Secret to success: take a 15-minute break

Secret to success: take a 15-minute break

When I was in grade 11, I remember my high school biology teacher was this militaristic school marm-type woman who was intimidating as all hell.  I’m sure you have experienced at least one teacher in your life who basically struck the fear of God in your soul if you were even 2 minutes late to class.  Her death glare was legendary. For the sake of anonymity, I’m going to call this force of nature who shaped me permanently Mrs. Smith (also because I legit forgot her name!)

school-marm
The hallmarks of a typical school marm: Strict, scary, death glare…check!

Mrs. Smith was actually away for the first half of the school year in 1997 for a medical leave. Instead,  a substitute teacher taught my bio class who was super nice, and unfortunately, bullied hard by the students. I always loved Mrs. Burns (fake name).  She was jovial, smiled a lot, joked with the students, and laughed at her own clumsiness. Mrs. Burns was joined by a teaching aide who was just in university finishing up her teaching degree.  I felt bad for Mrs. Kay because she was very mild-mannered and bullied even more incessantly than Mrs. Burns.  Mrs. Kay seemed to always be on the verge of tears as she could never get the class to quiet down or cooperate.  She spoke so softly, we could hardly hear her over the din of raucous classmates who loved the sounds of their own voices. Due to her inability to rally the herd, the students shamelessly ignored Mrs. Kay’s instructions and Mrs. Burns would have to cast her own version of a disappointed stare, which was barely effective.  This toxic situation lasted about 5 months until Mrs. Smith returned to school and worked to shut that shit down.

Due to the easy-going nature of the class during the first half of the year, the students were barely ready for Mrs. Smith’s arrival.

She showed up after the Christmas break and we had no idea that she was actually our real teacher. Mrs. Smith introduced herself and was very open about having been on medical leave. She was very direct about her expectations. She didn’t tolerate students who spoke out of turn and would kick them out of class for disruption.  She wouldn’t let them back in until they apologized and behaved well. Otherwise, the disciplinary action was repeated. Mrs. Smith used shock value to shut us up by slamming a ruler against her desk to create an ear-piercing pop that would startle everyone into silence followed by an icy stare down.  She wasn’t afraid of anything, least of all a bunch of sniveling teenagers.

Every week there would be a quiz on all the stuff we learned in class. If we passed each quiz, we automatically earned 10% of our overall mark. If we failed to study our texts or do our assignments, we’d lose the 10%. It was the easiest 10% I ever earned!  Or so I thought…

That 10% though came at a cost. It meant I actually had to read and re-read all my notes in class. I also learned to re-write all my notes, as they looked like illegible scrawl coming out of class. She taught us study tactics like making up our own quiz questions as we read chapters to retain the information better. She taught us to highlight specific sentences and create flash cards out of glossary words. No one had taught me how to study before Mrs. Smith came along. I was grateful in later years for her advice.

However, there was a chink to her plan. Mrs. Smith realized quickly that students were getting burnt out because many were not passing those weekly tests. I was always very studious so I had no issue with it. One thing she mentioned to us later, that stuck with me all through University years and eventually now, she said take study breaks every hour for 15 minutes. Shut your brain off completely by watching tv, going for a walk, making a snack, or taking a power nap.

I thought to myself “what a waste of time!  I can’t afford to take 15 minute breaks every hour!”

I have a total of 4 hours of studying time after school is done and if I take 15 minute breaks it means I shorten my studying time to 3 hours!  That’s completely nuts!  The nerdy kids like myself all bitched and moaned that the old bat was off her rocker.

Boy, was I proven wrong.

The 15 minute breaks helped me retain more information when it came to memory recall during quiz time. I performed better on tests. In fact, I became more efficient at studying because I had a shorter time to absorb the same amount of information. I used the break trick throughout University. When my friends were exhausted from their studies, I had 2 part-time jobs, a sorority officer position which was like having third part-time job, and full-time studies with my Bachelor’s degree!  Yet I was never as exhausted and burnt out. Sure, I was stressed by deadlines and exams like everyone else and I maintained a respectable GPA of 3.34/4.0.

I wasn’t a straight-A student, and didn’t need to be. Perfectionism is not really my strong suit and even though I try I have always failed at it.

But striving for excellence means I’m hella above average so I’ll take that anyway!

Fast-forward ahead to 20 years later. I build in a 15 minute coffee break every 4 hours during my workday. Every hour or two I’ll get up and walk to the kitchen and do a round through my office which gives me a 5 minute repose. The breaks help me recharge and quiet my brain slightly so that I can focus on the task at hand. It make me more efficient as a worker but also friendlier to my colleagues as I am less wound up.

work-breaks
Gotta de-stress at least once a day by the water cooler to discuss the weather, the road conditions, or the latest Trump tweet!

There are still times I find myself having to disengage from people. I tell friends I’m busy so I can sit on the couch and Netflix all night. I’m ok with that. But last year in an effort to save money, I didn’t go on a proper vacation for almost 12 months. That lead to me feeling drained and empty, even though I was still filling my life with activities that I enjoyed. I lost focus. Those activities felt like work and because less fun over time.

