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You Can Belong
Greetings lovely one,
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my dear friend and spiritual accountability sister, Crystal Meisaan, about the artwork in my short-term rental. Not just the human-created art but the artwork of the entire environment. Surrounded by the oranges and smoky gray mists of the mountains and blues of the ocean, I wasn’t used to the sounds of nature at night or at the break of dawn when the winds howled, and rain droplets cascade down the mountains like tear drops while the mountains themselves moaned and groaned like a blues song.
Of course I would go to a beautiful place, find sadness in the beautiful landscape and find a way to honor it as sacred. But before the reverence kicked in, I shared with my friend that I had gone to a dark place in my mind after hearing words that triggered some childhood trauma. It wasn’t so much the words but the timing and who said them that brought up old tapes that used to play over and over in my mind. The kind that wanted me to shrink away, to minimize who I was for the comfort and convenience of another so I wouldn’t have to endure getting picked on, ridiculed, talked down to, mistreated, taken for granted … interesting how childhood bullying translates into adulthood abuse.
As I looked at the art, the painting hung just so on the wall, I was reminded of deep-seated feelings of alienation, the kind that said I didn’t and could never belong. Crying my heart out to my dear friend, I sniffed and snotted my way through regurgitated pain and began to notice that unlike my childhood — where I felt I had nowhere to turn to but my journal — here I was being held in this space by a friend allowing myself to be vulnerable. It felt good to talk about old resurfaced burdens I had believed long healed without interruption, without her trying to fix me, invalidate my feelings, or tell me to get over stuff that happened long before we even met. I was able to be alone with myself, with my grief, and still together with my friend and the guiding Spirit of Love to whom we prayed and invited in before beginning our conversation.
Eventually, tears of pain turned into tears of laughter as our conversation progressed and I remembered more and more of my life’s blessings. We (she and I) then took a look at the picture again and perceived and interpreted it in a new way … funny how we can look at the same image and see it in new ways when our hearts feel safe and we feel hope deep inside of our soul. She noticed a lotus flower I didn’t see — not once — in all the times I looked at the picture; I shared my brief history with the lotus flower (lotus flowers are one of the constant symbols that randomly come up in my life). Honestly, I was surprised I didn’t recognize it in the picture.
Though curiosity is an integral part of my personality, I had never looked up the lotus’ meaning. But now, finally, I did and the symbol is one of … rebirth, strength, resilience. Lotus flowers rise out of the muck from the murkiest places. In different traditions they represent spiritual enlightenment.
Lotus flowers don’t seem to fit in the environment, but they take up space, beautiful in their uniqueness. Simply put, they belong.
I am reminded of the Maya Angelou quote, “you belong no place — you belong everyplace — no place at all” and before that line she says “you are free.” Free to belong to yourself, to be yourself, to be okay with who you are wherever you are, whether people accept you or not. Your worth, your whole self, your right to exist is The Divine gift to everyone. Somewhere along the way some of us created hierarchy and forgot we all live and die under this same sun.
In change-making, in leadership, in any area of life where you feel led to take up space, to answer calls, to live with purpose, a fact of life is that there will be people who won’t get you, and people tend not to like what they can’t understand. Some will crawl under your skin, look for ways to diminish, or even go as far as to snuff out your Light. And that is why the work of healing and the work of love — a love ethic — is ongoing, persistent, and courageous. It is a choice we must make over and over again to stand tall and shine like the beautiful unique beings we are even in the muck and swaps of life.
I have found that sometimes, when I get overwhelmed by the hate, the anger, other people’s projections of their own hurt onto me, I need to slow down and take another look at the picture in front of me. I need to go deeper and look back at where I’ve come from, the hard lessons I’ve learned, the ways I’ve grown, what I was able to survive when I didn’t think I’d make it past another minute of agony, and of course, how the Lord has brought me this far and is still with me. I believe that when we take time to find that sacred even in the beautiful sadness, we’ll find little reminders that tell us we are worthy and we are enough, that we deserve to be here in our gloriously perfectly imperfect selves and, yes, we too can belong.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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Muse of the month
Blerd’s the word
Soooo, happy to report that after a long pandemic-related hiatus, I went (cautiously) back to my expensive hobby of Con-going. (Get it?) I went to BlerdCon in the DC area last month; I had wanted to go once hearing of it, but my choice was solidified with the mask mandate and other precautions they had in place. I have to say I really enjoyed the excursion. It was like no other Con I’ve gone to, in that Black and Brown folk were centered in the experience.
There was plenty of diversity present and I appreciated how cool all the people were, the cosplay was amazing, the food from the food trucks and the local spots in the area was delicious (I didn't care for the hotel fare or service though). There were also lots of awesome artist vendors to support. I was able to grab cards of several artists for some future projects I’ve been dreaming up. Overall, exciting time. No Face was actually my favorite character in Spirited Away, so I was super tempted to glomp this cosplayer when I saw them. (I asked for the picture instead and was treated with a gold coin that I almost didn’t take - if you know, you know! LOL.)