...This is the bright home in which I live,
This is where I ask my friends to come,
This is where I want to love all the things
It has taken me so long to learn to love.
This is the temple of my adult aloneness
And I belong to that aloneness
As I belong to my life.
There is no house like the house of belonging.
~David Whyte (The House of Belonging, 1997)
To belong, or to feel a sense of belonging, is a basic need, like food or shelter – it allows us to feel whole, safe and secure. It is attachment to community, home, and the people we love. -- an acceptance of who we are in our own space and time.
Belonging means “I’m not alone” – belonging is the opposite of loneliness, although adult aloneness (as in the excerpt, above) is the acceptance and love of one’s self. We can savor our aloneness without feeling lonely, and we can still feel a sense of belonging with our loved ones, friends, community, and culture even when we’re alone.
I have often felt the richness of this Island as a deeply caring and sharing community, and never have I felt it more than during the holidays. As I bundle up to walk my neighborhood I am amazed by the beauty that surrounds me, even in the coldest winter months. At night I’m delighted by the sight of houses adorned in holiday lights, and a feeling of warmth permeates my soul. Belonging evokes a sentiment of gratitude, difficult to explain, yet unmistakable in a pervading feeling of peace.
Over the years, during the holiday season, I have enjoyed a tradition of my own. I love to walk along the streets of Langley, stop into the various shops and talk to the local merchants. I attend to last-minute holiday purchases in support of local small businesses… and spread good cheer. This tradition, going on 25 seasons now, has always lifted my spirits.
Even a trip to the grocery store puts me in a good mood as I catch a glimpse of my surroundings and think, “what a wonderful place to live”, while driving the backroads home in wonderment of rural Whidbey.
Especially during the holidays, it is important for us to feel connection with others, as we open our hearts and spread the joy of the season with kindness and love and belonging.