Sociosomnia: Encanto 👩🏽🏘️ (Movie on Disney+)May 12, 2022
(Encanto is set in Colombia 🇨🇴, the site of our first Level Up ⬆️ weekend en Español!)
I cried during a significant portion of this movie. I found it so powerful; despite a cheesy plot, in-your-face message, and too-fast character transformation. Here’s my collective dream interpretation of the movie’s symbols:
The Madrigal family all live in a golden cage where magical powers and a heartfelt attitude of service toward others hides deep inner senses of fear and inadequacy. Matriarch Abuela holds her family to such a high standard of perfectionism (for fear of losing her family, like she lost her husband) that the house starts to literally crack apart at the seams. I see “Magic” symbolically as our modern world’s technology, and Casita as society. We assume technology will give us a high degree of comfort and well-being (like magic does in Encanto), and yet it often gives rise to even more pressure, stress, and fodder for our self-criticism (as it does in Encanto).
Fortunately, the Madrigals are redeemed through the power of forgiveness. Mirabel sees what her family members are each struggling with (eg: Bruno thinks it’s all his fault, Isabela has no autonomy), and comes to love them and release those hangups in herself. Abuela forgives herself, admits her mistakes, and sees that acting from her fear almost caused her to lose the very family she was trying to protect. Together the whole town rebuilds Casita (society), inverting the helpers and the helped—honoring interconnection, rather than seeing us as separate from those we help (with the burden all on us).
How many of us live in self-created prisons of perfectionism and expectations (even when it looks like service)? End up marrying someone we don’t love out of obligation—like Isabela, trapped in anxiety and burden—like Luisa, or making false sacrifices because of our shame—like Bruno? How much of our social progress is a way to avoid more authentic contact with our deep feelings of shame for our very existence—like Mirabel? Grief–like Abuela? Perhaps, like the movie, our society will have to break down before we can rebuild. Or perhaps we’ll find forgiveness and empathy for those we don’t like or agree with, and choose to come from love rather than fear.
With love, Jordan
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