The Only Mask I Need

I am meditating on the question, “What has this time of Covid and its slivers and shivers of fear running through every thought, action, moment have to teach me?”

My facile mind wants to answer, “I don’t know.”

The wise woman within asks, “If you did know what would you know?”

I know that at the beginning of Covid’s restrictions, when people said, “Be safe” I’d wonder, what on earth does safety have to do with these times? Be well. Be healthy. Take care. Those make sense to me. But safety?

I wear my arrogance like a mask as if donning it will keep me safe from feeling afraid.

Over the past year of sequestered solitude, of spending time exploring grief and loss, silence and solitude, I’ve learned that safety isn’t about just the physicality of my life. It’s the whole shebanga. It’s feeling safe in my heart, my body, my mind, my spirit. It’s all of me and trusting that ‘all of me’ to be enough to keep me safe from self-harm as well as external danger.

At the beginning, I thought saying, ‘be safe’ was just instilling fear into everyone’s minds. I thought wearing a mask would make me look foolish.

Yet there I was, wearing masks of my own hubris, separating me from feeling the fear that would allow me to recognize the truth.

I needed fear to ensure I did the right things during this time. I needed that fear to compel me and inspire me to take actions to safeguard my health as well as my beloved’s and the health and well-being of those I love and care for. My family, friends, community.

Fear, in the time of Covid, is a great motivator. It doesn’t immobilize me. It mobilizes me to take right actions.

I am freefall writing and smiling as I write.

The gift of freefall writing is its capacity to allow the words to flow out my fingertips without engaging my mind in their creation.

It is a process rife with uncertainty.

Uncertainty is good for my soul. My hubris. It brings me back to the centre of who I am when I let go of wearing the masks of attitudes that do not serve me.

I used arrogance as my protection. It did not serve me well.

Arrogance is not a great dance partner. It assumes it knows better, can do better and create better than those who are doing the hard work of doing and creating better.

I want to stop and go back and edit. I know that’s just fear talking.

Will I be revealing too much if I let this post stand as written? Will I look… foolish?

Ah yes. The fear of looking foolish.

Such an inhibitor. Such a waste of energy, time, life.

Looking foolish is good for me. It keeps me playing in the field of possibility. It keeps me testing boundaries, pushing myself outside my comfort zone, moving beyond the edges of what I tell myself I know, into the bottomless mystery of all I don’t know about myself, the world around me, life itself.

I am freefall writing and letting my words stand as what has appeared in this moment.

I am awakening uncertainty to claim my right to be, Me.

And I am letting go of the masks I wear that I tell myself will keep me safe.

The only mask I need to feel safe and be safe in this world today is the one that protects me and the world around me from Covid’s sinister reach.


19 thoughts on “The Only Mask I Need

  1. Living in free fall exposes me and guarantees that I will sometimes look foolish to others and to myself. Only way to be free, though. Thanks, Louise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Louise, you should have lived a while in rural Devon, UK, like HH and I. Those English have no fear to be laughed at, they are self-depreciating, they don’t mind looking foolish, no, they embrace it with both arms and if that’s not enough, they take out of their pocket a dirty old hanky and swing this, contents and all, in front of your face in one of the best restaurants in the City of Light…. there are many places we didn’t dare go back to after we went with those friends!!!! But holy caboodle, it did teach us a thing or three. In French you said: le ridicule ne tue pas – (being) ridicule(d) doesn’t kill – and that’s so true. We tend to take ourselves far too serious. I am glad as often as deeply unhappy to be out and about with a mask; glad for not having to show my facial expression, but far more often unhappy because I can’t make ppl smile with MY smile. Since everybody is wearing a mask we also don’t look at others who do. This was a huge lesson when I think back a few years when we had many Asian tourists and visitors in France, especially in Paris. Even in the rapid trains TGV (trains à grande vitesse) they climbed in with masks and everybody was sniggering and wondering why they would cover up their faces like that…. And now?! We all do the same.
    So, don’t be afraid, be courageous, be vulnerable, be yourself…. it’s alright and the mask you’re wearing stylishly on this photo is a work of art – not like mine, either the standard baby blue ones or a black textile mask!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you my friend — it is interesting how we adapt and accept the very things we thought ‘ridiculous’ become our new norm.
      And thank you for your kinds words — I love my linen masks — there’s a shop in Vancouver where she makes them. This one is one of my favs.

      Who knew we’d have a ‘mask’ collection? 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah the masks we wear internally and show externally. Who do they protect? Who do they harm? I’ve talked about them a few times on my blog; most specifically in the one called “White Picket Fence”. And yet many times I continue to wear the mask of politeness even if it feels like my world is falling apart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know that mask of politeness well Bernie! And even though it sometimes grates against my skin, and my heart, I keep it firmly in place.
      Ahh… the habits of childhood and that persistent voice… be polite…
      I think being polite is important — so is being real.
      Hugs my friend.


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