Stories From The 21 Day Inclusion Challenge
--Chandni Sawlani
5 minute read
Sep 8, 2017

1257 of us from all around the world spent 21 days in practice, deepening our spirit of Inclusion. It really felt like we were growing our hearts (and if possible our arms) to hold all life on this planet in a warm embrace :)

Just holding the intention of inclusion, presented people with so many beautiful ways to practice and grow. I think all of us felt connected to each other and to the world at large, just because we were all part of holding this intention together.

As always the stories that emerged were beautiful! All of them reflecting compassion and connectedness to life around us, each setting off its own ripple of goodness. Here are a few stories among the 100+ that were shared:

Walking with Mom
‘My wife and I care for my 84-year old mom who has dementia. Today I took her for a walk around the neighborhood. We marveled at the different types of shrubs, flowers and lawn art. We engaged in conversations about the varieties of foliage all around us. Before she realized, she had walked quite a bit of distance. When I pointed it out, she was very happy with herself. It made my heart smile.’

Helping hands work both ways
‘We have a Differently Abled neighbor who loves to come up and help my husband with the farm and maintenance work. He happily does chores that we find tedious and smiles and smiles when we sincerely thank him and praise his work. At first we were concerned that we were taking advantage of him but we have come to realize that by treating him with dignity and giving him an opportunity to feel useful we are giving him a hand up just as he gives us. a much needed hand as well….read more.’

An extract from someone’s baby steps to overcome a fear
‘I went inside the tent and my heart beats were pumping up and laid down in the couch and closed my eyes. The technician was asking some questions which I don't recollect and he inserted the Needle in my arms and for a second I thought to run away. But somehow I pacified myself and let it happen. After around 10 mins I was told to wake up and relax. I opened up my eyes and phew I could see the happiness that I had inside me.

As of now I have donated blood to the blood banks 5 times and I feel that someone somewhere will be benefiting from my donation and maybe my blood will make him think like me and spread the love of humanity. Thanks.’ Here's the whole story.

Everyone can make a difference
One of my neighbors, a man in his 70's, very limited social skills, never married, no friends. His only job after college - 10 years in accounting - was to care for his mother and two aunts until their deaths in their 90's. He inherited their savings/goods. .

Since then he has helped neighbors giving an "extra air conditioner" to a senior without one - buying food for someone with more month than money. Over the years I noticed his hearing loss and asked him to get it checked out. He needed surgery otherwise faced total deafness. He was so grateful to me . He knows I love to cook - shows up with expensive set of Caliphon pots and pans. Saw I had no TV gives me "an extra one"he had" and a DVD player so I can watch films I love. .

One day he cried saying he was so lonely. I suggested he volunteer - meet like minded hearted people and provide support. He said he loved children. I suggested he go to the local hospital and read to sick children. He did ! He reports back often how he made a difference! A scared child asking if they can sit on his lap and others hugging and kissing him. He has somewhere to give his love and feels he is making a difference. .I feel I did too.

Beautiful people all around
I realized from today's challenge that due to the current political climate and the number of hateful acts happening in our world, that I have sometimes begun to expect people to be uncaring and selfish. I live in a big city, with a culture of narcism due to the industry many folks here work in. I have been expecting people to be rude and self centered.

Today I went out and mindfully stopped myself from waiting for the "worst" from people and sought out the good in people. I noticed the friendly smile of the man at the checkout counter; the friends laughing at the beach; the young man and his mother holding his grandmothers arms as they strolled along together; the friends working together to adjust the umbrella in high winds; the young boy running towards his family with the most genuine glow of love on both sides in their smiles; my boyfriend making jokes and staying at the beach longer than he ever would choose to (lol) because I love it: and the stories of people helping out and working hard on the ground in Houston helping people. Beautiful people all around.

Learning Sign Language
I am learning Sign Language because I have deaf friends and I am happy that I am able to communicate with them in a better way these days. Earlier I use to act more and communicate but now I am enjoying this beautiful silent but powerful language. I am doing this because I believe in a inclusive community.

And accessibility features to make an inclusive world highlighting some inspiring initiatives around inclusion.

To end with, a lovely picture of children of all abilities playing together.

Here's to a world where everyone feels included and we greet each other with the feeling of 'Sawubona', which means 'I see you' in Zulu.


Posted by Chandni Sawlani on Sep 8, 2017

2 Past Reflections