While traveling over Thanksgiving break, I nearly suffocated. It had been hours sitting on the plane and in spite of the short maskless eating reprieve, I arrived to JFK hyperventilating. I looked around to see if I was alone in my suffering but there was no sign of asphyxiation. Everyone looked like faceless robots. At baggage claim, I lowered my mask below my nose. I was vaccinated and tested negative so I gave myself permission to gulp down some air. Breathe, breathe, quickly I told myself. I turned to see if the security guard would come and reprimand me. He did not. By the time I folded myself into the back of a yellow cab, I was deflated. I think if COVID doesn’t kill me, wearing a mask and anxiety will do the trick. In spite of all of our advancements in science and technology, it feels like our world is contracting.
I think, I want to see your face. I want talk spit on my cheek. I want to touch your hand. I want to talk about something other than material reality. I want to love and trust humans again.
When I arrive at my destination, I strip off my clothes and bask in the joy of free space. I am alone but I am free to breathe. I let loose for a while and that feels good. When I get a little lonely, I consider going out but then I remember that I have to wear a mask and I don’t feel like it. So, I stay at home and communicate with the world through my many devices. This works like a charm for a while. Then, I feel empty. I miss the warmth of love and bodies. I miss the novelty of meeting someone new. I miss shared space. I miss communicating with someone without writing or talking. I miss the real world. I feel sad and disheartened and worried about the future.
Is this really it?
When I get like this, I light an incense and sit in meditation. I am hungry for love and confidence. And I need to calm the chatter down. In a few moments, I get that feeling. I’ve learned over years of practice to trust this, this moment of silence, this moment of dignity, this moment of concentration on the real world, the world where everything that really matters lives.
I am activating belief in the truth and essence of humanity.
I am activating healing.
I am activating faith.
I am activating well-ness and well-being when so many are in pain.
I am activating another way of being and thinking.
I am kindness for my fellow human beings when there is so much hate.
I am breathing strength into myself and pouring strength out into the world.
When I’m done, I get up and wash my hands and face. I put my clothes back on. I get my coat and mask and go out to travel again. I visit my family and friends. I show up with love and I am accompanied by the spirits who guide me. Love pours out of my skin and my consciousness touches their consciousness. I see them. We are old, fresh, wise, kind eyes. I notice a few things. I listen for suffering. I hold them in my presence, awake. I hug them with my arms and my inner being. I know for certain we are here in a flash of a moment and it’s good to keep company.