No matter what happens, to me, our flag stands for freedom.
Saw this beautiful reminder on my evening walk tonight.
The US is buzzing with political opinion, judgments, and even mud-slinging about masks. Wear it. Drop it. It’s gotten so bad here that folks can almost tell if you’re republican or democrat based on whether or not you’re wearing a mask.
Scientific opinion seems to change every time we open a search page.
All this talk about masks leads me to think about the other kind of mask.
After all, there are two types of masks.
One is tangible, designed to provide a physical barrier to block the spread of illness. By now, you probably have one of this type to color-coordinate with your daily outfit, and another that’s silly or funny. These masks are designed to block airborne illness from you to others. It’s really only the highest medical quality (N-95) mask that works to block the virus from reaching your lungs.
The other type of mask is intangible. It’s an invisible one. Maybe you’re not even aware you have one of these. It’s also known as a facade. We wear invisible masks all the time, without even thinking about it. We wear our invisible masks to block the undesirable effects of truth.
“How are you?” . . . “I’m fine.”
Conditioned as children to behave properly, we learned to dampen or conceal our natural responses. That’s not entirely a bad thing. If we didn’t hold back much of what pops into our thoughts and emotions, chaos would reign.
Relating to others through our facades might in some way protect us, but there are side effects.
Some effects are mild, like not getting our true feelings out and ending up with the need to find a release. Some can be more disruptive, like becoming ineffective at honest relationships, leading to poor job performance or even divorce. More severe side effects of living behind a facade can be grave, like becoming completely dissociated from your true self, or becoming so isolated and lonely that life loses its meaning and joy.
So what do we do about this? Do we just drop our masks?
I recall a time when I wanted to completely drop my facade of being “fine” all the time. I wanted to pursue my ideal of living a fully authentic life. I soon discovered (yep, the hard way) that most folks don’t feel comfortable with this level of honesty.
Imagine! Can you say ostracized? Distanced? Rejected? Maybe even persecuted?
Lesson Learned: There are times and places where it is safer to wear a mask. That invisible mask protects us—and others—from harmful vitriol.
It’s okay to make determinations for ourselves about where and with whom we choose to drop our masks.
There are safe places to drop your mask. There are people and times where you can safely lower your invisible mask without causing hurt or being hurt in return.
And if the situation changes, it’s also okay to change that decision and slip your mask back up for a while.
We can be authentic, honest and open people without necessarily spilling our guts all over the place.
How about you? What have you learned about wearing or dropping your facade?
Heart to Heart,Joan T. Warren
Oh, and kudos to Jason Youngman, whose blog post “Jason Without His Mask” sparked my ideas for today’s post. Check his blog out here:
We usually visit family for vacation, either at Lake Keowee, South Carolina or to the Blue Ridge mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. This year, though, procrastination combined forces with many unsuccessful, indecisive HomeAway and VRBO searches, leaving us without a viable option near family.
Well, to be honest, there were places left to rent, but I’m pretty picky when it comes to the few days a year I get to really relax and refresh from my busy life. I want fresh, clear water to swim and boat in. I want magnificent short and long range mountain views. I want comfy furniture with room to spread out, a porch with a view and plenty of windows for sunlight to stream in. I want a place that’s clean and up-to-date, not a moldy shower, sunken-bed and cob-web corner kind of place. Like I said, picky.
We end up a short two hours from family, in Hiawassee, Georgia. Amazing place. So amazing that I hesitate to write about it–for fear the world hears and rushes in! Of course, with only 512 Wonderful WordPress Followers, I calm myself on that question. The name “Hiawassee” comes from the Cherokee word “Ayuhwasi,” (meadow) but some say it is named for a Native American princess. Hiawassee is a picturesque small town in the mountains at the southern end of Lake Chatuge. The lake is spring-fed, a reservoir with 132 miles of mountainous shoreline. Within thirty minutes of Helen,
Anna Ruby Falls, Blairsville and Brasstown Bald, we have our choice of short day trips to round out our lazy days on the lake. Our place, a townhouse we rent, is steps from the lake. It has all of the amenities on my “picky-list,” plus. The owner leaves fresh flowers in every room. There is a swing on the balcony overlooking the lake and mountains. The dock offers a swimming area complete with a ladder so I might properly and safely climb into the water–and some shallow areas where my granddaughter digs her toes in to find tiny mussels.
As I relax, I take care to preserve the good feeling. For those of you who follow my posts, you know I’m young at heart. My body doesn’t always share that sentiment. With respect for the old gal’s body, I spend many hours just loafing in the lake on an inflatable lounge chair, enjoying the view–and my granddaughter’s antics. I remember to squeeze my glutes (as my physical therapist emphasizes) with each step of our two hikes, one up the shady trail by Anna Ruby Falls and the other on the steep pathway to the highest point in Georgia (Brasstown Bald). I am doing fine and don’t want to spoil it by overdoing things and waking up the boogie monster. But the wooden ledge on the edge of the dock, resting a few inches below the clean water, keeps calling me.
“Flip!” the ledge calls.
