Dare to Dream of Deep Belonging

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Belonging | 5 comments

Dare to Dream of Deep Belonging

“Our bodies know they belong. It’s our minds that make ourselves so homeless.”
~ John O’Donohue

Our bodies know they belong.

Hmmm. As I ponder this idea, my thoughts wander to the multitude of ways my body has taken on the ideas of my dominant mind. My body has literally become twisted with manifestations of the deep sense of Not Belonging. This Not Belonging is indeed a type of homelessness, a personal definition of despair. I experienced so many incidents of “betrayal” by my body, that at one point, I had to question what was really going on. I mean, if you can’t trust your own body, what can you trust? I started to sense that my body was leading me on wild goose chases as a way of educating me to the fluidity of health. I had severe scoliosis, several hormonal abnormalities that wreaked havoc with my overall health, a mysterious fever that lasted over a year, multiple biopsies, surgeries. With each new round of illness, there would be a “real” diagnosis or an enigmatic journey toward more questions. I started to question why I would be having so many diverse problems in the body and started to wonder if maybe none of it was as real as I thought it was.

In the first week of my training as a Rubenfeld Synergist, Joe Weldon, the co-director of the program, made a statement that stunned me at the time, and has stayed with me as an amazing illustration of the wisdom of language and the body. He talked about the concept of belonging and how it relates to the body. When we have the deep sense of belonging, the body is relaxed and the spine will actually lengthen. That is, the spine itself will be long. Be long, belong. This concept touched me on such a deep level as someone whose spine was not being its true long self. With a fairly dramatic S-curve diagnosed when I was twelve years old, followed by five years of painful treatments, I knew that my spine did indeed demonstrate my experience of not belonging.

Years before, I had begun an earnest and dedicated search for a sense of belonging. The journey was mostly about going inward. Into the loneliness, into the pain, into the despair. Not a journey for the faint of heart. Yet, through this journey and because of it, I have come out on the other side with such an amazing lightness of being. A real true sense of belonging which is fairly independent of whatever changeable conditions are happening on the outside.

At one point while on the journey toward belonging, I heard the REM song Belong on the radio. And even though I had heard the song a thousand times before, this time, it struck me with its magical grace.

She began to breathe
To breathe at the thought of such freedom
Stood and whispered to her child: belong
She held the child and whispered
With calm, calm: belong

The idea of a mother whispering the word and probably the whole experience of “belong” to a child touched me in such an overwhelming way. As I got out of the car and began my run at the high school track, the rhythm of the song and the rhythm of belonging started working its way into my system. The run was one of the more magical experiences of my life because I let the belonging into my system at the same time as mourning living in a society where we do not know how to impart belonging to our children. The mourning and the allowing misted into a blanket of warmth around me; and from that moment on, the outer manifestation of belonging started showing up more and more in my life.

Dare to dream of deep belonging.


  1. You have a blog! Yay!

    I want to go off and think about this because I am working on belonging (after realizing that I feel like I do not belong at such a deep level that it is hard to appreciate the connections in my life fully and truly).

    But the thing it reminded me of is that when I wake up in the morning, my spine is longer. I see this every morning and it amazes me. And then, after only a little bit of time, it starts to curve/shorten again. Now I am thinking about this in a new way!

  2. Patricia, Such powerful ideas! I love the idea of deep belonging, stretching our spines (and ourselves to feel deeply into belonging), your own story, and your comment, “if you can’t trust your own body, what can you trust?” How many of us have not felt that at one point or another? This blog article reminds me of a seminar I took in Sensory Awareness where we were brought down to each sensation in our bodies and re-learned to walk from crawl – up. Isn’t it amazing how deeply feeling our bodies and our grounding, we can experience, “lightness of being.” Truly a paradox! Thank you for sharing such powerful and transformative ideas!

    • Thank you for reading this post, Heather. Re-learning walking from the crawl up sounds very powerful. The body is such an amazing resource, if only we would turn to it more often. I imagine a world where ‘sensory awareness’ is the norm ~ we would have no option but to be kinder to ourselves. And to each other!

  3. Patricia,

    I was looking for a particular synergist’s email address on the RSM site… googled, just below our RS.com came you. When I read your list of posts in addition to this belonging post, I felt bouyed up by the breadth of your teaching and your brilliant expressions of your story, your truth. You have uncommonly illuminated these very common experiences,that’s what I’m trying awkwardly to say. Thank you and bless you, portlandsynergy, dear Patricia. Bonnie

    • Oh Bonnie,

      Thank you so much for reading my blog and thank you for the very kind words about the expressions of my story! I plan to do a lot more in the coming year, and appreciate the encouragement.

      much love,

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