ConsciousCafe Newbury – We have lift-off!

Published: December 8, 2019
Author: ConsciousCafe

Our newest ConsciousCafe group launched in Newbury on 26th November. We had a wonderful turnout with a lovely group of people and a fabulous evening sharing our ideas, insights and experiences around our topic: ‘Belonging - what does it mean to you?’

We began by asking ourselves the following questions:

  1. Humans have a deep need for belonging. We feel happier when we have a strong sense of belonging to a family, social group or community. Studies show that it also improves our health, self-esteem and quality of life.
  2. What kinds of groups and communities give us a sense of belonging?
  3. What are the possible pros and cons of belonging? 

Our format was to discuss the questions above in small groups of 3 or 4, each person sharing their thoughts and reflections whilst being listened to by the others in the group. We then changed groups so that we could meet new people and explore the topic further using the questions below. We also had the opportunity to share our ideas and experiences with the wider group. This created a lovely intimate setting and the conversations were deep and honest – and ranged far and wide.

  • “Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect." Brene Brown
  • What ingredients give you a sense of belonging?
  • When they're missing, what happens? How do you feel?
  •  “The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence." Thomas Berry
  • What happens when we feel as if we are a part of something bigger and more important than ourselves?
  • How can we create more connection and belongingness in the world around us?

We talked about how challenging it can to be authentic and to remain true to ourselves when there is a need or expectation to fit in. At what point do we make the decision to leave a group, a place of work or a community if we don’t fit in or conform? Shared values were very important if we were to feel we belonged to a group or community. How could we be more tolerant of other people’s values, beliefs and perspectives?

People openly shared their personal experiences of when they’d struggled in life, feeling different to everyone else and the impact this had had on them. Others talked about how hard it had been growing up because they were so sensitive to other people’s energies and feelings. When they felt over-whelmed and isolated, time alone and in nature helped to rest and re-charge their batteries.

We also discussed the current climate emergency, concerns about nuclear arms, the many benefits of belonging and being in nature, and the different ways we could feel connected to nature even when we live in cities.  

Afterwards, we chatted and mingled over cups of tea, coffee and delicious biscuits. New friends were made and the lively conversations continued! And now we’d like to pass the question on. What does ‘belonging’ mean to you?

This post is written by Rachel Calder, leader of ConsciousCafe Newbury. Follow the Newbury group page to keep up to date with upcoming meetings!


ConsciousCafe is a not-for-profit organisation, a friendly and welcoming community, a place to live life consciously.