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  • Writer's pictureReflective Resources

Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner A book suggestion on the theme of belonging

Feel like you don’t belong? You’re not alone. We live in one of the most connected times on earth but never before have so many felt so lonely or alienated from ourselves, each other and from the natural world. This manifests in different ways such as having difficulty finding community, feeling anxiety about your worthiness and place in the world, or simply feeling disconnected; the absence of belonging is the great silent wound of our times.

Most people spend a lifetime seeking in vain and striving to belong, but what if belonging isn’t a place at all but a set of skills, or competencies, that we in modern times have lost or forgotten?.

Drawing on myth, stories and dreams, Toko-pa takes us into the origins of our estrangement, reframing exile as a necessary initiation into authenticity how that alienation affects the choices we make as individuals, and as a culture, and what skills we can learn to restore a sense of belonging in our lives, and in our world.

In the book based on Jungian ideas and dream analysis, Toko-pa talks about the disconnection we feel from others, as well as from our own selves, because of the experiences we’ve had in our childhood. Even those who didn’t experience severe trauma were often told - either verbally or non-verbally: You’re not good enough. or You’re too much and so learned to shut off that part of us, whatever it was. - our sense of joy, our creativity, our need for autonomy. We set aside those needs so we could be accepted by our family, whose love we craved more than anything in the world.

But despite our childhood upbringing, it doesn’t mean we need to always live our lives in this way. We can accept the pain and suffering we’ve experienced, and incorporate that into new, more whole ways of being in the world. A big part of this is finding a new relationship with our needs - seeing them, understanding them, being willing to articulate them. Being willing to ask for help in meeting our needs - from our children, our partners, and our communities. Toko-pa points out that our culture teaches us that the giver is in the position of strength; they are rich and secure and don’t need anyone’s help. The receiver is the weak, poor, needy one . So to be in the position of strength we give and give and give until we don’t have anything left. But we have needs too, and we deserve to have these met, and to invite others to help us meet them

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