Anika

Loving, Living and Leaving Lansing: Week 2

 

What’s better than living and loving in Lansing?!?!

Nothing.

But visiting Lansing to see why we all love it so much comes close.

I tell everyone to come visit me in Lansing. Friends from all over the country. Just to see if one day, somehow, they will decide to make the trek to the mid-mitten, assuming I was worth it–even if the only thing they knew about Lansing was that it is the capital of Michigan.

I was about to leave Lansing without ever having the chance to share the benefits of living in a small city to some of my big city friends. And then it happened.

As I come to week 2 of my reflections, I’d like to tell you how sharing my love for Lansing was one of my favorite moments…..

My fellow social workers, my favorite couple and my dearest friends, Seva G. and Pita Pocket arrived in REO Town at the stroke of midnight from the windy city of Chicago. Now you may think, that’s not that far–but hey, I was thrilled.

I wanted to show them a day in the life of Anika in Lansing. Or rather, a weekend in the life of Anika in Lansing. I wasn’t worried about entertaining them, something is always happening in Lansing and I was sure fun times were upon us. Because I am fun. And Lansing is great.

SaturDAY: My friends may not consider themselves regular yoga practitioners, but I knew Just B Yoga would be a welcoming and safe place for them to explore their practice. And just as I had imagined, Belinda facilitated an environment that was warm and compassionate. Allowing them to be in their space amidst the beautiful community we have here in Lansing.  Continue reading

Anika

Loving, Living and Leaving Lansing: Week 1

Dearest Lansing Collective readers,

I’m equally sad and excited to announce my impending departure. I have been loving and living in Lansing since August 2010 and in this brief time, I have been blessed to be in a city beaming with genuine and committed residents.

I’ve accepted a job offer and am relocating to Austin, Texas. That’s right, I’m heading down South, where everything is bigger, but not necessarily better than Lansing.

From the time I accepted this new opportunity, every moment has been one of gratitude and reflection. I wish that during all points in my life I could say I have felt truly grateful, but self-imposed busyness can get in the way, and I’ll be the first to admit that I allow myself to forget all the amazing people and things I experience in life.

Continue reading

Anika

The Road Less Traveled

Lansing lovers. Its been awhile. I’m home for the next four days, and then I’m gone again. Since the beginning of October I’ve been home for a total of maybe a week and a half. I’ve been in New York, Boston, Providence, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Its been amazing to visit the East coast, travel my yoga, and work my political know how in my power suit. But at the end of the day, I miss Lansing. My recent escapades have made this more known.  My last trip consisted of a week in Detroit and a weekend in Chicago. As I finished out my crazy week and weekend, I felt really excited to merge onto I-496 where I soon arrived at my home in REO town. 

After being gone for a week, I immediately went to Hilltop and embarked on a 2 hour guided meditation class with studio owner, Hilaire Lockwood. I’d been sitting in my car for the last four hours, but I didn’t mind sitting for another two. She guided me through beaches, the road less traveled, my family history, and dedication. I smiled, I cried, I felt grateful for everything in my life.

Next, I bicycled back home along the river trail, taking in the sight of the fallen leaves, kids throwing rocks into the river and neighbors walking their dogs. 

I make it home, say ‘what up’ to my cats, unpack my suitcase for the 4th time this month, enjoy a glass of mango orange juice with my housemate and then off to a friend’s house to make fajitas, catch up and have a group study date.

It feels so good to be home because I feel the love in this city.

As I travel the eastern seaboard, sometimes thinking I’m missing out on what the rest of the world may have to offer, I realize that every time I come home from weeks of travel, I’m always back where I need to be.

Even though I’m here for less than a week before my next adventure, I’m excited that my days are already filled with a birthday celebration at the local Irish pub, a visit to my favorite local bicycle shop, Spin Cycles, a meal at the new local artisan diner, A Fork in the Road, teaching yoga to the sunrise at Just B Yoga and a yoga asana practice to live music with artist Girish at Hilltop.

Thank you Lansing for everything you have given me over the last year. Taking me in, providing me the opportunity to make a home here, and having me feel proud to call this place my home, no matter what metropolitan I may find myself in. 

Anika

Home Sweet Home: Falling in Love with Lansing beyond My Yoga Mat

We’ve all had that moment. You know what we’re talking about…that moment where you suddenly come to the realization that Lansing is your “home sweet home.” We here at the Lansing Collective want to know what makes our capitol city your “home sweet home” and when you realized it- so we are embarking upon a series where Lansingites share their aha moment with us! Submit your stories to HomeSweetHome@lansingcollective.com and we may just publish it on the blog! Read on to learn about this week’s featured story.

I hate to admit it, but it’s true—Lansing has not felt like home sweet home until recently. Not until Sunday June 13th to be exact. So why did I wait until late August to tell you about it? And why have I been writing about loving Lansing on the Lansing Collective if I didn’t truly and genuinely love Lansing until two months ago? Well, for two reasons: 1) I have been in an intensive 8 week yoga teacher training for the last two months, and 2) I was ‘loving’ Lansing because I knew my time here was temporary. The former has made an impact on the latter.

 

Hilltop’s 200 hour yoga teacher training program was the medium through which I realized that I truly and genuinely LOVE Lansing. For 8 weeks I spent every Friday from 5-10pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 7am-5pm with a group of 9 other people, all of which were Lansing residents at some point in their life, to dig deeper into yoga philosophy, and thus, dig deeper into ourselves and our lives beyond the yoga mat. You wouldn’t think that yoga teacher training would have such a therapeutic element to it, and most people have asked me ‘why’ that is after the fact, but I assure you, yoga is not yoga, unless you are truly in it. That is how I came to realize that unless I stopped thinking of living in Lansing as temporary, I could never fall in love with being here.   

My Amazing Lansing Family

My Amazing Lansing Family

It was the Sunday of our first weekend in training. The sun was creeping through the windows of the beautiful Old Town studio as I sat with everyone who had decided to dedicate the next 8 weeks of their lives to this practice. I realized in that moment, that whatever it was that I didn’t like about Lansing did not matter. What mattered was that I lived in a community that took me in when I needed a place to be and that I had the opportunities to be heard and make it home. I have everything I need, but never knew I wanted– I have amazing friends and neighbors. I live in a beautiful home that is incredibly affordable. The river trail allows me to ride my bike to work in under 20 minutes. I can eat locally from several food trucks right outside my work every week. I get paid a living wage to advocate for a better life for all Michigan residents. And I can walk to the river, the local ice cream shop, the barber, a donation-based yoga studio, the Michigan Brewing Company and the City Market all in under a half an hour. The list goes on, but sometimes I forget, and yoga helps me remember that I am here and not somewhere else, for a reason.

The 619 Household

The 619 Household

Yoga means ‘yoke’ or union. Yoga is different for everyone, but fundamentally, it’s about coming back to a place we have already been, to remember what we already know, and to ultimately find ourselves again. It’s easy to forget how distracted we can become and how lost we can feel within our own thoughts at times.

So yoga not only helped me find home, it helped me…well, find me. Now, I can truly say that I love Lansing.


Anika

A Day in Lansing

If you were to drive through downtown Lansing after 5pm, you may not know the many happenings taking place or see the community that is being built behind it’s many doors.

April 13th, 2011 was just the day this city needed to wake from it’s winter slump and remind us all what mid-Michigan has to offer. That afternoon brought sun shining on residents from all over the state gathering together to make their voices heard on the capitol lawn. In the evening, the sun set to yogi’s practicing together at an art gallery to a local DJ surrounded by art made affordable for working people.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day and a more solid validation to why I have been able to find home in Lansing.

Continue reading