The Myth of Inclusion

Posted by on Apr 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The Myth of Inclusion

I want to be part of the tribe. But I can’t.


I really can’t. Because I don’t fit in. I’m too strange, too short, too fat, too smart, too pretty, too kinky, too straight, far too better than…. I can’t, because I once made a mistake that is so unforgiveable that they’ll never let me back in. Because someone else once wronged me in a way that was so unforgiveable that I’LL never let THEM back in again. I want to be part of the tribe but, you see, they just don’t quite get me. The hill to climb is far too steep. The distance between me and them is far to great.


The problem with that line of thinking is: everyone else feels EXACTLY the same way. The myth of “inclusion” is that we don’t quite fit in. Yet at the core of any given collective is a malleable and moving center that, without its members, doesn’t exist. The amalgamation of a diverse body of perspectives, shifting as individuals come and go, IS what creates a community.


In other words, when you take your rightful place as part of the tribe, the tribe can’t help but shift its very essence in order to include you. Co-creation and community change are the norms – rather than the exceptions we fear them to be. When the voice in your head screams “I don’t fit” it’s nothing more than kicking and screaming of the part of you that’s afraid to really receive all the love you deserve. You are sabotaging your potential success at the point of connection.


I promise.


In my work as a Nia Technique instructor, I’ve fallen in love with the point of creation that exists between individuals co-participating in an activity.  In fact, a Nia Technique class is the perfect metaphor for the “yes and” approach that builds living community. You, the student, are a co-creator of culture simply because you decided to show up.


Enter, the teacher. Prepared with months to years of training in 9 diverse forms of movement, including dance, yoga and martial arts. Armed with a “routine,” which may be more or less of her own creation, inspired by the master trainers at HQ who built the earlier routines from the ground up. Yet the teacher doesn’t pretend to know what’s going to happen. “Uniqueness” is acknowledged as an integral part of a Nia Technique class. Each student is encouraged to bring his or her own body, heart and soul as a contribution to the collective experience. While the teacher sets the stage, transmitting the general essence of Nia, each class participant contributes her own embodied interpretation, co-creating the Nia class experience.


For years, I have watched new students light up with delight over their first taste of Nia. “It’s so different!” and “I felt so included!” are common exclamations heard drifting among students in the locker room after class. And, over and over again, I’m met with a resounding “I felt like I could really be myself.”  Yet it isn’t Nia that made it so. Living in full expression of ourselves, as part of a meaningful collective, is our birthright as human beings.


It’s just that we’ve forgotten how to claim it.


This week I encourage you to consider your relationship with community.


Take a moment to look honestly at the various ways you talk yourself out of tribe. How do you block love – yours and others? Are there subtle ways you convince yourself that you – and you alone – are still misunderstood?


In your movement practice, ask your inner observer to pay special attention to the games you play with yourself. So many of us tolerate subtle feelings of “it’s not working” and “I don’t belong,” rather than do the work to get into full alignment with our surroundings. Exercise and physical movement is a concrete environment where the apparent “rules” are easy enough to discern – as are the ways we may sabotage our sense of inclusion. Here a few ideas:

  • Notice the judgments you have of yourself and others (“This yoga teacher doesn’t know what she’s talking about”).
  • Notice the choices you make that reflect a lack of self acceptance in the context of the larger whole (“I can’t go to the gym today, because I’m feeling too fat”).
  • And pay attention to the ways your self-disapproval leads to compromising behavior that has you feel, in the end, as though you will never quite belong (“That move hurts my injured knee… I’ll push through it… but tomorrow I won’t be able to walk… oh, this class… it just isn’t for people like me…).


In life, your practice is much the same. Bring your awareness to the people, places and situations in which you feel resentful, judgmental or annoyed. Catch yourself telling stories out loud about how you are different and therefore unacceptable to some part of the greater whole. So what? What if you lived as if those stories weren’t true?


If you believed that you were simply taking your rightful place in the tribe – a tribe in which you ALREADY belong – what would you be willing risk?

How would you love to play?

Do it now.


With clarity & self-love,




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