What Containers Have to Do with Social Class, Race, and Sexual Orientation

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We’re in the Create energy in the Mastermind—and in the current Circle this week, for that matter. And I’ve become a voracious reader. Since Friday, I’ve read two books and am halfway through my third. I’ve been fascinated—obsessed even—with topics such as social class and changing class dynamics, racism and structural oppression, and trauma and shame in the gay community.

I still have a long list of books I want to read this month—or maybe devour is more accurate. I just feel hungry for education about some of the most pressing issues our world faces, and how my various identities interacts with those issues. How I personally consciously or (more often) unconsciously benefit from, uphold, or are oppressed by these issues.

In Create, we study containers. On a basic level, we can think of them like relationships or business offerings or our home. Basically, anything that contains something. Anything that holds something within its physical, emotional, or energetic parameters.

As I journey deeper this month, I’m starting to see these macro containers. Things like social class and race. Socially constructed, of course. But constructed all the same.

I often think of my various identities as ‘masks,’ but it’s occurred to me this week that another way to think about them is containers. That these containers hold certain people together based on having a similar key (or attribute), like the Jewish community, or Bostonians, or the gay community, or upper middle class, or working class, or whatever.

Of course, containers overlap. And containers can fit inside one another. But it’s interesting to note just how our experiences within certain containers begins to shape our worldview. And how nearly invisible signifiers can keep the doors closed to some while letting others glide along through.

For example, one book I’ve read this week, The Sum of All Things: The Theory of the Aspirational Class talks about how a $2 heirloom tomato bought at a city farmers’ market isn’t terribly expensive, but it’s a hidden signifier that communicates a lot about social class and implicit associated values.

This example may seem (and be) trivial, but there are immense real-world implications. Like being shut out from acceptance and opportunities by certain groups. Or having increased anxiety when trying to interact with and decipher these hidden signifiers. Or being oppressed for being part of a different container that is believed to be somehow inferior. Or even being trapped in a container that is toxic but your only option.

I’m always interested in the ways we consciously create containers—like how I created this blog, or the Sacred Circle, or my business as a whole. But lately I’m more interested in these macro containers that we may or may not have even chosen, but that communicate volumes about our identity and keep us connected to a specific group of other people.

Certainly, running the Sacred Circle is interesting. But apart from a few hundred people who’ve taken it (most of whom have only taken it once), it doesn’t totally bind me to this group or define my identity. But being white or Jewish or upper middle class or whatever has real implications for how I traverse the world and how others see me. And that’s interesting—and potentially dangerous—when it has the potential to negatively affect my experience or the experience of others around me.

I’m just sitting with this place of curiosity. Not pretending I have all the answers. But increasingly fascinated by the way we weave in and out of these various containers. Some we’ve chosen. Some we were thrust into. And some a little bit of both. And I’m voraciously reading all that I can to understand these containers on macro levels.

At its root, I’m simply Aligned, Zany, Free, Unmistakable, Successful, and Vulnerable. And yet the containers of my life determine how that is manifested out into the world. So, by looking closely at those containers, I can get a pretty good sense of why and how I’ve been able to be more or less of my Energies. And begin unpeeling to continue remembering the essence inside.

What containers do you find yourself in? And how does it shape the way you move through the world?

2 Responses to "What Containers Have to Do with Social Class, Race, and Sexual Orientation"
  1. I like this, Mike! And I think you have a lot more to say on these micro containers.

    • Mike says:

      Thanks, Annie. Glad it resonated. Lots more to say on both micro and macro ones, but I’m deep in reading, listening, and contemplation this week. I’m sure lots more will be coming forward as I process what’s coming up for me! So appreciate you.

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