“For the many of us who don’t have a sense of ‘the village’ in our own lives, the very mention of “community” can feel like that oasis of hope that disappears the moment we get close to it. We speak about it yearningly, like a fairy tale we ache to find ourselves in. And its absence has a great presence in our lives.

But instead of always asking, “Where do I belong?”—a question that is based in shortage—consider reversing your definition of the word from a noun to a verb, in which belonging becomes a practice of generosity as in, “I belong myself to that which I love.” A wise teacher once told me that the greatest spiritual practice he knows is to discover what you are most missing in your life… and then give that thing away.

Belong yourself to those who need you. Find those, human and other than human, who are drifting to the fringes, who are the least valued or most unexpected to have something to offer; look for those without a voice, and draw them in closer.”

Excerpt by Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Home