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The Intrinsic Value of True Belonging

Finally! We were back in the space many of us have dearly missed (after a two-year hiatus due to ill health suffered by EWP Founding Director, Tisiola Lear); Our Focus Group meetings in Emily Circuit, where EWP members gather to listen, learn and express themselves on the many subjects that influence and make up the world we live in.

It was lovely to welcome three new members to our Focus Group evening (Robyn, Mhairi, and Nicola), and although we had a few of our regular faces unable to attend, the subject of Belonging was one we all enjoyed discussing.

To begin with, we individually expressed what we believed Belonging meant to us, and these things included:

  • Understanding ourselves

  • Being comfortable, and accepting ourselves

  • Be – Longing

Understanding and accepting ourselves and feeling validated amongst others, was very important. No need, therefore, to pretend in order to ‘fit in’. The ability to be authentically ourselves, with no need for pretence was widely acknowledged.

The idea of Be-Longing, brought forward by one of our new members, was a unique and insightful way that I had never thought of, but so true. Because, to be and longing and yearning for something greater than ourselves is, I believe, an innate human state. It is that wonderful quality that propels us forward in both inner and outer growth. After all, without that inner drive, we would stagnate.

I believe our instinctive desire to belong comes from our nine-month gestation in the womb, where all we know is utter belonging and it is therefore natural that when we are thrust out into the big wide world, we long for a return to that warmth and safety. Fortunately, many of us find that second sense of belonging from the love and acceptance we experience from our families.

During further discussions, we agreed that belonging is an emotional state. We actually ‘feel’ belonging. It is a healthy, natural state of being. Conversely, however, when we don’t feel that we belong, our whole health and well-being suffer. Unfortunately, until recently, emotions, and ‘emotional intelligence’, have been down-played to ‘mental intelligence', by the intelligentsia. Especially, by men, of females, who are more open to displaying their emotions and emotional intelligence. No world-shattering news there! Patriarchy at its mildest!

Tisiola’s journey hitherto, from Tonga (Belonging), to Australia (not Belonging); health to ill-health, and to deep awakening, gave us a very real sense of what Belonging and Not Belonging feels like for her. A brief over-view of her journey and navigation through the unchartered waters of establishing herself in a foreign land, showed us the depths of despair we are able to reach when we feel we do not belong. When we feel we are invisible to those around us. When we succumb to the soft barriers, those unspoken barricades and impediments, that leave us feeling ‘other’ ‘wrong’ ‘less than’, get washed into the streams of depression. Suppressing our emotions and thereby forfeiting our power by believing that other people are right, we therefore must be wrong.

It wasn’t until Tisiola returned to Tonga twenty-seven years later, thinking she would be re-connecting with her sense of belonging (family, friends, food, culture), that she discovered, for her, Belonging, was neither a place, nor the familiar. She no longer felt she belonged in either world. Which left her with an even deeper sense of loss of self. So, after emotionally and physically clawing her way back to self-empowerment, through study and reflection, she set about creating an environment where, not only she but also others, could seek authentic connection and true belonging. Thus her establishment of Embracing Womens Potential (EWP).

As we all know, however, life provides us with many twists and turns and, it wasn’t until her recent serious and life-changing illness, that she felt she truly belonged to and with those around her. Not because she conformed, pretended, or performed any great feat, other than being her authentic self.  In other words, she allowed herself to be seen as being enough – more than enough – just being who she was and who she is now.

And from that beautiful sense of being seen and recognised as enough, comes the feeling of being loved. True acceptance of self. The feeling that you truly belong to yourself, and your tribe.

These subjects that affect and influence us all so much through the course of our lives, are all too often, the things we, as a society, never discuss. It’s ridiculous, but true. The social connections we make, are too often, not connections at all. They’re meeting places sure (internet, coffeeshops, sports, pubs, clubs, restaurants etc), but how often do we really have the opportunity to discuss the things that truly matter to us? The things that can improve our journey, and bring us to a greater closer relationship with those around us. Authentic Connections. And through those connections and the sense of true belonging with others, help to create a far better and healthier life for all. Humans, animals and planet.

Tisiola now equates the word of belonging, as the action of love. And I agree with her. It is the action, of love-in-action, where they intersect at the junction of Be-Longing. That is, at that meeting place of our Be-ing, with Love - that our Longing is sated. And once more, we feel re-united, with our embryonic state of total Belonging.

Again, it was so good to be back in this space, where authenticity, respect, love and self-development are so genuinely sought and encouraged, for both self and others.

Thank you Tisiola, and all who attended this rewarding discussion; especially our new members.

Bella h

















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