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What does belonging mean?
Or my thoughts on modern way through the demands of life.
Growing up in an Italian (my dad is a first-generation American) & Irish household, family, community, and a sense of belonging were integral to who I was in the world.
I always knew where I belonged: Sunday dinners, tons of cousins, 9 Aunts, and Uncles.
With that history, there have been a few times in my adult life where belonging and an affinity for a space and place played a healing role in my existential quest for community.
Opposite of that, there were many years when I was telling myself a lie just so I had a place to go and be and do.
A way to stave off the demands and isolation of modern life.
As a result, I was trying to replicate the feelings of my childhood family life.
The first healthy and true belonging that began to match that feeling was when I moved back to Boulder, CO, in 2002 and started at Naropa University - a Buddhist college where I majored in Contemplative Psychology with a focus on Existentialism and minored in Religious Studies.
My time there involved lots of meditation, psychology debates, creating space for magic, and some Ikebana flower arranging.
I still use the meditation, psychology, and contemplative skills I learned at Naropa to this day.
If I had been paying attention at Naropa, I might have noticed that community and a sense of belonging were at the core of my existential existence.
I was persistently searching for it, and when I found it, I found the most joy.
I believe and still do, for that matter, that being seen and seeing others is key to meaning and purpose.
This concept and development of Self were further influenced when I was diagnosed with stage 3 Melanoma in 2014 and was as close to death as you'll get (that's a story for another day).
Out of that illness and recovery, I questioned who I was at my core.
What the heck was I even doing in this life?
I was lost.
In this wilderness of confusion and groundlessness, I found myself on the internet, working in the Online Marketing Industry, surrounded by false belonging profits.
I was in spaces and places where liars roamed, and I believed the hype.
I had been marketing and copywriting on the internet for 7 years before, but this endeavor was different. It was a giant club where we all had a badge of money-making honor.
A Ponzi Scheme based on the belief in belonging and fortune.
I bought in, and honestly, I was a foot soldier.
All in the name of wanting a place and community to call home.
Little did I know, I never really belonged.
As a writer, I was responsible for many communications that led people to join whatever course, program, or latest "look at me!" influence was happening.
I take responsibility for my role in this and don't claim otherwise.
In my quest to replicate the community and belonging of my roots, I took a wrong turn.
Then, as I delved into my process this last winter of leaving the industry and starting anew (you can read more about that here), I realized maybe I wasn't alone.
Maybe others felt that way, too.
And part of me wanted to try and be a conduit of good or at least a guide back towards the community I felt within my family system.
My husband, bleary-eyed and sipping his coffee, just asked, where is this email going? What are you trying to say?
Honestly, I don't know. I don't have an agenda. I don't have a call to action.
It could be the final missive to leave the past behind and move on.
It could be the public acknowledgment to myself that I've grown and can set goals for the future that are more positive, true, and aligned with my values.
Or maybe I'm just here, sending up a flare (as my friend Karen Kenney likes to say) and letting you know you're not alone & you're welcome here.
But before I sign off, know this: One of my core values is honesty, and it's paramount to this experience at The Nocturne.
It's important to name that here.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for being here. And I promise only some of these posts will be long missives about random thoughts.
PS. Are you new here? Welcome! Comment below and say hello!