by Steph Creaturo
(Inspired by Yoga Sutra, Book 1, Sutra 14.)
#grateful: We were lucky, blessed. My home, my family, and my business are fine – beyond fine. Sure, we have “our stuff,”, but there are no complaints, and what just happened really underscores that.
#action: The call to help, to serve was – and remains – strong, palpable, urgent. How can I help? People keep asking. We help people we know who lost their homes and businesses, and more often, we’re helping strangers. Food, clothes, blankets, candles, money, time, lending cars and support – you give, no questions asked, with good humor. The corresponding hashtag is #dontforget, as the need is only going to get greater.
#furious: We can figure out Viagra, and kill people from a drone, but, as of this writing a week and a half later, there’s still no heat in the Red Hook Houses? I remain willingly confused. Even though the left side of my brain gets the complexities of poverty and urban planning and the like, the right side of my brain stubbornly doesn’t understand why this country struggles to put basic needs first: food, medical care, shelter.
#sobering: “Who owns this business?”, I asked, when we were cleaning up along the waterfront last week. Mike said, “Me.” Pause. “Well, I used to…” His livelihood, gone. He still owes jobs to customers. He had employees. The far-reaching ramifications and reverberations of this storm will be felt throughout this City, by so many individuals for a long time. This storm has changed us for good.
#loveallserveall: Ok, it’s the cheesy motto of the Hard Rock Cafe. I could have gone with Ram Dass here, but I opted for nostalgia. From the time I was 10 years old, in 1980, and visited the Hard Rock on East 57th Street, I have loved this slogan. We, as a country and as a city, may disagree on so many things, but if we chip away at the dross of opinion and bluster, compassion, service, love, and joy really do burn bright in all of our hearts.
#dontforget: Compassion fatigue will set in. We’ll hear bad stories about how people are using our aid. The subway will beckon our return to “normal” events. But you know what? Our city, our home, once again, has changed at its core, its bones. We cannot forget, no matter how tired, inconvenienced, busy we get. As we learn to make space for our thoughts and feelings on the yoga mat, we can make space in our schedule and budget to support and serve. Spend money at the businesses that were closed, skip that morning latte and give a few more bucks, grab some friends to go do something. Will it always be convenient? No. Will it sometimes make you uncomfortable? Yes. But we do not have the luxury of forgetting. Service work is our practice off the mat: cultivated over a long period of time, and anchored by patience, devotion, and faith.