Learning to practice inclusivity

We tend to gravitate to people who are like us. Do we tend to put others in boxes? Do we tend to put ourself in a box thinking this is a good way to protect ourselves from hurt? Can this box create a sense of isolation, loneliness, perhaps even depression, when our original intent was to stay safe? We let go of each breath, and we can learn to release, but what do we allow to come in?

Corporate America has discovered that diversity without inclusivity is useless. Am I building relationships with people who are different from me? Is there a way to live outside the box and release loneliness? Rev. Joanne Rowden of Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake feels that there is no time like the present to live inclusively, and every first Sunday of the month, from 10:15-10:45 a.m., holds open conversations on Shariff Abdullah's book, "Practicing Inclusivity."

"Our world today is very polarized … politically, religiously, financially, racially," Rowden said. "There is a lot of 'us versus them' thinking in all of these areas. And yet, at depth, we are all one. In reality we are all simply human beings with the same desires for peace, joy and love. So how do we move beyond these polarities?"

Shariff Abdullah tells us, “Inclusivity is not something warm, fuzzy and vague. Inclusivity lies beyond relations or social justice, yet can be the key to a deeper understanding of both. Inclusivity is a perspective. It’s the way you choose to interact with the world. Inclusivity is a practice.”

Joanne decided to offer a monthly discussion on practicing inclusivity so that we could begin to explore and expand ways we could each be more inclusive. 

Each month begins with a five-minute meditation. Each one draws a perspective of the Golden Rule from the major religions. We meditate on the words and remember that all religions teach us to treat each other as we wish to be treated. This is the foundation of practicing inclusivity. There is a short discussion, and everyone walks away with a jewel of wisdom to consider for the month.

Unity Churches of Northern Ohio will host a weekend with Shariff Abdullah May 5-6. Unity of Westlake is located at 23855 Detroit Road.

Sharon Fedor

 I enjoy writing about USC's events. Everyone is welcome at Sunday services, or at our numerous classes, and worshops!

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:50 AM, 02.07.2017