As a kid, on Valentine’s Day I declare that I belong
My elementary school classmates and I were raised to include one another on Valentine’s Day. Without exception. Any other day there were “popular” kids, “dumb” kids, and kids nobody wanted to be seen with on the playground. But on Valentine’s Day we shared a ritual. Each of us brought a shoe-box, decorated for the occasion, and clearly identified by name. The shoebox had a slit in the front or the top. And we each brought a Valentine addressed to every other classmate. Of course distinctions, meanings, and inferences were made. But the popular-dumb-kids-nobody-wants-to-be-seen-with dramas were muted.
There is one shoebox I remember vividly: I had covered it in a shiny gold wrapping paper and decorated it with red lacy paper hearts further adorned with cut-outs, perhaps from the Best and Company Catalogue or Good Housekeeping Magazine. I don’t remember what grade I was in or what I did or did not receive by the end of the school day.
When I unravel the significance of the memory, I can only say that somehow it stands for my 2nd or 3rd or 4th-grade declaration:
I belong. And so do you, and you, and you….
Back then, Belonging was a holiday event. There were 364 other days of the year when it cost me to belong. Belonging meant Being Good, Being Quiet, Being Studious, avoiding my Mother’s Look. 364 other days full of exceptions of who was to be included and under what circumstances.
As an alleged grown-up, I want to foster belonging
For family members, friends, strangers, colleagues, clients, teachers, students: I want to be a giver of Valentines every day, to slip something beautiful or appreciated or supportive into the shoebox of each life. To choose the right words or choose silence, at the right time. To act or to sit or to move this way or that way at the right moment.
From family members, friends, strangers, colleagues, clients, teachers, students: I want to be a receiver of Valentines every day, to perceive the beauty, appreciation, or support that is there. To see through “interruptions” and “delays” and “obstacles” and “the opportunities to do things over again.” To hear truthful words I’d rather not hear and hear through them back to belonging.
Belonging is a healing Valentine for the 21st century epidemic of shattering events.
Awakening or asleep, it is into one another’s hearts that we slip messages daily.
We belong to one another.
Different and the same, particular and human, we belong to one another.
Including everyone. Everybody. Every body. Even as one binary after another softens and shows its glorious nuances, leaving us bereft of our fixed categories and stumbling over new words.
Belonging is the why and how we are here, in the world.
Belonging is the way we dignify one another’s human existence, and the Mother Earth beneath our feet.
You, and you, and you…and me.
We belong to one another and to the Big Wide World.
Is there a situation you are struggling to include in your life? a difficult person? Are you that difficult person, wrestling with yourself ? Does responding to the world feel like a duty or an intrusion? Nondual healing can bring you to a new level of wholeness and freedom in your life, as you practice including more and more of who you are. Schedule a 30-minute free consult. Let’s talk.