Yesterday, after I was done working and back on my personal computer and before I went to lead the Tuesday night yoga practice at William Penn House, I wrote to President Obama. I write to the President and others in power on a not infrequent basis. How can one not participate in the conversation if one spends so much time engaging in energetic and spiritual practices that reveal at an elemental level just how intertwined and interdependent we are with each other and the environment?
I told President Obama that I would be one of the over 800,000 workers who would not be permitted to work while work needs to be done and probably not get paid if we were furloughed due to an impasse on the budget. I wrote that I’d rather he stand strong on the Affordable Care Act and a budget that takes care of the environment and those in need and emphasizes diplomacy over military action even if that might mean I would be furloughed. Relatively easy for me to say. By good fortune, I have not had any major family or medical expenses that would significantly impact savings and budget. By careful planning and persistent living within my means for all of my adulthood, it would be some time before I would be seriously detrimentally impacted by not working. I know that many of my colleagues have family or health challenges that would make the loss of even a few days pay a significant budget issue. My heart goes out to them, and I hope that they are speaking out about how the situation impacts them and that it doesn’t come to that.
Considering the issues presented by the budget impasse led me to contemplate again how we decide when and and in what manner to weigh in on decision or action by the communities of which we are a part. I’ve also been asking myself how do we find the most insightful and generous balance of self and collective interest and live most gracefully in these turbulent and frightening times. How do we best engage and also take care of ourselves? It would be pretty great to have a diet steady in healthy nourishment, enough sleep, love for ourselves and our loved ones, fulfilling work, basic safety of life and limb, access to healing when we are sick or injured, sufficient education to make informed decisions as to our own and our collective well-being, and the will, time, and opportunity to take care of our body and mind through meditative and physical practices or otherwise that suit our temperment and physical make-up. It would be even greater if the hundreds of millions with whom we are in relationship also had these things.
Most of us don’t have all of these things, even those of us fortunate enough to have them if we made different choices. How do we find more energy to act and engage in a way that supports the healthiest outcome for all when our own well-being is strained by repeated challenges and how we deal with the limitations of time and space? For me dealing with my own recent challenges, yoga asana is feeling especially good right now. Asana feels embracing, energizing, grounding, balancing and is definitely helping me make it through the day. I hope that whatever life is bringing you at this time you are making time to practice and that what you’ve studied and what you are practicing serve you well.
For the company and the encouragement, to learn new skills and to refine basic ones, and to support those in need in a unique way, please come join us when you can for the all-levels Tuesday night group practice at William Penn House. Since late this summer, 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to support William Penn House’s workcamp program–a wonderful model for service (in yoga — seva), On Wednesday nights, a small more experienced group also gets together with me to practice in my home studio. Email me if you are interested.
For those of you who like to plan ahead, I want to let you know that the annual Thanksgiving Day Fundraiser to benefit Oxfam is back on Capitol Hill this year, and I am delighted that William Penn House is hosting the practice:
When: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28, 2013.
Location: William Penn House, 515 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003.
Time: 10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
- All levels class. Just how we will align and flow to get the energy moving and supporting us will depend on who comes and how many, but be sure that it will be designed to be simultaneously soothing and energizing to help you bring your best self to the formal start of the winter holidays. Alternatives will be provided for those working with challenges of embodiment. Advanced variations may also be offered to expand the experience of the abundance of the day.
- For Most Ages–Children old enough to pretty much stay on their own yoga mat and enjoy trying the grown up poses–depends on the child–are welcome, and then it’s all ages up from there.
- Props. We have plenty of blocks, straps, and chairs; a modest supply of blankets; and a limited number of loaner mats. Please bring your own mat if you have one and any other props you may need (such as multiple blankets). Donations of your no longer used props are welcome.
Benefit for Oxfam: Suggested donation $20. As in most of the previous years I have offered this class, I will collect checks made out directly to Oxfam, America (preferred) or cash; you could also make an on-line donation before the class. I will then forward 100 percent of what is contributed to Oxfam, America. I also will match any individual donations over $20 up to $200. As always, the amount is suggested; whatever is within your means is a sufficient amount.
No Advance Registration. Just show up at the door. Though I enjoy the spontaneity of teaching whomever appears, the more the advance knowledge I have of who plans to attend and how many, the better I can design the class to suit more of your needs and desires. I welcome your letting me know by commenting on the Rose Garden Yoga page on Facebook or by sending me an email (click here to go to the welcome page of the blog and then click on “contact Elizabeth”).
I look forward to practicing together or otherwise being in touch and hope that all of you are as well as is possible.
Peace and light,