“The path unfolds in two dimensions: horizontal and vertical. The horizontal path spreads forward and back across chronos, tic-toc, sequential time: minutes that flow like sand through our fingers. Here and then gone. The vertical path extends as kairos, deep time. The fullness of ripening moments swell and then narrow, like heartbeats, thumping out their fleshy rhythm. Horizontal time propels us. Deep time nourishes and sustains us.”
After reading these words by Pamela Weiss, something shifts inside me. It feels like the missing link, the connection I’ve been looking for to understand the relationship between fear and faith. Fear is a contracted state, a constant push-pull dynamic between what’s here, what’s missing from the past, and what’s needed for the future. Fear is judgmental, blaming anyone who cannot guarantee its safety. And, it is just one breath, one heartbeat away from faith waiting to surround it, to hold it in a steady, tender embrace.
One week ago, I had the joyful privilege of joining Jackie Long and circles of women for yoga on the beach in Half Moon Bay to raise funds in memory of loved ones who passed from cancer. Moving through sun salutations in praise of our star humbly hiding behind clouds, surrendering to sandy earth in child’s pose as vibrations of pounding surf were felt beneath us, it was an exhilarating experience.
Though I was aware of the sacroiliac joints and gluteal muscles previously re-injured by certain yoga poses, I believed it could be different this time. Sacred cause, sacred place, sacred instructor, sacred people, sacred body…there was no need to be scared. It would be different this time.
As the week and my body unfolded from the yoga experience, I began to feel twinges of discomfort. Prior experience, body wisdom, patience, compassion, and determination helped me tend to the pain lovingly with modalities that would promote healing.
Fear has not vanished. There are still whispers of judgment from time to time— the horizontal path conjuring flashbacks of past painful outcomes, predicting future catastrophes, each choice I make flowing like sand through my fingers. Where can I find true refuge? Where can I feel safe?
Today, the sensations are the loudest they have been throughout this week. What does it mean to lovingly embrace fear, to surround it with faith? Faith is expansive. It does not judge, but speaks with wisdom, sensitivity, patience, curiosity. I don’t know what will happen, and I’m with you every step of the way. Loving attention heals no matter what. Like a mighty grandmother oak, faith roots in vertical time, each moment while simultaneously reaching up and out for connection.
rooted in this moment
branches reaching out
cultivating a deeper faith
to surround fear and doubt
As I learn to take refuge in this abiding faith, may it serve as refuge for others. May I trust what I cannot see, yet feel growing deep within, reaching up and out for connection.