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Our work is in devotion to belonging;
to our own bodies & to the greater body of earth.

Leaves Shadow

WAY OF BELONGING IS A HOME FOR RELATIONAL & ECOLOGICAL EMBODIMENT. OUR WORK IS IN SERVICE TO NURTURING A SENSE OF PURPOSE, PLACE & BELONGING IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD. 

We seek to nurture our relational bonds & ecological roots  through the following body-centered & nature-based offerings of care. 

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Together through 1:1 Holistic Therapy & Transformational Coaching sessions, personalized retreats and opportunities for group support, we explore inherited and/or conditioned trauma patterns that show up in the microcosm of our bodies and that play out through the dynamic of our relationships. This realm of the work focuses on strengthening one’s relationship to Self and returning to the wisdom of the body as a necessary expression of the whole.

 

Ecological intelligence teaches us that our body is an ecosystem and this allows us to approach "healing" with more care and nuance. It also means that we play an important role within the health of  the larger communal ecosystem which influences our own health. 1:1 Sessions is a community wellness offering that centers practices of body-based wisdom, self-love, personal empowerment, compassion and curiosity, and creating new embodied patterns.

Image by Levi XU

Through Community Ritual we are weaving the relational fabric of community on the foundations of somatic, animist and place-based remembrance. Our in-person and online rituals invite us into cyclical ways of knowing and being. Together we explore  what it means to show up and lean into the unknown together with care and curiosity with nature as our guide.

 

Ecological intelligence teaches us that the quality of our relationships are informed by our interdependence and that we each are responsible for strengthening the whole. We do this by rooting into the wisdom of our bodies and with a focus on process. These offering are community wellness resources that encourage authentic sharing, deep listening, creative expression, spontaneity, emergence, and collaboration. 

Image by Ileana Skakun

Through eco-somatic and nature-based connection practices, eco-therapy, and place-based education, we are learning to expand our felt sense of self to include the landscapes and ecosystems of which we are enfolded. 

 

Ecological intelligence unsettles notions of individualism and binary thinking which serve to uphold systems of oppression, domination and supremacy that desensitize us from our bodies and from the greater body of earth. Through Nature Connection we have the opportunity to re-orient our understanding of the world  by rooting into specific place-based, cultural, and relational contexts. Nature Connection is a community wellness offering that awakens empathy, interbeing (Thich Nhat Hanh), whole systems thinking, imagination, sensual aliveness and embodied knowing. 

 
 
 

All of our offerings are designed with the intention to:

  • deepen intimacy with our body/lands

  • queer notions of love to include our more-than-human relatives

  • strengthen our connection to the places that nurture us

  • enliven the spirit toward rhythmic resonance and mutual thriving

OUR STORY

We are an (un)learning community dedicated to personal and collective transformation. 

 

We believe that what ails humanity at this time is a disconnection from our own bodies (mind/body split) and from the greater body of our living earth (spirit/matter split): the source of our spiritual sustenance and aliveness.

 

This has resulted in a collective forgetting of the sacred in our lives exemplified by the traumatic and abusive relationship that the majority of humans currently have with each other and earth.  Separation from and domination over nature is a core wound stored within the collective soma of humanity. It expresses trauma in myriad ways as it alienates and cuts us off from the intelligence of our ecological nervous system and relational resilience.

 

We believe that earth is calling to humanity through the collective discomfort & cultural crises of these times and is asking each of us to rise and reclaim our purpose in service to planetary healing.  

 

This means interrogating the very systems that we have come to depend upon - systems established through genocide, colonialism, slavery, and war; reorienting our understanding of the world; and transforming ourselves by reclaiming our ecological purpose, place and belonging within the web of all relations.  

 

We believe that belonging is nature’s intelligence awakened within us and arises from an ongoing set of practices (somatic, animist, place-based) that support our ability to creatively respond and adapt to the challenges we face.  This involves the necessity of slowing down, creating space to listen to the wisdom of our bodies and our ecosystem, and connecting to the wild and erotic power of what it means to be human in this moment.

 

Through exploring and practicing embodied ways of knowing and being in relationship, we are working towards an ecology of care. Thus our focus is on what liberates life energy toward mutual thriving, what enlivens the collective spirit toward rhythmic resonance, what sparks generative and creative connections, and what nourishes our belonging within an interwoven, complex, life-sustaining web of relationships. 

 

We are here to support you on your journey of belonging.

Together, we are finding our way.

Frozen Lake

Born in the Piedmont South, Way Of Belonging is home to the Cape Fear River Basin and is shaped by and responsive to the socio-cultural-ecological landscape in which it grows. 

Relationship with Land is at the heart of our work & this Land is Indigenous Land

We are an organization currently led by queer white settlers and are offering this work from the occupied ancestral territories of the Catawba, Eno, Shakori, Tutelo, Sissipahaw, Occaneechi and Saponi Nations, and specifically within the Cape Fear River Watershed of NC.  We recognize that our being here is inextricably linked to the oppression and attempted erasure of Indigenous peoples as well as the horrific legacy of slavery.

