I was volunteering today at William Penn House, which was providing a comfort station for marchers during the day, as well as being full to capacity with guests.
I was doing some work in the office when a woman who looked about my age came who was in town with a group of women from Long Island for the March.
She came in to William Penn House for a bathroom, not because of any connection to Quakers or the house. But while she was waiting in line for the bathroom she ended up in conversation with the executive director, who said that the board member volunteering downstairs was also from Long Island–perhaps she knew me. It turns out that we went to the same elementary school and lived near enough to each other that we rode the same school bus.
It is just one of the reminders I’ve had this weekend of how connected we are.
I hope this newsletter finds you all as well as possible. It’s been a time when I’m feeling oh so fully aware of the vagaries of fate, the wildness of being, the play between the wholly unpredictable and the ordinary and expected, and the joys and benefits of aligning with a sense of order to feel healthy, adaptive, and present to what comes our way. I’m feeling that I am at a crossroads (this is partly physical), but I don’t have particular plans.
This summer, I listened to my own teachings, and in the midst of tending to the responsibilities of work and home and community and relationship, I made sure to take the time to to study and practice, including time away with opportunities to see the stars, to watch the sunrise, to walk in the woods, to swim in a lake, and, on the way to and from, to enjoy New York City.
As always, I’ve been reading widely, much of the reading focused on how we communicate and relate, what we dream, and what tools or ideas we might consider for making more efficacious our web of living relationship. In the fall, I’m looking forward to attending a number of weekend yoga workshops to inform my own practice and also going deeper into studying nonviolent communication.
For now, in the midst of this outrageous dance of life and relationship, with all that we cannot control and the unfolding turmoil of climate and society, I think that what is most important to me is to work with dedication and with my best attitude, to do community service and engage fully as a citizen, to laugh and share food with friends, to make art, and to connect the broader ecosystem, even if it is mostly through my little garden and the trees and the sky of the city. I meditate and practice asana so that I can live such a life as fully, honestly, joyously, and with as much integrity as I can.
The Tuesday night yoga practice at William Penn House continues as an opportunity to nurture our embodies selves and to share conversation about how the practices can help us live more efficaciously. I love it when new people or those who can only come occasionally join us regulars. It is generally all level and suggested donation, with all proceeds going directly to support the work camp program at William Penn House. This summer, William Penn House work campers constructed dozens of vegetable gardens for neighbors throughout the city, sharing the joys of urban edible gardening with and making possible healthier eating for those who otherwise might not have had access. Do come join us on a Tuesday night if you can. More experienced yogis can inquire directly about the Wednesday night house practice.
If you want to get more regular communications, do consider subscribing to the blog to get an email version of what I post–most days that will come as a photo or a few words, every once and a while, something longer–mostly somehow about or informed by my own interpretation of yoga practice and philosophy. Feel free also to join me on Facebook.
Peace and light,
ps The murti of Nataraja was a present just given to me by a friend. He’d brought it back from India a couple of years ago and thought it belonged more in my home than in his at present. I hadn’t seen one that I’d want to bring home, but he’s dancing away on my bookcase.
When I arrived at the William Penn House to teach yoga tonight, there were a couple of suitcases in the room. I asked one of the interns to help me move them. A guest came to help as one of the suitcases was his. I invited him to join us for yoga class. He expressed interest though declined this visit because he had a plane to catch. He stayed to chat while I was making the room ready.
The conversation started with snow and New York State and then Quaker peace activities–the latter hardly surprising for someone staying at William Penn House. The guest was older than me and had been an activist for a long time. I thought he would certainly know my Dad who has been doing peace-related volunteer work in New York for 50 years give or take a few. Yes, he knew my Dad and so I will send regards.
The guest said on parting that he thought all workshops for activists should start with some type of movement practice such as yoga. I agreed. Not only does it help bring the group together, but it invites all the participants to be stronger, healthier, and more flexible to better carry out their purpose.
My students began to arrive–the first, who came in the middle of the conversation, expressing the opinion that the guest would have been a great addition to the class. The guest went on his way, saying he would be thinking about yoga as he waited in the airport for his flight. And I brought the sense of deepened community and purpose from this chance encounter into my teaching.
Photo of marker outside the Friends Committee on National Legislation
Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.
This just in from William Penn House’s Executive Director:
You are invited to attend a potluck and Quaker dialogue at 6:30 PM on Sunday November 6, 2011
Our Program this First Day is presented by Ann Wilcox & Micah Bales
The outcry against the political influence of financial institutions that has swept the country in recent weeks has crossed many boundaries, including class, gender and age. “Occupy” events are growing in cities and towns throughout the world. Here in DC, there are two groups occupying different parks. The movement has energy, and is gaining attention. But how much do we know about what is driving this? Are there certain issues and an agenda? Is this a culmination of many issues of our society coming together, or is it something completely different? Is ignoring the movement a good idea? Is presuming to know what is going on too presumptive? These are among the questions we will be exploring and discussing.
Ann Wilcox will be leading the discussion. She is an attorney in Washington, DC, practicing for more than 20 years. She is active with the National Lawyers Guild, which provides legal representation and works on issues of social justice and economic equality. She provides Demonstration Support for many activists who come to DC to advocate for peace, the environment and other issues. She is currently providing legal support for the October 2011/Stop the Machine andOccupy DC groups, and can speak about issues related to the occupations. Ann has attended Friends Meeting of Washington and is currently active at Foundry United Methodist Church.Micah Bales is coordinator of Young Adult Engagement for Earlham School of Religion and lives in Washington, DC.
Micah has been an active presence with Occupy DC since its inception. Micah, a graduate of ESR, is a member of Rockingham Friends Meeting of Ohio Yearly Meeting Conservative.
Bring a dish to share; family members, neighbors and friends are always welcome. Note: William Penn House is an alcohol and tobacco free facility.
For more information, see www.WilliamPennHouse.org
This Sunday, William Penn House is hosting a potluck and discussion on life changing illnesses and spirituality. Whatever your relationship with “spirit” or religion (such loaded terms in our history) and whatever your individual practice, I think (especially knowing the dedicated, loving persons who are speaking) this talk will be illuminating.