Inclusion Calendar goes live!

Hello, friends! There’s an unmistakable energy buzzing through the air here at HappyMind Training.

For a couple of months now, we’ve been busy as bees crafting something very special behind the scenes that we are extremely proud of and, we think, perfectly sums up what HappyMind stands for. It’s taken countless hours of research, the mother of all spreadsheets and the drinking of all the tea in China (or at least a significant geographical proportion of Guizhou), but for the first time in January 2024 we are immensely proud to present to you… drumroll please…

Screenshot of HappyMind Inclusion Calendar

…the HappyMind Inclusion Calendar!

This has been a labour of love for the whole team driven by Dean Kaden the founder of HappyMind. He was inspired to create a simple, free resource that would allow everybody to track religious holidays, remembrance days, cultural celebrations, visibility days and learn a little about why each date is so meaningful to others. I think when we started, we naively thought that it was quite a modest undertaking, but at 210 entries – and still growing! – It’s become increasingly clear to me that there’s a whole lot I didn’t know about the global village I call home, and the melting pot of culture that’s simmering just under the surface, if you know where to look.

Now, as a content writer, I’m used to learning on the job. That’s really the best bit about what I do. First comes the idea, then the research, then the ‘a-ha’ moment, then (with a little luck) the magic starts to flow. It’s just in this case I had to learn a little bit about every religious celebration, every cultural practice, every under-represented sexuality, neurodiversity and disability that warranted a day for us all to come together and recognise the past, so we can better shape our future. We took a whistle-stop tour through the human condition, and my head is still spinning!

Beautiful multicoloured powder exploding in front of a person

Around The World, In 365 Days

As I poured over the histories and significance of each date – from religious festivals to key moments in the fight for human rights – I found myself on my own personal voyage. I was suddenly unearthing stories that moved me, challenged me, and ultimately expanded my understanding of the world.

We often find ourselves cocooned in our little bubbles, don’t we? Wrapped up in our personal realities, routines, and beliefs. How often do we really challenge our viewpoints, open the doors of our minds, and awaken our cultural sensibilities?

Every Day’s A School Day

They say that travel broadens the mind. Well, this feels a bit like returning from my first round-the-world adventure. I’ve taken a journey that shook up my preconceptions and deepened my appreciation for the daily lived experiences of my fellow humans. I returned inspired and more than a little bit humbled. I’ve read stories of resilience and felt the spirit of communities almost leap from my screen. It showed me beauty in religion that I’d never fully appreciated. The profound struggles embedded in pride. The hard-fought battles for rights and recognition. The often-hidden challenges of neurodiversity. The daily struggles of mental and physical health. I’m not ashamed to say there were even moments when I quietly acknowledged my own ignorance or complicity in past prejudices.

Women wearing a hijab in front of a multicoloured wall

I find myself a little more open, more curious, and more aware of the paths others walk. Small things, like understanding the significance of wearing a Hijab or when someone I know might be fasting during Ramadan.

This project began with a simple desire: to nurture more inclusivity in our world and build bridges between our communities. To allow us all to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. We wanted to create something that was more than a list of meaningful dates, more than lip service or wokeness, nothing less than an invitation to learn and grow a little more each day by recognising the lived experience of others.

Come Along For The Ride

So, with this post, I invite you all to explore this calendar. Let it be more than just a reference; let it be a guide to understanding, a spark for conversations, and a step towards a more inclusive society.

Group of people smiling having dinner at a table

As you read over these entries, I invite you to join me in thinking about the different ways we can integrate more understanding in our daily lives; to demystify what might seem ‘strange’ or ‘foreign.’ One suggestion we love is to host a special dinner for cultural or religious holidays, taking the opportunity to introduce your family and friends to dishes from different cultures during significant festivals (this is your cue to take a peek at what’s coming up in February and March for more inspiration!).

Alternatively, stick on a documentary about an influential social justice figure, or on your next family road trip, stick on this podcast about the invention of Braille.

Mans hands reading braille

Let’s bring these dates to life, weaving them into our conversations, our learning, and our shared experiences. Because diversity and inclusion isn’t a concept to be shrouded in complexity or apprehension. It’s about simple acts – sharing stories, asking questions, and embracing new experiences. Every small step counts, but the journey never ends.

So please spread the word and share this easy to remember link with anyone you think would find it useful. Thanks for reading!

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