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A Summer Read

Every summer Lebanon County and surrounding counties’ libraries participate in A Summer Read, a reading initiative for adults that runs from June through September. Each year this health literacy campaign selects a title to read and support with special programming.

Book Title Description

“With grace, intelligence, and palpable compassion, Selassie weaves discussions of implicit bias, intergenerational trauma, and white supremacy throughout her coverage of more traditional spiritual topics, such as ego and conscious awareness. This is a powerful work of spirituality and anti-racism.”  Publisher’s Weekly

You are not separate. You never were. You never will be.
We are not separate from each other. But we don’t always believe it, and we certainly don’t always practice it. In fact, we often practice the opposite—disconnection and domination. From unconscious bias to “cancel culture,” denial of our inherent interconnection limits our own freedom.

In You Belong, much-admired meditation expert Sebene Selassie reveals that accepting our belonging is the key to facing the many challenges currently impacting our world. Using ancient philosophy, multidisciplinary research, exquisite storytelling, and razor sharp wit, Selassie leads us in an exploration of all the ways we separate (and thus suffer) and offers a map back to belonging.

To belong is to experience joy in any moment: to feel pleasure, dance in public, accept death, forgive what seems unforgivable, and extend kindness to yourself and others. To belong is also to acknowledge injustice, reckon with history, and face our own shadows. Full of practical advice and profound revelations, You Belong makes a winning case for resisting the forces that demand separation and reclaiming the connection—and belonging—that have been ours all along.

About The Author

Growing up, Selassie felt like a big weirdo. She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and raised in white neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. She was a tomboy Black girl who loved Monty Python and UB40. She never believed she belonged. But she does belong. So do you.

In fact, we all belong to each other and to everything (whether we want to or not) . Our individual freedom affects absolutely everyone and everything. Our collective freedom depends on each and every one of us. Creative contemplative practices reconnect us to these truths of belonging.

Even as a young person, Selassie was drawn to explore the connections between creativity, community, and contemplative life. She has been studying Buddhism for 30 years and received a BA from McGill University where she studied Comparative Religious Studies and Women’s Studies. She has an MA in Media Studies from the New School where Selassie focused on cultural studies and race. Selassie is trained as a meditation teacher, an integral coach and an Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy (IFOT) practitioner.

 

For over 20 years Selassie worked with children, youth, and families nationally and internationally for small and large not for profits. Her work has taken her everywhere from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to refugee camps in Guinea, West Africa. Selassie believes in the power of arts-based learning and she’s planned, coordinated, and taught a variety of creative programs including intergenerational photography, digital storytelling, and youth media.

As a three-time breast cancer survivor, Selassie learned that healing is more than just stopping a disease or condition; it is learning to nurture ease and well-being within our bodies, hearts, and minds in every moment. Rumi said “through love all pain will turn to medicine.” Some of the strongest medicine for ourselves and our communities is the self–care we often neglect.

Sebene Selassie teaches classes and retreats regularly across the U.S. and is a meditation teacher on the Ten Percent Happier app. She lives on the unceded territory of the Lenape in Brooklyn, NY with her partner, Frederic. Her pronouns are she/her/hers.

Biography taken from sebeneselassie.com.

Author Talks

For additional YouTube videos of interviews with Sebene Selassie, visit her website.

Additional Reading On The Topic

Resources

Sebene Selassie’s Blog

Insight Timer – Meditation, Sleep, Music This free app offers an extensive library of guided meditations, sleep music tracks and talks led by the top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers from Stanford, Harvard, the University of Oxford and more. With 100+ new free guided meditations and sleep tracks added daily, more meditation is practiced on Insight Timer than anywhere else. Great for both beginners and experienced practitioners. Available for Android and iOS.

7 Writing Prompts for Mindfulness (in 7 minutes or less) by Dave Ursillo Short on time? Try these seven writing prompts that give you the opportunity for simple, mindful reflections.

This is a collaboration of WITF Transforming Health, Capital Blue Cross, and WellSpan Health System.