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Belonging

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I (we) no longer BELONG either to or with The Way International.

This is not the concept of being a "member of the organization." We know now that was reserved for a very small group and revolved around who got to make the decisions about how the ABS money was spent. We know now that was as far from a democratic or egalitarian notion as any organization could get.

Instead, this is about the fact that many of us, in bunches of thread topics, have cited a sense of BELONGING as a big reason for why we associated with the people and fellowships of The Way.

We've documented extensively the dark side of the group. Many of us acknowledged the/a good side too.

A few of us have been unashamed of subsequent associations with other church or religious groups that have, in more ways than one given some meaning to our lives. Some of us found meaningful non-religious social organizations too. Twinky comes to mind quickly because of how she has described her comfort with her church group and the service she and her friends provide to people in various kinds of need where they live and serve.

However it has played out, for many of us social groups -- not necessarily cultic in nature -- have made a huge difference in the meaning we've been able to embrace in our lives.

Belonging is sometimes referred to as a sense of community. Inclusion rather than exclusion or isolation. (Even introverts like me need a social network)

More importantly, leaving a group like TWI, even though we are fed up when we leave, is inherently fraught with emotional stress or sometimes trauma.

I left twi more than three decades ago. To a significant degree, I've found my people. But this is a topic that can resonate with people throughout their entire lives.

Anyway, all of this is to preface mentioning a book I'm reading now that might interest some others in our GSC community. There's a link in the previous sentence. But you might be able to find the book in your local public library. Obviously, I recommend it highly. 

51o0FMjRLiL.jpg

Ms. Agrawal describes her journey of discovery and community and spells out how we ALL need community.

I love the expression in the subtitle above "Find YOUR People."

I'd be more than happy to discuss the subject further with anyone who cares to comment on this thread.

Your stories of connecting, disconnecting, isolation and community are welcome.

 

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Social isolation puts you at a much higher risk for developing dementia, as well. Something to think about.

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I recently had a experience where folks I hardly knew found out I was once part of The Way.  They then began warning others near me.  Annoying, to put mildly.

This happens when you are "in".  This happens when you are "out".  (Probably more frequently when "in").

 

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7 hours ago, Bolshevik said:

I recently had a experience where folks I hardly knew found out I was once part of The Way.  They then began warning others near me.  Annoying, to put mildly.

This happens when you are "in".  This happens when you are "out".  (Probably more frequently when "in").

 

Yes, that's sad. But it's still a part of who you are. I hope you can embrace it and make it a part of your personal narrative to help others wherever they may be. In the 1990s, I was usually reluctant to disclose my association with twi. Eventually, for me, it no longer mattered. But now I can and do discuss my experience with people who are either cult survivors or concerned about cults (one particular political cult especially). 

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We’re social animals.  We’re not built to live alone, but in relationship with one another.  A rather famous book tells us “It is not good for [man] to be alone.”

I’ve been pondering “relationships” for some while now.  We all have relationship, ideally across several groups.  Doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do: there are few of us that have no relationships.  Maybe it’s a church.  Maybe it’s the model railway club.  Maybe it’s your mates as you enjoy a drink in the pub.  Your relationships help you feel grounded, safe, a part of where you are: you belong.

As Rocky comments, I work with vulnerable and street people.  The homeless community is exactly that: a community.  Like any other community, it has sub-branches.  This particularly struck me last Saturday night, talking with a woman who’d settled into a doorway.  She wouldn’t go into the covered car park where homeless people often stay – “They’re dirty people down there.”  We visited that group of people too.  There were five of them, smoking heroin and doing other drugs.  A very weird bunch.  But a definite “community” and supportive of each other.

Sometimes, relationships aren’t helpful.  The drug-taking (or drinking, or whatever) people that we saw – it’s hard to leave for those who want to be clean, to start afresh.  They have to leave that “support” group and take steps into a world that they left because it was painful or frightening.  And that world doesn’t really want them because it sees them as a problem.  They don’t “belong” in the non-druggie world.

I don’t know if Rocky started this thread because of the Charles Manson thread, where we discussed reintegration into society after many years in prison.  Ex-prisoners often have a huge problem reintegrating.  By getting incarcerated, they cease to “belong” to the “non-con” world, and generally prison doesn’t help people address the cause of their offending and rehabilitate them to a more “normal” (?) world.  They don’t belong there; they don’t feel safe.  Some reoffend because they like being in jail.  They feel safe.  They feel they’re in a community where they belong.

In the UK now, there’s a push to remove all custodial sentences of less than 12 months, because of the realisation of the huge breaking of support bonds, relationships, within the “non-con” world.  Better to keep people in their existing relationships – better from so many points of view, but not least, to help people not re-offend.  (It doesn’t mean offenders aren’t punished; just that they don’t go to prison – probation, community service orders, requirements to undertake courses like anger management etc, reparation of various types) (and obviously, not for very serious offences.)

