This morning before work, I joined a group of people at the International Trade Center who were speaking out against separating immigrant families at the border. It was already 80F when I left the house at 7:30. It added two miles to my morning walk to join in. I thought about how far these families have walked in desperate hope only to meet such cruelty. What was a little discomfort and arriving at the office a bit red in the face and damp?
Sometimes the optimal way to move forward is first to stop, look around, and make room for others, too, to move forward, as need be.
Perhaps because it has been hosted at a place that fosters the Quaker way of doing business, but when I first tried to describe why I thought it was time to leave off having a regularly scheduled practice at William Penn House, the first phrase that came to mind, was that the practice was being “laid down.”
Very generally, much Quaker business is done by a committee consisting of members who are nominated by the meeting and willing and able to address whatever the issue that is the purpose of the committee. A committee may be formed to address a particular issue that a meeting is encountering or for general ongoing work for the life of the meeting. After a committee’s purpose is done–which may or may not be clear, depending on the nature of the issue–the meeting may choose to lay down the committee. Laying down a committee is not passing judgment. Sometimes, the committee has served its purpose well, but is no longer needed as much as the resources of the committee (it’s members) are needed elsewhere–either for the meeting or for their own personal lives.
The William Penn House group practice started over 10 years ago. Its initial purpose was to keep going a class from a studio that closed for several months. Having the practice at William Penn House was also a good way to create neighborhood, Quaker, and yoga connections, provide support for the work of William Penn House, and provide an unconventional community donation practice space.
In the years since the class was established, the whole tenor and climate of the world has changed. The neighborhood, too has changed. Among the changes, there are now several yoga studios on the Hill and there are lots of choices for a practice every night of the week without leaving the neighborhood. In the broad group that has participated in the practices, there have been graduations, marriages, births of children and grandchildren, illnesses, injuries, world travel, joys and sorrows, death, career changes, and it is time for those still in the habit of Tuesday night practice to reconfigure what and when we practice for our own good and for the great web, including together.
I will always be grateful to all the practitioners/friends who joined with me in collective exploration of the practices and to William Penn House for being a welcoming and nonjudgmental host for a really long time.
As a member of the Board of Directors and a neighbor, I will still be part of the life and practice at William Penn House. I am still offering small group and private classes in my lovely home studio. Send me a message, if you’d like to practice. I’m looking forward to scheduling practice on a more flexible basis.