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A quote from Billie Jean King

Did you watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 13th? Football isn’t really my thing; however, my husband adores it and so I sat and watched the game with he and his sister.

You may wonder why I would ‘sit with that’. Well, turns out Billie Jean King was there for the coin toss which begins the game. Here’s a quote that the announcer said was attributed to Billie Jean King:  you never know how lack of inclusion feels unless you’ve been excluded.

Right now, take a deep breath. Now, for a few moments, feel that statement:  you never know how lack of inclusion feels unless you’ve been excluded.

Consider the power of those words. How is your heart feeling right now?

I’ve now sat with this for two days in my morning silence. So many things come to mind when I ponder this. Here are a few of them:


  • Being excluded feels painful. It feels as though a piece of yourself has been cleaved because the implication is that you’re not accepted, in some way, by another individual.
  • Being excluded leaves a hole in my heart. It feels like it will take time to heal that hole. My logical brain knows that by continuing to focus on the hole rather than on the healing, the hole grows.
  • I was everyone to feel included, all the time. I acknowledge this is my altruistic perspective. What if it wasn’t altruistic? What if I, and all of us, could accept whomever it is we are connected with as a whole being worthy of being included?
  • Lack of inclusion feels like judgement to me. It feels like I’ve been judged of being unworthy of someone else’s time, or information, or effort, or competence, or focus.
  • I’ve learned that lack of inclusion occurs at a significantly higher rate for black midlife women. This saddens me. It galvanizes me. I want to help. I want to include all women who are at midlife or older.


When you sit with a concept, it’s quite remarkable what comes up when we do not judge our own thinking. We allow our thinking. Years ago, I would have felt the need to counter balance the comments above with an opposite or alternative point of view so others would not perceive me as biased. Today, I choose to share my thoughts as they came up. I hold them lightly. I hold them without judging myself. I hope they encourage and allow you to acknowledge your own thoughts with curiosity.


I encourage you to sit with Billie Jean King’s comment. Let me know what thoughts arise for you.


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