Soul Matters at Tree of Life: Being a Community of Belonging

When we hear the word “belonging”,  we think of the places and circumstances where we can be ourselves… where we feel safe and welcomed.   The sense of belonging arises in  situations that nurture us and help us grow into more of ourselves.  Yet, in the picture of ducklings leaping from their nest, we witness a very joyful launch, from a place of safety, into the unknown.  To continue to grow into their potential, the ducklings have chosen to move into a new world of possibility.  In a way, we can say they’ve identified  the larger, still unknown, world as the place they now belong.

So where are you on the spectrum of belonging?  Are you wishing to feel more welcomed?   If you’re in a space of belonging,  did you find that place …..or create it?   Is there anyone outside your space of belonging who needs to be welcomed in?

Brené Brown, a researcher in social psychology has some inspiring insights into this phenomenon of belonging:     “As it turns out, men and women who have the deepest sense of true belonging are people who also have the courage to stand alone when called to do that. They are willing to maintain their integrity and risk disconnection in order to stand up for what they believe in… Guess what emerged as the greatest barrier to belonging?  Fitting in.  Because when we fit in, we assess a situation and acclimate.  When we belong, we bring ourselves to it and say this is who I am.”

The October Soul Matters packets offer materials to explore the meaning and possibilities of “belonging” – to reflect on how we experience it in our lives and how it is a part of sharing in community.   We use this theme for worship and for faith formation in our RE program and chalice circles.  The Soul Matters resource packet can be accessed here.   If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take one from those available in the fellowship room or ask for a copy, if they’re gone.   You might also like joining a chalice circle to share your insights and hear what others are saying – you can find information about the circles  here and there are flyers in the fellowship room with information about this program.

Wishing you joy in community,

M. E. Tanabe

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