-stage performance there was in the adaptation of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, again as a musician. Sadly, three weeks into rehearsal, Wayne Robinson, the actor cast as Grampa, died suddenly. In the play Grampa dies on the long trip and is buried, and a quote from that scene referring to "the easy straight" inspired George to write a tune, which was incorporated in the production. It also became the title track of George's latest music recording, a CD/DVD set recorded live in Stratford. George encouraged us to read or re-read Steinbeck's book, as the Joad family story is very strong and still very relevant, and the book includes social commentary that surrounds the story. (That Stratford production was wonderful; Virginia Rock, Linda Stitt and I went to see it.)
George's collection of instruments and talents to play them grew as he kept saying "yes" to the question of "Can you play the ___?" and then quickly making it true. To illustrate, he played three fiddle tunes on the concertina, which he learned to help make a production of The Pirates of Penzance sound more Celtic. The banjo is another of George's many instruments; he had just acquired his second one, this one a repaired fretless banjo. He illustrated with three tunes, two of them original.
George has gradually diversified from musician, to musical roles in plays, to acting in non-musical plays, recently in The Importance of Being Ernest. During the program, he recited one of Shakespeare's sonnets, about being wrong.
It wasn't until the end that George revealed our meeting date was his 35th wedding anniversary. Between that wonderful occasion, and his cold, we were indeed lucky to be taken on such a delightful musical and theatrical journey through his career so far. Some discussion followed his program, with a suggestion that we'd love hear some of his songs after his singing voice returns.In the meantime, his website at www.midnightislandmusic.ca has more information, some video links and his contact for emails about his upcoming performances.
Marvin Goody sincerely thanked George and presented him with our founder John McLeish's book, The Challenge of Aging, and an honourary membership.
Virginia Rock spoke about our January presenter, Ted Engels, and encouraged everyone to attend our January 11 meeting when he will talk about "Wilfully Evolving the Experience of Living." The second part of that meeting will be discussion of the future of The Ulyssean Society.
Pat Bisset read the Ulyssean benediction and blew out the candle. We enjoyed refreshments and friendly conversation with George, our guests and members. After the meeting, Daniel Karpinski, our Vice President, delivered a generous collection of unwrapped gifts to be brought Interval House for the families escaping violence, a December Ulyssean practice for many years.
- Shirley Gibson
Sharing an Experience
About half a year ago I began going to 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling, a gathering of people who enjoy listening to and telling stories, from the young to elderly, inexperienced to professionals, meeting at the cafe of Innis College. Its record is even more impressive than the Ulyssean Society's remarkable achievement: our 37 years of continuous Sunday monthly meetings (since 1977) is surpassed by Storytelling's weekly 39 years every Friday from 8 to 10.
On November 22 I told the story below; I could not read it nor even have notes - it's the only "rule" a participant must observe, so if you've heard it, my account here differs slightly. I intended to submit it for the December Entre Nous but circumstances not in my control required a change. This story may not be exactly timely but in a way it is timeless. - Virginia Rock
Among my many experiences while teaching American literature and culture to university students in Krakow, Poland, the most memorable was the event that shocked the world on November 22, 1963: the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
I had invited my senior students for an evening of socializing at my small apartment; we were talking, eating, sipping wine, listening to American folk songs, learning about American culture in a non-traditional way. We were listening to Burl Ives singing The Cowboy's Lament (a record I had brought with me along with notes and books for my year of teaching as a Fulbright professor):
"As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day
I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in white linen
Wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay,
I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy
These words he did say as I boldly walked by
Come sit down beside and hear my sad story
I'm shot in the breast and I know I must die." . . .
