Belonging and Healing Part-2 – Why is belonging important?
Is that what this-
Dr. Dave (00:00):
Hey, hello and welcome to the KnolShare with Dr. Dave Podcast. Hey, this is Dr. Dave Cornelius, your host, and I'm excited to be here with my friend, Tracy. Tracy. We're going to be talking about belonging and why it's important. And so earlier, we talked about putting up an episode per month as we begin to work in our book, Belonging and Healing. So Tracy, Tracy, welcome. What's going on with you?
Dave, hey. Thank you. Good morning and life is good.
Dr. Dave (00:54):
Look at you. I am in that calm mode, just chill today. I don't know what's up with that, but I wanted to start off with a quote by Angela Maya.
Oh come on.
Dr. Dave (01:07):
By Maya Angelou.
Dr. Dave (01:10):
And she says, "I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself." So that's her context of belonging. And so, why is belonging important? Why do we care so much about belonging as human beings? What's the deal with that?
Heck if I know. It's innate, it's something we feel complete, in order to belong somewhere, that makes us feel complete. That makes us feel like we have some kind of anchor, some kind of grounding. It just, to feel like you belong kind of gives you some wholeness, some sense of being, right?
Dr. Dave (01:56):
Yeah. So that's what it is, a sense of being.
Dr. Dave (01:59):
So what story do you have from yourself about belonging? I know you and I have been having conversations about belonging.
Dr. Dave (02:12):
What about for you, specifically?
So there's different areas of belonging and different places and spaces. And for me, I think the most important belonging or sense of belonging that I have is familial belonging. And there's work belonging, there's family belonging, there's societal, so there's different cultures, ethnicity, all of those, but familial belonging is pretty high up on the list for me. My relationships with the people that I share DNA with or have chosen to love, that's the most important.
Dr. Dave (02:53):
We share that in common. And so I was reflecting this week on a belonging story. And I can remember that as a kid, and I think it was maybe around three or four years old, this is how important this memory is in my life, is that my parents had gotten divorced and my mother went to work on another island. And so I remember as a kid missing my mother so much that I would put on my uncle's shoes and socks and I would be running down the street toward the pier on this island, trying to go find my mom.
Dr. Dave (03:37):
So it's that's sense of belonging, it's a familial, it's really, really deep for me. You know how you and I connect as brothers and sisters.
Dr. Dave (03:46):
So that is really important for me. So that kind of anchored my sense of belonging, from a very young age and in a very deep way.
And also to add to that gives a sense of... And for people who don't have a family system that they feel like they belong to, I would hope that they are able to choose people that they feel as if they're family with them and can belong in that sense. Because we don't always get the graciousness of having a family system that we're born into that we get along with, or feel accepted by, or like. But when we do, or when we choose those family systems or those people that we call family, there's this sense of, I feel important to these other people. It's important for me to be in this system to make this system better, or this system helps me to be better. And to go along with those lines of a family experience or memory, family reunions, big thing, right?
Dr. Dave (05:03):
Big thing in many cultures and families. And I have the joy, I guess I could say, of having over 100 first cousins. Right. And to actually know them by name and to be able to recognize them, and also get to know new cousins often as well that aren't first cousins, still in my life now, is kind of dope. Right?
Dr. Dave (05:03):
Yeah. That's huge.
So that to me, it's really, really important. And that sense of I happen to come from a family that has a lot of pride in who they are as people. And not everybody has that, which I really, really want to impress that to people, to find your people, right? Be able to identify who that would be for you and to attempt to find that, and how do we find that is a whole other thing, right? We'll have a question, yeah, I got to find my people. How do I do that? If you have those people, let those people know that they're important to you.
Dr. Dave (06:13):
Right? And that reciprocal sense of belonging is just so rich and valuable.
Dr. Dave (06:21):
Yeah. And so, I'm going to describe, based on Harari, who wrote the book Sapiens, and he described belonging as an intimate community where people know each other well and depend on each other for survival. So he talks about Homo sapiens banning together to create a community for survival and protection. But I think it's also for us to connect, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and losing that sense of belonging sometimes to create this immense sense of anxiety. And I think that's some of the things that you're touching on in terms of letting people know they're important, because sometimes when we get separated. For whatever reasons, it could really creates a lot of anxiety in our lives and make things really difficult for us to function within our society. So what are your thoughts around that?
