On Belonging: Anywhere
TL 680-5 Leadership Seminar: The Integrative Foundation
Joan Clingan and Colleagues
January 31st, 2013
I never felt that I belonged anywhere.
bell hooks writes in her 2009 book, Belonging: a culture of place, “Like many of my contemporaries I have yearned to find my place in this world, to have a sense of homecoming, a sense of being wedded to place. Searching for a place to belong I make a list of what I will need to create firm ground.” (P 2). I have done the same thing. I still gaze through the windows of cars, trains, and planes and wonder about living in the places through which we pass. When I arrive in a new town, I look around, and ask myself, “Could I live here? How could I live here?” I have had a habit of looking for home, a place to which I could belong, having left my parent’s home for the first time, when I was 17. I have kept moving every few years or less, from house to house, town to city and back, state to state, country to country, person to person, job to job, ever since. I have often thought there may be something missing, or something wrong, unsettled about me, a sense of, no center, no there, there, with me. However I am coming to believe that there are those, who, through temperament, choice, or circumstance find themselves at home wherever they may be, whomever they may be with, and whatever may they may be doing. I am beginning to recognize, that if I remove the blinders of false belonging/alienation and habits of mind, I am one of those people. I, too, can be at home anywhere. In fact, as much as I have been leaving and looking for home, I have made a practice of finding it. What belonging can be about, then, is not so much the location of belonging, belonging to specific family, community, place, profession, or culture in any of its aspects. It can be, rather, a locus: a set of beliefs, stances, attitudes, and practices that one brings...
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