The phone rang. "Do you have your wireless on?" the Polish caller asked. "No," I said. "You will want to listen; I have just heard your President has been shot." Numbly I went back to party, stopped the music to share the news. The BBC and Voice of America - not blocked this time - were broadcasting details about the shots but could not say if he was alive. We hunched around the radio and listened in disbelief until midnight when some students had to catch a train to Warsaw. Poles identified with the Kennedys. From colleagues, students and even the receptionist at the Franscuski Hotel where I first lived in Poland, I received cards of condolence, notes and flowers as if he had been a member of my family. To express sorrow and to pay homage, a mass was arranged in Krakow's most beautiful 14th century Gothic St. Mary's Basilica, before the magnificent Veit Stoss' carved wood altar.
Without a news release I was told, only by word of mouth, hundreds and hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand Poles came; they gathered within and outside the church, bodies pressed together, spilling into the market square. Those within the church saw halfway down the centre aisle a large casket on a bier, draped with an American flag. With a thunderous blast from the organ, all stops open, the service began with The Star Spangled Banner. Tears welled in my eyes. A sad moment in history had brought me a spontaneous bridging of cultures in a way I could never have imagined and will never forget.
Can the Ulyssean Society Continue?
Four years ago The Ulyssean Society came to a crossroad about its future: to find a member willing to take on the responsibilities of being President or to dissolve the Society after its long, illustrious history which began in 1977 with its founding by John McLeish. I was persuaded to bring my ideas and enthusiasm to carry on as a leader, a position I have greatly enjoyed along with finding interesting people and presentations for our monthly meetings. The Creed remains central to my life and I delight in meeting with like-minded fellow Ulysseans.
However, because I must focus on other concerns in my life and my time and energy are limited, I announced in the last issue of Entre Nous my resignation as President, effective at the end of our Annual General Meeting tentatively scheduled for Saturday, March 28, pending finding a place to meet. Suggestions would be welcome.
The Ulyssean Society now faces the same questions: can we/should we continue as a Society? If the consensus of members is "yes," within the next month, will a member or members volunteer to take on this challenging and rewarding responsibility of the Presidency?
We need to know and take into account the relevant facts about our Ulyssean Society: its current size, factors determining the dwindling total compared with those in recent previous years, the number of non-renewals, the number of new members, prospects and efforts to increase our membership, our financial status, serious current issues and problems which have not been successfully dealt with despite our best efforts to handle them (e.g., getting Entre Nous out to members early enough to plan if they want to come to the meeting).
We had hoped to rebuild our membership numbers, for good fellowship and attendance base to draw speakers, but also to attract some new members who would share their volunteer and leadership skills. While membership level alone doesn't tell the whole story, we haven't been very successful; at the end of 2014, we had 39 members, many of whom don't attend due to distance, mobility problems, health set-backs, lack of a ride, being a member primarily to maintain contact or to support us (valid reasons), etc. Our previous lowest year-end number was essentially the same in 2011 (the crisis four years ago), increasing to 52 in 2012, but trending downward since. The peak membership, more than a decade ago, was around 200. We value our frequent guests and wonderful members, including several joining recently; but some are very involved with other commitments.
We need to share such information, discuss it in a meeting with every member having the opportunity to raise questions, critique past actions, make proposals, however "outside the box" they may seem. Sometimes ideas may be "sparked" and emerge from interactions which would not have occurred in a group thinking individually.
Note: in addition to these details, I will repeat two other points made in the December issue of Entre Nous: (1) I am willing to continue as Program Chair; (2) Shirley Gibson needs to decrease her involvement; although she is no longer the elected secretary (by choice), her work load has not decreased; she has continued to be our excellent PR resource (distributing flyers, sending program information to NOW), but other persons are needed to assist with or take care of some of the other important jobs which she has been doing - e.g., computer-based secretarial tasks (Joan Appelby, our secretary, does not have a computer), updating membership lists (working with our treasurer, Beverly Bloom), writing and expediting copy for Entre Nous issues Margot Rosenberg prepares for publication, distributing them by email and by preparing labels (sometimes taking care of the mailing) for members who chose each option and to some organizations, doing the entire production of a number of recent shorter-form newsletters, communicating with guests and sometimes speakers, booking our room.
Is it time to let The Ulyssean Society die with dignity, to end its life naturally, without further extraordinary efforts to keep it alive? Some members think so.
