Lead with Love: We belong to each other

Gina Murdock

Our most basic needs are physiological: air, food, water, sleep. Next, we need shelter and safety. With these needs met we can survive, but it’s not until we feel a sense of belonging that we can thrive. Belonging to a tribe, a family, a community, is where we learn to love and connect and care for each other. Without a feeling of belonging, it is difficult to ever feel intimacy, trust and a sense of purpose and meaning in life. It is essential and it is eroding in our culture, and in our little mountain community, too.

One of the reasons I started Lead with Love was to nurture and foster connections. I was lonely when I first moved to Aspen. I didn’t know anyone and I felt out of place; I didn’t belong. I loved yoga at the time so I started The Aspen Yoga Society to try to bring more of a service element into the yoga community. I met many wonderful people through this endeavor and I eventually expanded it into a nonprofit called Aspen City of Wellbeing. More wonderful, heartfelt people got involved and I got to know many of the unseen, essential workers of our valley deepening my love of this place and the people that make it work. A few years later, an event we called “Lead with Love” turned into something that felt like an even better vehicle for my desire to love and connect with others. Nurturing connections with others and with the land finally made Aspen feel like home.

My desire to be a mother also came from a yearning to connect. I wanted to know the feeling of intimacy and love that only seemed to exist between a mother and child. I needed to know what that was. And indeed, now that I do, I cannot imagine my life without it. A yearning for connection and belonging is probably the biggest driver in my life. Like air or water, I need it. I love nothing more than laughing with friends, hugging someone that needs it till they relax in my arms or getting that hug from another, gazing at my children with a love that is so hard to contain it bubbles out everywhere as giggles and smiles. This is it.

Love is a renewable energy. It is limitless like the sun. It shines even when it is covered by clouds and storms. The fuel for love is a connection with God or Spirit, with our Earth and with each other. When we know love and connection, we are limitless. With this renewable energy we can help to heal the brokenness. The loneliness. The despair. The light we can cultivate as a community, as a family, as friends, can radiate and heal.

Later this month, Lead with Love will join Here House for their Socrates Cafe in presenting “Foster Shock” and other films and discussions around belonging and concepts of “other.” Will you be part of this community of people working to create connection, intimacy and belonging? There are millions of orphans around the world and hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care in the United States who need love, a community, a family. What we reap in this community, in our lives, depends on the seeds we sow. Together, we can plant kindness and a culture of caring for each other. Ignore the stories of separation. It is only an illusion. Only love is real.

Gina Murdock is the founder of Lead with Love, an Aspen-based nonprofit dedicated to shifting culture from fear to love and a board member of CASA of the Ninth. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the Ninth is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization serving Pitkin, Garfield, and Rio Blanco counties that trains and supervises volunteers to represent the best interests of our most vulnerable citizens – victims of child abuse, neglect, and severe domestic conflict. For more information about CASA go to For more info about Socrates Cafe June 20-22 visit



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