How To Feel Like You Belong?

Dear Friends,

Do you feel like you don’t belong? You may feel like you don’t belong to your current town, country, community, group of friends, your job, creativity or most importantly to yourself.

Often we can’t determine what that ‘belonging to’ is but we know that deep down inside of us that there is something missing. We feel adrift or untethered like we could just float away.

So many words and feelings have accompanied me on my journey over the past twenty years and when I set out on a fine summer’s evening to innocently get my Thai takeaway, who would have ever thought that night would turn into one of the greatest turning points in my life and to finding my sense of belonging.

Winning the present at my local Thai Take-away forced me to ask myself many difficult questions, hold the mirror up to the reality of my life and all the feelings I had been feeling but just kept pushing down hoping they would go away. Well, in that moment, I ‘let go’ of trying to hold the ship, I surrendered to a deep intuitive feeling of ‘hey babe it’s time to go’ and I took the first step towards finding the right life for me.

In 24 hours, my life shifted onto the next stage and there I was starting to imagine leaving one life for all the exciting possibilities of a new life. For the best part of my adult life, I felt like I didn’t belong. I didn’t belong or feel connected to the place I was living in, I didn’t feel connected to what I was doing, to the people around me but most sadly I didn’t feel like I belonged to me. Who the hell was I?

So much of this I put it down to the fact that my whole life I had moved town almost every three years and a lot of this would be resolved when I found the right place for me.

I did find that place one night in a piazza in Florence and I did start my journey to belonging but back then I didn’t how many deliriously gorgeous levels of deep profound belonging and connection were possible.

I loved Florence and felt good there and for me that was enough, it was a starting point and I loved everything about it. I wanted to learn about her stories and history and without knowing it for the first time in my life I would start to ‘belong’ to a place. As I would ride through the streets on the way home in the quiet of the night, the smells of the earth, the damp and the stone of the streets would rise up, allowing me to feel connected to an ancient world of rhythms, simplicity and part of a the streets, stones and gardens.

The next step was about starting the process of belonging to me and for that I can thank photography and creativity. It helped me stop, be present, form an opinion and gain a voice. Every photo was a question that I had never asked myself, photography and I had this internal dialogue for many years to come. Photography took me on a wild adventure to new people, places and experiences. It opened my mind and my heart. Till one day I had a deep feeling of who I was and why I was here. I knew what I stood for and though there would be storms my tree remained with the roots firmly planted in the ground.  I started to belong to me.

Then came you. You came slowly, you bought my books, you became my friend online and in person and without knowing it the sense of community that I so desperately wanted almost 20 years ago I found in like-minded creative souls online and in person.

You came in droves, people like me looking for something else, for a deeper connection to creativity, to the world around us, to mother earth, to what we do and to like-minded souls. You were my people and I would never have imagined all those years ago that my people would be spread around the earth, in Greece and Canada, Hong Kong and America, In Australia and the Netherlands, in Italy and Africa.

Belonging is a fundamental part of the human condition and if you feel like you don’t belong today take heart because you already belong to collective consciousness that wants more.

Here are 3 quick tips to start you on your path to belonging:

    1. Love the one you’re with!! And by that I mean where you are. Make peace with your place, stop wanting to be someone else, that will come when the time is right but imagine the soil beneath your feet is your friend, be curious about your place, get to know her and her stories. If you are in a city you don’t like, start to love her. Be curious about her like she is a new friend you never took the time to get to know. You can grow a garden to feel connected and realise as you love and nurture that garden you are part of where you are.
    2. Start following your heart and intuition about what you like. Follow the feel good and start doing more of what you like instead of what everybody around you wants you to do. Feeling good is an indication it resonates with your soul.
    3. Find your people. That can be in person or online but connect with people who have common interests, where you don’t need to explain yourself, apologise for the way you think. You can just be you. This requires you taking a step, following up on a hunch or something you are curious about. Going out of your comfort zone but we all know that is where the magic is.

 

Thank you for being part of my journey, for giving me that deep sense of belonging to this earth and myself.

Leave me a little comment in the comments section on where you are at in your journey to belonging and any tips others may enjoy.

