I wrote a long post about belonging and loneliness – about our desire to belong and how it shows up in healthy and unhealthy ways.
I like you so, I’m sparing you. The writing went circles. It was stilted, messy, in conflict with itself.
But at the end of my long struggle with the topic, at the end of all that going round and round, out of the blue came an idea that I think is right.
It’s this: That feeling of being alone, separate, is an illusion. We all belong – deeply, inextricably. To the human family. To the planet. To life itself. We are each one knot in a tightly stitched fabric, one cell in a body.
A cell that thinks it does not belong to the body? A tapestry thread sure it is a single strand hanging in space? That’s about illusion.
It’s an illusion I fall into often. We all do.
When we believe we lack connection, we start thinking we need to get or make connection. We set off with that feeling of incompleteness to make new friends, reach out over email, talk to the gal at yoga class, show up a the brunch – all that stuff. We think the default state is separation, and we have to make or acquire connection through effort, being likable.
My experience is that doing that doesn’t feel very good – it feels like striving, like climbing uphill. It feels needy and it is – it comes from a place of feeling like I need something I’m missing.
The alternative is this: knowing you already belong. That you not only have connection but that you are connection. From there you go out into the world to express the connection that is, not to find or create it. What a difference.
You still make new friends and talk to the gal at yoga and join the book group – but not to fill a lack. You do it to live what already is. To play the music that you are, which is a music of connectedness. To do what is it is your nature to do, just like the bee gathers pollen and the bird builds a nest.
We need to rename and reconceptualize loneliness – because it’s not the sadness that comes from being isolated. It’s the pain that comes from not living the connectedness we already are.
This sounds lofty, but it is practical. The next time you are feeling lonely, separate, alone, like you don’t belong, first connect to your fundamental belonging. Remember your connectedness to the human family, to all of life, in -through music, in nature, or just by bringing this idea to mind – whatever works for you. Then, go out into the world with the intention to express connection, not to seek it.
There is nothing to seek because nothing is lacking. There is no connection to seek because you already are deeply connected to everyone and everything. There is only the longing to live a life that expresses that connection.

Feel the difference?