Blown Away

by Blakeney Schick

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”

I don’t remember exactly where I found this quote of Theodore Roosevelt’s late this summer. I only know that about 10 days after I’d written it down on a scrap of paper, I came across it again in a completely different context. The quote seemed to be following me.

And then Sandy hit. My job required that people be there at our radio station in SoHo to get our show on the air and information about the storm out to the public. I became one of these people. On Monday, as the storm approached, everyone on our skeleton crew at our station gave maximum effort for long hours with as much good humor as possible. Our colleagues supported us from home, making calls and doing a thousand other things to help things run smoothly.

I finally got to the hotel across the street that had been arranged for me, took a hot shower, and was just putting on my PJ’s when the power went out. Cell service quickly became erratic at best. After 12 hours of helping to get news of the storm out, I was suddenly and effectively cut off from everyone and everything. I was also safe, dry, fed, warm, and therefore incredibly lucky.

I sat in my room, by the light of my iPad (also a good light source), drinking wine from a screw top bottle (my idea of emergency preparedness may be different from some people’s), thinking.

I can not tell you if it’s the yoga practice that cultivates it constantly or the unique circumstances that night that compelled it, but I can tell you that the biggest thing I felt was gratitude — to the friends whose texts somehow got through and the other friends who had offered up their couches; to my parents who supported my decision to go to work, despite their concern; to the guy at the front desk of the hotel who checked me in with a smile, even as the worst of the storm began to arrive outside; to my colleagues who arranged for the things like hotels, food, water, and backup generators that allowed us to stay focused on our jobs. And that’s just the beginning of a lengthy list.

Storms are by definition a big mass of energy and pressure. They do bring destruction — and Sandy brought lots of it — but sometimes they can bring clarity, too. As I sat in that eerily dark and quiet hotel room, Theodore Roosevelt’s words came back to me with renewed force, although I’m quite sure he was not referring to a devastating storm. I was surrounded by people doing their best, with what they had, where they were. And it blew me away.

Blakeney Schick is a public radio producer who follows events and elections. She started going to yoga 8 years ago in the hopes that it would help her stand up straighter. It has. But she’s stayed on the mat because yoga’s also made her stronger in every possible way. Blakeney found her way to Mala in late 2007, and finished Mala’s 200-hour teacher training in 2012. She is also a regular contributor to the Mala Yoga blog.

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