PRE-EMPTIVE RADICAL INCLUSION
Updated: Apr 14
I went to a workshop on this yesterday, though I didn’t have any idea what the title meant! it turns out it means exactly what it says – Pre-emptive (BEFORE it is required, needed, asked for) RADICAL (meaning for everyone) INCLUSION meaning in all the ways we can and can’t imagine – including everyone.
An element of this idea of Pre-emptive Radical Inclusion (PRI) is that we should always assume that everyone we are trying to include/serve is already in the room. When we talk about traumatized people, people with handicaps, people of color, etc. we should assume that those people are already present in our group – even if we can’t detect it. We shouldn’t think of the world as us and them. The goal is to enact justice because that serves us all.
An example that was given by the wonderful presenter C B Beal is a church that is considering putting in a ramp or making other amendments to the building in order to be more inclusive to people with physical handicaps. One stream of thought might be, ”well, we don’t have anyone here currently who needs a ramp, why should we build it?” It is probably true that you DO indeed have members who might need accessibility that is not being provided. Maybe they have not been attending because that accessibility is not there or maybe they have figured out how to attend without asking for what they really need. And even if there are not currently members who need the particular ramp you are considering, isn’t it true that you would want to be hospitable and inclusive to any future members who might need or might come expressly because you have provided access to your building? It is a matter of JUSTICE, not a matter of accommodation. Building the ramp reflects your desire to be radically inclusive.
I just found a lot to think about in this presentation. I want to be pre-emptively radically inclusive in the way I live my life. And, to do that, I need to reflect on the probably subtle and hidden ways that I am not. It might become a useful spiritual practice just to look back at each day and ask myself, in what ways did I exclude today? In what ways did I go out of my way to include?
CB Beal offers this breathing practice to help us remember our beautiful place in the universe;
Stop and Breathe
I genuinely mean that I would like you to stop a few moments right now as you read this essay. Turn away from the page on your computer, gaze at a plant or out a window at the sky. Breathe deeply ten times to reflect on your innate goodness, on the best you are capable of, on being your most powerfully resilient. As you breathe, reflect on this – you do not have to hold up the universe solely; you only have to do your part.
Reflect on your right-sized part. If you have let your part expand like a balloon, about to pop or so huge it pushes other balloons away, breathe and let some of that air out.
Ten more long slow breaths, and then ten more. Breathe until your pulse is low and your body can be still.
How was that?
Some of you didn’t do it – you just kept reading. I really do want you to breathe before you finish this. If you have a strong resistance to being told what to do, consider that this is a spiritual practice to which I am inviting you.