The Practice of Fearless Belonging
A reflection from Jessica Richmond, Musea CoCurator and Magazine Lead
Dear Musea Members and guest readers,
Last month’s theme was about the relationship to the Self. This month’s theme is your relationship to Community, and there is a strong connection between the two. Many of Musea’s Intentional Creativity courses ask us to explore the different “archetypes” that we embody at various times. There have been numerous archetypes identified within multiple religions and cultures and the fields of Archeo-mythology and Transpersonal Psychology. We can shift between them at different times; however, most of us tend to hover around a few core archetypes that are trying the hardest to vie for our attention. There are many reasons for this, some of which are based on external influences or pressures. One of the most potent of these is our communities. (For example, Musea as an Intentional Creativity community understandably focuses much on the archetype of The Artist).
Do you ever find yourself behaving one way when you are in a particular group and another with a different group? One of the most prominent examples of this for many can be the professional work persona. Have you ever worked in a job or had a long career where you felt that you just couldn’t be yourself? For some, this can feel like wearing a mask. And that is not to say that wearing a mask or routinely exchanging them is a bad thing. In fact, for some, it can even be necessary for survival.
Trying on various masks is part of human development. We see this exemplified the most in adolescence, when a society allows for it, and it’s motivated not only by the search for Self-identity but the deep desire for acceptance into a community to feel a sense of belonging. While highlighted the most during the teen years, this longing to belong never fades for many of us. We often try out different careers, hobbies, and interests to find our “people,” but it’s also not uncommon that we search without intention. And this can cause us to stop searching too soon. Afraid of rejection, we may see it when it’s not truly there. Or we may even be projecting our personal feelings of rejection onto others, i.e., you do not feel accepting of a specific group, so your subconscious convinces you they are the ones doing the rejecting.
Part of the encouragement of this month’s theme is to begin bringing more discerning intention and attention to your relationships with your various communities and groups. Notice which masks you might be wearing or which archetype you may be embodying to be part of a group, then notice how that feels. Is it comfortable? Does it still fit well, or have you outgrown it? Do you continue to enjoy it, or are you ready to exchange it for another? Do you feel a strong need to strip away all of them so that you may be your authentic self in whatever community you belong to, or are you comfortable shapeshifting? Try to approach these questions without self-judgment as there are no right or wrong answers, just noticing.
Observe the groups where you feel most comfortable. Who specifically do you feel the most comfortable with? Also, notice which communities allow space for your shapeshifting and those that may feel more rigid with their expectations. See how you choose to belong and how you may decide not to belong. Are you so rooted in the archetype of the rebel that it feels unnatural to desire belonging? Or are you comfortable going your own way while still maintaining a connection to community?
Intentional Creativity painting in progress by Musea Member Deniese Woolfolk
Shiloh Sophia often speaks about Fearless Belonging and how to stay grounded within your own self-identity while still being part of a community. It can feel very satisfying but also very daunting to maintain a solid connection to yourself while staying in relationship with others, including those who may differ from you.
Do you feel content with your choices to practice fearless belonging, or are you allowing past hurts of being excluded to hold you back from taking new risks in the present? Are you practicing Fearless Belonging within our Intentional Creativity community? If not, what would you need to help you do so? Will you ask for that help? We hope that you will.
As an encouragement, I will leave you with an excerpt from the book Belonging, Remembering Ourselves Home by Toka-pa Turner.
“For the rebels, and the misfits, the black sheep, and the outsiders.
For the refugees, orphans, the scapegoats, and the weirdos.
For the uprooted, the abandoned, the shunned and invisible ones.
May you recognize with increasing vividness that you know what you know.
May you give up your allegiances to self-doubt, meekness, and hesitation.
May you be willing to be unlikeable, and in the process be utterly loved.
May you be impervious to the wrongful projections of others,
And may you deliver your disagreements with precision and grace.
May you see, with the consummate clarity of nature moving through you,
that your voice is not only necessary, but desperately needed to sing us out of this muddle.
May you feel shored up, supported, entwined, and reassured as you offer yourself and your gifts to the world.
May you know for certain that even as you stand by yourself, you are not alone.”