Above the Rim

Darling, we must respect  humans, for we were all born naked.

What happens after we start wearing clothes, who knows.

-Vivienne DuBois to her daughter in Sacred Marriage-Monks and Nuns in Love

I want to tell you, I was like a WASP in a fishbowl when I swam in the circles of the upper class, some of whom were among the 12% “whites” living here on the border of Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  I use “fishbowl” as a metaphor for my own chosen insularity -that would be my social class of privilege as a White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

mexicanfishMy experience of fishbowls is mine, and yours is yours.  However, if I generalize my WASPhood, fellow WASPs will understand the cultural nuances.  Not so the Mexican Folk Culture where witches, demons, and spirits are literal citizens of the pobres’-the poor ones’-magical world; which, by the way, tends to be insular, also.   WASP and pobre:  one would think “never the twain shall meet.”  But I’ve lived in that magical world. I’ve slept with their spirits.  Just like reading, travel, and Individuating, communion with “The Other” (i.e., enculturation) can ply one’s attitude with tolerance, appreciation, psychological flexibility, and fluid boundaries outside the comfort and familiarity of one’s own culture.

You will not find all fractions of your psyche, or soul, within your own fishbowl.  But you can’t necessarily go flip-flopping in and out of others’ fishbowls, either.  What you need are efficient tools to help you rise above the rim of your fishbowl so you can observe things from a higher perspective, perhaps magical things you never knew existed.

I can show you some of the tools that help me envision wholeness:  journalingdepth psychology studies, dream analysis, and communion with The Other.  But happily, these are just a few of the approaches to wholeness that are really templates to be laid over any human’s life navigation.

For it’s the hero’s exploration and delight in adventure that makes life a quest. And we’re all heros of our own story if we’re intentional about the whole thing. Importantly, you don’t have to quest to Tibet, or to Egypt, or to the Antarctic.  You can quest as far as you like in the imagination (and on Internet, the global mind 🙂 ) with good results for shoring up integrity, which I would like to think is an honorable goal for the individuation process.


Author: Katherine Brittain

Writer/Cultural Anthropologist

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