We spend so much time worrying about how to approach our future that we rarely consider how approachable we might be. We armour ourselves with savvy, strength, and certification so that when our moment arrives we feel sufficiently prepared. But with our shoulder always to the wheel of life, we can miss the very encounter we’ve been preparing for. 

To be approachable to life, to each other, and to mystery, we have to cultivate an inner hospitality. Like the host who prepares an extra helping of food, a fire in the hearth, and a seat at the table even when guests aren’t expected, belonging always begins with an invitation.

Artwork by Brunna Mancuso

When a person extends an invitation to us, we immediately feel welcomed into their world. In fact, much of the loneliness people feel is the result of not being invited. It seems our culture has lost the skillfulness of hospitality. 

Whether we are looking to create closeness with others, with nature, or with the living mystery, an invitational presence is the prerequisite to any form of intimacy.

Like the physical flinging open of our doors to guests, we can cultivate a quality of hospitality in our presence which signals to the other that they are welcome in our company just as they are.

This quality naturally emerges when we put down our own manoeuvrings long enough to be truly interested who someone is, what they need, and what they love. Simply put, it is to clear an opening in our hearts for the other to take shelter.

When your presence is hospitable, the other can become their essential self in your company, even if just for a holy moment.

One of the greatest contributions we can make to our communities is to hold this welcoming presence for others, without any presumption that they give something in return or conform to our expectations, without giving into the temptation to change, fix, or solve their questions for them.

This presence silently communicates that it believes in the part of them that knows which way to go. And they can feel that. With their inner knowing reflected, they begin to move in the right direction.

Excerpt from Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa Turner