The processes by which our ancestors came to reside on Turtle Island are steeped in injustice and harm. Way Of Belonging is one way that we humbly attempt to account for, understand, and repair some of that harm in ways that go beyond apology or an acknowledgement on a website.

 

Thus it is part of our work to learn what it means to be in right relationship, to live in alignment with our integrity, to understand our unique roles in relationship to place, to enact our responsibilities as settler-occupiers on Indigenous lands, and to cultivate authentic relationships of solidarity and shared struggle towards collective liberation. We support and stand in solidarity with Indigenous Nations and land defenders across Turtle Island who are calling for reparations and #landback.

We are rooted in a commitment to the ongoing work of unsettling whiteness and the ideologies of domination and supremacy that uphold it;  dismantling both internalized and systemic manifestations of colonial capitalist violence; and building toward radical visions of the future rooted in collective liberation.

With that being said, our offerings are not spaces for spiritual by-passing or escapism. We seek to ground our spiritual work in the realities of our living world,  much of which requires our willingness to get uncomfortable and to create space for the holy shadow - those things that have long been denied and dismissed -  to teach and guide us.

 

We welcome dialogue and feedback.

OUR TEAM

Michelle Rozek

Co-founder &

Holistic Therapist
She/They

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Michelle Rozek is a queer Mind-Body-Spirit healer, somatic experiencing practitioner, eco-therapy guide, shadow worker, energy healer, and clairsentient.

As a highly sensitive, introverted intuitive Michelle is attuned to the subtle realms and finds deep peace and clarity in the serenity of nature where she spends much of her time when she's not serving her clients. She is the calm in the center of the storm and the pearl of her essence is stillness. For this reason she requires plenty of space to nurture presence and to commune with the quiet, hidden aspects of life. As such,  she is not afraid of the dark, rather she feels at home in the places where most people feel discomfort and aversion. 

Michelle's purpose is to serve earth's evolution by supporting others on their healing journey. Gifted with the multi-sensory perception of clairsentience - the ability to feel hidden, energetic and emotional subtleties - allows Michelle to see what is often invisible to most.  She also carries the ability to recognize fractal geometric patterns playing out in human behavior and relationships. 

 

In the in-betweens of everyday life, you can find Michelle wandering in the woods communing with the trees, foraging edible plants and mushrooms, sitting in stillness, working on landscape projects, studying a topic of interest, or sharing a deeply meaningful conversation with a friend. As an eco-sensual she is inspired every day by the way earth moves and nurtres her soul. 

Jessica Cudney

Co-founder &

Transformational Coach

She/They

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Jessica Cudney is a queer environmental justice organizer, experienced group facilitator, and MindBody Therapy Practitioner with over seven years of community building experience. She received her BA in Political Science and Social Justice and Peace Studies at the University of Western in London, Ontario. 

 

Jessica is a member of the NC Alamance NAACP Chapter and sits on the Environmental Justice Committee. She is an active organizer with local Indigenous-led efforts to protect our communities, Land, and Waters from the threat of fossil fuel industrial expansion, specifically the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

 

As a trauma-informed MindBody Therapy Practitioner, Jessica holds the importance of body-centered transformation as central to healing and justice. Through her personal practice, Jessica seeks to support folks in creating a life of meaning and purpose; aligning daily practice with deepest held values; making necessary lifestyle shifts that make room for more aliveness and presence; and unlearning conditioned/colonized ways of being that get in the way of thriving. Grounded in social justice values, Jessica challenges and supports clients to take an honest look at themselves, while deepening their capacity to hold themselves and others in loving regard.

 

In the blissful mundane of everyday life, Jess loves gathering all her friends together to share and co-create intentional, meaningful experiences. She thrives and nurtures her core by dancing, writing, crafting, and spending time in nature. She is inspired every day by the magic and beauty of earth and delights in capturing the essence of Earth through nature photography. 

Lily Heaton

Partner & Collaborator
She/Her

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Lily embodies the essence of a mountain: constancy, equanimity, stability, and order, yet she is also fiery and fierce in her convictions. Lily’s flame ignites when she witnesses the injustices and lack of integrity within our political systems. She is a powerful force through her intellect and integrity, and she will not stand down in the face of dominance. She harnesses her righteous anger into passion by creating space to educate, amplify, build skills and support the needs of people.

 

As a collaborator, Lily supports us to weave all of the threads of this unfolding work together. She sees through the logistics, gets things down to the practical, and can narrow any complex idea into its simplest form. She is our wordsmith, resource queen, content editor, and software wizard.  

More than anything, Lily is devoted to serving her family and friends and the people she holds closest in her heart. She spends most of her time making gifts, casting spells, planning hangouts, researching, and reading. Every breath is in service to her relationships. Lily embodies the most ideal, loyal, and committed friend anyone could ever know. When you are in her presence, you feel as though a warm blanket has been placed over your shoulders as she holds a space for you to be whomever you are in the moment.