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This book, written by Toko-pa Turner, has a welcoming title. The first few words from the first chapter capture us, the readers.
To this world you belong. To this moment, in this place where you already stand, something greater has ushered you. To the momentum of a long line of survivors you are bound. From their good deaths, succeeded by new lives, and to the incidents of love that seeded them, your story has been woven. With the wild jubilation of nature, you are in correspondence. By every season’s conditions, and by the invisible holy inclination, your live has been hewn. p14
These beautifully constructed words flow together to invite us in – that we belong. And yet, Turner recognizes that we often do not feel like we belong. This is the invitation of the words written in Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home.
Toko-pa Turner shares her personal experience of a sense of estrangement and invites us to look and wonder about our own way of making sense of the world. She uses Jungian concepts and invites a curiosity around our own dreams. She invites us into the story behind our own sense of not belonging. Then, Turner invites us to engage in the journey toward growing into remembering this blessing for our future selves.
Through trial and fire, against the odds, you have grown to trust that the world can be a safe place and you have every right to walk here. You have made parents of your instincts, intuition, and dreaming; you have allowed love into where it had never before been received; you have grown life where once it was barren. Your gifts and your goodness given is a boon for us all. With just a few found and trustworthy seeds you have nurtured the greatest harvest there is in this, your humble life of belonging. p44
I don’t know about you, but these words draw me in and heal parts of my unseen heart. In some ways, I have experienced the truth in these words. They also give me hope for continued healing, remembering, and belonging. Turner shares that this journey of belonging, remembering, is a continual and dynamic journey. There is an ebb and flow of growth and expansion. This is the lifelong journey of spirituality – the formation of our spiritual selves, isn’t it?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I don’t say this often about books, but I will read this one again and again – such rich content invites a deep and healing journey of discovery. One gift I received this first time was the invitation to remember and reflect on my dreams. Turner shares others’ dreams and her own in a way that helps us reflect on our own. Considering our dreams is an interesting place to practice compassionate curiosity – holding dreams with the recognition that we are playing all the roles. When we can reflect on our dreams in this fuller way, we can heal the parts of internal unbelonging and bring in the parts of us that we have exiled throughout our lives. What a beautiful gift!
Another helpful component in this book is the gift of reciprocal community. Turner, throughout the book, speaks to a reciprocity in life. In the final chapter, she shares the parts of ourselves and others in community that allow for a reciprocal flow of belonging. We all desire to see and be seen, to know and be known, and to love and be loved. This is reciprocal community – a place living an authentic spirituality of connection with those around us. This kind of community requires our own internal healing and the same journey lived with others.
I’m so thankful for the invitations toward greater freedom and wholeness in Toko-pa Turner’s words. This is always the invitation of God – an invitation toward greater freedom and wholeness.
I’m looking forward to rereading this book and would like to invite you to join me. Would you consider joining my next book club starting January 16th? I would love to share the gift offered in Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home with others.
To contact Toko-pa:
Website — www.toko-pa.com
Instagram — @tokopa
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Kathi Gatlin founded Boldly Loved and co-founded the Companioning Center to bring together her two greatest passions: spiritual formation and teaching. In this, she utilizes her M.Ed. earned through George Fox University and her D.Min in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary. Her greatest joy is walking alongside others, individually and in groups, in their own spiritual journey, sharing ways of understanding God anew through contemplative prayer and teaching, and to see them grow in the depth of their own understanding of who God is and who they are in relationship with God. Kathi is a spiritual director, supervisor, writer, spiritual formation group facilitator, retreat speaker, leadership mentor. For more information about Kathi, check out boldlyloved.org.