Love and Fear: One without the Other?

blooming pink lotus up close on the flower
blooming pink lotus up close on the flower

Love and Fear: One without the Other?

Oh, oh, oh… What if this? What if that? What if I can’t? What if I don’t? What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t respect me? What if I’m the fraud I’m afraid I am?

woman with sad face, lipstick on, sparks shooting out from herI struggle with imposter syndrome. Do you?

I struggle with worrying I don’t have anything to offer. Do you?

I struggle with wanting to be the “good student.” Do you?

I struggle with vexing, annoying, unnecessary anxiety. Do you?

As my wife and I both remind me regularly, “Just because I’m anxious doesn’t mean anything is wrong.”

I know not everyone struggles with these things. Some people are the conative style of “quick start,” while I am a “fact finder.” I like things to be known, clear, and to be full of information before I take a big jump.

But that’s not what much of my life is about. Sharing my experiences of Spirit and life and the hard stuff doesn’t usually require fact-finding. Rather it requires bravery and vulnerability and care.

It requires faith. Or if you prefer the word trust, it requires trust. It requires the jump. And I could say I don’t know what is there to catch me, but I do. It is Love.

I have no comprehension of the Big Love; it is more than I can encompass. I know that love, however. I have felt it in my life, in my heart, and in my bones.

I have felt that when I need to, I can lean back into that Love and do what needs doing.

I just forget.

Two of my teachers, one a Sunni Muslim and the other a Sufi Muslim, have said that Muslims don’t believe in Original Sin or evil in the heart of humanity so much as they believe that we are forgetful, we humans. We are forgetful and need to remember who we are. And that’s why one of the relationships with God Herself is called “Remembrance.”

person silhouetted against starry skySo how do I remember I am?

First, like every being on the planet, and every rock and bit of soil and drop of water, I am a
child of Earth and Starry Heaven. I am intimately not only related to every other thing, but we are literally made of the same stuff.

(This one makes me wonder whether I’m closer to my biological family than I am to the hardwood floor I find myself gazing at now.)

Second, I believe that Love is the closest word we have to describe what holds things together. It’s more than gravity. It’s more than growth. It more than attraction and repulsion, though those powers are all in play. The choice for Love is what holds people together. I also believe Love is the closest word we have for growth, death, decomposition, and new growth. For the Love that is poured out upon the Earth, according to the Charge of the Goddess.

(Remind me to tell you about the tree who taught me that second lesson.)

Third, I believe that anxiety is unnecessary. Ah yes, dear Catharine, dear anxious one, your anxiety simply stands in the way of your Work in the world. It stands in the way of the mission of your ancestors and the legacy you leave to your descendants.

Why? Because what is is what will be. What will be will be. There is no point in worrying now and to grieve later, if grief is even what is called for. Doubling the pain is unnecessary.
Anxiety adds pain. Anxiety impedes joy. Anxiety impedes love. And love is…
gray whale breaching out of blue waterLove is the origin and circumference, the goal and beginning of all things. The great sea of mercy and love, like Eleos, the Greek goddess of mercy and compassion, is not a person or even really a deity, but rather the condition of life.

When I fear, I impede my very life.

So what have I been doing in the life of The Way of the River? I write a love letter every week that goes out to my subscriber-readers. I write to you here on this blog. I show my face, my voice, and my unscripted ideas on FBLive twice a week or so, and boy howdy, is that scary!

Furthermore, I offer classes like the upcoming one I’m so passionately excited about now, The Elemental Wisdom of Fire. I write classes and share them and listen and talk and contemplate and respond and hope that the Spirit of God Herself comes through the pixels with my teacher-learners/learner-teachers.

Those are brave things, and they are not all the things I do at The Way of the River. But they I courageous things, or at least you, my readers, keep telling me so. I hope you perceive that I am saying these things with humility. They just are.

So I ask myself, “How do they happen?”

They happen because I love you. And because I love the All That Is: Male, Female, Both, Neither, and Beyond. And I am loved by All that All. Love gives courage to jump like the Tarot’s Fool.

Love gives the power to say, I choose you. Just as I have chosen my wife and as we are given the courage to claim one another every day.

“Love casts out fear.”

“Faith, hope, and love abide. But/And the greatest of these is Love.”

“All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.”

“I am the Mother of all things, and my love is poured forth upon the Earth.”

“My law is love unto all beings.”

These are the lines of various scripture that console me. That the Love of All is with me and that I can contain and give Love myself. I can be a space, a place, an emptiness for that love.

I choose Love. Do you?

log aflame in a fireplace--brighly lit

Out of this love is spilling a group of classes on the Classical Elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. I didn’t know they were coming. I didn’t see them coming when I began with sacred wells, springs, and pools. Water called to me and answered.

And now is fire. I am more excited about this course than I have been about any other I have yet taught, even the one on my “native” Element of Water. This course is going to have more to it than any other I have taught. I am learning so much, thanks to you, and so I enthusiastically invite you to join me to seek out and consider the blessings  and challenges of Fire.

Please check out this link seek more information about the class that begins THIS week, on Thursday, the autumnal equinox. 8:15 Eastern and 5:15 Pacific. And if you feel called to face to fire, then please join us, starting on Thursday.


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