Masking

maskWhat a concept. Who would have imagined we would be in a situation where we would be covering our faces? I remember when the pandemic first began and there were photos of teens in China wearing masks. It seemed foreign to me. Now it seems normal. I make my own masks out of old sweatpants. This photo is the string I use to tie the mask to my head. I learned this from a video I share below for those interested.

These are strange yet interesting times. Mostly strange and I’d of course much prefer we were not vulnerable to this virus. I often feel like I am living in the twilight zone with how things have changed. Being a writer, I am used to spending a lot of time indoors and in solitude (something I enjoy). I feel lucky this way because I know this is a hard and unwanted condition for many. What seems harder though are those who would prefer to work from home but are now being asked to come back to the workplace. There are some awful positions people are finding themselves in. But here we are. We must be where we are in the places and circumstances that befall us.

People receive different information. This is a tricky thing during a pandemic. Sometimes it’s about differing opinions, and other times it’s a case of having similar mindsets but not being exposed to the same reporting. Though for some wearing a mask and social distancing is a private issue, for others it is public. We have bridged this gap when it comes to seatbelts and public smoking, but masking is not yet a formally recognized law.

When I am in my own world doing my own thing, I forget what is going on around me. I am not referring to those who are sick or dying. Rather those whose lives have been turned upside down by all the side effects. Whether it’s the loss of a job, having to home-school while working out of the home, homelessness, mental health decline due to isolation and hardship, too many people sharing a space, conflicts between partners and family members who disagree on levels of precaution, or the loss of a loved one without being able to say goodbye. The list goes on and on.

And perhaps, with all the challenges, it makes some people more appreciative, patient, and compassionate. Hearts soften not really knowing what another person’s situation is. With more time alone and indoors some find themselves newly or more meditative. When we go out, we see each other in masks (those who wear them) and for a flicker of a moment we receive a mind flow of wondering and maybe caring about that individual more than we would otherwise.

In the end, we must sit with ourselves and adjust. Or soothe others. Or not be able to comfort others when we wish we could. The stakes are high for so many as the threat of impermanence knocks on our doors. When asked to, we can feel proud to wear a mask as it is a gesture we can make to protect others and show them we are in this together. When resentment strikes at seeing someone not wearing a mask, we can resist our inner judgment and know there must be a good reason. And then move out of their way to give them space and protection.

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