About 10 days ago, the Governor of my state asked that everyone wear a mask when going out. The mask could be made of cloth or of a more traditional construction, but the announcement included a plea that we leave the medical grade masks to those on the front lines of the crisis.
He also asked that we make it fun. For the news conference, he wore a cloth mask made from the flag of our state.
Okay, great. The challenge for me, is that we don’t have any masks in the house. I couldn’t sew a button on straight to save my life, let alone sew something up for myself. Sure, one can buy them on Etsy or other suppliers, but they’re all backed up. The consistent message from suppliers was to expect to wait a couple of weeks for them to arrive. So, I found a couple of Mickey Mouse masks (shock shock) on Etsy and placed my order.
Shortly after our Governor’s call to wear masks wherever you go, the message came around that we should all try to stay sequestered for two weeks. But again, I don’t have a mask. So, my concern was how do I reconcile these two requests? 1. Don’t go out without a mask. 2. Get what you need to stay home for fourteen days.
Over the past few weeks, this entire global crisis (for me) has been focused around two concepts. The importance of priorities and the old saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Fortunately, I did a book tour through Europe back in 2015. Scarves were the rage! Everywhere you looked, men were wearing these big, oversized scarves even in warm weather. When in Rome, right? So, I bought several for myself never imagining in my wildest dreams that the day would come when I would be digging through them to find just the right size for covering my face when leaving the house.
Through this entire global challenge, I have never been afraid. But as I got closer to the grocery store, I realized that I was getting very nervous. What was troubling me was not that I might get ill, but that I might be judged. Was my scarf sufficient to the task in other people’s eyes? Will everyone else in the store have been more prepared than me and therefore have a mask?
Once I was inside the store, I realized that wasn’t going to be a problem. Most people did not have masks. The neighborhood where the grocery store was located is a very, very, responsible and active community. This told me right away that it wasn’t just me who had been caught unprepared for the new mask requirement, but it was most people. Still, there were many people who were wearing masks.
As an intuitive, I could feel the energy of judgment and fear hovering over the entire store. People seemed to be looking at one another to make sure they weren’t coughing. The looks from strangers indicated they were assessing if those around them had their faces sufficiently covered and were, they staying far enough away?
The energy of judgment during this crisis is flowing like water. People are worried about being judged while at the same time judging those around them. Of course, that’s not new. But this situation has upped the importance of responsible, social behavior and therefore the energy of judgment has also ramped up to match.
What we have to remember is that we cannot know what other people are going through. If we see someone out and about doing something that we deem “non-essential,” we have to be mindful we don’t know the back story. My brother in law (a very wise and thoughtful guy) posted these scenarios on social media which perfectly echoed my thoughts on this topic:
Perhaps that man in the store purchasing a gallon of paint is doing so because his choices are to either busy himself with a project or fall back into his alcohol addiction. Or maybe that lady buying bags of soil and seeds struggles with depression. Maybe planting and watching something beautiful grow during this time of darkness, is her only way of not falling into a very dark place that will take her months to get out of.
Or maybe that guy who doesn’t have a mask but who is sporting a (oh-so-fabulous, if thin) scarf just got caught unaware and is making do with what he has.
I like to believe that the vast majority of us are doing the very best we can through these crazy, and unprecedented (in our lifetime) circumstances. It’s critical that we have compassion for those around us and try to keep our wandering thoughts on the contributions that we can personally make on behalf of our family, friends, and the world. Try to send love to strangers even if you don’t understand their actions and then immediately refocus your attention upon yourself.
By the way, as of this writing I still don’t have any masks. The writer in me loves the metaphor that statement projects even as I am also aware that I have no reason to go anywhere. At least not for now. Hopefully by the time I do, I’ll be wearing Mickey Mouse dancing across my face.
And if something urgent does come up, I still have fabulous European scarves I can make do with.
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