West Donations

Last week a small town about 90 miles to the north of us, West, was brought into the national spotlight when a fertilizer production plant explosion killed 14 and injured about 200 people. Through the media, requests went out for donations of blood for the injured, and clothing, toiletries, water, blankets, and baby care items for all those affected. So in last week's newsletter/blog post, The Yoga Room organized a donation drive on Thursday and in less than 3 days, we collected enough donations to fill an SUV.

On Sunday I drove to West to deliver our donations, and I was overcome with emotion at the beauty of hundreds of volunteers coming together to sort and distribute donations in West. When it was my turn to back my SUV up to the donation center, which was a large pavilion on the West Fair Grounds, a group of men and boys rushed up to help me unload. I was really choked up. I had a short conversation with one of the men and it was all I could do to say how beautiful it was for so many people to come together and help in this difficult time. He kindly replied, "We don't need the government - we got this." With or without government help, the power and love of humanity was strongly evident in West that day. As I drove away from the donation center, I began to cry and I had to pull off the dirt road to regain my composure.

When I left the Fair Grounds, I spent a few minutes driving around the town. I saw dozens of catastrophe response vehicles (mostly insurance companies), a makeshift clinic offering tetanus shots, restaurants with Closed signs on their front doors, dozens of news vehicles, dozens of state troopers, businesses with boarded windows, people standing around in the streets of downtown, people standing outside their houses, little handmade signs directing people to the donation drop off location, and a Jack in the Box food truck offering free food. It was undoubtedly a big increase in traffic for this small town.

Visiting West in the wake of the tragic fertilizer plant explosion was an overwhelming and maybe even life-altering experience for me. It took me a several days to process and make sense of it.

On one hand there is the enormity of the tragedy, the loss of life, the injuries, the destruction of property. I witnessed West as a disaster zone. And we see images of disasters online and on TV all the time, but experiencing it in person is a whole different thing. It feels heavy and real.

On the other hand there is the profound outpouring of love by the "helpers," to quote the term from the widely circulated Mr. Roger's quote from last week. These volunteers came out in the hundreds to help the people of West, and it was a beautiful sight to see. I'm proud that we all were able to help in our own small way.

Many blessings to the people of West, and many blessings to the helpers during this difficult time.

XO, Zelinda

Spread Love

In this week's newsletter I had planned to write about last week's Finding Your Superpowers retreat and I had planned to write about this week's the Premiere of the Huggies commercial that was filmed at The Yoga Room. But as much self-study and as much personal improvement as we cultivated at the retreat, and as much fun as we had at the Huggies commercial Premiere, it all seems insignificant in light of the tragic events that have occurred in Boston and West this week. My heart is heavy as I think of the victims, their families, and friends. And all I can think about is, is there anything I can do to help in some small way?

And that makes me think of how Kalena closed each of her classes at the retreat:

Join your palms in front of your chest. Bringing your thumbs to your forehead, remember to be kind in thought. Bringing your thumbs to your lips, remember to be true in word. Bringing your thumbs to your heart, remember to be loving in deed.

She speaks aloud the words I say silently to myself at the end of each class. And somehow, hearing it aloud several times last week, followed by the events of this week, especially with West being so close to home, makes my heart ache for those who have lost their lives, those who are injured, and for those who love them.

I was really touched by the Helpers quote from Dr. Seuss that has been circulating in social media this week. I didn't really "get" it until I heard a recording of Dr. Seuss reading it on NPR. It made me want to tell my children that if they are ever in scary situation, they should look for the helpers.

And that made me want to be a helper this week. As I write this, I'm waiting in line to donate at the Blood Center of Central Texas donor center in Round Rock. They are sending all donations to West.

According to reports in the news, more than 160 people are injured and they will be needing blood donations for at least 2 weeks.

If you're interested in donating, The Blood Center is located at 2132 N. Mays, next to the movie theater. They will be open today until 6:00 p.m. and tomorrow and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They are not taking appointments, so expect at least an hour wait. Consider bringing a book or project to pass the time, or maybe spend the time meditating.

And at The Yoga Room, we'll be accepting donations of clothing, blankets, baby supplies, and bottled water, until Saturday evening. Drop by anytime, we'll leave covered bins outside our front door. We'll deliver the donations to Waco on Sunday.

Today and always, remember to be kind, spread love, and be a helper whenever you can.

XO, Zelinda