The art of belonging

Pict-copy©Karina Laymen

Wanstead House art tutor Karina Laymen has illustrated ‘grown-up’ children’s book Manny Motorcycle’s Miracle by Tricia Exman, aimed at anyone who has ever struggled to fit in

“How do you belong?” is a much more powerful and important question than: “Where do you belong?” Belonging is a basic, almost primal, human need. We can strive for it, fight for it, manoeuvre for it, and even muscle our way into it. Our intense need for belonging can create incredible chaos in our lives and the lives of those around us. We have deep questions about what is necessary – what we must be or do – to belong, and often in our best attempts to answer them, we create a false self and abandon our truest self. That loss of self is not only felt at the core of who we are but it is an incredible loss for the world.

When we take a close, focused look at the world, it’s not too difficult to imagine a stage of masquerading identities. In our efforts to make our way in the world, we compromise a little here and conform a little there. We may even push or prod to feel strong and powerful because feeling weak is terrifying. Others may intimidate us to elevate their own sense of power. In effect, the gift we are intended to be for the world is manoeuvred into submission and even silence. We lose. The world loses. And if all our efforts to garner belonging are based on the projection of what is false, what would happen if we lived from what is true? Authenticity can be terrifying! It often leaves us feeling exposed.

How do we shake the dirt of conformance and compromise off our feet and flourish in the deeply seeded, eternal purpose planted inside us? How do we show up authentically, trusting there is a place of belonging and a purpose intended for our specific design – that we have been crafted precisely to accomplish something only made possible by our uniqueness? Our souls will always know that if we belong based on a false projection, then the real us still doesn’t belong. We have denied, even forfeited ourselves and pretence is required to remain in this false belonging. Manny’s inspired story and journal will take you on a journey of discovery back to your truest true strength and power. The world needs the ‘youness’ only you can offer it.

The story of Manny Motorcycle’s Miracle is for anyone who has ever felt like an imposter or pretender, struggled to fit in, been bullied or been a bully, questioned their own strength, power and unique contribution, or compromised who they are or what they know is right for the sake of belonging and lost themselves along the way.

Stories and art are powerful tools that bypass our logical brains and reach us at deeper levels, making them incredibly transformative. This is why this book is written and illustrated as a children’s book. Big changes in our souls require us to become as children. Embrace the biggest change in your life through this fanciful story of the false identities we accumulate trying to answer our deepest questions.

Manny Motorcycle’s Miracle is available in hardback and paperback from Amazon. Visit wnstd.com/manny

For more information on the author, visit wnstd.com/exman

For more information on the illustrator, visit wnstd.com/karina