In the fall of 2019, I called my friend and fellow Inclusive Life member, Carly. Even though we live in the SF Bay area only one town away from one another, we’d met in an online course, Courageous Conversations, offered by Nicole Lee the year before. The Inclusive Life Accelerator was happening soon and we both really wanted to go. Both of us felt like the retreat would be a huge leap. Neither of us had ever flown across the country for a political conference, for one. Neither one of us felt like we knew enough or had enough experience in antiracism and activism to show up. But we wanted to be in the room and it turns out, that was enough.
What I found
One of the values of Inclusive Life is that we are all both teachers and learners. We all have our learning edges and we all benefit from one another’s perspectives and lived experiences. And so even though the Accelerator had incredible speakers and panelists, these guides were also there to be in community and fellowship. In small group discussions, best-selling authors, politicians, seasoned activists, movement leaders and folks like me grappled together and pushed one another’s understanding. Nicole’s ability to cultivate a community without hierarchy made that possible.
Over the course of three days of shared experiences and growth, connections and frienndships grew. It felt like each one of us welcomed the possibility of being connected and being part of a community where each one of us was devoted to liberation. It felt big. It still does.
The Accelerator created a space and a community where there was deep respect for the weaving of political analysis and frameworks with spirituality. Because of this weaving, we were invited to approach complex issues with our whole selves: our heads, hearts, bodies, intuitions, and histories.
Why you? Why now?
There is no better time than to show up, strengthen your voice, and be with people who will elevate you. It is easy to despair and languish in overwhelm when staring down the oppressive systems that need dismantling. All the more reason to be in community with people who are the visionaries, the teachers, the builders, the caretakers and the storytellers. The most powerful antidote to helplessness and despair is generous and aligned action. If you’re still figuring out what that is for you, well, no wiser move than to be with people who might model that for you.
In Inclusive Life, there are no gurus. There are no groupies. There is a welcome interdependence and an expectation and invitation for each of us to bring our skills and gifts forward. Each one of us is expected to engage with and hone our own discernment. There’s no one that isn’t welcome if the desired outcome is right relationship.
Recently, the brilliant facilator of uncomfortable conversations James-Olivia Chu Hillman wrote something that challenged me to bring more of myself to the work I came here to do: “Where do I expect my leaders, teachers, mentors, healers, coaches and guides to say, do, and be for me what I wish myself to say, do and become?”
I would hazard a guess that this question challenges you as well. There’s no one that can do what you came here to do.
In 2021 we are still virtualling.
Despite the gorgeousness of being in the same room and having time to linger over tea or breaks with other participants, in 2020 the second Accelerator had to go to virtual. It was surprisingly intimate. Like last year, in 2021 there will be opportunities for small group discussions, interaction and connections (even after the Accelerator) which will help knit the Inclusive Life Community more tightly together.
As you’ve hopefully found this year, intimacy is possible in virtual spaces, especially when they are designed to foster authenticity and connection.
Who should go? If you want to be at the Acclerator, YOU should.
If you are new to Inclusive Life, the Acclerator is an excellent (and most likely way) to become known and find connection. If you’ve been around IL for a while and haven’t known how to jump in, the Acclerator will make that easy. If you’ve already attended the Acclerator in either 2019 or 2020, you don’t need me to tell you it’s 100% worth the time and expense.*
You’re invited. You are welcome. Your presence will make Inclusive Life stronger and more rich.
I so hope to see you there.
Laura Halpin, Inclusive Life Facilitator and Program Manager
*Scholarships are available to make your attendance more possible if finances are an obstacle.
P.S. Carly was the second person to register for this year’s Accelerator 🙂