Can we take a moment to ponder something I haven’t seen anyone else talking about?
I have arrived at my local coffee shop, the only one that still allows me to enter. Next to it is a grocery store, which I am also miraculously still allowed to enter. But I don’t want to go into either one of them.
Unless I stay home every minute of every day and refrain from all human interaction, I am forced into a state of severe incongruence with my personal integrity, ethics and morals. This feels HORRIBLE.
And so I avoid experiencing this… Even though I want to support my local businesses who are struggling, and I want to keep my spirits up, and keep myself engaged and hold hope for humanity… But the second I have to put on a mask, to be allowed to exist publicly, I feel wretched – emotionally, spiritually and physically.
I have tried sewing my own masks which allow me the maximum amount of oxygen and reduce my exposure to CO2. Or I wear the mask and leave my nose exposed. No one ever says anything or cares, because deep down we know the mask is not actually about germs, which is why I never get challenged.
If I go without a mask and say that I am medically exempt, this gets me a range of responses, depending on how fear-based the person questioning me is. But the exchange also feels YUCKY. It feels no less horrible than just wearing the damn mask.
This is not about me being unwilling to stand up for what I believe in. This is about my personal alignment with my own integrity; my morals and ethics. This is also about me being unwilling to cause so many other people distress. I have been a healing facilitator for most of my life and I care deeply for other people. I don’t want to throw other people into fear and anger.
I would rather keep half the mask on and radiate love and compassion, and make that my practice as I move through the cafe or grocery store. But that takes energy, and winter is the worst time of year for me and when I have least amount of energy. And then I am overcome with despair for humanity. For the fear that grips them so tightly they are willing to do ANYTHING as long as they don’t MAYBE DIE. And so most days, I choose to just stay home.
I was talking to my 15-year-old son about how I felt and he said, “I just don’t understand why it’s so difficult for you?”
I responded, “It’s like this, imagine if I had to wear a T-shirt every time I went out in public that said, F**k All Nig****s. I couldn’t bear to do that! It would violate all of my ethics, morals and my fundamental integrity as a human being on this planet.”
“Ah,” he said, “I understand.”
I used to be a major supporter of local businesses. I knew the owners (and their families) of every business I’ve supported over the decades. I now eat at home and order almost everything from Amazon – a company I do not actually want to support, incurring packaging that further stresses our already struggling environment. But Amazon does not force me to wear a mask while I order. And it feels about 1/100th as yucky as going out to a store and wearing a mask for an hour or more.
Like many of us, it is hard just to get out of bed some days. The unrelenting limitations/imprisonment of winter have been further exacerbated by the energetic and spiritual imprisonment of collective fear. I simply have no energy or desire to place myself in manky-shite every single day, just to get a cup of tea. So most days I stay home, walk my dog, or spend time with my horses.
Today I will force myself to go in. And after I have ordered hot chocolate for my son and me, I will take off my mask as I walk to the door. No one will get frightened or angry because they will see that I am leaving.
My small reclamation of integrity and congruence in this heinous charade.
I then came across this comment a reader (handle: Edgar Allen Poe) had left on one of Charles Eisenstein’s blog posts:
“Thank you, Charles, from a fellow bullied kid (perhaps even smaller at age 12 than you).
Real Life story about standing up:
Like lots of people, I sucked it up and wore a mask for a couple of weeks during the beginning of all this. When it became apparent to me that the whole story didn’t hold up to even the quickest looks at the facts, I concluded it was yet another authoritarian con job and decided to live normally. I got yelled at here and there for no mask, even got thrown out of stores a time or two. It hurt, but I found ways to dance around it all, finding stores that bullied you only with a sign on the door. When I ran into friends I hadn’t seen in a while and they stop before we hug hello and ask me if I’m jabbed up, I’d lie and say “Yes!” because I can’t bear the pain of not being hugged.
Last month I decided on a last minute whim to join some friends in Death Valley Nat’l Park. This meant I didn’t pack much in the way of necessities knowing that I could get by for a couple days on whatever they sold at the fuel station. Well, turns out the fuel station is run by the Nat’l Park system. You could get gas outside but inside the store was 100% gov’t employees.
I walk in without a mask anyway.
Not 3 steps in and: “SIR! YOU HAVE TO WEAR A MASK!” I keep walking. Got to get a couple jugs of water, right?
