Belonging is a real thing, a structure whose pattern is revealed everywhere in the universe. It is something we build by connecting our identities relationally to other identities. When we build with anything less than our true selves, our hearts, brains, and bodies (to quote JC again) tell us to f*ck off by getting sick in some way. In addition, letting external frameworks (laws, buildings, religions, political parties) control our patterns of belonging results in divisive models and conflicts about whose institution is best.
Self-organization of human social networks is only impossible when the few try to do it for the many. When all of us have a valued self-organizing role, based on our identity, we become an artful, generative community. I think this begs the question, how? I suggest story-sharing in small groups. This is not the only way to build belonging but it is simple and very effective. Grab your friends, make an inviting, courageous space, and share stories of your lives with each other. Be curious noticers and generous encouragers.
The content of our stories is a substitute for living together as a small tribe of hunter-gatherers. Most of us don’t know each other well. Stories contain the evidence that points to our true identities. Together, we can coax our essential natures out of hiding. Out of the connections between these true natures will emerge a generative identity for our group - that we have built. As we begin to know who we are individually and interdependently, we will find that we have work that is ours alone to do. Doing whatever that is produces more stories to tell and more clarity about identities.
I write in a geeky, sciency, hopefully poetic way about belonging, storytelling, community building, deconstruction and construction,