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Cultivating Belonging and Inclusion


I’ve just returned from a lovely vacation in the country. My husband and I rented a cottage on 300 acres with a private lake. It was amazing to be co-located in silence with hummingbirds, blue jays, fish and chipmunks. In the deep stillness I had ample time to contemplate my vocation. A new aspect emerged that I am inspired to share with you today. It is about seeding that which we want to propagate.


The lakehouse was situated on a cultivated acre of land. The garden surrounding the house and draping down the slope towards the lake was unlike any garden either of us had been in before. As we were there for ten days, we had the opportunity to experience this loveliness at different times of day on a variety of days – sunny, partially sunny, in the dew, in the moonlight as the temperature decreased (to as low as 7C) and we were waiting for the meteor shower to begin, when it was still and when it was windy, and all sorts of other conditions as they changed over the ten days we were there.

With each change in the weather conditions (along with the changing observer as they/we relaxed into holiday-mode) the surrounding scent shifted. Lilies, lobelia, and red flowers whose name escapes me had very distinctive smells that emerged at different times of day and in varying conditions. Some more favourable with high level of humidity while others responded to the intensity of light. The overall effect day in and day out was sublime.


As our host was touring us around the property she mentioned that when she purchased the property she was a novice gardener and had to teach herself everything. She was very proud of her accomplishments, and for good reason. The results were magical. I asked if she would mind if I carefully picked a bouquet while we were there to bring the garden inside with us. She reacted quickly and rather negatively stating that “most of the flowers are self-seeding” implying that it wasn’t wise to disrupt the flow of cultivation.


Our time there progressed and I became appreciative of her stance. And now at home, I understand that what she offered me was an opportunity to look through her eyes, her beginner’s eyes. What a privilege! It is thorough this view that I understand what a marvelous technique self-seeding is and how we are well advised to adopt it along with our work in Inclusivity.


The key is this: establish an intention to create an environment that allows what is natural to thrive along with flowers imported from elsewhere so that each can propagate without imposing a privileged hierarchy on “desirable” species.


We don’t often talk about beauty in our conversations around Diversity & Inclusion. It’s a shame really. The beauty is in establishing intentional strategies to foster inclusion. Your environment, at work, in your community, and at home, can be beautiful in this natural way.

To create an intention to create an environment (community, municipality, organization) that self-seeds, contact margot@margothovey.com

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© 2019 by Margot Hovey, PhD