Feel like you don’t belong in your family? In society? In the world?
I used to think I was the only one who felt like this. Something was terribly wrong with me - I was flawed, broken because I felt disconnected. Everyone around me seemed content, loved, successful. They were all normal and happy.
Why wasn’t I?
Then I convinced myself that there must be a place, an actual physical place, where I could feel all of that- where I genuinely belonged.
So I went looking. First I crossed the country, from Boston to Portland. Then I went to Asia- Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia. I even tried the Middle East and Europe.
I thought I’d found it in Bali, but no…
It took fifteen long years for me to clue in.
The place I was looking for was inside of me, it was me.
True belonging is about connecting to your heart, to your core, to the YOU within you.
I finally had to stop “searching” and dive in.
If feeling alone and alienated resonates with you, here are the steps to your salvation:
1. Be Present With You
Stop running away from yourself. Happy, sad, angry, suffering. Be okay with whatever you feel right now. There’s so much power in moving into the pain or discomfort. That’s where true healing lies. In seeing what’s really real for you every second of every day.
A super powerful way to dive right into this is to do mirror work. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you. I really, really love you.”
The first time I did this, I started sobbing. Now I smile.
Even though peace and abiding happiness come from within you, we are social creatures. How can you feel more connected to like-minded people? Is there a faith based organization or spiritual center that you resonate with nearby? Is there a book group or club doing things you enjoy?
3. Seek Refuge
In Buddhism, you often hear the phrase, “Seek refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha.”
I love the word refuge because to me, it’s a place of safety, a place to lick your wounds, replenish and be refilled.
I interpret this Buddhist phrase to mean that:
- First we find our salvation and our home through connection to God-the Universe-Oneness (Buddha).
What path speaks to you? What form of the divine can you connect to?
Is it Buddha, Tara, or any one of the Hindu gods or goddesses? Jesus or Virgin Mary? Is it the great earth Mother? Nature? Or simply that which is un-nameable? The great unknown?
- Second, commit to a practice. This is dharma. The way of right action and right living.
Find a teaching- book, lectures, etc. where the words resonate with your beliefs. There are countless paths and ways: Bible, Talmud, Koran, A Course In Miracles, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist scripture, Wiccan, Pagan, Celtic, Native American...
Maybe you want a teacher who speaks to you.
Here are some resources to check out:
- Hay House Radio (or their website)
- Lion’s Roar (for Buddhist teachers)
- Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays
- Krista Tippet’s Podcast, On Being
- Third, connect to others who are on a similar path.
This is sangha, or satsang. It is spiritual community. Seek out your spirit brothers and sisters. It’s hard to do this work, and we all need love and support. This is where community comes in.
Truly, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. This is why the world feels unnatural because we don’t really belong here. And yet, here we are, contracted to experience human existence in all its messiness and glory.
Isn’t it time to fully embrace it and genuinely live it open heartedly and unapologetically?
I say yes. And welcome to the club.