Beauty of Belonging

By Paul Dunion | August 27, 2015


If we think of beauty as the heart rejoicing in what it senses and feels, then there can be a vast amount of beauty in our experience of authentic belonging. We relinquish an opportunity for an experience of sublime belonging when we take refuge in anonymity. The challenge is to interrupt anonymity as an automatic way of interacting with others. The depth of our attachment to being anonymous is reflected in how we say, “Hello. How are you?” is a disingenuous inquiry. It is merely a greeting. Typically, we have no investment in knowing about the status of the person’s well being. The common response also lacks authenticity, “Fine, thank you, and you?” It may be that before we can embark upon belonging with others, we will need to pay attention to what it means to belong to ourselves.


An old definition of the word belonging is nearby. What are we nearby when we belong to ourselves? So many of the old stories and myths begin with the heroine or hero wanting something. We can say that the bedrock of self-belonging is remaining nearby our desire. We do that by being curious about what we want, learning to give it a voice, and finding the commitment and the competency to manifest it. This kinship with the narrative of our desire allows us to live in our story, as opposed to someone else’s story. We now get to fully live our desire by being on the quest of making it happen. Our self-belonging is enriched as we face the inevitable trials that befall us along the way. We have the opportunity to develop and strengthen ourselves, becoming more able to cope with disappointment, frustration and failure. It is a story about discovering resources that aid us, and allies that help. We become increasingly familiar with the story we belong in and ready to bring it to others.

Belonging With Others

There is a certain refinement of self that happens when we genuinely belong with others. We bring our story to them and when we feel seen, heard and welcomed, we may drop even deeper into our stories that have led us home. Our belonging creates a context to drop more deeply into working with our desire, co-creating and collaborating, problem solving, giving and receiving love and resolving conflict. When we belong, we settle in and allow ourselves to be refreshed.


An old definition of the word home is a place to linger or settle. Settling is about taking shelter from the work of being fully alive. We spend time discovering, getting lost and possibly suffering a broken heart. We find belonging where we find refuge, a time to rest, renewed and loved. Settling is also a time for gratitude and recalling all that has been given to us along the way. Certainly, there may be work to do where we settle, but there is an also significant offering of comfort. Authentic belonging will also call us to make peace with restlessness.


Restlessness declares a fascination with our own immensity and the immensity of life. It is driven by a longing to step into the unknown suggesting we are at home as pilgrims and seekers. The depths of belonging are unearthed as we welcome the rhythm moving from being settled to being restless and back again. Restlessness does not mean we turn our back upon what is, idealizing what might be. Rather, it possibility is seen as simply bringing more to the story we presently live in. On rare occasions there is a place where we feel free to settle and respond favorably to our restlessness. When that happens, our restlessness honors a deep connection to change as the essence of life while allowing ourselves to be soothed and comforted, as we settle in, resting a seeking heart.

Gifts of Belonging

There are a number of significant benefits to allowing ourselves the beauty of authentic belonging:

• There is a renewal of faith in life, as we believe there is a place for us.
• There is an evolving comfort with embracing being settled as well as our restlessness.
• There is a feeling of being grounded in the acceptance of what is as well as in the dream of what might be.
• There is the fulfillment of being seen, heard and welcomed by others.
• There is opportunity to refine our development as we craft the skill to both be connected to ourselves in the presence of the other as well as deepening the rapport with the other.
• There is an ability to choose roles reflective of what or whom we love as well as the skill level appropriate to the role we play.
• There is increased courage to unearth our authenticity, believing we will be received with compassion.

There is much to be gained by taking the status of our belonging seriously. We will need to find the courage to interrupt an attachment to being anonymous to ourselves as well as to others. Participating in authentic belonging means being willing to create who we are in the presence of those whom we believe can welcome us. The creative act happens as we allow ourselves to settle into renewal as well as allowing our restlessness to engage change and growth.

Posted in

Leave a Comment