Down along the sides of your body, you will notice your hands, slightly extended, steadying you in mid air, as the earth rocks back and forth beneath your feet. Next to your hands there might be the possibility of something strong and steady, a pillar, a tree, and if you are very lucky, another hand outstretched surfing the air like yours. The next moments will be an eternity, but after that, you will hear the sound of your heart beating strong against the cage of your heart. This beating will remind you that you are still here after all that, that even the earth in all of her unmitigated fury could not stop you from responding to her wild unsuspecting rhythm.
This beating, demanding and furious, will help you notice a small crack, and not the hairline fracture underneath your feet. No, this crack runs along the outside of the cage of your heart and it outlines the shape of a door, the very one that was once shut from the inside of your very quiet soul. Run your hands along the edges of that line and you will see one small space, a perfect handhold for you to pry that door open, pouring in a kind of light and magnificence that your heart may not have known was possible before this day.
And it is from this cracked open space you will find your footing, along with a new path to walk. One where your feelings can rise quickly to the surface. Where your mouth can utter words like, “I’m scared” and “Can you stay with me?” and “Let’s sleep under the stars tonight.”
At first these sentences will seem like the nonsense of survival, the stuff of tragedy, the things one has to say when everything else is so messed up. But over time, you will sense a bit of magic in them, as they carry inside them old and sacred truths.
The earth, for all her fury, may fail you, but these words will not. They are your lifelines, your true foundation, your safeguard, your sustenance. They will weave you as it were into the fabric of the sky. They will lift you high and away from any and every storm that may come. They will float you back down to the earth once again, when the tremors pass, when the ground no longer shakes, to where it is truly safe.
There is a special kind of terror that ascends when you cannot feel your feet solid on the earth. But with that fear comes a deliverance, if you dare allow the faultline of your heart to crack. You can escape now, from your own confinement, and discover in the strength of your own sound, the nuance of voice escaping from your own mouth, a way to be held, a way to be comforted, a way to be loved. A way to say what must be said, for you to be caught by something even stronger than the earth, for you to land in that place where peace and tenderness move from heart to hand, and forever and ever abide.
For our friends in Nepal and Bibeksheel, who taught me how to reach out for one another when we were together in the second earthquake on May 12th. Today together with the Nepal Earthquake Relief Coalition, we are calling our emergency phase of relief to a close. Thank you all for being in this with us. We feel deeply changed. In honor of being so much closer please think of these days when you need to feel grounded in connection and love.