Yesterday evening my mum and I went for a walk through the streets of my neighbourhood. It’s become a mini tradition for us every so often over the last couple of months. It’s an opportunity to see one another, catch up, talk about our lives, and to bring me some chicken. I’m 38 but are you ever too old for a supply of roast chicken from the mothership?
Toward the end of the walk, in which I’d been telling her about my hopes for the not too distant – and more distant – future, which had existed in my mind as if on the far side of a channel of choppy water strewn with rocks and reefs and wrecks galore, my mum, perhaps sensing my angst at the possibility of not getting there, said, “the opposite of faith is fear.”
Which stopped me, metaphorically, in my tracks. Like a mild electric shock or a motherly knock around the noggin, it snapped me out the stress-filled, malaise-making rut I realised I’ve been in recently. And last night, for the first time in weeks and weeks, I slept like one of those dogs whose commitment to sleeping is so full-bodied and sincere it becomes a kind of art form. My brother’s dog Ghost is such a dog. That’s him in the picture. He takes sleeping to exquisite levels of artistry and last night I joined him up upon his lofty echelon.
But sleeping dogs and roasted chickens aren’t the main focus here. The point I’d like to ponder more is that fear is the opposite of faith. Not scepticism, nor doubt or disbelief, but fear.
When we lack faith, isn’t it fear that’s taken its place?
Faith’s equivalent is presence, the present, while fear funnels through from the past or future.
Faith is trust and surrender. It’s openness—to what might be, yes, but firstly to what’s right now.
Fear is closing off and shutting down.
Fear is slamming shut the borders and rounding up the foreigners.
Faith is connection and connecting, staying open, it’s invoking the godly free flow, accepting the great free-for-all.
Fear is control. It’s compulsion and forced compliance.
Fear is the imposing of one’s ego on proceedings, it’s ownership, it’s subjugation, it’s status.
Faith is the recognition of being a part of the whole, fear is remaining apart, causing holes to appear.
Fear is a manifestation of pain.
Faith is love’s reflection.
Fear seeps from unhealed wounds, oozing here as judgement and there as malice, there as anger and here as prejudice.
Faith unifies. Faith heals. Faith is the field of the already healed.
Faith enriches the present, widens the possible future. Fear restricts the present and robs the future of its potential.
Faith is breathing in and out, fear is clinging on too tight.
Faith is letting go, fear is habitually saying no.
Faith is saying no for integrity.
Fear is show. Fear is look at me, aren’t I great, faith is the patience for all good things worth the wait.
Fear is borne of pain.
Faith bears love again and again.
Faith is the love and grace of the adventure of everything. The big massive nutty buttery roast chicken-y adventure. It’s saying yes, thank you for all of it, even the shitty bits, even the absolute pits, and thank you for the beauty and magic and moments of serenity. Thank you, big Mother Consciousness for all you’re giving us, and to my own mother for her culinary thoughtfulness.
In every moment, near enough, it seems to me, we have the choice to act with either fear or faith. One will lead us in one direction and the other another.
This decision is always ours. It might be our one and only true freedom, who knows.
If things are tough right now for you, and I know for many they are, can you choose to let go of your fear and step into the faith and grace of adventure instead? Release, breathe out and open up to the wonder that might await?
With love and the faith that it’ll all be ok,
And as a serendipitous aside (genuinely completely unplanned given what I’ve just written about), my dad’s book, Mastering Fear, is out today, available as an ebook at www.waywardpublications.com or as an e-book or paperback on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other book stores found with a click and a tickle of the old googly-eyed google schmoogle. I’ve had the honour of writing the foreword and I can tell you it ain’t half bad if you’re feeling afraid and want to master those feelings. In fact, it’s not just not half bad, it’s not not fully good, in other words, it’s great.