Well, it just goes right along with what we've been saying. To be able to find the... Really finding yourself so that you can find your people.
Dr. Dave (07:29):
And understanding that you are a result of a lot of things that's happened to you that you've experienced. And being okay with that, that that has nothing to do with your ability or your worth to belong to someone or a group. And that is a survival instinct, which is what you're describing. To be alone for humans is to die, because you think about a baby and you leave a baby by themselves, right? We need to belong somewhere, even sometimes it's shitty where we belong, but that interaction also helps us to grow. Without the interaction, we don't grow.
Dr. Dave (08:24):
Certainly, that's a fact. So, I just noticed that we're kind of wearing the same similar color.
Yeah. I saw that we were twinning. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Dr. Dave (08:33):
What's up with that? Is that belonging or what?
I don't know, but that leads to that calm. I meditated and worked out this morning, so I'm in the ah.
Dr. Dave (08:46):
I like that.
And I didn't change clothes, so there is that.
Dr. Dave (08:56):
Okay. Okay. Yeah.
Right, right, right.
Dr. Dave (08:56):
And then there's that.
There is that.
Dr. Dave (08:56):
There you go. But when we think of, when we get outside of just the familial aspect of it and we're looking into the work space, where people could really come there and be their genuine self, well, and they should change after their workout. And so it's... What is that? What are your thoughts around that in terms of people in the workplace needing to be authentic, needing to bring their whole selves, needing to feel like they belong in that space to be able to produce value for the company that they work for? What's your thoughts?
Yeah. You touched on this in the blog, right? So it's about that workplace allowing that authenticity to show, and to support that authenticity of that person. And sometimes we don't even know who we authentically are because we have been walking around masking who we are in order to fit in with groups that we think we want to belong
Or we're supposed to belong to in order to fit that mold of what that group is. So uncovering that authentic self is a job in and of itself. Once that's touched on, for you to be able to be confident in who you are as authentically you and you walk into a workplace and that's not supported, that doesn't make for a very good relationship. Because you're bound to have to mask in order to fit in. Not very healthy for the mental health, right? You talked about anxiety earlier?
Dr. Dave (10:01):
That's that anxiety producing thing, right?
Dr. Dave (10:42):
So the workplaces have to work on creating an environment that people can show up authentically.
Dr. Dave (10:49):
Well, which is true and companies are trying, because it's not what I would think, it's not their core competency. So if you work for a tech company, they're about building software. If you work for a clothing company... And the thing is is how do we develop these, what I call innate human skills? These are skills that we lose touch of with at some point, because I'm thinking about... You brought up the concept of a baby not being able to survive alone, but those skills are belonging and how we interact with each other start at that level. Right?
Dr. Dave (11:29):
And it progresses throughout time. I was just looking at this belonging barometer from Ernst & Young and so I was just going to read off some of the statistics that we have going on here. And so-
Dr. Dave (11:49):
Yes, there you go.
Dr. Dave (11:50):
Yes, well you know I have to have surgery next week.
I understand. You can say stats, we know what that is.
Dr. Dave (11:59):
Early in the morning. So what they're saying is 56% of all the respondents that they spoke to and they spoke to about a hundred people, adult Americans who are professionals and they said they felt somewhat that they belong and they feel trusted and respected. And so even baby boomers, are you a baby boomer?
Dr. Dave (12:25):
Okay. Nope. Is your husband a baby boomer?
Dr. Dave (12:28):
Yep. So I'm a baby boomer at the very tail end, the very last mince of it. So we feel, about 63% of us feel that we feel somewhat that we belong and the gen Xers are only at 56% than the millennials. So you can see it's decreasing over time in terms of how people feel they belong. What's going on with that in this modern time where as we get to the gen Xers and the millennials, we started to feel less and less connected to the workspace or the people that we work with. What do you think?
