I was out for my morning jog and happened down a road that flanked a golf course I pass on my run every day. It was clearly the road to the country club. Right before the clubhouse itself was a sign that punched me in the face.
"Nashua Country Club, Private Property, No Trespassing, Members Only"
I hadn't ventured down this road before so I had never seen the sign. It hit me hard. Here was a sign that was the embodiment of ego. For a man who lives to create community this placard was an assault. It hit me that hard; my heart sank.
Why should there be any place that would exclude anyone for any reason? There shouldn't be. I fully understand exclusivity, I grew up in an affluent town. However, as I become wiser, exclusivity becomes more and more repulsive.
I read that sign over and over again and drank in the essence of its message.
"If you do not conform to the standards of this establishment you are not welcome."
While I am not sure if those standards are related to anything other than income I am not sure that it matters.
Why do members only clubs exist? That was rhetorical. I know. They are an example of an ego's vain attempt to create a sense of identity. When you lack a true sense of connectedness your ego takes over and tries to create one for you.
When you are unsure where you fit in your mind gets busy creating an environment that hopefully sets you at ease. It creates categories like race, gender, income, religion and a host of others so you know who to be associating with. How unfortunate however that it does the exact opposite thing you want it to do. It creates a false sense of belonging.
Any group, club or affiliation that excludes anyone is not looking to create the deepest sense of harmony, the community of all people. Clubs are a conglomeration of frail human egos trying to find belonging.
In my mind I keep hearing the faintest rationalizations for membership, and truly they are not the voices of my higher self.
"Would you want some homeless person wandering into the clubhouse dining room while you were having dinner?"
"How would that be if just anyone walked in off the street, belongings in a bag, un-showered for several days?"
It would be an opportunity for kindness, for community, for love.
There should never be a place where anyone feels unwelcome. It is the hope that you would never want to belong to such a place.
If you truly wish to feel important, a true sense of belonging, then all you need to do is open yourself up to the love that exists in ever person on this planet.