I heard an interesting talk with Luis Alberto Urrea on borders, which he often uses and talks about in his books.  At one point, he compared the different sides of the Berlin Wall to that of the Mexican/US Border wall slowly being erected.

On the Eastern side of the Berlin wall, there were guns, patrols, silence; on the Western side, there was graffiti and human activity.

With the Mexican/US border wall, it’s the reverse: on the Mexican side, there are murals, graffiti, sculptures; there are mariachi bands and ice cream vendors and life.  But on the US side, there are guns, helicopters, patrols, and silence.

At the same time, I’m reading a fantasy novel called Hero of the Ages. The hero is told by a wizened general not to get to know the leaders he plans on conquering, because by doing so, he humanizes them. That’s what crossing borders does.

“Fences make good borders” is true sometimes, and exactly the opposite other times.  Do you know in yourself when that’s so?



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at .


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