What is Belonging? How can I find it?
Things have felt particularly challenging lately. Can you relate?
It is during challenging times where I am so grateful for my spiritual practice. I turn towards myself and my body (sometimes with little reminders from my friends). I sit with the Earth and the plant spirits.
I do my best to not skim the surface or move through my behaviors unconsciously. I do my best to be present with myself. I do my best to slow down and notice.
When things feel challenging, painful, or overwhelming, it is common for us humans to try to run away or divert attention from the deeper feelings and needs that our bodies are experiencing.
Most of us have had a lifetime of practice abandoning ourselves by numbing, avoiding, or criticizing ourselves. We may be masterful at using outdated protective mechanisms that actually harm ourselves and others when we feel anything that registers as painful or uncomfortable to feel.
Yet, it is in these exact moments when we have the opportunity to build internal trust by turning towards ourselves and doing our best to be present for what’s happening within.
When turn towards ourselves, we start to build trust. And when begin to trust ourselves, a natural byproduct is the felt sense of belonging.
Because belonging is born from within.
One of my all time favorite quotes from Brene´ Brown speaks to this:
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance… True belonging is not something you negotiate externally, it’s what you carry in your heart."
But belonging can be an elusive concept.
What does it feel like? Where do I find it? How do I find it?
It can feel nebulous because it resides in a territory that our culture strays far from. It’s not landmarked on any maps most of us were handed by our upbringing, schooling, nor the messages we see and hear in the media.
Most of what our culture communicates to us is actually the opposite of truth. There is an ever invasive pressure to fit in - to a belief system, a political party, a group, a fad. And Capitalism loves to tell us how and why we aren’t enough, and then sell us into a promised sense of belonging and enough-ness.
But what it gets wrong is that true belonging can never be derived from the external. It is always born from the within.
Another wise teaching from Brene´ Brown is that fitting in and belonging are exact opposites. When we fit in, we contort ourselves to fit into the box that already exists, we fit in to something already constructed. And no human can ever truly fit into a single construct.
So in order to find what all of us long for, that sense of belonging, we must navigate the place that most of us are afraid to deeply examine - ourselves.
Belonging is the natural outcome of developing a trusting and loving relationship with your body. And it blossoms organically when you commune with the spiritual landscape of the natural world.
The forces of nature, the plant spirits, they will never question your belonging. And they will remind you, time and time again, that you, dear soul, are enough, and you belong right where you are.