When I was tested in as SICA-USA Chair in Seattle, at the National Congress in 2012, I had a feeling that the USA membership needed a deeper understanding about what SICA was. That’s when I felt that the best way to achieve that was with workshops, where we could share our experiences of culture and then test about using it in our daily lives. I had no idea whether they would be successful or not, I just felt that they were needed and that I should offer to do them. Well by the grace of God, they have been successful and have deepened our understanding about the use and talents of the culture that we receive from our human soul, in the latihan.
I began by doing a workshop with the SICA-USA Board members in 2012 in Portland. I felt that we had to start with ourselves before we could try to do it with the membership. Right after a successful and deep experience with ourselves, we went to Menucha and did two workshops there. Those were also successful and I felt that it was time to contact some of the groups and see if they would like me to do a workshop in their group. The only condition was that they should pay my expenses to get there and to put me up in a member’s home.
During my first year, we spent most of our time doing bylaws and preparing for filing for our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS. So there was not much time to focus on workshops. We were doing the grunt work that all boards have to do. I did do one workshop at the California Congress, which was also successful. But I was still not in full swing yet.
The idea of putting the Latihan into practice had not been entirely clear to me until I attended Kanafsky’s workshop.
The Subud California Congress was in May 2013 in Redwood City and that was the start of a long run of workshops. I did two workshops there and was just getting warmed up for the National Gathering in Albuquerque. It was then that the workshops really took off. That one was also very successful and seemed to give me the push that I needed to focus on the workshops again. Then there was the workshop in Subud Sacramento in September which had a twenty plus attendance and was very satisfying for the attendees. After that was New York in October. That was a very successful workshop with twenty seven members attending. It was a very powerful experience. Subud New York not only paid all of my expenses, but they also donated $1000 to SICA-USA. That was a wonderful gift from them and was gratefully accepted by us.
In November I went to Menucha and did another workshop there. That also went very well and I was told by one of the members that it was a life changing experience. Praise God! After that I did a small workshop in Subud Santa Cruz. That was a small, but very satisfying one also. Then by the grace of God, we received our 501(c)(3) at the end of December, on the 23rd. That was a major step forward for SICA-USA. Praise be to the One Almighty God!
In February 2014, I did a workshop in Subud Los Angeles. That was also well attended and very satisfying to all who attended. Peter Mark Richman and his wife Helen shared some very beautiful cultural experiences that were very uplifting. The testing that we always do in the second part of the workshop was also very powerful and beneficial for all of us.
He made everything become light and clear. Meeting him for me is among the top reasons to be grateful for going to the Congress.
The next workshop was at the Subud National Congress in Pittsburgh. Actually I did two workshops there. The first one was the scheduled one, which was lightly attended, but very satisfying for the attendees and then I did an unscheduled one with some of the Bustillo family who showed up the next day. There were about ten young men and women along with Rusdi and Murtado Bustillo. That was one of the highlights of the Congress for me. I love working with the Subud Youth. They all seemed very happy and said they would attend my workshop at the World Congress in Puebla in August.
So now I am getting ready to go to the Subud World Congress in Puebla to do one or more workshops there and then I will do another one at the Subud California Congress in Joshua Tree on Labor Day weekend, the beginning of September. I’m writing this report during the month of Ramadan while I’m doing the fast, which I love and do every year. So in keeping with the fast, I would like to ask for your forgiveness for anything that I may have said or done that was wrong or out of place, whether consciously or unconsciously. May the One Almighty God bestow God’s peace and blessings on all of us. Praise be to the One Almighty God. Amin!
Muhammad Isman Kanafsky