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As humans we have a deeply innate yearning for love, acceptance, community ...belonging. We call it all kinds of other stuff, and we search for it it all kinds of places...but when you strip away the noise that truly what we ache for. Belonging sounds so simple, I’m part of my family, my neighbourhood, my place of work, my social networks; does being ‘part of’ infer a sense of belonging? If it’s as simple as ‘being a part of’ and we are ostensibly part of a bunch of groups why is there so much longing and loneliness on a planet of over 7 billion? Why has isolation emerged as the other pandemic even prior to Covid? Why do many divisions dominate our headlines? Perhaps we underestimate what authentic belonging truly is? It’s true nature much more complex than just membership. Perhaps line most things, going deeper first within ourselves is a prerequisite for belonging to or with others? Belonging is complex. We, like most living beings are social, dependent, we need each other at a certain level to survive at the most basic level and flourish at the highest. So like most things required for humanity to thrive belong is complex and requires a level of deep self exploration and courageous truth for it to truly emerge. Courage? Why courage? The hard truth about belonging is that it requires us to share ourselves, our true selves, that authentic naked self we often hide to fit in. Yes ironic as it sounds we hide who we are to belong, and we most often hide from ourselves. We’ve all said and done things that were outside of our values to fit in. It’s the messy part of our human condition that creates so many contradictions. Accepting ourself requires us to show up and acknowledge who we truly are, what we really want and how we really feel. It’s the stuff that usually makes us uncomfortable and clears a room that we need to face in order for us to truly embrace ourselves. Belonging to ourselves first paves the way for us to belong to each other. Loving ourselves truly, without shame, ego or fabrication —- every part of us the great and the not so great, helps us show up so we an in fact truly ready for belonging. Me being me and you being you with true acceptance and no pressure to change is belonging. Hiding our true self to be like the rest helps us fit in but it leads to a thin falsehood that usually leads to pain, self loathing and disappointment. So like most things, love is the answer to belonging. And the kind of love I reference here is not simply seeking love of self or others; it’s understanding you are love, we are love, it’s not something we seek, give or receive its actually who we are. Once you understand this, belonging, connection to each other, is seamless for we become open, seen, heard, valued. We belong. It’s as simple and yes as complex as that love —- in its purest form it is powerfully healing and leads us back to who we were meant to be before allowing ourselves to be distracted and divided. So my wish for you, for all of us, is to integrate this truth that can bring us together in a manner that heals divisions erases the myth of separation and builds unity. For this truth bolsters real belonging to one global community, insulated by the purest, deepest love that creates no room injustice, harm or pain and sets us on a path to courageous, open brave-hearted great big light giving love to take us forward together. Peggy Taillon Founder and President HERA Mission @heramission 613-769-5499

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