Shamanic Sensing: Messages from my Lungs

BreathI am currently working through exercises in Alberto Villoldo’s book Shaman, Healer, Sage. I am a dedicating full days to examining my senses beyond sight. Yesterday, I focused on my breathing.

In doing so, I learned two things. One, I should stop taking my body for granted. It truly is a marvel how it keps my lungs expanding and contracting without me ever putting a single thought to it. The second thing is that when I do think to pay attention to my breathing, my lungs have some important messages for me.

Here is what I discovered throughout the day.

The alarm goes off at 5 a.m. Neither Hubby nor I are morning people, so we ease into the day with an espresso in bed. Yes, we do have an espresso machine in our bedroom. That is how much we are NOT morning people.

So, there I sat, propped up with pillows. The Siamese was sprawled down my side. Not because he missed me during the night, but because he wanted to know the second I got out of bed so he could start yowling for his treats. Eyes half closed, I sipped on my espresso and paid attention to my breathing. It was deep and relaxed, coming from my belly as it should. I could feel my diaphram working as a powerful bellows pulling the air deep into my lungs then pushing it fully out again. It was an awesome feeling, and I didn’t want the moment to end.

But, end it did, and I headed off to my part-time government job … which I am not overly enamoured of. This meant as I was driving there I realized my breathing was become shallower and shallower the closer I got to work. I was no longer breathing from my diaphram. I was pulling from my chest in short breaths.

By 10:30 a.m. I needed a break so went down to my favourite little cafe. I grabbed a coffee and sat down for a quiet moment to read. I checked in with my lungs and discovered that my posture was not very conducive to proper breathing. My hands were wrapped around my coffee mug and my shoulders were hunched forward to better see the book lying on the table.I couldn’t breathe from my belly because my rib cage was pushed into my diaphram.

I then forgot all about my exercise until after supper. Oh, not good! I ate at least three items from Food Intolerance No-No list. I felt like a tight rubber band was wrapped around my rib cage. I couldn’t fully get a breath in for love nor money. So not good! I normally go by how my gut feels, or whether my rosacea is triggered. I do not normally check in with my lungs for food reactions. I will be now!

And thus concluded my exercise of paying attention to my breathing. I realized that on this particular day, given job stress and improper eating, my poor lungs did not stand a chance. Which meant I was not fully oxygenating my blood. Which meant I was probably creating a viscious cycle of more stress and cravings for taboo food items.

There really is no excuse for this. I do know how to breathe properly, from both my singing training and my yoga training. No excuse whatsoever. Yet, the only time I was truly breathing from my diaphram was before I even got out of bed!

I need to listen to the messages from my lungs far more often. I really do.

Do you pay attention to your breathing? Give it a try for a day; you might be quite surprised with what you discover.

Gracefully yours,


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