Nov 052013
You Shall Have Homes, N.C. Wyeth (1928)

You Shall Have Homes, N.C. Wyeth (1928)

The ache to belong in friendship and community can be so pervasive that it colours everything we do. We, the many who have been orphaned from our ancestors’ soil and the teachings of their stewarding ways, have but this meagre scratch to start with.

Distant now from the generations of escaping and forgetting, this yearning to belong blinks in and out of our quiet moments like a faint, but constant signal muffled by the fog of modernity. We have hundreds of virtual friends but know nothing of what they grieve, how they suffer or what arouses their love.

Author & Soul Activist Francis Weller says there is a part of us that expected, when we emerged from our mother’s womb, to find 40 pairs of eyes anticipating our arrival. Indeed, we are missing those 40 pairs of eyes throughout our lives. It isn’t so much that something important is missing from us, but that we are missing from something important.

This deep longing for community may drive us to join established groups, but so often this means blunting our true and growing size in order to fit in. We soon come to realise that to live in a diminished state is no better than being adrift.

So what can we feed these hungry ghosts? Where can we go to find our people? Who will finally recognize our beauty and call us Necessary? Filled with these questions, life can become, as Llama Surya Das describes, like a dinner party at which everyone is silently asking, “What about me!?”

What if longing itself is the calling homeward?Click To Tweet
Max Ginsburg

Painting by Max Ginsburg

But what if we aren’t meant to do away with our longing at all? What if we are meant, as the poet John O’Donohue puts it, to let our absences enlarge our lives. What if longing itself is the calling homeward? Just as grief shows us what we love most, we can follow our longing into the meaningful life we so crave.

A wise teacher once told me that the greatest spiritual practice he knows is to discover what you are most missing in your life – and then give that thing away.  In other words, take your meagre scratch of a life, which knows too little about everything big, and make of it an offering.

Where you long for the friend who calls only to find out if you’re well, be that caller for another. Where you long for eloquent prayers to be made of everyday things, let your own clumsy words bless your meals out loud. Where you wish for ritual under the moons, be the one who holds the heartbeat of gathering. Where you ache to be recognized, allow yourself to be seen. Where you long to be known, sit next to someone and listen for the apertures into what they love. Where you wish you felt necessary, give those gifts away.

Rather than a disappointed wanting to belong, this is the practice to Be The Longing. Maybe it will take a lifetime, or maybe only the young ones who come up around you will feel the benefits, or maybe it will sneak up on you in a sudden moment, as you sit feasting with your loved ones, that you belong to this beauty you’ve made of your life.

Excerpted from “Belonging” available for pre-order here: Belonging – Remembering Ourselves Home, a book by Toko-pa Turner

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A writer, artist and tender of dreams, Toko-pa has been interviewed by CNN News & BBC Radio and her writing has appeared in publications around the world. Thanks to Skype, she works with dreamers internationally in her Private Dreamwork practice, based on Salt Spring Island in Canada. You can find Toko-pa on Facebook or sign up for her mailing list to receive news about upcoming events.

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  38 Responses to “Belonging: Be the Longing”

  1. Thank you 🙂

  2. beautiful! Thank you for this.

  3. Beautiful – thank you with love……..

  4. This, honestly, moved me to tears. It speaks so hard to the phase I am in right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. Many years I have felt this so strongly, so incredible to see this writing about it after the lonely time of searching and understanding. Much love.

  6. We do often, I think, though unconsciously.. we give the love we think we need. Interesting idea to do so intentionally…

  7. Where can we go to find our people? Sometimes I read the words and thoughts of so many writers on-line who verbalize what I cannot. They are my people, even if we are never gathered in one place.

    You are a beacon on-line. Thank you for your words, they’ve often found me at just the right moment. Now when I feel out of place, I’ll be the longing <3

  8. quite pertinent to the day yesterday. beside the longing was the sitting in the awkwardness of the longing itself with me & no horizons. quiet – it took awhile to just be ok, and drifting again. an order arrives from behind. a reason returns from before – the same but different. sleep comes. dreams. ” orphaned from our ancestors’ soil” is a good way to put it. I think an unpretty scent of isolation exhaled in exhaust from the rise of the Holy Roman empire which is here with us a bit today too. that would distance us, our home, origins, & our selves. it’s good to know.

