THE EXISTENTIAL DILEMMA OF MASKING

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

“If you invest in the marriage of the inner and outer worlds by putting honest energy into dreaming a dream on, all the people in your life, maybe the whole of humankind, is enriched, though it may not produce the result your ego was seeking. This is a saint’s task, clarifying a bit of the collective unconscious for the good of all humanity.”

–Robert A. Johnson, “Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Life”

Johnson was an American Jungian analyst. And fulfilling my purpose in the second half of life is a goal much on my mind these days.

One noteworthy example of the attempt to marry my inner and outer lives has to do with the wearing of a mask during COVID.

My approach up to masking up to a couple of weeks ago had been this: I’ve observed a self-imposed  lockdown since March 9. I’ve stayed so close to home that I have filled my car with gas just twice during that time.

I work at home, I live alone, the parking area and yard behind my house extend half a city block and are completely open to the air, trees and sky.

Obviously if I’m at a grocery store (literally the only kind of store I have frequented since March besides bringing my watch in for a new battery), Mass (indoors for a blessed though brief time, but for the past month outdoors), or the doctor or dentist (six visits total), I happily and gratefully don a mask.

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

8 Replies to “THE EXISTENTIAL DILEMMA OF MASKING”

  1. Your words are comforting, as is your example of living humility. Your masked transformation- to be reflective, rather than reactive, makes a difference to others and you may never know how, or how much. Thank you Heather.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Oh Marge, thank you. Really these are supernatural interventions that allow us to go against our deepest grain, ego, opinions etc–not our consciences, of course, but our egos…it seems to me the COVID numbers are going down so there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Either way, reflective rather than reactive will be our credo!

  2. I “mask up” every time I set foot outside our house (even in our own yard, the entire perimeter of which is fenced off and gated) — not so much because I fear falling prey to COVID myself but because it makes my wife feel safer and it might give our neighbors and passers-by something to think about (or to talk about, more likely: “Did you see that nut?”). Solidarity and erring on the side of safety are good things. I DO NOT wear lipstick, though … I have to draw the line somewhere, Heather.😏

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha, love it!! Okay, we’ll let you off the hook just this once, Bill. 🙂

  3. Mary McCaskill says: Reply

    Thank you for being so considerate of others. I have been praying to let go of my angry reaction to angry people who see mask wearing as an infringement of their rights. So far it is a struggle. Pray for me and all the other angry souls out there.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Right, someone is bound to be offended or to feel infringed upon or insulted no matter what you do. Culture of Grievance. Can’t we just be grateful we don’t have COVID? Thanks, Mary!

  4. I love the beautiful way you write. I wasn’t too happy staying home or wearing a mask at first. I put in God’s hands and I have been doing so much better.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Well that is the sanest and most sensible plan I’ve heard yet, Lillian! I don’t wonder it’s working well for you and am going to lean harder in that direction myself…thank you as well for the lovely compliment.

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS!