May The Face Mask Be With You

Over the past couple of years I’ve shared my outside self-improvement articles here under the category Level Up. I’ve just published a new one pegged on the coronavirus. It’s for the Nob Hill Gazette, the San Francisco luxury and society magazine. I hope it helps you all navigate the constantly shiftings sands of this situation, as well as your own inner reaction to it, which is likely meandering around from fear and anger to boredom and bouncing-off-the-walls-stir-craziness.

Perhaps because I wrote it around the fourth of this month (which is celebrated as “May The Fourth Be With You”), I worked in a reference to “Star Wars” via some ideas from the classic on mythology and male psychology “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.”

Here’s a preview:

The coronavirus probably has you wishing you were somewhere else right now, perhaps in another galaxy far, far away. If those words sound familiar, it’s because the Star Wars film franchise, which was created right here in the Bay Area, provides valuable wisdom for how to manage ourselves through this grueling test we’ve been forced to face.

Bunkered down in our huts with our imagination running nonstop doomsday scenarios like some out-of-control supercomputer, it’s easy to succumb to our dark side, becoming evil taskmasters and our own worst enemy. Uncertainty leads to fear, and we struggle to remain productive, perhaps even to concentrate on much of anything. Then we beat ourselves up for it, despite knowing that everyone else is going through the same thing.

One could say it stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of how to view the challenges of life, of trying to be a hero — which is an immature aspiration — versus being a warrior, which is a seasoned one. It’s exemplified by the character arc of naive farm boy Luke Skywalker, who wins an early victory by saving the galaxy (at least temporarily), only to be subsequently humbled by a 2-foot-tall green guru, forced to confront the evil within himself, learn bitter truths, and get a hand sliced off. In order to become the man with Zen-like calm we meet at the beginning of Return of the Jedi, Luke had to outgrow his hero stage and become a humble warrior who’s in it for the long haul and knows he can’t do everything himself.

You’ll find the full story here. Stay healthy, stay free. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

3 Comments on "May The Face Mask Be With You"

  1. elder prep | May 18, 2020 at 3:15 pm |

    Just a few words on the enforced confinement. The external confinement is distressing and suppresses our desire to roam our neighborhood, state, or planet, however one is permitted to walk/drive wherever one desires. The internal confinement provides several avenues for relief. The obvious one is diversion via entertainment. Others are hobbies, household projects, and general maintenance, and the like. Finally, as an introvert, I’m seldom bothered by the enforced seclusion and it has assisted in providing focus to writing projects, finishing lesson plans for my lecture classes (Penn State/York), book projects, and the like. Another version of turning lemons into lemonade.

  2. Like Elder Prep, I am not really bothered by the seclusion. However, I am concerned about the long term effects on how the government has shut down our nation. No one knows how much permanent change has been done to society in general. Talk about the “New Normal” is frightening. Is this tantamount to A New World Order? A one world government?

    Is our freedom going to be permanently compromised under the guise of “What’s best for the people?”

    The response to the pandemic is as frightening as the pandemic itself. Shutting down the country would be unthinkable any other time in history.

    I only hope for the best.

    Stay healthy, gents.

  3. Sir Mark Easterbrook MBA | May 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm |

    The face mask has become a novelty among the menswear community. I have seen these made from oxford cloth, pinpoint, broadcloth, seersucker… what is next but tweed and shetland wool? Congrats Ivy community, you have taken a practical item and made it a novelty – something impractical. I for one will not wear one of these so called “stylish masks” as everything I put on is preceded by a long line tradition – not some trend that arose two months ago and now everyone and their sister is raving about the new Hertling seersucker masks. Let us see if you are still wearing that mask in three months or will it be stuffed in the bottom of you sock drawer, to be forgotten with that Official Ivy Style belt you once bought. Not the case with my wardrobe. Thank you sirs!

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