This Is Family: Adapting to “Safer at Home” at the Home of the Traveler

By: Kevin McMillan

April 3rd, 2020

This Is Family:  Adapting to “Safer at Home” at the Home of the Traveler

 

I’ve lived at Prana, the Home of the Traveler, for almost twenty-seven years. Today the foyer here is quiet, peaceful, muted, and the lamps are turned off mid-afternoon. The golden afternoon light streams in, and the lovely Carol Jones starts playing the baby grand piano, in a private concert. The beautiful music wafts through the still foyer and onto the rear rotunda, our circular porch, where David Funk, Deborah Kovitz and I meet to discuss the residents, and how we can best serve them.

This scene is so different from the last many years of busy activity: weekday tours open to the public, ongoing evening classes, weekend workshops, and non-resident staff in and out at all hours. At this point Prana is on “safer at home,” meaning only fulltime residents are here, and a couple of essential staff members who come in to check on their departments, keep shipments of Discourses going out, and food service running. It’s very quiet, like an unexpected, unstructured retreat, with just the Ani-Hu chant gently humming in the background on repeat in the Large Seminar Room. Meanwhile the gardens are gorgeous in Spring glory.

With most staff not here, our thirty residents and two long-term guests–who got in just under the wire to be here at this historic time!–are pitching in with full service consciousness. We have resident volunteers answering the reception office phones at times during the day, and everyone’s taking on housecleaning duties, until our beloved household crew can come back. We also had our first Prana House Meeting ever via Zoom the other night, and honestly, I’m starting to not understand why anyone goes out to do anything, ever! Zoom is fantastic! But we do miss the physical fellowship, and look forward to a great hug-fest when this all passes.

Prana Residents are social-distancing diligently, and I enjoy seeing the evenly spaced residents at our large communal table. Also, our beloved chefs, David Funk and Ned O’Neil are doing the blessed service of actually serving us on the food line (to keep too many hands off the serving utensils). They’re on one side, we’re on the other, and they patiently put together an artisan-level plate for each one of us, “Would you like salad?”, “How about olives?”, “How about some rice…?” It’s like being on a cruise ship or at a fancy spa: oh so civilized!

Meanwhile we continue to wash our hands, regularly, like most everyone else in the world I’m sure. And to support each other we’ve each picked a fellow resident “Health Buddy” to check in with regularly. To make sure they’re doing okay health-wise, as well as having emotional support if needed. I’m moved at how having this buddy is a very sweet way to reintroduce ourselves to each other, even though most of us have lived together for years. It’s a new level of intimacy and connection. I love my buddy!

Finally, I wanted to share that our dear Marjorie Eaton, (a beloved staff member since the olden days), has taken on the role of Mask Seamstress Extraordinaire. She’s collected various charming fabrics from friends (Penelope Bright, myself) and elastic (Ann Parkes), borrowed a trusty machine, and set upon the task of making two-hundred facemasks in the back of the dining room.

Happy mixed fabric masks to protect our health, and our hearts. This is family.
Soon we’ll each get a bag of seven masks: one for each day of the week.
I trust they’ll go with my outfits. God is good.

Sending Love and Light across the world!
When this is all over come see us at Prana. Come for dinner, move in, play the piano.
We’re here for you.

Kevin McMillan
Prana Residence Program Coordinator
(323) 737-4055, ext. 1126

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4 Comments

Thank you, Kevin! Big air hug. Wonderful to hear how our Prana family is doing. All that’s missing is a photo of Marjorie sewing. Please give her my love when you’re across the room from her!!

Thank you for this, Kevin. Very precious.

Peace ,care and cooperation!

HEY Kevin, Great to hear from you. Thank you for sharing the details. Light to you all. I would love being there in the quiet. Sounds like you’re practicing physical distance when embracing social togetherness on Zoom. We just completed Transcendent Leadership on ZOOM and I experienced amazing intimacy with the others. We even hung out during meal breaks on ZOOM and talked. Lot of love. hugs Corinne Kidd.