Those two words are plastered all over the gym I recently joined. I see them on every piece of equipment. They swim up at me through a haze of sweat and heavy breath as I push through the cardio cycle of the treadmill or elliptical or bike. I know it’s a marketing ploy. It’s their hook. Everybody is welcome there, not just lunks.
There’s something about those two little words that tug at me.
Doesn’t the root of most unhappiness come down to a feeling of not belonging? We feel different. Outside. Other. And we try to hide the shame of being different behind wine, cigarettes, food shopping, social media, drugs, TV. Whatever will momentarily numb the discomfort of not belonging.
It’s a question the whispers at the edge of my consciousness, tinged with hope rather than disdain.
My yoga practice helps me feel like I belong in my body.
Meditation helps me feel I belong in this moment, just as I am.
Writing helps me feel I belong to the world within and around me as I struggle with words and stories that reveal what I care most about at any given moment.
So, as I climb imaginary hills and bike imaginary distances, I appreciate seeing the words “You belong” gazing up at me, a simple yet powerful reminder that I belong in this body, in this moment, with heart thumping and sweat dripping, breathing hard and fast in this one body that belongs to me and me to it.
You Belong ~ Kim Haas
You belong in this skin with its freckles and lines and scars.
You belong in this body—the body you are in now, not when you are ten pounds lighter or the one from ten years ago but this body right now in all its glorious imperfect beauty.
You belong in this life with the family you were born into whether it is fractured or whole, nurturing or absent. You chose them for a reason, so you belong.
You belong wherever you stand at any given moment on this earth.
You belong to this family of humans, all desperate to belong, to find their place out in the world when the real belonging takes place deep inside each of us.
You belong to the Universe of stardust and moonlight.
To the ebb and flow of the tides.
To brother crow and sister snake.
You don’t have to prove you belong. The fact that you are here is the proof.
You, dear one, belong here, now, just as you are.