In June, 2014, Patricia Rubano, Director of the Biography and Social Art Training Program, attended the International Trainer’s Forum in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Here is her report.
A TRIP TO BRAZIL!
The tall, thin trees towered overhead and a convention of monkeys howled in the distance as a small group of program directors from around the world met at Centro Paulus, an anthroposophic center on the outskirts of Sao Paolo.
Although the International Trainer’s Forum is made up of representatives from 21 biography trainings world-wide, only a handful had made the long trek to Brazil, but we felt it was an important step in extending the international character of the ITF. The yearly meetings, held alternately at the Goetheanum and during the bi-annual Worldwide Biography Conference, have been held in Europe and Great Britain.
This was a special invitation to join the three biography trainings in Brazil as they celebrated 21 years of biography work and honored Gudrun Burkhard (85 years old now). It was she who founded the work there as she brought it into medical clinics alongside other therapies and started the first training course 21 years ago.
A sensory feast
At every meal and break we were treated to some of the freshest and most beautifully presented food I have ever eaten. Fruit abounded and it was a delight to try a new juice or combination each day. It was fall there, and the colors of flowers and fruit were a feast for the eyes, as was the local art displayed in a house that had been converted into a gallery. The art was playful and vibrant, as were the colors of the houses themselves.
The ITF meeting
We met for three days and linked our own biographical paths to the theme in Brazil, sharing what we were doing 21 years ago. Each one then brought this forward in an update of their particular training. We also engaged in a social-artistic work with one of the Class lessons from the School of Spiritual Science. This is always a central aspect of this meeting in order to stay connected to the source of this work and bring back substance into our respective countries.
The International Trainer’s Forum is a body of peers who support one another in the development of biography work worldwide. It also functions as the accrediting body for biography trainings, in conjunction with Paul McKay, for the General Section of the Anthroposophical Society. Thus, we reviewed and accepted the impressive outline and curriculum for the newest training in Florianopolis, Brazil. It is enriching to hear how the various trainings are working and to see the similarities and differences. Depending on each country’s particular laws and structures and the intention of the program, some courses train counselors and some coaches; some emphasize work with groups and some with individuals. Trainers work deeply with the question of how to develop this new profession that does not stand within medical models and yet, by it’s nature, is life-affirming and healing.
This sharing generates new ideas as we help one another to see where we might put more attention and how we could improve our programs.
Following the ITF meetings, we moved to Sao Paulo proper and attended the weekend celebration in an anthroposophic hall. Each of Brazil’s training programs was acknowledged and represented by many graduates. A history of the work as well as current initiatives was shared. Gudrun Burkhard spoke on karma and autographed copies of a book that had been specially prepared for this gathering. Brilliant music closed the event including some contemporary Brazilian music commissioned for the small orchestra that plays in hospitals.
Anthroposophy in Brazil
I was fortunate to also visit some of the Anthroposophic work in the huge favellas (slums) that are scattered throughout Brazil’s big cities. The work of Ute Craemer in Monte Azul brings Waldorf arts and music to over 1300 children and serves a diverse clientele in their medical clinic and birthing center. The Little Prince (Pegueno Principe) is a smaller facility, surrounded by forest, which provides not only Waldorf experience to the children but nature as well.
The experience of visiting our South American neighbors will live with me on many levels, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity.