Four noted speakers — a philosopher and coach, feng shui expert, professor emeritus, and architect and artist — will share their unique perspectives on how to realize the potential that your home holds to positively influence your life during the four-hour seminar, “From House to Home,” beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 26, in the Fine Arts Auditorium of Normandale Community College, 9700 France Ave., Bloomington.

The event is perfect for those who may feel out of balance in their home, or for those who wish their home was more satisfying. Is your home a source of comfort, joy, and harmony? Is your home contributing to your emotional and physical health? Does your home feel meaningful to you? How does money and meaning clarify your direction and focus?

Registration by March 22 is $49, and $10 more after that date. Parking is free. Seating is limited. For registration information, call 952.487.8343.

We gathered viewpoints from the following four speakers to gain a better perspective about what they will present at this event, how understanding of their own homes has improved their lives, and what we can do to know our homes better:

  • Carole Hyder, M.A., is a Feng Shui expert, having studied Feng Shui since 1992. She is the author of three books on the topic, the founder and lead faculty of the Wind & Water School of Feng Shui, and has a monthly Feng Shui segment on the NBC affiliate’s Showcase Minnesota (KARE-11 TV). Visit www.conversationswithyourhome.com, or www.carolehyder.com.
  • Margaret Lulic, M.A., is a consulting philosopher, award-winning author, speaker and coach. She is passionate about guiding people to experience their deeper wisdom and achieve their greatest potential. Her latest book, Home – Inspired by Love and Beauty, explores how your home can be an inspiring friend and partner in creating a meaningful good life. Visit www.lulicbooks.com.
  • Dr. Bill Manahan is Assistant Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is a Past-President of the American Holistic Medical Association, author of a 1988 nutrition book titled Eat for Health, and co-founder of Minnesota’s first integrative medical clinic in 1982, the Wellness Center of Minnesota. He worked at the Center for Spirituality and Healing from 1997 to 2002. Presently, Bill is a consultant for physicians and clinics interested in expanding into holistic and integrative medicine programs.
  • Michaela Mahady, A.I.A.,C.I.D. is an architect and an artist. She is a principal in the firm SALA Architects Inc. She has designed homes and art for public spaces throughout the United States. Her recent book, Welcoming Home, focuses on the relationship between our homes, our bodies, and our spirits. Her architecture and artwork have been featured on PBS and HGTV, and published in books including The Not So Big House and The New Family Home, and magazines such as Fine Homebuilding, Life Magazine, Cottage Living, and American Craft. Visit www.salaarc.com, and www.pegasusstudioinc.com.

What overall idea or message do you want to offer to those who participate in “From House to Home”?

Carole Hyder: The overall message of this event, from a Feng Shui standpoint, is to awaken people to the idea that their home has a conscious energy and that they can connect to it. Subscribing to the belief that “everything is energy,” it follows that a created structure would hold energy, as well. I propose that not only is there energy within the walls, but it is also interactive. Many people already reach out to their home by naming it, writing to it, being aware of its presence, but often miss the possibilities of their home acknowledging and responding to their efforts in a reciprocal way.

My recent book Conversations with Your Home addresses ways to have a conversation with your home, as well as ways to identify their home’s unique character. By opening up to these possibilities, anyone can access inspiration, guidance and support coming from the place called “home.”

Margaret Lulic: As a consulting philosopher I see that a home, as opposed to a house, invites an I-Thou relationship, rather than an I-It relationship. Then you experience your home as a companion and mirror of you spirit, and that inspires all aspects of your life and sense of meaning. I-Thou moves the relationship into the sacred and has a mutuality about it. I-It sees the other, in this case a house, as only a tool to be used for my end goals.

Dr. Bill Manahan: Our homes are the places most of us spend a majority of our time. It is wise for us to be consciously aware that we can have a relationship with our homes that creates feelings of well-being, and that those feelings can affect our health. Most of us are aware that having a good relationship with friends, family and our job can affect our health. I believe that it is similar with our homes — whether that place is an apartment, a house or a dormitory room.

We now live in a complex and interrelated world. I believe it is important that we move toward and put more emphasis on having a world of more collaboration and partnership, rather than one of competition and individual achievement. This workshop is a model — an example — of how people from four different disciplines can work together in a collaborative model. We are attempting to integrate our individual knowledge and expertise to help people move beyond the idea that a house and a home are the same thing.

Michaela Mahady: Some homes seem to reach out to us, almost to speak to us. Once inside, they exude a sense of welcome, comfort and security. A home like that has an actual persona. It can draw you to it just like a very good friend would. That kind of house that not only provides functional shelter, but it evokes an emotional response. I hope that participants in the course will be able to identify the kinds of homes, architectural forms and spatial relationships that speak to them.

How has focusing on your own relationship with home transformed your life?

