I recently shared a post to my Facebook page that caused quite a ruckus. I am mindful to not share my political views, as I want my page to be a place of calm for everyone. After 90 minutes of trying to moderate and mediate the discussion between those people who view wearing masks as a public service, those that see nefarious conspiracy theories behind mask legislation, and also those that view mask wearing as dangerous to their health (“toxic tent,” etc), I deleted the post.

In the middle of all that craziness, a woman reached out to me through the private chat function of my Facebook page. She was vulnerable, which took incredible courage. I’m sharing the chat, without her name to protect her privacy, in order to illustrate how an authentic caring connection can happen between two strangers with different views if we can slow down our reactions and listen – really hear one another – and remember our shared humanity.

JUN 26, 2020, 12:15 AM
Can you recommend something for me?
Mindful Methods for Life:
Are you the person that just told me to shut the fuck up?
If it’s anger management, yes, absolutely. Guided meditation. Insight Timer. Getting out in nature. Sleep. Being kind.
I tried to send you a message. To explain. But y’all decided to gang up on me. So I just deleted my post and I was not directing it at you personally . It came out wrong I did apologize but, by then y’all decided I was trash collectively
I use to enjoy your page. But every single page is all about the mask and the virus all the time now. Some of us need what you use to post about. But it’s all good … I’ll take it into my own hands now
Good luck to you
Sleep if only . I average 3 hours a day..
Mindful Methods for Life:
I didn’t want you to leave the page. I hope you get some better rest. I use a guided meditation when I wake up in the middle of the night called Guided Meditation for Deep Sleep by Kenneth Soars on Insight Timer. I think I’m going to delete the post, it’s totally out of hand. I honestly had no clue people on a mindfulness page would think the government was trying to control them, or the democrats were trying to control them. So…don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, there is such good info on the page, I’d hate for you to miss out on stuff that could help you. And no worries on the F bomb comment, I swear all the time, I just didn’t expect to be sworn at! But I understand and it’s ok.
I truly am sorry.
Unfortunately I work 13 hours overnight shifts. I can’t seem to sleep more than 3 hours after I get home. Going through a rough patch. .might have cervical cancer and I’m just overwhelmed with everything going on in the world. I’m alone in the world.. and I’m actually getting scared of what’s to come
Mindful Methods for Life:
Sending you healing and strength and love.
Thank you so much I am so sorry I really truly am I think I’m just really burnt out working 13-hour shifts and somebody bailed so I’m going to end up working an extra one so I haven’t had a day off in forever and I appreciate it and I am really really truly sorry

The one line from the poem by Miller Williams that immediately rolled around in my mind after chatting with her is that we “don’t know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”

by Miller Williams

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.

The following day, I posted this apology:

“For a few hours last night, this page became a place of conflict. I intend this site to be a place for ALL OF US TO RELAX, and learn tools and skills that can help us live with more ease. I APOLOGIZE for posting something that was political. I learned from the spirited exchange that reasonable people can disagree on wearing masks. I see that specific scientific findings don’t mean the same thing to all of us. We all have value, and are entitled to our opinions. We are enough. Thank you.”

A different woman respectfully asked a question that propelled me to do a little research! The following is the comment thread from the post, without her name to protect her privacy:

Are you sure it’s not just the conflicting scientific evidence that is out there? For every epidemiologist that states covid 19 is this deadly knew disease that dictates a mask, there are other epidemiologists and doctors that state it’s like all other deadly viruses in which masks won’t work and are unhealthy. It’s just that people get their information from different sources.
Mindful Methods for Life:
That’s an interesting suggestion, so I did a search to find epidemiologists and doctors that say that it’s just like every other deadly virus in which masks don’t work and are unhealthy and couldn’t find any current sources saying anything like that. I searched sources that I don’t normally read, and found the message that masks are recommended to keep our germs to ourselves to protect others across various news platforms. Even Fox News, which was slow to come around to recommending masks seems fully on board. It’s true that masks alone aren’t the answer – people still need to stay 6 feet apart, wash their hands for 20 seconds, don’t touch their face (eyes, nose, mouth) are safer out doors than in doors, but I cannot find anything credible from science to support not wearing a mask, unless you are less than 2 years old, have a breathing issue, or are exercising where your mask gets wet, etc. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

I don’t know whether she read my response, or whether my research opened or changed her mind. What I do know is that I need to continue to try. There is a school of thought that it’s pointless to argue with people who hold views that seem illogical to us.

💥 News flash: our views seem illogical to them too!

I have a yearning, a deep longing, for we humans to be able to come together in spacious awareness to make the world a better place. That yearning is hope. Things look bad right now, because they are bad – the global planetary pandemic is horrific. Our leadership in the United States is toxic. The president is continuing to divide us with his ranting and raving – we are not the United States, we are the Divided States of America.

What if instead of shouting at each other, we took the time to see how everyone wants to be safe and healthy? Can we please stop politicizing science? Every time I think we can’t sink any lower in our humanity, the person in charge, the man some of us put in the White House, and whom some people still follow like a demonic cult leader, takes us lower.

I cannot stay silent while we rip each other to shreds. If exposing one of my core values leads people to leave the community that I built with love, so be it. But my hope is that we stay engaged and have respectful dialogue leading to understanding. We can be better than the trash talk coming out of the White House.

We can do better because we are better.

Please share your thoughts. . .