Guest blog written by Joy Seunarine.
I open the door and step into the ward as I approach my next client. I am at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre where I provide massage therapy to its’ residents. Loud shouting is heard demanding that he be taken back to his bed. Chagrined, I see that this shouting is coming from my client, sitting in the middle of the hallway, demanding and screaming. As I approach him, I look at him gently calling his name. I am searching for ways to engage him, he turns to me; I have caught his attention. In the momentary quiet, I ease into a chair next to him, hold his hand and continue to call his name. As I wait for him to calm while holding his hand, I sense that he is receiving me. As I slowly start the massage, in my seat, he starts asking about different people. He has mistaken me for a family/ friend, a common occurrence in this population. This incident speaks to me of our strong need to belong. Once he felt the connection, his demeanor completely changed.
When I first started working at Sunnybrook hospital, my massages did not look like it did in my office. There were no well-defined protocols. I struggled with this offering of treatments that were outside the box. In discussion with colleagues, I came to realize that what I was doing was essential. Engaging my clients with eye contact and small talk to gain rapport allowed me to meet them in a very human way. In institutional settings, this human touch is desperately needed. This initial connection was 95% of the treatment. Skilled, loving touch sealed the therapeutic exchange. Despite my misgivings about my massages being different, a therapeutic response was always noted.
What makes a connection rich? A relationship does not automatically generate a sense of belonging. Belonging to me is feeling like I am part of something bigger than myself. That I am an active and necessary cog of a bigger machine generates feelings of warmth and expansiveness. This sense of association relies on mutual respect, appreciation and reciprocity. Good connections generate a feeling of filling each other up, of feeding each other. It also creates fertile ground that enables us to find our true essence from which we find ways to move forward.
Belonging, I believe, stems from an innate need to feel a sense of belonging to oneself. We have different parts of ourselves that are really one unified whole. There is no division. Our bodies, spirit, soul, and mind, need to feel a sense of connectedness, openness and flow to each other.
How do we cultivate a sense of belonging within ourselves? Meditation, which offers stillness, is an opportunity to go within. Silence is an opportunity for that part of ourselves that is held at a distance to make itself heard. This bubbling up of deep needs provides a chance for it to surface and be acknowledged. Exercise is a way to awaken the senses. Eating healthy food nourishes us on all levels as a way of saying,” I love you” to our body.
The cacophony of life can easily drown out nudges from the soul. As we become aligned with ourselves, we hear these urgings. Our soul’s calling is always in service to the greater whole where we all belong. The Intuitive, innate need for belonging is, I believe, a calling to be connected and reunited with our soul’s purpose. “May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging.” John O’Donahue “For Belonging”
About Joy Seunarine:
Joy Seunarine is a bodymind coach, massage therapist and poet. Her passion is supporting people to teach the power of attuning to your body so that you can hear its guidance. She is adept at meeting her clients exactly where there are. From this place, she walks with her clients to find ways of understanding themselves, their pain and their process to make better choices for themselves. This enhances a sense of fullness in one’s life. Please connect with her to explore how you find a sense of belonging in your life.
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Joy contributes to the Wild About Wellness Community online where members passionate about holistic health and wellness come together to share information, educate and contribute for the purpose of learning and growing. You are invited to explore the site with a free 1 month membership. Get your 1 month free membership HERE