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You Belong: A Call for Connection

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  620 ratings  ·  86 reviews
From much-admired meditation expert and Western Buddhist thought leader, You Belong is a social and spiritual call to action, exploring our tangled relationship with belonging, connection, and each other

To belong is to experience joy and freedom in any moment: to feel pleasure, dance in public, accept death, forgive what seems unforgiveable, and extend kindness to yourself
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 25th 2020 by HarperOne
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Cara Navarro
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
this feels like the love child of radical acceptance by tara brach and pleasure activism by adrienne maree brown, which i very much appreciated
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You Belong is an affirmation of all our place in the world. Maybe even the universe. It is a lovely mix of personal and instructive (which is always rooted for her in the personal--the way I like it).

Everything we are, everything we feel has its place. It all belongs. "You are perfect the way you are" but also "you could use a little improvement." And Selassie has suggestions for ways in which we can improve, beginning, of course, with meditation. Also grounding ourselves in our bodies, limiting
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sebene is one of my favorite teachers on the Ten Percent Happier app so I was excited to read this book. It did not disappoint. I listened to the audiobook, as read by the author, and I enjoyed listening to it in her voice, but feel like I need a hard copy to underline and ponder. Sebene presented some Buddhist teachings in ways I'd never thought of them before. I'm a newbie meditator who has just dipped her toe in Buddhism, so take this all with a grain of salt. The idea that we should know our ...more
Beautiful book from one of my favorite mediation teachers. I would recommend it for people who are both new to mindfulness and for long time practitioners. I would especially recommend it for POC because her excellent treatment of the ways racism and capitalism thwart connection.

She covers a lot of ground in a short book and so sometimes I felt a lot of big ideas were not given enough space. I do like her writing style, which is sometimes very touching and sometimes playful.

Because she has been
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
(Full disclosure: I know the author personally and have always appreciated her as a warm, loving human being)
You Belong: A Call for Connection You Belong A Call for Connection by Sebene Selassie calls for us to examine how we live our lives and whether we live in connection of disconnection with nature and especially with ourselves. We've all been in situations in which we've felt we didn't belong, some of us more than others. As someone who grew up "different," I deeply appreciated how the author shows time and again that the belief of not
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I believe that every book finds you when you need it, whether you are looking or not. This book, You Belong, will find you and remind you of the many ways that we are disconnected and connected. I wish that we weren’t living in this crazy time where there are so many forces that throw us apart, but here is something, this book, that will center us. I highly recommend the audio version, read by the author in a very calming and reassuring voice.
Megan Rosol
My favorite book of the year on navigating social and personal changes through meditation, mindfulness practice, and compassion. A wonderful book filled with wisdom, humor, insight and hope.
Sebene Selassie describes herself on the cover as “nerdy, black, immigrant, tomboy, Buddhist, weirdo," which made me pick up her book and I'm grateful that I did.
Sep 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bestof
This is a must-read. It's packed with so many thought-provoking ideas, I kept pausing to let my thoughts wander and wanted to underline and write all over the margins. Feels current and very relevant. ...more
Misty Galbraith
Mar 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I went crazy on the highlights of this fabulous book! I want to spend some time going back over each section because there are so many valuable ideas and concepts embedded in this book that can be applied to so many areas of life from personal growth to parenting, or relationships, or teaching… etc. It’s a radical approach to uniting and healing our society and ourselves.
Mimi Turner
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’d give it 100 stars if I could. A beautiful book of trusting your roots & growing from there. If you’re looking for a book to ground you & inspire you; this is it. Thank you Sebene! ❤️
May 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is so powerful and eye opening. So much hope, guidance and research. The final story in it is so beautiful and inspiring on what our world has the capacity to be. I am excited to read it again and again!
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5, rounding up.

I really loved this book & look forward to exploring more of this Buddhist teacher’s offerings.
Sabin Prentis Duncan
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing

There is a proverb that says, “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.” I’m ready and in my readiness, I casually opened the fall 2020 issue of Mindful Magazine and the teacher appeared in all her beautiful splendor (and the coolest of names). Then I purchased You Belong and on the cover Sebene Selassie describes herself as “nerdy, black, immigrant, tomboy, Buddhist, weirdo” which made me feel like “my peoples!✊🏾” Then I started reading and
Sep 23, 2020 added it
Some lovely ideas

