Do you feel anything different about the words “house” versus “home”?
Is it simple for you to define both?
Does it raise an emotion? I imagine for some of us, this could even be a triggering topic.
I personally think of a house as a building. A source of walls and a roof to provide protection from physical elements. It could be made of brick and mortar, wood--if you inhabit somewhere somewhat tropical, your house might be made of bamboo or something much lighter in density. It’s designed to be a physical shelter. Some are quite extravagant and have all of the latest bells and whistles. Others, very simple and extremely bare and basic.
The origin of the word house comes from the Old English word ‘hus’ meaning shelter or dwelling. It’s a place that is comfortable and gives you permanent or temporary accommodation.
What makes a home then?
The word ‘personal’ comes to mind--not from the sense of “ownership” or individualism, but rather the emotion that arises when one thinks of the word home. In a sense, maybe it is more of a dwelling within the heart--how you feel about the place, what and who surrounds you in it. The feelings it evokes within you--hopefully, this feeling of “comfort” and “support”. The responsibilities of contributing to the love, comfort and support that are felt within a home.
It makes it a bit ironic to call some of our fellow humans “HOMEless” --simply because they may not have a dwelling or building to protect themselves in. I mean, these humans have feelings and emotions. For some, those emotions and feelings may not be ones of comfort and support… Some of our fellow humans who are without a house probably have the fullest feeling of a home within their hearts. Nonetheless, I digress….
When Lansing Hot Yoga opened under the MI Hot Yoga umbrella in January of 2018, there was a lot of time spent on the structure of the “house”. It had walls, a roof, heat, water, electricity--and even some extra bells and whistles! We were fortunate to have been blessed with extra toilets, a comfortable space to keep our belongings, tools for supporting ourselves during the physical parts of class and even showers for use after those super hot sweaty classes!
And for some of us, it began to feel like a home away from home. We could come a little early for class and chat with our friends and neighbors. We would linger a little longer afterward just to reflect on the practice or get further assistance with something we had worked on together.
For me personally, I will never forget the night before the opening of the studio. We (a couple of other staff members were there with me) had spent time preparing the space with extra love, attention and detailing. When they left, I remember cleansing the energy of the building with sage and palo santo. I sat in the studio room by myself and felt so at Home. It wasn’t the room. It was the love, healing energy and emotion that came from just being immersed in that space. And it only grew as people began coming the next day and for the next 2 years. They created more support, more healing energy and more love than those 4 walls could ever hold.
Something happened when that was taken away in March 2020 when the pandemic began. All of a sudden, the community that made the house a home were gone. I recognize that we couldn’t open the physical doors and fill the space and have the community, but it felt like more than that. We were being asked to stay “home”, but for me--this second home of support and love was all of a sudden ‘gone’. And it was a new way of trying to keep the space alive in some way. It was a fight to serve the clients I had personally grown to know--I knew what a lot of them were enduring by being “cut off” from other humans. And I could foresee the mental battle that would endure before it even began. It became this “battle” to keep alive the same energy that had somehow sparked to life on it’s own. We tried to recreate it outside; we tried to recreate it over a screen. And eventually, the energy fizzled out--quite literally, actually!!
From my personal experience, the realization that the family of 4 studios would never be able to find its way back as one unit, was like the house had just burned down. I think Sam, Abbey and I instantly went into “rebuild” mode and just kept telling ourselves that we could get the feeling of “home” back by creating a new and ‘stronger’ house structure--and that for the good of our community, we HAD to. And if the people couldn’t be in the house to create those feelings of home, then I had to do it--nose to the grindstone, all efforts in-- to think of the next thing, create a family that looked and felt the same--even though all of the family members and players were forever changed because of circumstances beyond their control...push, push, push, and do, do, do. The responsibility to contribute to the energy and feeling of the space felt like an obligation--but in the sense of a burden. And instead of feeling like I was coming home when I walked into Yoga Connect Lansing, I would try to avoid--and at times even resent--going into the burned out house.
The trauma we have all experienced from this pandemic is so real. I’m not sure everyone sees it as trauma, but so many other things also developed alongside this pandemic. The feelings of loneliness and sadness from this pandemic and it’s aftermath, are still real and present for a lot of us. It’s me--I’m talking about me--LOL. In all humility and honesty, the space still feels like it’s more of a house than the home it was in January of 2020. BUT--I have glimpses and twinges in my heart here and there that the feeling of home is returning. The comfort and support of the community returning are very, very present in that space and I feel them on occasion. The vision to provide the most inviting space for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing in order to support true human connection, is still there. A shorter-term goal has emerged: to be open, honest, and vulnerable to the space and those who come into it. In order for ME to support and care for you, I also need to accept the love and allow myself to be supported.
Friends, this space needs your energy. And it needs it a lot. We are definitely going to be in a battle to keep the space open for the long term after so much loss--energetic, financial and time. We are grateful for your personal presence and encourage you to bring some of your friends and family in to share in it and help us rebuild the home.