Belonging  

Thinking back on how I’ve shaped my world recently, I’ve realized that I was a person who needed repeated validation of my friendships. I required proof – ideally in the form of words. Hearing a friend tell me that I mattered to them was the single greatest thing that could happen to me. Of course, this came with a lot of drawbacks – i.e. I could be persuaded to do just about anything for a friend if they just kept giving me those sweet, sweet legitimizing words. I would put up with a lot of not so nice behaviour, or do things that were not in line with my true wishes, or feelings.  I defended these actions by telling myself that’s what it takes to have a “best friend”. I convinced myself that I really liked some of the guys I dated, but really it was because they were constantly giving me the sense of inclusion that I desired.

Those days are (for the most part) behind me, although I still feel all warm and full of love when a friend or acquaintance tells me how much I mean to them. But I don’t crave it like crazy anymore.  What I’ve come to realize is that at the crux of those feelings was the deep need, one that we all have, to feel like we belong; To feel that we can be ourselves, and to be supported in doing so. When I lost my parents I really let that need to belong spiral out of control. For the most part, your parents brace you, create a foundation for you, and back you up so that you feel a deep sense of belonging – to a family. Once that infrastructure is gone, it becomes a game of constantly chasing that comfort and safety. It wasn’t until I found yoga that I began to turn inward to find that belonging and that acceptance within myself.

I have been practicing yoga for a long time now, long enough to have found that I belong in my body, and to a community that is all striving to bring love, healing and peace to themselves and into the world – a goal that aligns deeply with me. Yoga has given me a platform where I can put words to the feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and frustration, and in saying those words hold others up to do the same. All of a sudden we ALL belong (because c’mon, who hasn’t felt those same feelings at one point or another?).  I began to increase my sense of belonging by looking for ways that I was similar to others, instead of the ways in which we are different. In releasing the need to fit in, I’ve found my own voice, and my own strengths that I can share through teaching yoga. Watching students begin to discover their own power and fortitude is all the reinforcement I need.

Have you ever noticed that the kids that have big families, to which they are accountable, but also to which they lean heavily, succeed the most? The yoga community is sort of like that isn’t it? We are a big family that works together. We share the space in which we move, but we also create support by chanting or moving in UNISON; like great big seaweed stalks moving in the ocean of our breath.

I hope to be able to continue to move together for many years to come. I hope to keep holding space, sharing my perceptions, and offering a platform for others to share too, so that we may all continue to feel right at home where we are.

I’d like to leave you with this poem by Nayyirah Waheed, entitled Emotional Nutrition

I WILL TELL YOU MY DAUGHTER

of your worth

not your beauty

every day. (your beauty is a

given. every being is born

beautiful).

knowing your worth

can save your life.

raising you on beauty alone

you will be starved.

you will be raw.

you will be weak.

an easy stomach.

always   in   need   of   someone

telling you how

beautiful you are.

 


Basha Nemeskeri’s goal is to create an open, safe, loving, environment which enables people to grow. Basha has been studying yoga for the last 12 years, and has always been guided to serve and to share her passion with others. Basha lives and loves in Nanaimo, where she spends her days playing with her family, hiking, adventuring, and learning all the ways she can incorporate yoga into life.