This is what's next

Joan Dwyer

Creator and Director of All That Matters yoga + holistic health centers

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Seeing this quote on the stairwell at Rhode Island Foundation made me smile. It is the same quote that inspired us to open All That Matters yoga + holistic health center in 1995.

At All That Matters, we envisioned “working together with a group of talented people to educate and support each other and our community to continually grow and maintain optimal health and wellbeing”—our original mission statement, which still guides us more than 20 years later.

It’s also my vision of what’s next for Rhode Island.

As Rhode Islanders, we ARE a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens. One of the advantages of being the smallest state in the country is that we can realistically unite to raise the bar on our health and vitality as a whole. A grand proposal? Maybe, but I believe it’s not only possible but necessary if we want to tackle some of the big issues we face statewide. The healing of our outer world always begins with the healing of our inner world. As we individually feel better, think better, and unite, we will be better able to do the grand work RI Foundation encourages: “to positively transform Rhode Island.”

The National Academy of Sciences reports that, across all ages and demographics, people in this country “experience unhealthier lives than residents in other high-income countries even though the United States spends far more on health care.” Clearly, something is wrong.

Over the past two decades, we at All That Matters have empowered and supported tens of thousands of people dedicated to improving their health, wellbeing, and state of mind. Along the way, I’ve learned that (1) Margaret Mead was right—a small group is all it takes to start a revolution—and (2) health is more than the absences of disease: it’s a vitality and aliveness that’s contagious and powerful.

In the yoga world we talk a great deal about being in union (which is the meaning of the word yoga). The yogic concept of union is both personal and communal. On an individual level, for optimal health and wellness, it’s crucial to be in union with your own body. This means listening to your body, and truly nurturing and nourishing it. Unfortunately, as a society we have forgotten how to care for ourselves and how good our bodies are designed to feel. To re-ignite this process of feeling well, I often ask those seeking support four simple questions: What are you doing to move your body? Quiet your mind? Nourish yourself? Stay inspired?

From a universal perspective, yoga teaches us that we are all inextricably connected. We are hard wired for community. We are all one. As Rhode Islanders, we have a unique opportunity in the smallness of our state to know that oneness and act on it. A wave of personal health revolutions inevitably spreads into wider and wider communities. Imagine the impact more than one million healthy, energized, clear, resilient, joyful Rhode Islanders can make on this world!

Interestingly, as Rhode Island Foundation is turning 100, more and more of us are also. Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the population. Let’s lead the United States as the first of fifty to unite around raising the bar on our individual and collective vitality—today and for our future.


One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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