There’s no shortage of opportunities to be culture shocked – from foreign travel to meeting your nextdoor neighbor. But how many of these do we actually leverage to make a difference in our own and others’ lives?
I’ve been working on this problem for years. As an anthropologist, I know that we humans are wired for avoiding Cultural Discomfort Zones – and I understand, from personal experience, what happens when we step into them unprepared. And as a mindfulness practitioner and teacher, I’ve come to know that culture shock is truly a holistic experience. Whether you’re aware of it or not, it shapes your feelings, your emotions, the thoughts in your head, and the things you say and do in reaction to these.
So, given what’s going on in the world these days, I figured it’s about time to gather these insights together and share them with other people. People who are as concerned as I am about the damage that defensive reactions to culture shock – from minor misunderstandings to major conflict – can wreak on relationships and society as a whole. People who, like me, want to learn to disrupt their habitual reactions to the unfamiliar, grow their resilience to cultural discomfort, and transform culture shock into connection!
My name is Mike Kimball. Among other roles, I show up as an anthropologist and archaeologist, a certified mindfulness instructor, an author, and an enthusiastic and grateful dad and husband. If you’re interested in learning more about me and what I work on, please visit my faculty page and Northern Colorado Koru Mindfulness sites.
To get a taste of what inspires me to become ethnowise, I invite you to watch this short video of one of my recent intercultural encounters in Jaipur, India.