On Belonging: Mastering The Lesson Of A Lifetime

Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI. Photo taken July 8, 2014.
Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI. Photo taken July 8, 2014. © blissandradiance.com

What does it mean to ‘belong’? For the longest time, my definition of ‘belonging’ centered around being a part of something bigger than myself: being part of a community, or group. When that community fuels my bliss and increases my enjoyment of life, there’s no better feeling.

Recently I started pondering this at more depth: I realized that my definition of belonging relies on something or someone else, potentially outside my sphere of influence, let alone my sphere of control.

A Tropical Catalyst

In July I had the privilege of attending Mastin Kipp‘s week long “Enter The Heart” retreat in Maui, HI: with Mastin and 30 beautiful soul sisters from all walks of life and corners of the world. During a foundational aspect of ‘entering the heart’ one of the deep dives we covered was to define our life purpose. I grappled with the idea of ‘belonging’ as part of my purpose. I know I am happiest when I feel a sense of belonging, connection, and love.

My Journey

The feelings of belonging, connection, and love are feelings I desire and have experienced at the peak moments of my life. However, the inference of belonging to someone else or something else is distasteful to me. This distaste was something I have thought about over the years after a heartbreaking end to my most significant romantic relationship left me reeling: in the midst of all the sadness and disappointment I experienced, I couldn’t shake the feeling that during the decline of that relationship, I had somehow abandoned myself and my own needs in an attempt to resuscitate a relationship that was gasping its last breath.  At that point in time I was the furthest away from belonging to myself.

From Self-Awareness to Daily Practice

I pondered this dichotomy: I want to belong, but I don’t want to belong to others. I want sovereignty, and I don’t want to lose myself to the bigger picture.  Then I had an epiphany: I wanted to belong to myself.  I’ve never contemplated ‘belonging to myself’, but deep down I think I’ve always sought that articulation of what I want.

So what does it mean to ‘belong to myself’? Your definition might be different to mine, but here’s what I came up with:

  • be mindfully present;
  • consider the consequences of my thoughts, words and actions now and in the future;
  • give myself permission to feel my authentic feelings;
  • speak my authentic truth;
  • take vulnerable, courageous action;
  • prioritize my needs, considerate of the people and situation around me; and, most importantly
  • remain self-assured in the understanding that by staying in integrity with my purpose, I will live a life that is perfect… for me.

An immersive week on a tropical island was a wonderful, indulgent, catalyst for my self-awareness and I realize not everyone has the time or resources for this.  No matter where you are or what your circumstances might be, the key ingredients for learning this lesson of a lifetime are:

  • a desire to answer the call to satisfy your curiosity for greater purpose;
  • a willingness investigate a few layers deeper than might be comfortable; and,
  • the inquisitiveness to explore and eventually embrace a new perspective on life.

Whatever the circumstance, the hard work is to be found living in alignment and integrity with your purpose every single day. Every thought, action, and word, creates that connection to belonging to oneself.


A Call To (Vulnerable, Courageous) Action

How about you:  How can you find more ways to ‘belong’ to yourself?  What courageous action will you take today to better align with your purpose and live a life that is perfect… for you?