India Harville

India Harville

Embraced Body


Fall 2021

India Harville (she/her), MA, is the founder of Embraced Body. She is a politicized healer, performance artist, and Disability Justice activist. She identifies as African-American, femme, queer, and disabled; these identities deeply inform her work. The unifying theme in India’s work is centering body-based healing as a vehicle for personal/collective growth and transformation. Her work centers reclaiming the body as an often underestimated pathway to decolonizing ourselves to deepen our embodiment of social justice, equity, and inclusion principles. India’s work centers multiply-marginalized QTBIPOC disabled communities.

What excites you about your work?

I get so excited supporting other QTBIPOC wellness practitioners to embody Disability Justice and accessibility as a paradigm for their practices and their lives. I love the number of QTBIPOC coming to me and saying accessibility matters to them! Everyday more folks are reaching out to me asking questions like how to make their image descriptions clear, how to create more variations of a particular dance sequence they teach, and how to book ASL interpreters for events, etc.

I get to do creative problem solving with folks around how to pay for access cost, how to get more practitioners to value accessibility, and how to prioritize their own access needs. We all get to ask how do we create wellness practices that work for all types of bodies and minds? We are not there yet, but we are moving in the right direction.

What feels rich and abundant in your work right now?

The people I get to work with on my team are really giving me life right now. It’s so amazing to have a team of folks helping me get the work of Embraced Body to more folks. Having an all disabled BIPOC team means that I have so many mirrors around me and so much brilliance. It’s amazing.

In addition, I have some great collaborators in my network and it makes our work feel like we are playing.

Ableism taught me to hold my body/mind in disdain. Unlearning that disdain has been the most liberating and life-giving gift I have ever given myself.”

Who do you dedicate your work to?

I dedicate my work to other disabled QTBIPOC. Disabled QTBIPOC have saved my life several times, inspired me, taught me everything I know about Disability Justice and reclaiming my humanity, reminded me of my worth at the lowest points in my life when I couldn’t remember. I hope that I am able to return the favor and pay it forward.

Who inspires you? Who are you learning from?

I find inspiration in so many places! Just to name a few: Alice Wong, Imani Barbarin, and TL Lewis continue to inspire me about Disability Justice. Alice Sheppard, Antoine Hunter, and Amara Tabor Smith inspire me as dancers and creatives. Nkem Ndefo and Resmaa Menakem inspire me in the world of somatics.

As far as books go, I just started reading You are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience by Tarana Burke.

How can people reading this support your work?

I really appreciate everyone’s support! There are many ways to support my work with Embraced Body.  Please consider doing one or more of the following:

Donating to Embraced Body’s Scholarship fund or the Access Fairy Fund here.

Follow me on Instagram at @embracedbody1

Invite me to speak at your organization or conference!

What is something you didn’t know, that you now understand differently with wellness?

As someone navigating chronic illness and disability, I never felt like mainstream frameworks about wellness were made to include bodies/minds like mine. Ableism taught me to hold my body/mind in disdain. Unlearning that disdain has been the most liberating and life-giving gift I have ever given myself. It’s a continuous process and practice.

It took a long time for me to learn I could define wellness on my own terms. Over time I have learned (and I am still learning) how to meet my body and mind moment by moment and how to chose to reach for the most loving response I can at that time. That’s how I have learned to reach for wellness.

What is your own wellness practice? How do you find balance?

My wellness practice continues to shift and grow over time. I meditate and pray most days as part of my wellness practice. After that, my wellness practice looks like a chose your own adventure story. I set aside time for wellness each day and see what is the most appropriate activity for my body/mind at that time.

I dance furiously as often as I can. I engage in gentle movement when that feels appropriate. I sing. I color. I use the Resilience Toolkit nervous system regulation tools. I take long scooter rides with my dog in nature. I do a lot of resting, so much resting. All of this, in mix and match, helps me to regain equilibrium and find a sense of balance.

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