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Julie Horsley - 28 Mar 2020


Is there something we could do as a community to encourage our fellow humans to consider the wearing of physical masks as an act of love?

I got to wondering as I wandered (keeping an appropriate distance from my fellow humans) into the sleepy (now even more sleepy) seaside town of Teignmouth why we are finding it so challenging to put masks on to safeguard each other.  I chose to wear a mask using all the relevant mask etiquette recommended by the World Health Organisation.  Not because of fear (which would erroneously tell my nervous system to go into fight or flight) that everyone else but me is contagious, instead because it is the holding of a boundary as an act of love and an act of commUNITY.  A choice of calm containment rather than coming from a place of contraction and suspicion. For whilst I have no symptoms of the Coronavirus and have been socially distancing for quite some time and more recently in lockdown, like most of us, I have no idea whether I am or have been an asymptomatic carrier.    

Would you like to know how many other people were wearing masks of any shape or form?  Go on, have a guess...


Not that we have a massive population here. Nevertheless I did sense a curiosity from those not wearing masks too.

More wondering. What harm can it do to wear a mask in this way?  Would it not be an act of compassion and unity? Is there more of a fear about wearing masks than the prospect of passing the virus to another?  Wearing masks certainly seems to be working well in South Korea, China, Taiwan and other countries that are more fully embracing this action.

I'm hearing of people who are mobilising across the globe with home/cottage industries popping up and people putting their sewing skills to great use by making masks (in the 'face' of a mask shortage) and then giving them away.  A fashion designer has created a design template and is getting masks manufactured.  It doesn't seem to be a cynical stint to get media attention rather an act of compassion and kindness and a use of talent and resources for the greater good.

Is there something we could do as a community to encourage our fellow humans to consider the wearing of physical masks as an act of love?  To get out of our own way, perhaps, and join in the wearing of masks... ?  Maybe those of us with needle craft skills could assist?

Way back I wrote a poem that has been published a couple of times that addresses the use of social masks and I wondered if that has something more symbolic and subtle that is a kind of unconscious resistance to being part of a much bigger whole.  The poem, written in the late 1980's, is about the challenges of being authentic in the prevailing culture and addresses the need, at times, to shelter behind social masks to protect ourselves and give the impression that we are someone we are not.

We have agency when we keep ourselves close.   If we are keeping the virus, that invisible "enemy" (to quote the militaristic terminology) out we disperse our power.  When we hold healthy boundaries, we are gathering power, keeping ourselves close and in rather than keeping others out.  We can still make good decisions about what keeps us safe and at peace by keeping our finger on the pulse about what we need to know and by intuitively and viscerally trusting our own being.

Here's the poem. The above artwork is by Stan Kaminsky whom I thank for being a beacon on my personal journey.

Finally - and echoing other posts and articles that make the connection between the Corona, Crown and our own sovereignty,  is it that we are so programmed and used to being told what to politicians, others who 'should' or 'experts'? If that is the case, where has our sovereignty and agency gone?  Why do we keep giving our power away to those in so-called authority?  We need political leaders to show up, be authentic, admit when mistakes are made (FAIL = first attempts in learning) and who are willing to walk the talk and drop the social masks of protection to don physical masks for the greater good.  Perhaps, playfully, something like this:



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