It has been almost a year and half since the worldwide Windhorse Conference took place in the spring of 2019. Since that time, our world has converged and the issues of race, equity and inclusion are now being thrust to the forefront of daily life as we know it. The global pandemic and its economic consequences have intersected with a myriad of long-standing and unresolved social justice issues. It has been a protracted awakening—and one that does have the potential to genuinely and radically move the world toward greater sanity.
When I first conceived the idea of including a panel presentation and discussion about concerns related to inclusivity and social justice within Windhorse Community Services and the Windhorse Project, I was hesitant. How would such a gathering be received? This would be the first time this topic had ever been explored in such a public way within the Windhorse Project. However, I had confidence in our community and that their deep commitment to the Windhorse contemplative approach would lead the way in exploring the landscape of fundamental inclusion and social justice.
I was inspired to bring an inclusive group of people together who were interested in exploring the historical arc of the Windhorse Project’s relationship to marginalized people and circumstances. The intention was to review together where we have been, where we currently are, and how to go forward in creating an opportunity to identify our obstacles as well as forge a path toward greater understanding and action.
I spoke directly to our history as an alternative approach to mental health care and the work we have been doing for over three decades in unraveling and healing the wounds of stigma associated with “mental illness.” Jamie Emery came forward and spoke to the fear of being with people who are not like us – in all areas of marginalization – ‘birds of a feather flock together.’
Suzanne Pearson, Adrian Freeman, and Jack Dicky engaged in a thoughtful and revealing dialogue about their current experience as the next generation of contemplative practitioners—and their vision for greater inclusion and substantive change within the Windhorse Project and the mental health arena at large.
Sorin Thomas offered their personal story and the perspective that “we are in this together; we all come from places of difference and similarity. And, how do we harmonize our voices and our relationship to difference—personally and culturally?” In closing, Sorin spoke to the possibility of living beyond the binary as a way to dissolve the polarizations that exist in our world, from a place of non-violence and compassion.
It is my aspiration that all of the Windhorse communities commit to further dialogue that leads to taking intentional action to evolve our commitment to embody an Anti-racist and Inclusive way of showing up in our worlds.
May this be of benefit,
Anne Marie DiGiacomo