  9. really beautiful, thank you

  10. Thanks very much! It resonates like a Gong!

  11. This is exactly what i needed to hear, thank you.

  12. You have put words to the ache in my deepest heart,,,we are cultural, tribal orphans…seeking, seeking..and yes I have found solace in the engagement of this longing, living love on all levels. We are the rainbow tribe, the ones we have been waiting for.

  13. Beautiful Post! Paying attention to our deep longings gives us important clues to our Soul Print Chelsea Wakefield- author of Negotiating the Inner Peace Treaty

  14. […] Belonging: Be the Longing… […]

  15. This is so beautiful, thank you, it touches me so deeply.

  16. How beautifully honest and precise… Finally some sweetness within the sadness.

  17. I am spiritual but no more so than anyone ealse. I have belonged to many groups of friends none who I’m in contact with now . Life’s about change , adaptation and striving for more.. The trick is to appreciate and love what you do have. I’ve lost a great friend but in he’s stead made a few mates I feel at ease with and who enrich my life everyday now.. I’m thankfull to those I’ve lost and those I’m yet to meet but especially to the people I’ve got in my life right now. Loneliness is hard, try and be yourself love yourself and listen to others .. Friendships are found when you least expect them and lifes twists and turns won’t keep you lonely for long!
    Be blessed 😉

  18. Love your thoughts put to words here Toko-pa. Thank you! Please keep the Sacred Fire magazine in mind for a few months from now when we’re ready to publish again.

    Love, Sherry

  19. Sometimes now I say, I long for the friendly… doesn’t have to be the friend. It seems that word wants to possess, define, have rules, make demands under the guise of “friendship”. We are complex beings and especially in our times when things are shifting moment to moment, Tiny gestures that may only last a moment make ripples that can befriend another for a long while. It takes so very little.

  20. So amazing ~ I just read this aloud, moistness rims my eyes, I am cheering the final sentence…YES!

  21. I am so happy that yesterday I subscribed to your newsletter through Facebook, because now i’ve found your blog, with these touching words, that are truly a gift, and with the image of that painting by N.C. Wyeth that, for some reason, just floored me!

  22. Thank you. Thank you.

  23. I find it sooo delicous to find words that make sense of the deep fog i find myself wading in, i know on a very dep level we are never alone that we are all one but the lonliness that fills me is sometimes so large i feel as though im drowning and i cant always put words to it..your words have helped me greatly..thank you and light xxxx

  24. Deep truth written here. Thank you, Toko-pa. Heart.

  25. So beautiful and deep. Like you.

  26. Like everyone above me has been saying, thank you. That is beautiful. But, and this is a genuine question, what if you do reach out but then get pushed away? Do you keep trying with different people? Or figure out another approach? Maybe that can be your next post… you’re a wonderful writer and so inspiring.

  27. This really touched my heart. Thank you xx

  28. So beautiful. Resonates deeply with me.

  29. EXile – brings much inner strength – I met a yachtie from Windsor who sailed alone around the world many times – remarkably enough he knew my science teacher – we met in Sydney thru common friends – this man had huge hands and love of the world I’ll remember forever – he was escaping a strict Methodist family – so built himself a ship. I stil remember him.

  30. Yearnings just nag, nag, nag. I felt a sad, ghost-like fog float over me every time I stood still long enough to “listen” to mine. Eventually, my midlife crisis demanded that I look deep. Very Deep. Hypnosis and meditation are excellent means to reveal what may be missing.

  31. So relevant to where I am – swimming around looking for land to set roots upon – thank you! It is a hard time right now when those around you seem so settled and you are out there still searching for your heart.

  32. Wow, this post came at great timing again… how relevant to what is happening in my life (an ongoing theme of what I personally and courageously have to face). I love this article and I loved it the last time I read it. I just finished listening to the Dreamspeak teleclass. So beautiful (and informative), as you are, Toko-pa. Thanks a bunch.

  33. Your words resonate deeply within me. I have recognized cultural disenfranchisement but your words, the poetry of them, reach me in the heart. Thank you

  34. […] be on Embodying the Dream – Living into Belonging – in which I’ll talk about the architecture of belonging; how it spins itself out from the center of the Self in the form of dreams and synchronicity which […]

  35. […] Turner. From her blog [Illustration offered as an anonymous gift […]

  36. I can’t wait for your book, what a blessing, thank you!

  37. Beautiful. Sums it up for me. Thank you.

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