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I checked out the website for the author of the book you suggest, Rocky.  She's a "bright young thing" and I noticed her video of people dancing, playing together, and generally looking as though they were having a good time. 

I'd just make the point that it's ever so easy to feel lonely in a big crowd where you feel you ought to be having fun … but somehow, the fun has passed you by.

 

It seems to me that the best way to "belong" is to participate in something you're interested in and to give of yourself, which is harder than it seems.  Forget yourself, and think about the other participants, or the activity itself.  And enjoy, too.  Enjoy "belonging."

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On a purely personal basis, after TWI dumped me and I fell deep into in a huge hole of despair, I was living in another country.  I didn't feel at home in my own country and not among my own family.  I didn't feel at home or comfortable anywhere.  But I did feel a huge need to "belong" somewhere, and specifically to my new country.  So I applied for naturalisation and now have dual nationality. 

I am not sure whether the naturalisation helped, because I came back to my original country a couple of years afterwards.  I remain keenly interested in my second country even though I don't live there now; I visit frequently; family matters keep me here now but maybe at some time in the future...?

I feel I "belong" in my church community.  Both here and in the other country.  When I visit the other country I go to a church there, St C's, which is so like St A's that I attend here that it's a real home from home.  If I'd know about St C's I might never have left.  

Ha ha.  If we knew what the future held, would we still want it?  I think my immediate future holds - a cup of tea.  And maybe a piece of cake.

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42 minutes ago, Twinky said:

I don’t know if Rocky started this thread because of the Charles Manson thread, where we discussed reintegration into society after many years in prison.  Ex-prisoners often have a huge problem reintegrating.  By getting incarcerated, they cease to “belong” to the “non-con” world, and generally prison doesn’t help people address the cause of their offending and rehabilitate them to a more “normal” (?) world.  They don’t belong there; they don’t feel safe.  Some reoffend because they like being in jail.  They feel safe.  They feel they’re in a community where they belong.

Neither Manson nor that thread were in my conscious thinking at all. Frankly, when I received my daily Amazon Kindle deals email, the book was on sale that day for $1.99 (US). Few of the books on those emails interest me any more, but this one did. Of course, there have been discussions on GSC about "belonging" for years. But that's not all that's interested me about the subject. Back in the 1990s, I read books by the now late M. Scott Peck. His insight on life was tremendously enlightening for me. On this subject, he wrote Different Drum: Community Making and Peace.

Really, my main concern is and was that people who leave twi face issues related to emotional support systems... belonging.

 

 

31 minutes ago, Twinky said:

I checked out the website for the author of the book you suggest, Rocky.  She's a "bright young thing" and I noticed her video of people dancing, playing together, and generally looking as though they were having a good time. 

I'd just make the point that it's ever so easy to feel lonely in a big crowd where you feel you ought to be having fun … but somehow, the fun has passed you by.

 

It seems to me that the best way to "belong" is to participate in something you're interested in and to give of yourself, which is harder than it seems.  Forget yourself, and think about the other participants, or the activity itself.  And enjoy, too.  Enjoy "belonging."

That's Ms Agrawal's point exactly. :dance:   But she has practical ideas on how people can find THEIR people... which may happen multiple times for anyone.


 

 

23 minutes ago, Twinky said:

On a purely personal basis, after TWI dumped me and I fell deep into in a huge hole of despair, I was living in another country.  I didn't feel at home in my own country and not among my own family.  I didn't feel at home or comfortable anywhere.  But I did feel a huge need to "belong" somewhere, and specifically to my new country.  So I applied for naturalisation and now have dual nationality. 

I am not sure whether the naturalisation helped, because I came back to my original country a couple of years afterwards.  I remain keenly interested in my second country even though I don't live there now; I visit frequently; family matters keep me here now but maybe at some time in the future...?

I feel I "belong" in my church community.  Both here and in the other country.  When I visit the other country I go to a church there, St C's, which is so like St A's that I attend here that it's a real home from home.  If I'd know about St C's I might never have left.  

Ha ha.  If we knew what the future held, would we still want it?  I think my immediate future holds - a cup of tea.  And maybe a piece of cake.

Thank you very much Twinky, for sharing your story on this thread. :knuddel:



 

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You might like this book, Rocky.  It's by the so-called Vicar of Baghdad about his work of reconciliation in the community there.

The book was given to me yesterday by an unbeliever friend - he'd read it and found it fascinating, which is quite something for him, being as he only read books on military history.

https://www.amazon.com/Father-Forgive-Reflections-Andrew-White/dp/0857212923

Andrew White's "Reflections on Peacemaking."  Available on Kindle, shows US$11, but possibly a different price if you order from a US internet address. 

