WTF is smudging?
It’s another one of those things that we’re just getting hipped to that our ancestors, particularly Native American, have been doing since forever. It’s a bundle of dried herbs that you burn to clear out negative energies, bad vibes, stale air, and other ugh ish. You can use sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and others. I’ve only used white sage so far, and love it!
It’s a process. A spiritual act. A healing + cleansing ceremony. A ritual.
While there are general instructions, at the end of the day, it’s your experience, so make it your own. All you need is a smudge stick (I bought mine off Amazon), a candle or match, and a fireproof container.
When it comes to writing, I particularly recommend smudging if you haven’t written in a while. Over that period of time, your project has lost its excitement. Whenever you think of it or approach it, you may still be attached to the last feeling you had when you sat down with it–boredom, nothingness, overwhelm, confusion, or exhaustion.
Smudging clears that right up!
It also cleans the air and energy of your work space and writing tools. It’s like a reset button. A successful detox. A check-up with good results. The smell of new shoes. New love. January 1st. After rain. Spring cleaning. #Yesness!
Here’s how to do it:
Start by actually cleaning. Looking around my desk right now, I have an empty water bottle, leave-in conditioner, folded pajama pants (of all things), the 2015 Writer’s Market, a flossing stick thingy, and unopened mail. You’ll want to get rid of all of that. Personally, I also like to polish the wood and put something new there like a feel good quote on the wall or a flower in a vase.
Maybe you’ll want to do the whole house. Maybe not. Again, it’s up to you. After cleaning up, go for a shower or a nice bath to relax. Be sure to take your time with it. Afterwards, do some journaling. Write how you’re feeling and what you’re wanting out of this experience. What exactly are you releasing and what are you inviting in?
Now meditate on that for a while. Set an alarm (I use my cellphone) for at least seven minutes and just be. Sit on the floor, in your desk chair, couch…wherever. Or you can lie down. Once comfortable, take deep breaths from the belly, then slowly release it. You’re exhaling confusion, irritation and lack of creativity, and inhaling clarity, peace, and passion.
Once the alarm sounds, it’s time for smudging…
- If you haven’t already, go ahead and light your candle.
- Light the smudge stick with it.
- Once it catches, pull it back and start blowing it softly. Just enough to keep the smoking going but no flames. I’ve also heard of people using a feather to fan it versus blowing on it.
- Start by giving yourself a once over from head to toe. Sometimes I’ll just make a big S in the air with it and walk through it. Keep the fireproof container under the stick to catch the ashes.
- Begin at the front door and work your way through the house. You’re not touching the door with the stick, but just using it like a magic wand
- Work your way through the house being sure to get the windows, vents, corners, and doors. Do your laptop, writing utensils, and up under the desk too. Relight it if it goes out.
- When finished, extinguish it in sand or just set it outside (away from everything flammable) and let it die out.
It’s totally okay to open the windows and let it air out. Use this time to start writing, do some more journaling, take a nap, or whatever feels good for you right now. Make it a regular practice. I smudge at the beginning of all seasons and whenever I need a new beginning. Try it and lemme know how it works for you.