Traumatic Belonging? or Ecstatic Belonging?

Posted in Transformative Justice

Under the regime of traumatic belonging, each one of us trembles with reasonable terrors of running afoul of social norms. Betrayal and abandonment; dread that we are unloveable; certain knowledge that my bad or your bad endangers me; terror that I am or you are not good enough. Continual self-management so that unwelcome parts stay hidden. Continual punishment of each other’s unwanted parts. We are so afraid of being found out, of making mistakes, and being punished, stigmatized, outlawed. We feel health and success as the oh-so-pleasant feeling of conforming to privileged social norms enough that we can relax awhile, and take a deeper breath. Until we fail, or fall, or do something wrong – and all our provisional belonging ends.

Can we co-create something different? Let’s dream into something we have no cultural, historical precedents for. What is trustworthy community? Can we dare find safe-enough, brave-enough ways to explore, and come together in the transpersonal belonging we access through ecstasies? Can ecstatic practice help us weave creative, supportive communities, where we can be both powerful and vulnerable?

We need commitment to each other, with space to share our vulnerable truths, shame-filled failures, and true longings. We need to be able and willing to make mistakes, and transform our transgressions into teachers, so we can offer each other competent true love. We need commitment to our longings for ecstasy, and then time being satisfied, savouring enough. Maybe if we listen to the ecosystems we are embedded in, and the poetry of differentiation and cooperation in our multicellular bodies, we’ll learn that we already know how good community can be. We are already, at so many levels, so much more than an aggregation of terrified individuals, policing themselves and each other with rules of belonging. Many forms of uniqueness can be valued and supported as empowering aspects of a larger system. A community has emergent, unexpected properties that make the whole more than the sum of its parts. Suddenly, there is ecstasy. Ahhh! We belong.

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