Toko-pa Turner: Belonging – How to regain the feeling of belonging by connecting with oneself, with others and with nature

More than a book, “Belonging” is an experience that dives into forgotten or suppressed values of femininity. Without being a book exclusively for women, Belonging proves that the connection between women and nature is much stronger and deeper than we knew. The author speaks from her own experience about the power of vulnerability and how women can thrive through female solidarity.

“I meet so many women with great ideas, but absolutely terrified of implementing them out into the world. This terror is a combination of things, but at a fundamental level it is the fear of criticism. The inner critic, a mouthpiece for all the disparaging voices in our past and culture, is the first enemy of true belonging. It puts dams in our way built of “BUTs”. “BUT you have nothing original to say.” “BUT you can’t prove it.” “BUT you will look or sound ridiculous.” “BUT you’re not as talented as X.”

“There is a wild woman beneath our skin who wants nothing more than to dance until her feet hurt, to sing her beautiful suffering to the ceiling, and to offer the infinite cup of her creativity as a way of life. And if you are able to sing right from there, from the wound you’ve worked so hard to hide, will not only give meaning to your story, but also become a voice that supports the voices of those with similar wounds.”

The feminine is in direct conversation with that which connects us to all living things. It is the mystical path that points us to our senses and the living world around us for guidance and collaboration. Our true source of strength is our network, our combined wisdom and experience, our dedication to belonging.

The feminine values the intelligence of our feelings, recognizes the need for ceremonies and rites of passage, teaches us the power of listening and witnessing, preserves the meaning of intuition and dreams. The feminine is the very ability to be sensitive and vulnerable and it is that which honors the wisdom of the body.

“Whether in illness, loss, conflict or depression, invariably there will be times when inferior forces prevail in our lives. In these moments, all attempts to force a solution or gain an advantage just worsen the condition of our misfortune. In these times, Taoism counsels us to Be A Mountain; to stay put sincerely – firmly rooted in patience – actively accepting the strength of the Earth herself.”

„In times of scarcity and doubt, we are taught to get organized, launch plans, plot directions, and build agendas. There is nothing wrong with these actions—in fact, they are essential in any creative process. But if we don’t first come into the sincerity of solitude, these are just defensive postures against the course of events.

“Because we often think of vulnerability as a negative trait which leaves us exposed to harm, I thought we could do with a new word which acknowledges its power: vulnerabravery. Instead of putting up our defenses when we meet with conflict, vulnerabravery is the conscious choice to keep our hearts open so that we might discover what’s hidden within it. It is a great paradox that we find our true strength when we let ourselves be undefended.”

Adapted from “Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home” by Toko-pa Turner, translated into Romanian for Herald Publishing House as „Apartenența”.

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