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28 minutes ago, Twinky said:

You might like this book, Rocky.  It's by the so-called Vicar of Baghdad about his work of reconciliation in the community there.

The book was given to me yesterday by an unbeliever friend - he'd read it and found it fascinating, which is quite something for him, being as he only read books on military history.

https://www.amazon.com/Father-Forgive-Reflections-Andrew-White/dp/0857212923

Andrew White's "Reflections on Peacemaking."  Available on Kindle, shows US$11, but possibly a different price if you order from a US internet address. 

Yes, it sounds fascinating. And yes, just pennies more than $7. Thanks.

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On 4/30/2019 at 1:22 AM, Rocky said:

I (we) no longer BELONG either to or with The Way International.

This is not the concept of being a "member of the organization." We know now that was reserved for a very small group and revolved around who got to make the decisions about how the ABS money was spent. We know now that was as far from a democratic or egalitarian notion as any organization could get.

Instead, this is about the fact that many of us, in bunches of thread topics, have cited a sense of BELONGING as a big reason for why we associated with the people and fellowships of The Way.

We've documented extensively the dark side of the group. Many of us acknowledged the/a good side too.

A few of us have been unashamed of subsequent associations with other church or religious groups that have, in more ways than one given some meaning to our lives. Some of us found meaningful non-religious social organizations too. Twinky comes to mind quickly because of how she has described her comfort with her church group and the service she and her friends provide to people in various kinds of need where they live and serve.

However it has played out, for many of us social groups -- not necessarily cultic in nature -- have made a huge difference in the meaning we've been able to embrace in our lives.

Belonging is sometimes referred to as a sense of community. Inclusion rather than exclusion or isolation. (Even introverts like me need a social network)

More importantly, leaving a group like TWI, even though we are fed up when we leave, is inherently fraught with emotional stress or sometimes trauma.

I left twi more than three decades ago. To a significant degree, I've found my people. But this is a topic that can resonate with people throughout their entire lives.

Anyway, all of this is to preface mentioning a book I'm reading now that might interest some others in our GSC community. There's a link in the previous sentence. But you might be able to find the book in your local public library. Obviously, I recommend it highly. 

51o0FMjRLiL.jpg

Ms. Agrawal describes her journey of discovery and community and spells out how we ALL need community.

I love the expression in the subtitle above "Find YOUR People."

I'd be more than happy to discuss the subject further with anyone who cares to comment on this thread.

Your stories of connecting, disconnecting, isolation and community are welcome.

 

 

On 4/30/2019 at 1:22 AM, Rocky said:

I (we) no longer BELONG either to or with The Way International.

This is not the concept of being a "member of the organization." We know now that was reserved for a very small group and revolved around who got to make the decisions about how the ABS money was spent. We know now that was as far from a democratic or egalitarian notion as any organization could get.

Instead, this is about the fact that many of us, in bunches of thread topics, have cited a sense of BELONGING as a big reason for why we associated with the people and fellowships of The Way.

We've documented extensively the dark side of the group. Many of us acknowledged the/a good side too.

A few of us have been unashamed of subsequent associations with other church or religious groups that have, in more ways than one given some meaning to our lives. Some of us found meaningful non-religious social organizations too. Twinky comes to mind quickly because of how she has described her comfort with her church group and the service she and her friends provide to people in various kinds of need where they live and serve.

However it has played out, for many of us social groups -- not necessarily cultic in nature -- have made a huge difference in the meaning we've been able to embrace in our lives.

Belonging is sometimes referred to as a sense of community. Inclusion rather than exclusion or isolation. (Even introverts like me need a social network)

More importantly, leaving a group like TWI, even though we are fed up when we leave, is inherently fraught with emotional stress or sometimes trauma.

I left twi more than three decades ago. To a significant degree, I've found my people. But this is a topic that can resonate with people throughout their entire lives.

Anyway, all of this is to preface mentioning a book I'm reading now that might interest some others in our GSC community. There's a link in the previous sentence. But you might be able to find the book in your local public library. Obviously, I recommend it highly. 

51o0FMjRLiL.jpg

Ms. Agrawal describes her journey of discovery and community and spells out how we ALL need community.

I love the expression in the subtitle above "Find YOUR People."

I'd be more than happy to discuss the subject further with anyone who cares to comment on this thread.

Your stories of connecting, disconnecting, isolation and community are welcome.

 

Rocky, good for you!!!  I am so happy for you!!

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4 minutes ago, Grace Valerie Claire said:

 

Rocky, good for you!!!  I am so happy for you!!

Thanks, but that wasn't the point. :knuddel:

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