• Sharon Feigal

Risk & Responsibility - Delayed Reopening

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

I am writing this as an explanation of my choice to not yet reopen my practice. To be clear up front, I hope to reopen before too long. I think there are interesting models for reopening that pose less risk to myself and others, enough to make waiting all the way until the development of a vaccine unnecessary. However, I don’t think the moment for trying them is now. It is far too early in this pandemic, and I will not be responsible for contributing to the the second wave of deaths and illness and the pressure on our medical system.

I will continue to evaluate the information on this matter and my own capabilities and responsibilities, and I hope that you will do the same. I welcome hearing your thoughts on the matter, and am grateful for your patience in reading some of mine. I think there are a lot of valid points being made to support numerous courses of action, and of course the data available regarding the virus is increasing.

I chose this profession in order to feel like the work I was doing on a daily basis was contributing to the world I want to achieve, one in which individuals respect and care for each other. Promoting the wellness of others seems to me to be a way I can assist them with their freedom—freedom from pain, freedom of mobility, freedom to think about other things than the ailments of their bodies. With a global pandemic underway, the basic activity of my chosen profession—the massage itself—is not so clearly beneficial. Do I help others to remain healthy by not contributing to their risk of exposure, or do I help others to remain healthy by easing their muscular aches and pains but consequently raising their risk of exposure to a deadly but less immediate danger?

When the national decision is to “allow” reopening among those of my profession, they are in effect mandating it for most. Such a decision removes the necessity of social financial support. Unemployment support no longer applies if we are choosing not to work. Therefore, I do not condemn my colleagues for making the choice to work. However, as much as I too would love a massage, I would personally feel hypocritical of my own choice by receiving treatment from them, even if I felt my risk was minimal. So I’m sorry, colleagues. I find I’m torn between wanting to support your own wellbeing by supporting your livelihood, and wanting to support my own wellbeing.

Remaining closed has negative consequences for myself beyond finances or client satisfaction. It leaves me at a temporary loss of purpose, cut off from the goals and future I had envisioned and created for myself, but making this decision ultimately frees me anew to recognise and develop new goals and futures. I have already been wanting to devote some time and thought to supportive occupational projects, such as the self-care videos on my YouTube channel, so this situation presents an opportunity to develop them. I hope you’ve been enjoying them!

Ultimately this scenario presented an ethical decision on the basis of responsibility and freedom, concepts which are interwoven into my own personal philosophy. If you are interested in reading more about that, please check back in a week or so… I decided to make that a separate blog post, and I’m not quite finished with it. I will not be linking it to a newsletter, though, to avoid spamming people.

Added note: the post about Freedom and Responsibility became a little bit more generalized. You can read it here.

Following that, another post was added about specific concerns with regards to reopening. You can read that one here.

Meanwhile, my friends, I miss you. Stay healthy, and I'll see you as soon as I can!

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