In light, love and creativity

Carla x

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Cecile van dee WesthuizenMarie-Christine CaudronClareCarlaRae D. Recent comment authors
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Julie
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Julie

Wow Carla, I really needed to read this today. Probably have needed to read it for the past 5 years. Photography is a wonderful portal to appreciate all that we have around us. It inspires hope and where there is hope a journey of the soul usually follows. Thank you for sharing your wise words xxx

Emma
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Emma

I just love this line Carla, “As I would ride through the streets on the way home in the quiet of the night, the smells of the earth, the damp and the stone of the streets would rise up, allowing me to feel connected to an ancient world of rhythms, simplicity and part of a the streets, stones and gardens.” Learning so much about good living and feeding the soul from your Yes Yes Yes course, that reset has been so fundamental. xxx

Melanie Gowlland
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Melanie Gowlland

Carla, just wanted to say how wonderful I know your photography gift is – really special – but truly, your way with words is also your gift to paint a picture, both visible and invisible. I love where your blogs take me and how I just keep nodding as I read!!! Thank you!! Melanie x

Angelique Lemmens
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Love to read your story. I think i’m happy where i live en who i am. My partner is constantly looking for better places, better work, better home, etc. He looks never satisfied and that sometimes lets me hestitate. Am i borring, is my life not oke? But i am fullfilled and learning every day and I meditate since jan 2019. I am a graphic designer and photografer. (sorry as my English is that good ;-)) I like my work a lott. Sometimes i would travel some more but with two growing kids i think that’s not so easy so… Read more »

Ana Manao
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Ana Manao

I adore absolutely everything about you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being such a tremendous inspiration.

Robyn
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Robyn

Carla hi 💞
Omg your latest post so me
I am so unsettled after 2 trips to Europe recently I have felt all those exact feelings forever
When I’m London Paris Nice Rotterdam I felt myself at one with the works where I belonged
Was it because I was travelling solo
Is it ok to be me after 20+ years of being a wife mother business partner daughter
I loved the freedom it was intoxicating like the cities
If I knew I could manage financially I’d get a one way ticket tomorrow 🙏💯✨
I’d love more feedback and thoughts from you if you have time 💞✨🙏

Meri Mancini
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Meri Mancini

I bought your book Italian Joy years ago and immediately loved your work. I gave it to my daughter to read and she was inspired to the point that she took herself off to Italy for three months and wiped her slate clean. I know how you feel about Florence as it’s the one city over there that just grabbed me and will remain in my heart forever. I have spent time in Florence here and there and would love to be able to live there but at 67 I won’t be moving but I can continue to visit. Thanks… Read more »

Carol Grenfell
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Carol Grenfell

Love your free whimsical spirit Carla. I too have found peace, contentment and acceptance in the place I live, because I now have inner peace and contentment. Unless that happens, you can never be happy anywhere. I am free to leave my secure point of focus, and take my inner freedom and confidence with me where ever I go, knowing I have that point waiting for my return, with a wealth of memories and experiences to revisit in my mind at any time. Its been a long difficult journey to get here, but I have

Dianna
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Nice thoughts -luv The way u think 👩‍❤️‍👩

Rae D.
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Rae D.

Thank you for this special and thought provoking guidance. I am at a serious crossroad today, this very day. I shouldn’t have to apologize for who I am.I still think of my dear 5 year old heart that is still here with me. She’s pretty great, hoping she can find a ‘home’ in this great vast world. Rough road the last few years, my tender heart I fear may not recover. I will dream for peace to all, and myself. ~ N

Clare
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Clare

This, Carla, was literally the answer to my question I threw out to the universe this morning. I dont feel at home in my town or even Country but i am not in a position to leave at the moment or make big changes (having a 10 month old baby, a hous and a partner with a secure job) … But as i eagerly await my right time “making friends” with my place right now is the answer and im certain will be a useful tool for the rest of the journey. Finding a tribe online and in the pockets… Read more »

Marie-Christine Caudron
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Marie-Christine Caudron

Good evening Carla 🙂 I have been following you from Belgium for quite some time now and I really appreciate all the inspiration you bring us. Your pictures and words make me dream about finding who I really am and being and embodying that person with every breath. The way you talk about Mother Earth deeply resonates in me, as I truly aim at reconnecting with the natural world around me. In a world where everything goes so fast and everyone expects so much of us, your guidance helps me to take time, to focus on what is essential and… Read more »

Cecile van dee Westhuizen
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Cecile van dee Westhuizen

Make peace with your place, stop wanting to be someone else, that will come when the time is right but imagine the soil beneath your feet is your friend, be curious about your place, get to know her and her stories. If you are in a city you don’t like, start to love her…. I needed to read this. At this satge of my life I can not move to where i would like to be or even do what i would love to do or find out what it is i want. And it made me frustrated and seeing… Read more »

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