Carole Hyder: Every year on New Year’s Day, we write a formal letter to our home outlining what our plans are for the upcoming year — not just plans affecting the house (like a remodel somewhere, painting something, fixing something), but also plans about our travels, work and financials. Including our home in these dreams feels like we’re including a close personal friend whose validation seems important.

Whenever I walk in my front door, I experience gratitude — mine, for living in such a wonderful place, and my home’s, for being glad to see me. I also love getting advice about physical placement — where to hang a picture, where to put a misplaced chair, etc. I asked for a lot of advice about where I should write my new book, as well as guidance about its content.

Margaret Lulic: Two major examples come to mind. In 2008, I had a sudden very severe onset of rheumatoid arthritis. I was in great pain and very disabled — couldn’t dress myself, cook, work, drive or even open the front door. My home helped me heal as I spent many hours alone with her while my family was at work and school. She was soothing to my spirits, peaceful, encouraging, and kept my vision alive as to who I really could return to being. I learned to work with her in new ways to take care of myself. My rheumatologist can’t believe my recovery. He says the medications alone could not have gotten me to where I am now.

My home was a great co-parent for our child. My husband and I created rites of passages with our home for the development and growth of our daughter. That led to her getting into the school of her choice. We used our home to teach responsibility and to help our daughter see her power to create her dreams. We were very touched when she and her fiancée wanted to get married in our backyard, because that was more meaningful than anywhere else.

Dr. Bill Manahan: I might be exaggerating, but I think making changes in my home has improved my ability to concentrate when I am reading or working in my home. The other thing is that just being conscious that my home — my living space — has a personality that reflects who I am helps me be more aware of who I am. I think that kind of self-awareness is a really good and important thing for me.

Michaela Mahady: My family and I live in a lovely old Craftsman-style foursquare in Stillwater. We spent over a year looking for a home there, and every time we drove down a particular street, we would exclaim about how beautiful a certain home on it was…it was a home that clearly spoke to us. In retrospect, maybe it was looking for us, too! Unbelievably, the house became available for sale, and we’ve lived there now for 15 years. Every time I turn into the driveway, the house brings a smile to my face.

What practical things can we do in our daily life to enhance our relationship with our home, and why are these steps vital?

Carole Hyder: One powerful way is to give it a name. Whenever I suggest this idea, I’m surprised by how many people tell me they’ve already named their home and find it a wonderfully personal way to connect.

Another more touching way to connect and enhance your relationship is to write a thank-you note to your home. We overlook how important they are in our lives, so a simple thank you can open up a channel of reciprocal gratitude — from you to your home and from your home to you.

Margaret Lulic: As Carole said, a simple starting point is to go through a naming exercise with your home. Names carry meaning and shift the relationship. Then you can use various approaches to “communicate” with your companion. Carole describes many ways to do that.

Second, curl up and stay home more. Churchill said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” Our homes have the ability to heal us, but we need to spend time in them.

Third, self-awareness is critical to personal and spiritual growth, and your home can be a mirror to you of who you are or aspire to be. So take the time to look through the eyes of the home — as if you are a stranger to the home — and see new insights. Ask yourself new questions like, “What does it mean that I don’t live in my living room or dine in my dining room? Is there an aspect of myself that I don’t live in? What does it mean that my family room is mainly an electronics center focused on the television? What is my home longing to tell me?”

Fourth, conscious creation of the beliefs and energy of your home are absorbed by you, your family, and even the neighborhood; your home becomes a lever for personal and global impact affecting health, peace and well-being. What are you putting into global consciousness?

Dr. Bill Manahan: One thing is to attend this workshop and become more aware of how your house can become your friend. Your house can become a reflection back to you of your values, your goals, and of what is going on with you in your life — both consciously and unconsciously.  Being a pretty typical male, the words that I just wrote would have made no sense to me at a younger age. I believed that a house was just a place to contain my body while it (my body) ate, slept, played with the kids and enjoyed a relationship with my wife. My house was a container in which to live my life.

I now believe that idea is quite limited and basically not very conscious. There is a spirit and a heart within our homes that can create good energy and well-being that I now believe affect our physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Michaela Mahady: The patterns of one’s daily life and experience, both past and the present, can reveal what kinds of environments each of us prefers. Ask yourself, “What places in your current home do you most use and enjoy?” Try to figure out why. If you love being in your formal dining room because it’s heavenly sunny, don’t just entertain there. Try to mold it into a place that you can enjoy every day. Surround yourself with favorite objects, listen to your favorite music. Use the table for writing, drawing, making stuff, or paying bills…or push the table to one side, so you can dance there!


“From House to Home,” beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 26, in the Fine Arts Auditorium of Normandale Community College, 9700 France Ave., Bloomington. Registration by March 22 is $49, and $10 more after that date. Parking is free. Seating is limited. For registration information, call 952.487.8343 or visit www.normandale.edu/continuingeducation/index.cfm.

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