I’m really clear that I need community, connection to people with a common interest, passion, love. This is a recurring theme in my life, as I’ve been in and out of “groups”, “organizations” and “cliques”.
The need to belong has not always been healthy for me. The clique in junior high that ostracized girls we didn’t “like”, even if it wasn’t to their faces, was just plain mean.
The church I wanted to join, again, in junior high, only to discover that I wasn’t “good enough”, having never been baptized and never told that I could receive baptism with confirmation.
The cheer leaders. Oh my, the year I didn’t make the squad I could barely go to school I felt so left out and unimportant. My senior year when I quit because of the race riots in my school and my realization that our staff mentors were bigots. I couldn’t belong to that, so I went back to my forgotten dance class community.
And the drug years, painful community experience.
Even in my own family, I have felt both a need to belong and the feeling that I never would. The youngest of 7 double-first cousins, younger by 4 years than the next youngest, they were clumped together in six years. I was always tagging along, cute, doted on sometimes, but mostly left behind. I definitely never got the “jokes”. I cried when my cousins arrived and cried when they left.
I am reminded daily of my desire for community. When I moved four years ago, I left behind friends who I have known for decades. Friends who helped me navigate marriage, parenthood, divorce, caring for my ailing parents. Some have moved away, some have passed. Those who remain are only an hour away, but somehow that hour does make a difference as I work, search out new interests, networking opportunities, new friends, new community. Sometimes I long so much for “the old days”, it hurts. Then I remember I still have that community in my heart, I can reach out to old friends and I am grateful for the gifts.
I no longer bad mouth Facebook. I realize that it is, in a sense, community. I get to check up on what others are doing and smile with a sense of belonging when people search me out or are interested in my posts.
I started going to Omega Institute in 1986. I don’t think I realized that it was an attraction to the community that was created by like minded people for a common purpose. I just know I felt like I was at camp for adults and it became an annual pilgrimage to return to this community.
It is there that I met Debbie Ford in 2004 and found my coaching community [a few of us pictured above in NYC on June 1st]. Here I am at home. I feel loved and accepted for who I am. I know I can depend on my friends and colleagues to celebrate with me, support me and kick my butt when needed, all with love. We are far flung, across the globe in fact, but can all come together as a pair or a group, virtually or in person, whenever the desire or need arises. I can’t think of a day that I’m not in touch with one or more of my coaching community.
I have finally discovered that there is the gift of my shame and shadow of feeling like I didn’t belong in my own family. I realize now that my parents need for connection and community was different than mine. I have spent years thinking there was something wrong with me and then that there was something wrong with them. I celebrate leaving the blame behind and just being with “what is”. I have a deeper sense of being able to move in and out of community without feeling such a wretched loss and obsession with making “wrong” each time. I get to keep the love I have for individuals, even if the common cause or shared experience changes. I get to keep the “gifts”.
I affirm that I am a Child of God and Goddess. You are, too. In the big picture, owning this is what keeps me in the presence of “belonging”. We are all connected, one family, one community. All we need to add is LOVE.