Exhale to Empty

 In Rev. Chris

My beloved spiritual teacher told me a couple of weeks ago that I’m experiencing a classic dark night of the soul. It wasn’t news to me, but in an odd way it was comforting to hear her say it.

Despite the fact that I’m a preacher-chick with a pretty good understanding of the path and its peaks and valleys, like many spiritual travelers I’ve met I tell myself the ridiculous story about how if I were more spiritual I wouldn’t feel the way I do, wouldn’t be struggling, blah blah blah. It’s a lie, of course. I remind myself of these terms: spiritual journey; the path; a closer walk with thee. It’s not like one is supposed to find some level of understanding and faith and then build a house there. No, the point is to deepen, evolve, be on the journey. Anything else is known by another name: rut.

Anyhow, my teacher and I were attending the Circle of Love Gathering at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. (If your path is New Thought with an emphasis on the heart-way, this retreat is exquisite. You can find out about it here.) I spent a good bit of time in contemplation of my surroundings — a spaciousness the high desert conveys to my soul — and another good bit of time focused inwardly, on the cycle or wheel of the breath.

And that’s when it came together, became very real and intimate for me in the metaphor of the breath: The in-breath is not fully possible without the out-breath. The in-breath is that time of filling and newness that leads to fullness, and it’s beautiful and life-giving. But it can only happen after the exhale — that time of emptying that rids us of what is stale and fetid and no longer serves.

I’m breathing now. I’m allowing the breath to remind me of how important this dark night, this time of emptying, is. I know that what awaits me once I’ve fully surrendered to this part of the process will be the embracing of a fuller, deeper, more grounded version of myself. For now, I’m in the exhale.

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Showing 15 comments
  • Melissa
    Reply

    Beautiful. This is a great reminder.

    • Chris Terry
      Reply

      Thanks, oh wise one. If you have suggestions on how to be a mom and have this experience, do tell!

  • David Howard
    Reply

    Thanks for the reminder. I can certainly relate. BTW – I think you’re doing pretty well at this blogging thing. Blessings!

    • Chris Terry
      Reply

      Thanks, handsome. If you’ve any wisdom on how to have this experience while being in a pulpit, please share. Quick-like

  • Sunday Cote
    Reply

    I attended summer camp at the Ghost Ranch in my youth. An amazing place. And you are amazing too. Thank you for your honesty and authenticity. You are loved!! Hugs and let’s talk soon.

    • Chris Terry
      Reply

      Thanks beautiful friend.

  • Kathy
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom from growth with us. You ARE good at this blogging thing.

    • Chris Terry
      Reply

      Thanks, Kats!

  • Susan Carter
    Reply

    Really nice Reverend Chris, really nice. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Chris Terry
      Reply

      And thank YOU for providing the time and space to have the realization!

  • AlvaB
    Reply

    Grateful! I love how we can have an experience or experiences and someone else can give breath to them with their words. Thank YOU!!! I remember a couple of years ago hearing a voice say “can you dive into this darkness with me? can you be in the darkness? just notice it? nothing to do just be with it meet it…” I damn near had a panic attack and probably had many of them. The beauty this time is that I’m no longer afraid of the dark and the One thing that got me through is the Breath – Breathing meditations. Exhale, we got YOU!!!

    • Chris Terry
      Reply

      😉

  • Jeff Staton
    Reply

    Just what I needed to hear this morning. Spirit said to read your blog before meditating so that’s what I did! Big love.

    • Chris Terry
      Reply

      Love to you and glad I could serve.

  • Lynn
    Reply

    You are an amazing preacher-chick. You are so damn smart!!! And, I would love to have had you for a mother!

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