Last Sunday I set out on a walk to the ferry near my apartment. My plan was to take the ferry to Coronado Island and walk to pick something up from my pharmacy and return home. It would get me out and get me exercise which always lifts my mood.
It was early, only three of us boarding the ferry. I headed to the upper deck, wanting to feel the cool morning breeze and take in the skyline. As I sat there, the only person on the upper deck looking at the city as we crossed the bay, I had this feeling.
Life was happening over there. Life was happening all around me, but it felt like I was an observer to it, not actually in it. I began to feel waves of grief coming up. I knew I wanted to process this feeling, so I decided to just let the grief come even if it meant tears.
As I walked down Orange Avenue toward the pharmacy, I passed by restaurants with outdoor patios filled with families and people meeting for breakfast, again I got that feeling of looking at life happening over there. When I got home, I walked into my 30th floor apartment that looks out across the city and had that same feeling, even here in my little bird’s nest in the sky I was looking at life happening out there.
Thankfully the next day I was talking with my warrior sister Diane and as I replayed this, I kept referring to the feeling as being that of loneliness, but that word never felt right so I continued to feel into it and then I said, “It doesn’t feel like I belong anywhere.” And when I said those words, I felt the power in the statement.
This wasn’t about loneliness at all, this was about belonging.
The truth for me is that I was brought up in a family where I never felt like I belonged. Because of that feeling I think I have always sought to create a family so that I could feel belonging.
And yet belonging has always felt elusive. I think I can feel it sometimes perhaps for a period but then I think that my competing need for freedom flies in and forces me out of the nest.
Disclaimer here, this blog has no answers. I am exploring this as deeply as I can, processing as I move through this writing. I feel like this is a key component for the next phase of my life to express itself as fully as I desire. This is the next layer of my onion peeling. (Although as you read on, I didn’t need to add this disclaimer because the answer eventually revealed itself through my Wisdom Writing process as it tends to eventually do.)
What I desire in my future is a great loving partnership, a partnership defined as “a place where both people are inspired by something higher than themselves to give their love, devotion and presence to the relationship itself” by Sheleana Aiyana of RisingWoman.com
The thought of this kind of partnership is both exhilarating and terrifying to me at the same time. What if I can’t always feel belonging in a relationship? Do I always need to feel as though I belong? Can this kind of partnership exist without always feeling belonging? Can I show up fully in partnership, feel belonging and feel free at the same time?
Do I feel like life is happening over there because of my own perspective? The fact that my awareness in this moment was focused on me, so I was unable to see that rather than life only happening over there it was always happening right here, inside of me.
Isn’t it true that every single moment of everyday life is happening in me and around me and then it hits me.
Is this just my inner mean girl trying to hold me back, have me play small in some sneaky sinister way by keeping my awareness on the world outside of me rather than the one inside of me?
The answer to that felt like a “HELL YES!”
My inner mean girl is what I call that voice in my head that wants to scare me, have me run & hide, that voice that just wants to protect me from a Tiger but is stuck thinking that everything is a Tiger.
I began to see this answer clearly as I wrote this blog. What my ego was trying to do, by having me continue to look outside of myself for the answer, was ensuring that I would miss the point. All the answers are inside of me.
The answers to my questions all depend on my own perspective, my own awareness. What if I can’t feel belonging? Then I need to change my perspective, perceive the situation differently to reconnect with what exactly I do belong to.
Example: Walking past that restaurant, of course I didn’t feel belonging, I was looking at other families from the perspective of how nice it would have been to have someone around to have breakfast with but if I would have shifted my perspective to that of seeing the beauty of our human family of course I am going to feel belonging.
Do I always need to feel as though I belong? This question feels like an odd thing to ask now. The fact is that I do belong, I always belong, it is just a matter of shifting my perspective to see the belonging, to feel it and connect to it. I don’t always need to feel belonging, but I do need to know that it is always there and available for me to connect to.
One of the other “ah hah’s” that I received while writing this is that those times when I didn’t feel belonging in the relationship I was in, it was likely because my perspective was squarely sitting on only myself and not the relationship at all. If I shift my perspective to connect to the relationship itself, I would have found the belonging, and this seems like an important practice to support the kind of partnership that I seek.
I belong, as we all belong and we always will, when we don’t feel it, let’s try to shift our perception, our awareness so we connect to who and where we belong.
You have just witnessed my process of how my own writing uncovers the answers to what sometimes can feel like unanswerable questions.
I hope these words and my own questions get you thinking or writing or both. Here are a few questions for you to ponder in your favorite journal or on your morning walk.
- In this very moment do you feel belonging?
- If you don’t feel belonging, can you shift your perspective or your awareness so that you do?
- What does belonging feel like?
- Complete this statement “I feel belonging when…..”
I blog because I love the process of posing questions to myself, uncovering those deep answers in the power of the words, those unexpected answers that I found here. I love forcing myself to grow in this way.
If you want to question yourself, then subscribing to my email list will ensure you have an opportunity to do that. I blog about once a month so you will not receive a ton of emails from me, only what I hope to be the best questions that we can ask ourselves to be better tomorrow than we were today.
In love & belonging,
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