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Inclusion and Adaptation are within us. It's time to learn how to speak and act inclusively again.

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

When I set out to teach others how to speak and teach and model inclusion, I had no idea that I would open a new way of seeing, hearing, and speaking in my world. It created a void full of questions, confusion, and a widening of my lens onto the world that is so full and beautiful. It's my intention to share this lens with as many people as possible.

Having an inclusive lens is very different from teaching others how to see from that lens. It takes time, experience and confusion in order to rearrange our mind and perspective to one that includes others instead of excluding them. I believe it is innate within us all when nurtured and allowed to express itself freely.

I call this process "a shift in perspective." A blowing of our mind so to speak. And speaking to college students about this process is exhilarating and challenging. They have so many questions! It's amazing! And, they are looking to me for the answers. I'm in a place of such grace. I want them to understand the importance and pivotal impact of inclusion, and I want them to have enough tools and understanding to take it into there teaching and world. It's a tall order! Good thing I love a challenge. Especially when it has to do with shifting humanity forward to a more loving way of being.

I'm definitely not good at inventing the wheel. So I've taken the work from the experts on inclusion and put it into my own words. Words from my mentors and inspirational guides, for example, Adam Benjamin of Candoco Dance Company, Peppy Hills, Ruth Denison, Mary Starks Whitehouse to name a small few. From wisdom comes change. My own quote and one that rings true. From these mentors, I came up with an inclusive curriculum that includes, stories, a new language, and teaching methods that get us in touch with what it feels like to shift our ideas and visions to include the myriad of ways people move and express themselves.

It opens our minds so that new ways of doing, being and teaching can take space and start to grow. I truly believe that all real learning is a whole being process. When you involve the body, you can unleash the mind and really have profound awakenings. It was such a joy to watch this awakening happening all around me.

"When the movement was simple and inevitable, not to be changed no matter how limited or partial, it becomes what I call authentic - it could be recognized as genuine, belonging to that person." - Mary Starks Whitehouse

It's astounding to me what happens when you ask people to inject compassion into their perspective, language and actions. Perhaps this is an exception in a class where college students have chosen to come to your workshop instead of watching Netflix on a Saturday, but I think it is all people. I would like to believe that all people when asked to have more compassion, will embrace it and shift in some way to accommodate the joy that comes from letting compassion have its way.

While asking these Special Education, Dance Education, and Psychology students to support one another in an organic way during an exercise, they did so with such tenderness, introspection and care that as an observer it opens your heart and eyes to possibilities and to a greater love of humanity. That may sound too profound for a workshop on inclusion, but I assure you that it is the beauty and magic of an inclusive and supportive dance atmosphere. It will alter your reality in a positive way that you do not come back from. You will be forever changed for the better.

It has been an honor to teach others how to embrace their inclusive nature. It fills me with awe and inspiration to be in a room speaking and modeling to others who are equally engaging. It has given me hope for the future and hope in humanity.

I'm so thrilled to get back to the College's and Universities and interested communities who are ready to fully engage and embrace all the delight, insight, and enlightenment that inclusion has to give. I'm looking forward to where this journey takes me and all the seeds of inclusion that bloom along the way. I'm so honored to be a messenger for compassion.


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Lacey L Heward
Lacey L Heward

This is a great article, Ali. I also love the pictures. Really beautiful.

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