Yeah, I don't know if this is definitive but I mean, this is just wondering out loud. I wonder if it's because of how people are beginning to work differently and how some of the workplaces are doing the construct of the old guard I guess we could call it that and moving and evolving with how important belonging is to productivity in the workplace. And there's a shift and for the companies to catch up with that shift. And this is corporations. Small companies may have it in the bag and doing a little bit more. Family owned businesses, who knows. But if we look at corporations, there's an evolutionary shift and some millennials are not buying into that corporate bullshit and they're just like, "I'm going to be and do on my own so that I can create a space of belonging for others." So I don't know. I don't have a specific answer, but I'm just throwing out things that could be going on.
Dr. Dave (14:15):
Well yeah, the needs are different definitely.
Dr. Dave (14:20):
As I look, think about my own career, we try to fit in. We try to do whatever was necessary to be a part of that culture which meant for people like me code switching was a thing, and we have to learn how to fit into that space and speak the lingo and the behavior and everything else that was part of the culture there. What the millennials and younger they're... They want do their own space, they want to be their authentic self and to be able to survive there.
Yeah. And I think when you mention code switch, that is something people of a certain generation knew that it was necessary to do in order to survive where they were.
Dr. Dave (15:09):
Because of the mainstream's view of things that in-between generation, not millennials, but what is that, Zers? Gen Zers?
Dr. Dave (15:21):
And Xers and the Zers?
Xers, Zers, Yers, those people.
Dr. Dave (15:28):
Yeah, somewhere in there.
It started pushing back at that. As a black women, we talk about the hair. If you can't wear braids at work and all of that stuff. Now it's like excuse me, this is my hair and I do and wear with it what I please. It's on my body. Right?
Dr. Dave (15:50):
That's my choice, right? So there's more of a pushback and that's just an example, not a... It's a long term example. So I think the pushback is helping the corporations reluctantly evolve so that code switching may not be a thing for people to do anymore. It may not be the best advice for baby boomers to give to millennials in order to make it in the corporate workplace.
Dr. Dave (16:20):
Well, I don't even think that we should give ourselves that advice, it's not healthy, right? Wearing a mask and it's something that we want to get beyond. But if we wanted to talk about belonging in the space, in the workspace, in the work environment, whether that's a mom and pop, it's a corporation, how do we start talking about the purpose, the why of belonging in the organization? What kind of actions do we take to share the why? Because oftentimes, we may run into these programs and said, "Oh, we're going to have a belonging, a DEI program and stuff," but what is the purpose? Why is this important?
I think the individual companies have to deem it important because it is important because our world is, I like to call it a salad buffet instead of a melting pot, because there's all these distinct differences on this salad and you want to taste the crunch, you want to taste the salty, you want to taste the whatever, right? In order for that to go well together, you have to appreciate each thing individually. That has to be something that a company wants to do. I don't know how we can make a company do that other than to look at society at large and the dissonance that we see in areas and topics and how folks are just not getting along
Dr. Dave (17:59):
Or connecting, right? I mean to me, that's the importance of belonging as well is how well do we connect and have a common and shared purpose in the space that we are, whether it's at work or a place of worship. So I was thinking as we're putting the blog or the article together around some simple tools like what I call employee net promoter scores are really beginning to sense the sentiment of people in the organization. That's one context, right? Let's gather that information just to see how can we be informed by the people who are actually in that space? And even though that would help us just start telling the story, and then we could start to create what I like to think of these different wonderful events that we could have of where we start to create that space of belonging, right? So I was thinking of things like can we have an open mic? Maybe spoken word, wouldn't that be fun? Yeah? And people come up and share why do you think belonging is important to them for-
Yeah. Interesting way to do it. Storytelling is a thing. So part of what I did in one of my births of life I guess, I worked with domestic violence perpetrators and they were all males. All male domestic violence perpetrators and we did a lot of healing with this group of people because what we found is that there was a lot of trauma in their background. So we worked to work with their trauma to help heal their trauma and we would do ritual work with them and we would actually go through some healing rituals that
... that help them get from I believe that what I'm doing is right, because I'm protecting myself and this is how I express how I feel to... Maybe that is not so right and my violence was causing pain to others and myself. At the end of this program, we would have an open mic. So when you said that, that made me think of ... These men, these brothers would get up and write poems, story tell, talk about their journey, the whole bit. And we would invite people from the community to come in.
