“In the spiritual (as in the material) world there is no empty space, and as self, and fears and worries depart out of your lives, it follows that the things of the Spirit, that you crave so, rush in to take their places. All things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. What a wonderful cycle, because ye are God’s.” January 27th God Calling A.J. Russell
In Darlene Franz’s workshop on Sacred Chant here in Victoria last November 19th, she suggested something that made a deep impression on me. And for the life of me, I couldn’t pull it back, I couldn’t remember it. I could only feel it. Until… I read the above excerpt in the devotional God Calling last month.
While we were chanting, someone commented that they just couldn’t seem to get enough breath. What Darlene suggested to the group was to focus on the out-breath instead of on the in-breath. The in-breath is automatic. Only the out-breath, fully released, fully surrendered, allows the new breath to rush in. How like Centering Prayer, as we practice letting go, over and over, not knowing what will come next, but trusting and paying attention, and letting go instead of clinging, over and over and over again.
Darlene talked about playing a wind instrument. How much effort it takes to blow on the reed to make sound. And how because there’s more effort than air required, a musician may run out of oxygen before running out of air. In other words, the oxygen is used up even when there’s still air in the lungs. So counter to what feels the normal thing to do – breathe in – the clarinetist must exhale fully first before the new breath has room to rush in. The urge is to inhale before the ‘dead’ air is let go of.
How often to we forget to exhale and then try and force a new breath? If we can let go fully, the next breath comes rushing in without effort. Life rushes in to feed and embrace us. The cycle seamlessly continues. Until it doesn’t, which is something out of our control anyways.
Selinde Krayenhoff is a writer, community worker, teacher/facilitator/keynote speaker, and past member of The Contemplative Society Board. Selinde is founding publisher of Island Parent Magazine and currently offers workshops and talks on
Nonviolent Communication, Parenting, and Midlife Transitions.
Darlene Franz, D.M.A., is a freelance oboist, singer, music educator, and chant composer residing in Seattle Washington. Darlene facilitates sacred chant workshops and assists at select Wisdom Schools in collaboration with the Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault