I immediately perceived the cracked foundation in my dream as a failure of leadership on my part, namely a failure to help others feel a sense of belonging in connection with me, especially as I spend time focusing on strengthening my personal container and boundaries. As I reflected on the dream, I wondered: To what extent am I responsible for facilitating a sense of belonging for others? I have a deep desire for everyone I encounter to feel a sense of belonging when they're around me. I remember what it was like to grow up not feeling a sense of belonging--it was awful.
I found the beginning of an answer to my questions in rereading what Dr. Brown wrote about b.r.a.v.i.n.g. the wilderness:
Boundaries - You respect my boundaries, and when you're not clear on what's okay and not okay, you ask. You're willing to say no.
Reliability - You do what you say you'll do. This means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don't overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.
Accountability - You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.
Vault - You don't share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you're not sharing with me any information about other people that should be kept confidential.
Integrity - You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.
Nonjudgment - I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.
Generosity - You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.
What I'm discovering is that anyone else's sense of belonging--as much as I desire for them to experience it in connection with me--is not my business. My own sense of belonging is my business, and it is some of the most challenging business there is. To know myself and my value (and values) in such a deep way that I am able to stand tall without being automatically defensive around others, and also to have a wild and curious approach to the worlds outside and within me, is to belong to myself. Belonging to myself may not help others feel as though they belong in my presence, whether I hope for that or not. In fact, there's very little I can do for someone else's sense of belonging--the hard work of b.r.a.v.i.n.g. is theirs alone to choose.
What I can do is lay a foundation for myself, b.r.a.v.i.n.g. my own wilderness to discover my belonging to myself, a belonging that has always been mine to claim by virtue of existing in this world.
How do you practice b.r.a.v.i.n.g. the wilderness?