And most of these, if not all these men were on probation or parole, so they were within the system. So we would invite judges, probation officers, people that... treatment facilities... that they had to show up for a while they were doing the program. It really shifts the way the criminal justice system, the people on the other side, viewed their clients because they were our clients as well as theirs. And they saw them as more human.
So I think there may be something to that. Storytelling, just being in a room to share. Restorative justice is another thing, those kind of things really help to promote listening and leveling the playing field in that we all go through stuff.
Dr. Dave (21:45):
No, go ahead. Yeah.
Dr. Dave (21:47):
No, it's just bringing us back to the core of being human beings, right? That we all have stuff. And the other thing I was thinking about beyond... Open mic is storytelling, but we could tell stories through posters, kind of vision posters that we could put different imagery of what belonging means to us as something more permanent. Not even permanent, but it could be more of a display. Think of, we're going to a museum of some sort, that the workspace also becomes, or that space becomes a museum for the art that's being published.
Which is another thing we did. We did that exact thing, right?
Dr. Dave (22:24):
And so those forms of display really help the person understand how they belong. And it helps them to be in the [inaudible 00:22:37] because that might change as a person heals. Some of those images and ideas may change and that will help them see their progression, see their movement toward being more whole. And some people feel like I need to feel whole in order to belong somewhere. And that's not always necessarily true.
Dr. Dave (22:58):
Right? So I don't think we have to have all our shit together in order to belong somewhere.
Dr. Dave (23:03):
No. Well, I want you to tell me when you have all your shit together. So I'm never there, so.
Exactly. And that's what I was going to say, because many of us who don't have our shit together belong to each other, right? So it's okay, right?
Dr. Dave (23:19):
So the third thing I thought about was this thing we call Open Space, where people bring topics that they want to cover. And then they gather in a room, small pods of individuals having these discussions, and they're capturing what's being shared in that space.
Dr. Dave (23:36):
So that's another way of thinking like, how do we begin to share the purpose of belonging where it's not just driven by HR?
Dr. Dave (23:47):
The human resource group, but it's really en engaging the whole community to be a part of the conversation, such that when we talk about... Here's why belonging is important. We have many voices and I think Open Space Technology... You've been through an Open Space.
Dr. Dave (24:05):
At one of our agile events and so you could see how that works, right? And using the wisdom of the crowd to participate. And so we could call it the festival of belonging, what do you think?
Dr. Dave (24:18):
What would you call it?
I don't know, but it wouldn't be that.
Dr. Dave (24:28):
I would love to hear what you come up with.
Yeah. I'll have to sleep on that one, but festival of belonging, I don't know, bro.
Dr. Dave (24:36):
Yeah. I can see it. Yeah.
Okay. What would it look like? Tell me what it would look like.
Dr. Dave (24:43):
I just gave you three, posters, open mic, Open Space.
So it would be that museum idea.
Dr. Dave (24:50):
Well, it's the museum, it's the open mic storytelling. It's open space as an event, so that's the festival. Everyone comes and I was even thinking more along the lines of, "Hey, come in your authentic garb, bring some food." Really make it a festival.
So this sounds like... I don't know if you remember this thing we had, Holiday Folk Fair?
Dr. Dave (25:14):
Do you remember that? That's what that sounds like to me, it sounds like a Renaissance fair. It sounds like a State Fair. It sounds like a-
Dr. Dave (25:25):
It's a human fair.
... Okay, Dave. It's a human fair.
Dr. Dave (25:31):
It's going to be some creative ideas that are fating around that we could make something interesting and fun.
Yeah. Creative is one thing, but corny, come on.
Dr. Dave (25:41):
Oh boy, I'm corny. That's good. We belong.
There you go. Exactly.
Dr. Dave (25:50):
I was just thinking of this as an opportunity for people to experience and learn and share about what belonging means together. It's just one model, there are many different ways we could approach this. What?
