Releasing What Has Been Held – the Breath and the Lungs

Estimated read time... 3 minutes

I lost a dear friend and companion, my cat Norton, who was by my side for almost 15 years to cancer at the end of April.  I was devasted from the time I got his cancer diagnosis until his peaceful death at home.

Yet, soon after Norton’s passing, my husband and I found ourselves fostering a 7 month old Siamese kitten.  It really was not planned, and it happened spur of the moment, I did not question it.

It’s been two months since Norton passed and I feel like I may finally be re-emerging from the depths, with my now adopted 8 month old kitten in tow.  She’s been good for me: reminding me to keep going, that there is fun and play to be had, and that life moves on whether we want it to or not.

What a change it has been: going from a sick elderly cat to a toddler has brought a new kind of whilwind of activity and energy to the household.

I’m still not so sure that our other cat, Saul, who is 14 years old, would agree that this is a welcomed change – but I certainly like it!

All I know is that the other day something happened…

I feel like I am breathing again at home, that I’m relaxing back into my space where I was holding my breath – waiting for Norton’s end to come, then holding my breath to hold on to what Norton left behind, to now accepting that this space that I was holding on to for him will always be there and I can accept that, and let go of my breath.

As I look upon my grief over my companion with a different perspective, I see the connection to my held breath: my Lungs.  Oh my Lungs this year have been worse for wear.  Being filled with grief (the emotion that is associated with the Lungs), my life was lacking in inspiration (which one of the virtues associated with the Lungs).  It’s no wonder, how can I take any light in when I’m holding on to a candle’s wick that once held a flame of life.  Lack of oxygen snuffs out fires, and my situation has been no different.

Physically, I’ve been riddled with terrible seasonal allergies.  My Lungs simply cannot process the grief and the incoming tide of pollen from the trees blooming in full force.

I went so far as to take Zyrtec for a whole week, but it made me feel (and look!) so stuffy everywhere but my head that I stopped taking it.

I’ve been exhausted and not wanting to exercise, thinking that walking 5 miles a day is enough for my body – it isn’t…

So, I haven’t been writing – because I have to be *inspired* to write.  I feel like I have nothing to say with words right now.  There are no words.  Yet here I am, rambling along…

So how to get over this apparent writer’s block?  Maybe in writing this.  Maybe it will lead to another kind of inspiration: one that comes from a release, a relaxing into.  Maybe by baring a little bit more of the roughness and rawness that is still so present, can I get back into the swing of things – to share those discoveries that are shining through.

In this spirit, with that long-winded wind-up, here’s a glimpse of a discovery, a deeper understanding that is still swirling about my heart and body, all thanks to a little plant called Ghost Pipe.  I do not often take this herb, but when I find myself reaching for a bottle of it I take it.  Oh, it had such lovely things to remind me…


Ghost Pipe

Ease of Being, Breath

Between two worlds

Linked with the underworld via mycelium and the breakdown of material

Linked to the heavens via upward growth

Remains in the shadows

White (flesh)

Purple, blue (tincture, when bruised)

Releases round seed heads in a sunburst circle

Grows only in healthy forests (predominantly maple)

Always said that this provides space between oneself and one’s pain, as a point of separation, but I don’t think that’s actually what is happening. I think what is happening with the ingestion of this plant is that one is reminded of their greatest, deepest, sense of self which is still and dark and sparked with light, joy, ease. This plant is an intermediary between the two, the inhalation of the lungs (an acceptance of the situation, if you will), and the exhalation of the lungs (of what can be let go). Acting like the plant itself – an inhalation of the mycelial network, a translation into what needs to be communicated to the body “relax, all is well, all is right”, then an exhalation of flowers into the world of what will ultimately be released: seeds, growth, life.