We must answer this question soon. I urge you all to attend our January 11 meeting and to stay for the Mosaic where we will discuss the future of The Ulyssean Society. Please come prepared to address the facts and issues. Your thoughts, questions and suggestions are crucial. I am hopeful that from a free sharing of examined ideas we will reach a consensus about the best action to take. If more time is needed to consider the issues and ideas adequately, this will be arranged in consultation with you.
- Virginia Rock, President of The Ulyssean Society
Member News, Events, etc.
Our President and Program Chair Virginia Rock is finally making progress overcoming severe pain resulting from the fall briefly mentioned in our last issue. She fell getting into a WheelTrans taxi on November 29. Fortunately no bones were broken. She is continuing treatments for the muscle pain, reporting overall progress though some days are still painful. She attended our December 14 meeting, and is now returning to a few other events.
Denise (Diz) Altschul will be one of the spoken word artists scheduled to share her creative work at the February 7 edition of Linda Stitt's monthly words and music salons at Vino Rosso (formerly Portobello) restaurant, 995 Bay St., between Bloor and Wellesley. Running the first Saturday of the month from 1:30-4:30 p.m., the series has been very popular. On January 3 several Ulyssean members braved the mixed precipitation to enjoy an excellent program, which included our July presenter, storyteller Ariel Balevi. As an extra treat, Linda shared two of her very new poems. Keep up to date on future perfomers and other news at www.lindastitt.com.
Former Ulyssean member Frances Macnaughton died on December 27 at the age of 98. Her son Don emailed Virginia Rock an obituary that was in the Toronto Star on December 30 and 31, also on-line at www.thestar.com with a photo; it lists The Ulyssean Society among her very many involvements. He mentioned to Virginia that she knew our founder John McLeish and often thanked the speaker.
Shirley Gibson is in the cast of the upcoming Act II Studio production of Departures and Arrivals, written by Carol Shields, adapted and directed by Act II's Artistic Director Vrenia Ivonoffski. Life's varied comedies and dramas occur within an airport terminal. Tickets are already on sale for the four performances on February 19-21: Thursday and Friday at 7:00 p.m., Friday at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday at 4:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $20, available on-line at www.act2studio.ca and at the door. The Ryerson Studio Theatre, at 44 Gerard St. East (just east of Yonge), is on the second floor and there is no elevator. (Shirley and Vivian Haar of our Ulyssean playreading group presented one of the scenes from this play during the Mosaic portion of our November 2011 meeting.)
Still Looking for AGM Location
Important Decisions to Be Made
Our AGM (Annual General Meeting) should be held by the end of March, and the Steering Committee chose Saturday March 28 as its preference. Do you have a suggestion for a location? In the past, condominium common rooms have worked well.
Please see Virginia Rock's comments on discussions that need to be held before the AGM to inform a recommendation whether The Ulyssean Society can continue. Wording of motions affecting our Constitution, including dissolution, for the AGM must accompany the formal notice in advance of the meeting. Please come to the January 11 meeting.)
Invitation to Organ Concerts
January 23 and March 13
Everyone is invited to the two remaining baroque pipe organ concerts at Knox Chapel, a short distance down the hall from our meeting room in Knox College, 59 St. George St. Though there are many steps at the main chapel entrance, there is also an elevator that the person at the nearby desk operates for those needing it. These free concerts by University of Toronto Music Professor Kevin Komisaruk take place on two Fridays January 23 and March 13 at 4:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. The November 21 concert included several works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Dieterich Buxtehude, reflecting the era of the 1726/1728 Swedish organ that the Knox organ pipework is patterned on.
- Shirley Gibson
Guests are welcome at our meetings
Invite your friends, relatives, acquaintances,
fellow students in the courses you take,
members in other groups you are in
Become an active part of your Society
Help it to continue to function well
The Ulyssean mantra - A guiding principle
LOVE, LAUGH, LEARN, HEAL, CREATE
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