Yeah. And I think there are areas where we do have that, where people sell their different wears and about their different cultures and some kind of markets and stuff. So something on a belonging scale, in that sense. Okay.
Dr. Dave (26:24):
Because I think sometimes... And as I'm spending more time reading about different people's context of belonging.
Dr. Dave (26:33):
And this is important to you, you believe in somatic healing. So one of the things that's that's coming up is that it's not just about the psychological aspect, it's also in our bones, it's in our flesh, it's in our blood and being able to see and touch and write. And whether we're using some type of physical metaphors to help us understand and what belonging is, it helps us with healing.
It's about that release from the battle, right? So if I'm code switching at a job and it causes all of this anxiety in me to do that, and I go home, I've got to release that. If I don't, it just gets stored up. And who knows what that can turn into, right? That's what disease is all about. Right? There's a disease in the body. So who knows what all of that kind of anxiety can turn into? And certain peoples and cultures do know what that anxiety turns into, right? The high blood pressure to diabetes, all of those kind of things. We have to release that on a certain level and it's a cellular release, Dave. It is, as you said bones, blood the whole bit.
Dr. Dave (27:53):
And when you... Ancestral, definitely it comes down through the ancestors and through the generations, right? What we can do, like a really quick thing we can do is when we do the thing that we know is not authentic to us, begin to recognize where you feel that in your body. You may not know it right now because you're so used to doing in it, but if you slow down enough and you do the thing, you're going to feel it somewhere in your body. Take note of that and then begin to focus on that part of the body and ask that part of the body. You going to be talking to your body, "Okay body, okay belly, what do I need to do to release this out of there? What kind of messaging am I getting?" And begin to start having that dialogue with the body. Go ahead.
Dr. Dave (27:54):
Yeah. So the book I'm looking at, Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score, right? That is a book that is becoming much more popular in mainstream society, but it talks about how stuff is stored in the body. And the body responds to the stuff in some kind of way that might be maladaptive, as we move through the world. So listening to our body is really important. What we've learned though, if we... That sense of belonging and the baby, what we've learned though, sometimes some people feel like their bodies are not safe.
Dr. Dave (29:29):
That's a whole nother level of things, because you can't get in your body if you don't think it's safe, right?
Dr. Dave (29:37):
Well, you can't appreciate your body either, if you don't think it's safe.
Dr. Dave (29:44):
Well, I'm just saying. But I was just thinking of one of the exercises that this author, I can't remember his name, but he was talking about, he says, What's humming and rubbing your belly?
Dr. Dave (29:59):
Dr. Dave (30:00):
And I know you used the term corny, but I was thinking, Hey, that is pretty interesting, to sit down and as you're dealing with some level of stress, of rubbing your belly and humming and how that helps to release the stress and the anxiety.
That's not corny at all. Well, a thing for people that if they're feeling really anxious and out of sorts, to make sure that they know that they're in their body, and sometimes all you need to do is tap your index finger to your thumb, or apply pressure. It's like an acupressure point, just so that you know, I'm here. It helps ground you. And there's a concept called tapping where, right along this area, if you tap, reach you in your body. It's about settling your nervous system so that you can be in your body. That's super important when you talk about somatic healing and that somatic connection.
Dr. Dave (31:03):
Well, we had to go through it. Just in our conversation today, and talk about belonging in multiple facets, and how we could also help to adjust ourselves into a space of belonging. So, as we talk about reflecting and the purpose of, why belonging is important, what do you want people to walk away with, in terms of things that is memorable or that resonates with them, or just ideas that they may take away, some nuggets from this topic today.
And we've covered quite a bit in this little bit of half hour, right? Recognizing if you feel like you don't belong, it's okay. Acknowledge that, and don't say, I don't belong because I suck. That's not the answer and that's not the reason. It might have to start with yourself, and that is the last conversation we had, that somatic part. Feel as if you belong to yourself, and you don't have to be a 100% actualized or any of that, just begin to say, I can own my shit. I am me, and I'm okay to be here. Just start with something like that. That may not sound good for some people, because people may be thinking, yeah right, I'm about two steps away from just getting the heck out of here, but be okay with belonging to yourself, with whatever that looks like. And then, think about where you want to belong, like community-wise and then move to that, and then if you're working and you don't feel like you belong at work, are there real steps that can be taken for that to happen?
