In February 2016, I wandered through the streets of Venice, Italy while my best friend lay on her death bed and my then husband became my ex. I had to be in Europe for a work trip.
I captured the picture of the Venetian masks because they struck me in an ironic and cynical way; reminding me of the metaphorical masks that often hide dark, nefarious “faces” of people. While the modern purpose of these masks is for Carnival of Venice, they have also been worn to hide one’s identity and social status. They are icons for stealthy, sexy and anonymous fun.
Fast forward to masks in 2020.
Now masks are mandatory and carnivals aren’t allowed.
Masks represent a very divided and scared humanity. They’ve become political and many of us have become hostile or defiant in regards to what it really means if you do or don’t wear a face covering. Both of which are common responses to fear. The fears are many, ranging from fear of getting covid, fear of giving someone else covid, fear of being silenced and controlled, fear of excessive pollution from disposable masks, fear that cloth masks do not help, and on and on.
Ultimately, it’s the fear of death we are masking.
We are afraid to die and we are drowning in duplicitous information, so we are acting out:hating, blaming, fighting, bullying and desperately seeking truth all while fearing for our lives. And the political presumptions regarding masks make me wish I was hiding behind a Venetian mask too.
Because of my personal experience at the deathbed of loved ones, and training as a death doula, I can help process and face the fear of death. Once this root cause fear is addressed, most other fears dissipate, or at least have less of a stronghold on us. Without the chains of fear we can actually live and love and bring heaven to earth.