Posted by: Elizabeth Turrentine | January 1, 2015

Exclusion vs Inclusion

Have you ever had the feeling of being left out,  excluded, a miss fit, while others seem to be on good terms with the “in crowd?” These “others” appear self confident, get the best jobs,  the promotions, have a happy life, and belong to the best club, group, society, or gang. We humans have invented limitless ways of treating certain people as outsiders: excluding prospective club members whom are considered lacking in “certain  qualities;” bullying, gossip, degrading, fighting;  labeling;  even eliminating whole segments of population according to such categories as gender, social standing, politics, culture, economic status, race, religious  belief . .  .  the list goes on and on.

Identity of worth is achieved by exclusion of all but “the chosen.”

The thing is: the terrible price we pay for keeping all those people out so we can drink in the sweetness of being “insiders.” This vastly limits our reality, diminishes our world view, and facilitates tunnel vision. It shrinks our life.

My brother-in -law used to say, “If two people think the same on every topic, one of them is unnecessary.”

Love, on the other hand, is inclusive. Love erases boundaries.

I was once in a class about exploring possibilities, during which the teacher had us do a particularly powerful exercise. She told us to walk about the room, looking each classmate in the eye without a word, but saying to ourselves, “Everywhere I look I see the face of God.” We were to stand there in front of the person until we actually felt the words we were saying to ourselves, then move on and do the same.

I invite you to take a few minutes as you go about your day to do this exercise, silently, with each person you pass on the street, in the grocery store, on the running trail, or wherever you find yourself today. No need to pause for each encounter in a public place. If the word God offends you,  substitute a word you feel comfortable with. Then  later in a quiet moment share your experience with a trusted person, or journal about it.





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