In the many years working as a psychotherapist and spiritual counsellor the question of belonging has always features prominently in people’s process of healing and growth. We have a basic, innate need to feel that sense of belonging; asserting that we are indeed not alone.
But when people have experienced neglect, abuse or trauma one of the common conclusion that’s draw from these experiences, is that they are alone and don’t belong. The work of healing is to reconnect that sense of belonging; that the world is indeed a supportive, welcoming place. It’s not easy imprinting a new paradigm. But it is possible.
Bridging Differences Finding Common Ground
This week the fall series of Unlock Pleasure On-line began. We’re a small but interestingly international group – Japan, the US and Canada in attendance. It intrigues me – where will we find the commonalities of pleasure?
I smile at the fact that only a few years ago I scoffed at the potential for connections made on-line. Now that a good portion of my work is done via the net, I’m still surprised how quickly meaningful connections are made and sustained. While technology has its negative impact for sure, the positives are that it can connect us over time zones, cultures and breaks down beliefs about how we connect.
Oh I feel that too!
People connect by being with each other; by both talking and listening, by being open to giving and receiving, by being curious about the other, and open to discover that we are all much more alike than different. The commonalities we see reassure us we’re “normal” - “Oh I feel that too!” The differences can show us new ways of perceiving and acting in our lives. Differences stimulate and inspire us – if we’re willing to let them, versus being threatened by them.
Whither on-line or in person, formal or informal, for socially purposes or other motivations such as learning, or creating collective change, gathering with others is necessary. And gatherings are pleasurable. It’s a pleasure to feel our unity with others versus a sense of separation. Feeling separate breeds fear, loneliness and left unchecked, a deep discouragement.
Being a Member of the Tribe
We’re not meant to do our lives alone. It’s not possible to create much, entirely from one’s own steam. We’re mammals, pack animals, and by that nature, we function best within the tribe. Our innate instinct for pleasure draws us to each other. And while the process of relationship and community can at times be daunting, though those processes we have the opportunity to learn and grow.
Many people identify this process, which can only take place over time, as pleasurable. It just feels good to be stretched. It’s inspiring to discover new ways and new capacities within one’s self; to feel more spaciousness for others and indeed life. These are the foundations of belonging.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned in your journey from separateness to belonging?
Next entry: The Deepest Pleasures
Previous entry: Oh So Human
“I had signed up for the workshop with a vague idea of validating whether or not beekeeping was something I wanted to get back into, so wanted the real experience and ‘instruction’ around hive life. But I also wanted to spend time in the imaginative life of beekeeping – so the poetry, and your story of bees as a significant part of your healing journey was really important. Sensing into your relationship with them - the calm, the respect, the love – was an important part of witnessing how a relationship with bees teaches those very things. I loved how the different activities dove-tailed so well into one another. The ‘energy meditation’ of approaching the hive taught me well about respect for boundaries, and the deep purposefulness of their lives. We can co-exist beautifully as long as I ‘let them bee.’ “