I look away. Such a lovely view. So relaxing. . .
“Come on, do it!”
Is it the ledge, or the child inside, or are they conspiring together?
It is the last full day on the lake. “If it hurts,” that kid inside my head reasons, “well, it’s not like you’ve ruined the whole vacation.”
“I’m scared, though. I don’t want to hurt,” the fifty-eight year-old replies.
“Hmmm, so it is.” I have no argument. I really want to do it.
So I make a big production (If I cramp up or get dizzy, someone will rescue me, right?).
“Announcing, one and all, the famous flip of the fifty-something fibro-woman!”
My granddaughter stops to look and laughs. Before long the others have come to attention too.
And I do it!
Jumping forward and tucking my head, body, legs. . . over I go. I plunge into the cool support of Lake Chatuge. Muscle memory kicks in. My arms and legs know what to do. I feel the gentle pressure of water on every inch of my body without the support of a float. I feel it help me rise to the surface. My fist goes up in the air and I shout–no, woop–with victory!
And it doesn’t hurt!
Everyone cheers. Then they seem to want to go back to what they were doing. They obviously don’t realize the courage it took, the incredibly wonderful feeling it brings, this flop-of-a-flip-that-looked-more-like-a-somersault-than-a-dive-but-is-so-great-to-me! So I start clapping rhythmically and calling my step-daughter’s name, over and over again. My granddaughter joins in the call for “Mom-mie! Mom-mie! Mom-mie!”
She complies, leaving the comfort of her water lounger, and we all cheer, and before long we are all doing silly jumps and dives and other antics from the dock, cheering one another on.
And it doesn’t hurt!
And I don’t get dizzy or lose muscle control or cramp or drown or die!
Vacation is over, now, and as I write this memoir, I lay in bed nursing a strained back that I didn’t get on vacation. This one came as I reached across the bed grappling for the remote control in the dark. Who knew watching TV in bed could be so dangerous? But it will get better. I won’t give up, or give in. I will take good care of myself and get back to functioning soon.
Maybe next time I’ll be more apt to jump in the lake and less apt to reach for the remote!
This summer won’t be remembered for this present back ache. This shall be the summer of the flippin-fun-fifty-eight-year-old!
Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Hiawassee. Thank you, Lake Chatuge. Thank you, Appalachian Mountains. Thank you, family. Thank you, body, soul and spirit. Thank you, Hanz Tabora at Access Physical Therapy in Jacksonville, Florida: the best physical therapist EVER.
Flippin’ Fun to you,
©Joan T. Warren
Marge lay exhausted at the end of a long day, her eyes puffy from too many tears. It has been an emotional day for her. As she lay on the sofa catching a quick break, an ear out for when her son’s trach needs suctioning, she becomes acutely aware that Read the rest of this entry
This morning my granddaughter put on How to Train Your Dragon. Again.
I sat nearby, reading and thinking, writing a bit, occasionally paying slight attention to the movie.
“In centuries of Vikings, I’m the first one who wouldn’t kill a dragon,” Hiccup sulked to Astrid. Feeling the failure of not living up to his culture’s expectations, feeling the sting of disappointing his father, Hiccup doubted himself. Astrid saw beyond this temporary setback:
“Yeah, the first one who was right.”
Hiccup had decided to spare the dragon when he looked into its eyes and realized, “He was just as afraid as I was.” Hiccup saw with the eyes of his heart.
His compassion, as it turned out, changed everything. It changed his father. It changed his village. It changed dragons. It changed him.
We like to think we are far more advanced than the world of Vikings and dragons. But are we?
Do we see with the eyes of our hearts?
Do we find the good?
©Joan T. Warren
Please, readers who are U. S. Citizens, take a moment to visit this page and sign the petition. It is real. I have family who are living it. There is a petition on the White House agenda to sanction Venezuelan violators of human rights and reduce importation of Venezuelan oil. It has until April 11, 2014, to gain enough votes.
Read H. R. 4226 and the petition.
Pass it on. Thank you.
Joan T. Warren
Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle honest discussion? This, the question posed by WordPress’ Daily Prompt. For my take on this prompt, I will stretch an analogy as far as I can:
Political correctness is the group of mean girls at school. They are beautiful. They are cool. They set the standard of what is fashionable versus what is ridiculously out. They look down their noses at all those who are too stupid, ugly, poor or otherwise inadequate to be a part of their high status. Read the rest of this entry
Happy Independence Day! Click on Independence Day and it will take you to a site where you can read a brief history of our highly prized national holiday, July 4, Independence Day. Then come back and enjoy this quick video from Washington, DC fireworks! Keep reading, we’re not finished quite yet!
I especially like how this article points out that we celebrate the day we proclaimed independence, not when we achieved it! It serves as a reminder that when we make our minds up to be or to do something, our firm decision and proclamation is the true turning point!
P. S. How do you define and declare independence? Is there a time when you proclaimed something, something that took a lot of guts and you knew wouldn’t come easy, and then you made it happen? Share by commenting in the box below. . .
Joan T. Warren