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:
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.
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.