Short readings on intimacy, trust, or community-building
January 11, 2019 6:38 AM   Subscribe

I have to bring two readings for a group tonight. The focus of the group is going to be on building (non-sexual/non-romantic) intimacy, trust, and community. The readings don't have to be on that theme, but it seems like it would be nice if they were. I'll be reading them out loud. Looking for one- to two-paragraph (or thereabouts) readings.

It's for a group of Unitarian Universalists, so any religious framework (or none) is fine, but the group tends to get twitchy at too much emphasis on a Christian god (and I get twitchy if that god is referred to with masculine pronouns).

And if you have something that kiiiiinda fits, I'd love to read it, too!
posted by lazuli to Writing & Language (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Brene Brown is a great source for that kind of thing. Her definition of "true belonging" is a start, but if it doesn't quite hit the mark, there is plenty of her material online that might:
True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging does not require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.
She elaborates in this Q&A on Forbes:
True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. If we are going to change what is happening in a meaningful way we’re going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We’re going to have to sign up and join, and take a seat at the table. We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness.

Its counterintuitive, but our belief in the inextricable human connection is one of our most renewable sources of courage in the wilderness. I can stand up for what I believe is right when I know that regardless of the pushback and criticism, I’m connected to myself and others in a way that can’t be severed. When we don’t believe in an unbreakable connection, the isolation of the wilderness is too daunting so we stay in our factions and echo chambers.
posted by headnsouth at 8:34 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

headnsouth, thanks! I took the first paragraph of the answer in the interview then followed it with the paragraph from the book, and it was an absolutely lovely closing reading -- the minister asked me to send it to him so he could use it for another group he's in, which seems like a certified seal of approval.

In case anyone reads this thread later looking for their own inspiration, the quotation I used for the opening reading was from Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds:
Do you already know that your existence--who and how you are--is in and of itself a contribution to the people and place around you? Not after or because you do some particular thing, but simply the miracle of your life. And that the people around you, and the place(s), have contributions as well? Do you understand that your quality of life and your survival are tied to how authentic and generous the connections are between you and the people and place you live with and in?

Are you actively practicing generosity and vulnerability in order to make the connections between you and others clear, open, available, durable? Generosity here means giving of what you have without strings or expectations attached. Vulnerability means showing your needs.
posted by lazuli at 9:53 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]

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