Belonging is a Spiritual Practice

It has taken me almost a life time to figure out that belonging is a spiritual practice.

“I want to belong but I don’t know where I fit anymore! Everyone has moved on and I feel like I’m stuck.”

“We need to help people feel like they belong and then they will stay, ” a young leader of a church implores his welcome team.

“I feel so alone. I don’t fit in my family, I don’t fit at school, I don’t know where I belong.”

Without belonging our heart hurts.  It begins to shut down, slow down, and not beat with life and love.

I have spent a large part of my life trying to feel like I belong.

It’s uncomfortable when the questions I have about life and love and spirituality don’t align with mainstream hearts and minds.  It is uncomfortable when the questions won’t be stilled or silenced.  This feeling of being in the wilderness, alone, a solitary gnarly tree on a hill is uncomfortable at times.

I know my inner questioning, my hoping for more love and more life make belonging feel unattainable at times.  

Sometimes what I’m hoping for is outside of the current expectations or rules.  The inner voice which says, “There must be a new way, a different way to loving and living then this,” can leave your heart on the outside of other people’s hearts misunderstood and alone.  

Yet I know I’m not alone in this struggle for belonging.

My heart hears and sees other people struggling.

Their heart has questions.  “Can they be their real self and still be loved?”

“Will they still be loved and accepted even if their real self comes out to say hello?”

I see so many hearts choosing to simply go along.

Their longing to belong so great they simply numb out to their true self.  In all the trying to join in and numbing out they forget who they truly are and another soul gets lost.

Another casualty to fitting in and conformity.

I see so much effort going into trying to make people belong.

Belonging is a spiritual value.

I am most familiar  spiritual communities and the heart energy which goes into trying to help people feel like they belong.

We give soul energy to others, trying to make their beating heart feel like it belongs.

Sometimes it works and sometimes the human heart feels even more alone.

Often the energy and the focus is on the externals… the smile, the welcome, the invitation to the table, a walk, a social evening.  All of which play a part in heartbeats getting to know one another.  But too often and too frequently I hear those moments where the heart can’t take it anymore and speaks up, “I don’t feel like I belong.”  A cry which cuts through my beating heart.  

Our hearts long for belonging and without belonging our hearts experience heart failure

Without belonging our hearts begin to experience heart failure.

I love what Brene Brown writes about belonging,

“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 a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.  True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”  Atlas of the Heart #9

There it is…

Belonging it is a spiritual practice which begins with me.

It begins with me being vulnerable, becoming uncomfortable enough to discover who I am.  To own my story, my gifts, my values, my beliefs, my hope for life and love.

It begins with me practicing and learning how to be with people without sacrificing who I am.

“Because we can feel belonging only if we have the courage to share our most authentic selves with people, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self acceptance.”  Brene Brown

Tools which have helped begin this spiritual practice.

  1.  The enneagram has helped me begin this spiritual practice.

The enneagram is a tool which allows me to belong to myself.

Knowing who you are changes everything.  It’s the start of this amazing journey of finding belonging.

2.  Being in a group committed to spiritual practice.

Without practice and training we can’t practice showing up as ourselves.

Without practice and training we can’t practice welcoming others as themselves.  

belonging is a spiritual practice