Dr. Ed Leonard, George Leonard’s brother, moved to Houston in 1995 to fill the position of curriculum director at San Jacinto College. Lydia and Al Dugan hosted a Welcome to Houston gathering for Dr. Leonard at their home and invited about 30 of their friends. The icebreaker was for each of the guests to give a brief introduction. In my introduction, I mentioned that I recently completed training to be a Tai Chi instructor. Later in the evening, Dr. Leonard approached me to say that he had a position at San Jacinto College in his adult education program for a Tai Chi instructor and for me to contact him if I was interested in filling the position. I accepted the offer and started an evening Tai Chi class at San Jacinto College.
Several months later, I was leaving my class at the same time Dr. Leonard was leaving for the day and he informed me that his brother had just published a new book, The Life We Are Given. I told him that I would purchase the book because I enjoyed George’s other books.
About a month later, I encountered Dr. Leonard and informed him that I had read George’s new book and that I was interested in starting an ITP group in Houston. About two weeks later, I received a phone call from George Leonard, and he informed me that he would help in any way he could to start a Houston ITP group. About three months later, I received another call from George, and he informed me that he was visiting with a person from Houston who said that she was interested in starting an ITP group in Houston, and would it be OK if he gave her my contact information? I responded “OK” and learned that the person was my friend Lydia Dugan. Six months later, Lydia and I started the Houston ITP Community.
Our first step was to find a venue to meet on a weekly basis. The second step was to inform our friends about ITP and invite them to check it out. The third step was to determine our format for the meeting. Our format for each meeting evolved into one hour for the KATA and one hour for discussion on a selected topic.
Within the first two months, we had about 10 participants. Over the past 27 years, we have averaged about 10 participants. We currently have 9 Houston participants and about 8 Zoom participants.
Houston Group’s memorable activities are (1) Lively book discussions relevant to ITP guidelines. We chose books such as Mastery and The Silent Pulse by George Leonard and A World Waiting To Be Born by M. Scott Peck. (2) Annual one-day retreats to update our Affirmations.
The challenge was finding a new meeting venue when our current venue was no longer available. We changed venues five times over the 27 years. For the past six years, our meeting venue has been a large room in a medical facility provided by Jack Jensen MD, a Houston ITP group member.
The best part of being in the Houston ITP community is (1) celebrating the personal growth of each member and (2) enjoying the support, camaraderie, and richness of new ideas and practices from our group members and other ITPI communities.