Click on the link at the end of this piece for Toko-pa’s wonderful post.
‘The ache to belong in friendship and community can be so pervasive that it colours everything we do.‘
The writer stumbled across these words yesterday, and felt a strong resonance – both in her own experience and in the experience of many of those she works with. So many of us are yearning to be seen as we see ourselves, and still be met in relationship – and the opportunities for that in our culture may seem vanishingly rare…. So many of us are achingly lonely and unheld.
‘Where can we go to find our people? Who will finally recognize our beauty and call us Necessary? Filled with these questions, life can become, as Llama Surya Das describes, like a dinner party at which everyone is silently asking, “What about me!?”’
Oh, that so familiar question…
And the answer she offers is the same answer the writer has approached many times, and fallen away from many times. It is the same answer offered by so many of the mystics, poets and wise ones who have gone before – Toko-pa quotes John O’Donohue, and Stephen Jenkinson also springs to mind. It is the spiritual practice of allowing our absences and lacks to enlarge our lives, to become generosity and loving kindness, rather than a closing, armouring, shrinking or bitterness: ‘Rather than a disappointed wanting to belong, this is the practice to Be The Longing’:-
‘Where you long for the friend who calls only to find out if you’re well, be that caller for another. Where you long for eloquent prayers to be made of everyday things, let your own clumsy words bless your meals out loud. Where you wish for ritual under the moons, be the one who holds the heartbeat of gathering. Where you ache to be recognized, allow yourself to be seen. Where you long to be known, sit next to someone and listen for the apertures into what they love. Where you wish you felt necessary, give those gifts away.’
A challenging practice indeed – and the heart of all that is hopeful.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling in Exeter since 1994