Paradoxes - one + everything
Domination - you think you are thinking your own thoughts but they are the cultures
Know yourself - Axle metaphor, if you are the hole for the axle + the fit is bad the journey will be bumpy even if the road is smooth
Knowing yourself allows you to embrace your shadow & forget yourself
Self work is - you are beautiful and perfect just the way you are....and you do with a little tweek/improvement
Belonging to yourself
Grounding techniques with elements of
Viki Sonntag
Feb 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Very much appreciate her integrating an understanding of how the delusion of separation shows up as racism and hierarchies and how that perpetuates suffering all round.
Apr 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great book and so thought provoking. It's pretty Buddhist but my take is you don't have to be a Buddhist to get what she's talking about or connect with the material. There's so much to think about and she presents the different areas of discussion in really compelling ways and is incredibly honest about her own life. I really connected. Will be thinking about this for a while. ...more
Sep 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
So, I read a fair amount of mindfulness works. This one really sticks out in a good way. Very accessible and relatable. Sebene really DOES understand connection and it comes through in her writing style. Her perspectives as a black woman of Ethiopian heritage and a multiple time cancer survivor only make her more relatable in a way that proves the thesis of her book. We are all connected, but we are all independent also.
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Affirming our place in the world. Human being >>>>>>>>>>>> human doing.
Holly Briquelet
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book comes into your life at the EXACT moment you need it most and I am incredibly thankful for that experience today; like many I’ve been wrestling with some challenging feelings these past few days (weeks?months?😅) and questioning what I thought I knew to be true about the world and my place in it...I woke up early today to start reading this new book from one of my favorite meditation teachers Sebene Selassie (“Nerdy Black Immigrant Tomboy Buddhist Weirdo”💗) and could not stop; I ...more
May 20, 2021 rated it liked it
A handful of beautiful passages. But not enough to sustain the book.
Aug 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
A perfect combination of suggestions and ideas to ponder, the author's experiences (which make everything else in the book more relevant), and excerpts from other practitioners. I felt challenged and acknowledged. The Journal Prompts appendix presented new ways for me to express myself in my daily journal writing. The author opening herself to readers was a precious gift and I am grateful. I am also grateful for my aging body, my kind spirit, and my openness to keep learning. ...more
May 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
It took me much longer than expected to read this book. I would pick it up, read a bit, put it down, and read something else. I think I just had to let my mind absorb what she was saying. It often seems simple but carried deep wisdom.

I like Sebene’s often self deprecating, humorous style. I will likely pick it up and read parts again.
Paul Singleton III
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent read that makes Buddhist principles so accessible! This book asks us to reflect on our interconnectedness as a global community.
Jim Thompson
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I liked this.

I'm not sure why, but the a couple of hours before I actually started reading it, I read through several of the Good Reads reader reviews.

The negative ones, mostly.

And that's a lie.

I do know why.

Sometimes, not always, before reading a nonfiction book that has a lot of positive hype, I read through a handful of negative reviews. I do it because sometimes a book can read really, really well, it can all sound great, and you don't notice that somehow some utter nonsense has slipped
Apr 08, 2021 rated it liked it
The first half of the book I felt myself being drawn in. The second half not as much. There were pieces in the second half that drew me in. But I go flat on a writing when it talks about accepting pain a little too much. There is enough writing about that but not nearly enough to balance that philosophy with another understanding that we are human beings and not simply machinery to program at will. There is only so much we can take just like any other animal. I am not a fan of Pema Chodron so I ...more
Matt C
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been involved in formal Buddhist practice for a couple years, and interested in meditation and related practices for many more years. As an avid reader, I have read many books on Buddhism and related topics. Like Sebene, I am also a cancer survivor. I found this book enjoyable to read and helpful in my practice and in my self care. Sebene writes as if she understands on an experiential level the interconnectedness of all things. For me, what Buddhism is all about is the consistent, delibe ...more
TC Gill
Oct 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love books that as you read them, one becomes to get to know the author well. Almost know them like they are one of our circle. Well, for me, this was one of those books. But the book's wonderful impact was not solely about her shared stories, authenticity, transparency, honesty, and humourous writing style. Though these were greatly appreciated, most of all, they helped the message Sabine was conveying.

And what she conveyed is wonderful. Having struggled with the feeling of belonging for most
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You Belong by Sebene Selassie is a non-fiction book written to enable the reader to experience belonging both externally and internally. I first heard the author on a podcast and found her belief that we are not separate from others very interesting, especially in a country so rooted in individualism. The author's experience twined throughout the book was captivating and furthered my knowledge and empathy of the immigrant experience. As a researcher, her explanation of how we are not separate on ...more
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First of all, thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Publishers and the author, Sebene Selassie, for this advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are mine, and I am grateful for the opportunity to check this book out!

When I came upon this book while browsing through NG's suggested books for me, the cover stood out. The title came secondary. But at the end of the day, the writing style was definitely what kept me reading.

From the outset, the author's pop cu
Jun 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: health-self-help
This autobiography of an angry person can be done by any of us. We all have been slighted - some more than others. To suggest that her plight is worse just because she meditates is wrong. Many supposed facts are not facts, just assumptions on her part.

I was drawn in my her story but bad assessments were too rampant. 80% through I just gave up.

Being a person of any color/age/ethnicity/disability/ wealth category is hard in America - the reality is that 99.99% of Americans are worse off than the
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Sebene Selassie is a teacher, author and speaker who explores the themes of belonging and identity through meditation, creativity and spirituality. She is a much admired teacher on the Ten Percent Happier meditation app.

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Washington DC, Sebene began studying Buddhism 30 years ago as an undergraduate at McGill University where she majored in Comparative Religious Studie

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“Here’s a famous quote from Japanese Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi: “All of you are perfect just as you are. And you could use a little improvement.” The second sentence sounds like a sly insult, but it’s actually an invitation into a deep self-love.” 0 likes
“It’s an opportunity to adore oneself so completely that imperfections are part of the perfection of your being. No part left out. Until we contend with that, our practice is simply a battle with ourselves, a self-evaluation project dressed up as self-acceptance.” 0 likes
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