What I've noticed though, Dave, is if work is a place where you don't feel safe, if you build up all those other areas in your life to feel as if you belong, work does not become as much of a problem to feel like you don't belong, because you've got that richness in other areas.
Dr. Dave (33:28):
I agree with that in the context that yes, because we're bringing another dimension, a full dimension of ourselves to work. The other thing that we have to be mindful of, is that we spend one third of our lives, each day, sometimes up to six, seven days a week, in that toxic place.
And we're spending more time in that place than we do at home with our loved ones.
Dr. Dave (33:58):
That's a tough one, because you say, let's not make it an HR problem, but it might have to be an HR issue right now for it to begin to happen, and then we can work within the departments and all of that other stuff. You know, I don't know.
Dr. Dave (34:18):
So, I'm not saying it's not an HR problem, I said, it's not only an HR problem. It's a whole organization problem that we need everyone to participate, and bring their ideas to the table, even if HR is the agency that's helping to move this through to enterprise. We need people, we need people's ideas, and we need to make it a community thing, and that's why we love going to these different little festival things. Don't even try it. I mean, I remember you going to some festival stuff.
Not a festival of humans.
Dr. Dave (35:04):
Of course that was a festival of humans. I remember Summerfest, that's a festivals, all sort of different things happening there, but that's where I'm coming from, from festival in context.
I get it. I get it. I'm just giving you shit.
Dr. Dave (35:20):
I know. I'm bringing it back.
And you mentioned Summerfest, that's a musics festival, and then there's other ones. There's Bonnaroo, there's Lilith Fair. I don't know all the other.
Dr. Dave (35:32):
There's so many things.
South by Southwest. There's so many music festivals that bring people together, and that's great. And I think what we're talking about, is how do we get that to go on a deeper level, like leveling up with that, on a deeper level, in places with where we work.
Dr. Dave (35:51):
Or even in our own community. It doesn't even just have to be work. It could be, Hey, we live in this neighborhood with a number of thousands of people or hundreds of people. Can we do something like this? Is it possible?
Well, and the reason I said work is because of that eight to 10 hours a day that we're spending with people that might be causing us that anxiety that we're not releasing, and if we can have a space at home-
Great! That's it, exactly. ... space at home to do those things, or to release and to safe, all the things, really, and it may look goofy, but if you're sitting at your desk and you're doing this, nobody's going to know what you're doing.
Dr. Dave (36:36):
And what you're doing, is you're calming yourself down. Right. Even rubbing, like you're doing. You can rub any parts of your body, and you see my chakra banner behind me?
Dr. Dave (36:36):
I see your chakra banners.
So I do chakra work, and even focusing on those chakra areas, can really help ground you in your body. It's about really feeling safe in your own skin, so that you can feel safe being in your skin, wherever you are.
Dr. Dave (37:04):
That's very important, and I think that's a good place to land, being safe in your own skin, wherever you are.
So, let me lead out and say, belonging is so important to our existence as human being. It's one of those things that we seek frequently.
And so I would like to say thank you for listening to the KnolShare with Dr. Dave podcast. I like to say thank you to Tracy Treacy for partnering in our conversation, and we continue to do this wonderful collaboration.
And so you could find the Knolshare with Dr. Dave podcast on Spotify, Audible, iTunes, and Google Play.
Want to do a shout out to Kiana Brown Hendrickson for the theme music.
This podcast is copyright 2021, Dr. Dave Cornelius and Knolshare.org.
Tracy one more thing before we leave?
Yo homie, what? What is that?
Dr. Dave (38:01):
I don't know. I'm asking you, do you have one more thing?
One more thing? Just be good with who you are. We are, you are individually perfect just the way you are. You may have had to learn and adapt to things because of what you've been dealt.
Dr. Dave (38:20):
Dr. Dave (38:23):
Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.