“SIR! WE HAVE A MASK HERE FOR YOU! PLEASE PUT IT ON!” I ignore the guy. He comes after me and blocks my way to the cashier. Everyone in the store turns their head to watch. We are face to face, chest to chest. He is bigger.
“Aren’t you supposed to stay 6 ft. away from me? You are breaking your own rules.” He backs off. I walk around him toward the cashier who is behind a Plexiglas screen. The guy continues to yell at me. He obviously knows that yelling causes a scene which increases my discomfort. Nevertheless, I continue to ignore him. My body is shaking. Some people in the store snort and shake their heads. I wait my turn. My turn comes. I approach the cashier, fully prepared that he may not ring it up and thus deny me water in the desert.
But he rings it up. I notice that his mask is “off the nose”, mouth only. Did I notice a twinkle in his eye, perhaps one of enjoyment at watching his boss standing over me in frustrated distress as the cashier hands me my change? I believe I did. I smiled back and walk out of there, still shaking.
The next morning the sun came blazing out and I realized I didn’t bring a hat. Oh no! There’s only the one store and I gotta go back in there? Oh well, I head back over. One of my friends joins me. As we approach the store, I tell him to “let the chaos unfold and don’t intervene” as he puts on a mask and I do not.
This time, there is a line outside. The same guy guards the door. Only 10 people are allowed in the store at a time and there are 3 people in line. My friend gets in line and I open the door and attempt entry. The guy slams the door on my foot (lucky I am wearing sturdy boots) and pins it there.
I ask him: “So that’s what you are going to do? Assault me?” He remains in place, my foot stuck and his weight against it. People pull out their phones and start videos. He is determined this time that I will not enter. It’s a standoff. Except, he forgot that customers inside would need to exit. A guy inside knocks on the door to come out and the guard opens the door. I duck in. He follows me and starts yelling again. “SIR!”
More stares, more disapproving tsk’s, comments and head-shaking from the customers inside. Again, my body starts shaking. I look at the hats. Nobody is on my side, or if they are, they are silent about it. This time, the guy gives up and goes back outside to guard the door because people are starting to walk in without his permission. He shoos them out while I select a hat. In the cashier line I stand behind a woman who I’d heard make a comment “There’s one in every crowd!” when I entered. Annoyed by remembering that, I said to her backside, in a mocking ladylike voice: “There’s one in every crowd.” Not the nicest thing I ever did, but I did do that.
She turns around and looks at me.
I tell her “Hey, I’ve been hearing crap like that ever since I was a little kid.”
Not the slightest bit shaken, she says through her mask:
“You know, I don’t really care if you wear a mask or not. Just stating that there’s one in every crowd.”
One what? I didn’t know and I didn’t ask her. A non-conformist? Fair enough then. I thanked her for saying at least that much.
Outside I find that the door guy has summoned a Nat’l Park Ranger, possibly his immediate superior. They stand in front of my path and block my way. The ranger is a woman who launches into what strikes me as a prepared speech. Out of respect I listen to a few lines of it: “….we all have to do this, there is no choice….” like Mommy trying to reason with her misbehaving child.
Politely as I can, I interrupt her and tell her that I am not going to understand what she is saying anymore than she is going to understand my point of view and that this is not a problem. We can think differently and still respect each other. I walked around them and they let me go.
But this is not fun! It is scary and I hate doing it. It does not feel good at all. But if I don’t do it, I can’t look myself in the mirror and still see the same person I have fought my whole life to be:
Me. A peaceful, natural human being. The day I let other people tell me who I am or that I have to obey them and be approved of, I’m as good as dead.”
“The final irony is that in the end, a policy based on minimizing deaths won’t even achieve that. Life withers in isolation. This is true on a biological level, as we require ongoing intercourse with the world of microbes and, yes, viruses, to maintain bodily equilibrium. It is true as well on the social level: one prominent meta-analytic review concluded that social isolation, loneliness, and living alone, cause an average of 29%, 26%, and 32% increased likelihood of mortality, respectively. That’s roughly the same risk level as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or habitual excessive drinking. But I have not seen our politicians or medical authorities including such considerations in their epidemiologically informed policy decisions.” – Charles Eisenstein
Not to mention the fact that dozens of clinical trials show that masking is not effective, and causes more harm than prevention ;)