It seems to me that belonging represents quite a challenge for 21st century humans. There’s so much transition in the modern world that finding a durable connection to people and place is much harder than it used to be.
I grew up in London, but never wanted to put down roots in that busy, mercantile city. My soul always called out for something quieter and gentler. So I left London as soon as I could and sought out England’s greener places.
I’m English, but not quite. My father was a Jewish immigrant from Austria, and I’ve always had a sense of being “sort of” English, as if I’m at the party, but standing at the edge, watching.
But I’m sure my experience is quite common. Human populations are increasingly mobile. Where does that leave our sense of belonging?
Where we come from
I often refer back to the experience of our distant ancestors to get a handle on our contemporary dilemmas. For thousands of generations our ancestors lived in tribal bands, being born, living and dying with the same people. For tens of thousands of years the patterns of living remained relatively stable, changing at an unimaginably slow rate relative to what we experience now.
That is the period that shaped our human nervous system, and from that time we have inherited a strong expectation of connection. Connection to one another, connection to nature, connection to the land. One of the aches of modern living is that one or more of these deep connections are usually missing from our experience now.
And yet we are so resourceful, especially when it comes to meeting our deepest needs. Now many of us seek “belonging” in abstract ways, to ideas and beliefs, to dispersed online “tribes”, to a sense of all humanity, even to life and consciousness itself.
Where do you belong? Where do you find belonging? In what way does your heart cry out for a belonging that doesn’t come?
Calling a Story Circle
These are the questions that I’ve been asking lately, to gather people’s responses together to set the stage for an intuitive story which I’ll be telling shortly on the theme of “Belonging”.
Intuitive stories thrive on deep, important questions. And this one has always grabbed me: now that our tribal way of living has morphed into something vastly more complex, what happens to our sense of belonging?
If you’d like to be part of this shared enquiry, and receive the story that I tell as an audio recording, then sign up to the free Story Circle here. You’ll get a link to four simple questions, and an invitation to take part in an online call, both of which will give you the space to explore what this theme means to you.
And after you have dived into this enquiry, the story that I tell will meet you there. Just as our tribal ancestors used storytelling to name and explore their inner worlds, this shared enquiry will yield a story that will hopefully touch your personal experience of belonging in some way.
Let’s meet together in that special place where the yearnings of our hearts and the mythic realm come together!
PS This summer I’m teaching Intuitive Storytelling in Oslo, Norway on 12+13th August. See here for more details and to book.
I’ll also be performing an evening of Storytelling and Songs with my wife Sundara on 9th and 11th August at two different venues in Oslo. See my Events page for more details and to book.