“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world, and find sacredness in both being part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging does not require you to change who you are to fit in – it requires you to be who you are.” ~ Brene Brown
“I’m yours and you are mine – I’ve claimed you as my own” (Is. 43:1) – for all of us, that need for a sense of connection starts in the womb. When we come into the world we are literally tethered to another human being by a physical cord – and that feeling of being a part of one’s family, one’s kin, one’s tribe and one’s home is an essential part of feeling safe, accepted and protected. It forms the foundation of trust.
By the time we are in the maturity of mid-life, we have faced the ultimate untethering – mostly likely, the death of someone we’ve deeply loved, whether it be a grandparent, a parent, a partner, a child, a sister, a brother or a precious friend. It’s like a part of our interconnectedness with life is severed – the fragility of our belonging is shaken to the core. Other changes including children shifting into independence and starting their own families; ourselves or close friends relocating; and surfacing health issues can bring about a deeper sense of isolation and loneliness. These recent years of COVID have further weakened our connectedness.
So how do we deal with this sense of disconnection? Last year, after 37 years of residing in Florida, my husband Mike and I, after much prayer and discernment, moved up to Nashville, Tennessee. We were still in the chapter of social distancing, face masks and vaccinations. On some level, I felt flung from my personal nest of familiarity, security and comfort. Lots of Zoom video calls with family and friends helped to temporarily fend off that sense of aloneness. Walks in nature, immersing in Netflix series and reading inspiring books also provided some solace, but there was still a deep longing in me for more.
I took this recurring heart’s desire to Spirit and what was given to me intuitively was that this time was a gift – a unique chapter to be quiet with myself — a time to become reacquainted with the innermost part of my own being – to welcome in the Divine light that is ever present, always anchoring – it is pure love. I opened myself up to bathe in this light. As I let down my resistance, I felt within me a profound inner knowing that I am cherished, whole, worthy and loved – and that we all are. We are all really interconnected.
I’ve tried to be gentle and tender with myself as I’ve become more at home in my new community. Years have taught me that it takes time to establish new friendships and meaningful connections. What have I learned? “Our heart knows what our mind has forgotten – it knows the sacred that is within all that exists, and through a depth of feeling, we can once again experience this connection and belonging.” ~ Llewellyn Vaughn Lee – I’ve learned that the connection to myself is paramount.
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