Lung Health Starts with a Single Breath

July 19, 2013


Dear lungs, it’s been a while. I tend to forget you are there until a cough reminds me.


Firstly, I want to apologise for not being in touch with you of late. You are so unrelenting in your support, I just forget to return the attention when I’m preoccupied with daily life. Whilst there are times I cherish my breath, my constant companion, I do overlook the important role you play in getting us together.

Lungs, I know I hold you tight sometimes, when I am busy and can feel your will to expand against the closed fist of my muscles. Sorry for the times I only let you work up high into my collarbones, it’s like keeping a dog in the backyard when he yearns to stretch out and use all the space he can find. I am still learning to breathe down into your basement. I love the times my breath begins here, low and anchoring, then fills your precious vase all the way up to the rim.

Thank you for constantly teaching me to let go. When my mind is tied to my breath like a kite, I notice each long exhale, and I too start to unwind with the unraveling string. Whilst often forgotten, I do appreciate the little pauses you house between inhale and exhale; secret doorways to stillness that punctuate the end of letting go and the beginning of drawing in again.

You remind me I am not so separate to the world beyond my skin, when just by relaxing you invite the world inside as I take a breath. It occurs to me, you are actually like my leaves; the place where respiration occurs, where the outside comes in. Plants are crowned by their leaves, so important to life. Curiously, leaves often contain the essential oils that benefit your respiratory health. You love the vaporised oils from eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint, especially when you are congested. This is when I remember you are there, when I wake up coughing and can’t get to sleep. I like to look after you then; thyme essential oil to disinfect your surfaces (like cleaning my kitchen bench), Balloon Flower to soothe your cough, Houttuynia to boost my immune system and reduce your discomfort and White Horehound to tone and restore you - a Lung Tonic; chicken soup for lungs.

I appreciate the big job you do, extracting the Essential Qi  from the air I breathe. Conducting the orchestra you control the flow of Qi  throughout my body (which I sometimes forget until I’m carrying tissues). Thank you Lungs.

Peita Handel


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