Love Your Home Journal: Starrla Donavanik


Image by Rachel King

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my friends and my family are my home. The love I have for them is so strong that I have found solace simply when I’m with them. But I also realized that this home wasn’t complete. Something felt missing. So here is one love story that I never thought I’d share in words. One that sings of an unrequited type of love. Now, I’ve put a lot of thought into this and unrequited love in this story doesn’t necessarily need to involve two souls. It’s been a story with my own self, by never admitting the love I know I can have for myself. To fully acknowledge and accept this love is to make my sense of home whole. Every day is still a work in progress, but it all really started happening for me around the time I started learning about mindfulness and taking more of an interest in myself. Silent meditation was and is still a struggle for me. There’s something about sitting quietly to my own thoughts and my own breath that’s almost terrifying. And that’s when I found it: a hula-hoop.

Going to different festivals, I’ve seen flow art dancers use hoops with such grace and movement that continues to mesmerize me to this day. So I bought one for myself and watched videos after videos of different tutorials. I practiced every week and went through frustrations of trying to grasp different concepts. The way the flow artists manipulated these circles with such ease and playfulness into something so beautiful was something I admired. So I started recording videos of myself to track my progress and decided to throw them up on Instagram one day. Now ask any one of my friends, this was very odd for me since I’m not one for selfies or self-celebration. But there was something about being able to watch my progress and watch my self flow freely through each movement that made me smile. Moving meditation is what I call it.

After over two years of hooping to this day, I’m realizing what’s merely a plastic circle has helped me find and accept self-love and fill the missing void in my sense home. It doesn’t matter anymore whether it’s a flow session where I constantly drop my hoop or one where I land every move and combination. It doesn’t matter anymore if I’m in the comfort of my own backyard, in the mountains or by the water, or if I’m alone or in front of people. I have found a state of peace with myself like no other when I have my circle. It reminds me of a phrase I once read by Daniel Kahneman, “People who experience flow describe it as ‘a state of effortless concentration so deep that they lose their sense of time, of themselves, of their problems.’” Clearing my head and getting lost in the music and movement with no time to think of what move to do before the next beat flows through my ears; ideas of different shapes and patterns may rush through my head in the background, but in that very moment, I am completely present with myself. And I love it. Yes, self-love is a journey for some people, and that’s okay. Because with or without my circle, I will continue to be mindful and practice loving myself, to complete my own sense of home, and I hope to never stop.





Starrla Donavanik is in her second year of Physical Therapist Assistant school and will be receiving her license in July 2018.  Having found a passion for helping people heal physically, she has worked in outpatient rehabilitation as a physical therapy technician since 2013.  She has recently taken an interest in the importance of mental healing and mindfulness in combination with traditional therapeutic exercises and stretching.  She practices hula-hoop dance and yoga as forms of combining mental and physical self care.

She will also be co-hosting at Mother Muse Metanoia in November.


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