Radical inclusivity

"If you have come to help me you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is tied up in mine then let us work together". 

LILA WATSON, AN ABORIGINAL EDUCATIONALIST AND ACTIVIST 

For us radical inclusivity is all about learning to love more of life’s everythingness and its exquisite diversity. We believe that this radically inclusive whole-systems approach holds the keys to the deep and radical cultural transformation that these increasingly testing times demand.

For a long time ‘justice’, ‘equality’, ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ (JEDI) have been buzzwords which for many have been implicitly understood as desirable - rather than as an essential lynchpin at the very heart of any process of transformation.

What we resist persists - often with a vengeance!

Contemporary Western culture conditions us to push away feelings, experiences, ways of being, people, identities and dimensions of life that we find uncomfortable and have been conditioned to believe are somehow a threat us, our identity, power and privilege.

This cultural conditioning gives rise to our polarized, and polarizing, states of consciousness, culture and politics. It also simultaneously deprives us of the key to understanding the origins of this polarized state of consciousness - and why it persists.

Radical inclusivity draws on a whole-systems approach to change, recognising the inherency and necessity of diversity and difference. This perspective centres the transformative potential of those approaches seeking to find the seeds of solutions within the problems themselves. That is, those approaches that see any and all tensions, problems and difficulties as a creative opportunity to manifest necessary change and transformation.

Radical inclusivity requires us to do the liberatory work of revealing what and who we have been conditioned to make wrong, fear, reject, marginalise and oppress at all levels - from the personal to the cultural. This deeply loving perspective wakes up in us the need to learn how to welcome those and that which we marginalise and make wrong, so that we can start to work together, rather than sabotaging our collective transformative potential.

This is in fact a process of developing radical self-love for each and every part of us - and especially those parts we have learned to fear, shame, reject, repress and hide. Needless to say these are the very things we tend to make wrong and marginalise in others. It is by learning to embrace and love more and more of ourselves that enables us to cultivate compassion and love for others.

Radical self-love is what partiarchy and capitalism are most threatened by. It is an ongoing process that requires us to strengthen our muscles to tolerate the discomfort of the shame, fear, grief, sadness and rage that tend to accompany this process of learning to love all of ourselves - and one another. It requires developing curiosity about how and where these feelings and beliefs around what and who are to be welcomed or rejected, are held within our bodies and within our culture. Support around this liberatory work is increasingly becoming available within the the field of cultural somatics, or somatic abolitionism, as Resmee Menakam calls it - as well as within various approaches to shadow work and embodied awakening.

Radical inclusivity is also what lies at the heart of Brazilian popular educationalist, Paulo Freire’s, seminal ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’. 

this is where the future happens 

here at the margins 

at the strange crossroads 
of crisis and imagination 

here you die 
the small death of art 

decorate the darkness 
make beauty with your wounds

change is not a stage 
but a necessary revolution 

without the edge 
there is no center worth saving 

mark my words 
mark my body 
mark my life 

risk the rage 
but only if beauty is the place 

it burns through to 

sing when someone 
looks at you askance 

fire is the only thing 
that can fix 
the eternally broken 
heart 

fire like this 
doesn’t disappear
it burns 

steve hyde
Image credits

Header: With thanks to Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Photo by James Toose on Unsplash