My greatest passion in life is to travel abroad. If I take a 3-4 day mini-break, it’s simply not enough time for my brain to shut off. I’m bombarded by thoughts of everything I need to do when I get back. In fact, there are times I can’t even sleep because my brain will not shut off.  Rather than feeling recharged, I come back irritated and exhausted from my mini-break.

The truth is I feel ripped off when I don’t take a proper vacation.

The end of 2016, I went away to Vancouver for 6 days. I got to meet up with a good friend who moved out there, did some sightseeing, ate too much food, and slept in every day. In addition to this, I still had an extra 3 days off because of the New Year’s holiday. This extra long break helped me feel more refreshed than if I had just taken a couple days off for the statutory holiday.

The moral of this story is that if you are the type of over-achiever who isn’t taking proper breaks in your life, you will wear yourself thin. People will notice your irritability and anxiety and will not want to spend time with you for very long. You need to do yourself and the world a favour by disconnecting solidly every once in a while. Does that mean being cooped up inside your room for 24 hours, or going on a hike where you don’t have a cell signal, or does that mean a 2 week vacation?

After years of studying myself, I’ve learned the magic number of days off is 10 days for me.

Any longer than that and I start to get irritated that I’m not back to my life because I’m ready to take on the world! Any shorter than that and it’s like I wasn’t even on a break.

What’s constitutes a brain break for you?  I’d love to know!  Please comment below and tell me.

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The Shift: Stop making new year’s resolutions and start changing your mindset

The Shift: Stop making new year’s resolutions and start changing your mindset

Around this time of year, everyone is running around like crazy.  Parties to attend, work deadlines to meet before the holidays, family obligations, and spending an inordinate amount of time online shopping for the perfect gift!  Stop with the madness already!

Maybe it’s a bit early to talk about New Year’s resolutions, but imma do it anyway!

When all this Christmas stuff is over, we get to set up new expectations in the new year of all the bad habits we want to break or all the new habits we’d like to start.  We want to lose weight, eat more vegetables, stop drinking alcohol or quit smoking.  Or there could be more interesting goals like save money for a vacation, buy a new house, travel abroad, or change careers.

According to the stats, only 8% of people ever successfully achieve their new year’s resolutions.

Well…crap!

That’s because we put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect.  Each of the goals listed above is quite lofty in its own way.  How do we keep the momentum once the buzz of the holidays has worn off?  Do you feel withdrawal from cutting out sugar or caffeine?  After a few weeks you’re cranky, hungry, and agitated.  What chance of manifesting success do you really have?

How many diets and weight loss plans have I started and regrettably ended because I lost my willpower?  Dozens of times in the last 20 years.  The featured image I chose for this blog is how I and other gym rats always scoff at the New Year’s “resolution-ers” hitting the gym as of January. Every gym regular knows those people who are attempting to make it based on willpower will most certainly fail by the end of March. Then we don’t have to wait for our favourite machines anymore and the fitness classes become more roomy again! Yaaassssss!

The best advice on achieving goals I ever got was from reading one of those free books you get with a GoodLife gym membership when you sign up.  In Living the Good Life: Your Guide to Health and Success, David-Patchell Evans writes about how “good enough is good enough”. He says perfection is something that no one should be striving to achieve on a day to day basis.  You are more likely to give up your goals or get burnt out over the long-term.  Making smaller incremental changes that become a part of your life are the best way to have them become a permanent part of your life.

There’s going to be days or weeks where you’ll fall off the wagon, but that’s ok.  You have to brush yourself off and try again.

Instead of aiming for new year’s resolutions to start making changes in your life, why not start now?  Each day I do something small to work towards manifesting my goals.  I want to be debt-free and have financial freedom.  So I read a lot of books and articles on how to do that.  I don’t do it for hours, but just enough to get a couple new ideas into my brain.

I listened to a podcast by Tony Robbins this morning where he spoke about the entrepreneur mindset. Robbins believes that 80% of success comes from thought while 20% comes from mechanics.  Tons of books have been written on the subject of changing your thinking.  Fear, which is a construct of our brain, holds people back from executing the tough stuff.  Maybe instead of taking giant leaps forward all the time, we just need to take baby steps and get closer to our dreams.

We need to give ourselves a break from being our worst critics.

It’s hard to achieve a goal and one should be praised for getting it.  Why is a reaching a goal worthy of praise? People forget how hard the journey itself is.  The journey is where we learn how to be the best parts of ourselves, through the learning and the mistakes.  We survive somehow.  It doesn’t make you weak if you don’t succeed at something.  The fact that you tried anything at all should demonstrate how strong you are.  And if you dust yourself off and try again, you are even stronger for doing so.

Success is 99 percent failure.

-Soichiro Honda

So instead of making a list of unrealistic new year’s resolutions that you may achieve a little but then give up on by March, maybe just tell yourself that you aren’t going to make them anymore.  I haven’t made new year’s resolutions in years because I think they are a waste of time and energy.  I’d rather just go on impulse and do whatever I want no matter what time of year it is.

I bought a guitar at the beginning of December 2016 and want to learn how to play it.  Doesn’t mean I’ll succeed but I’m going to give it a go.  I tried to learn by watching YouTube videos but quickly realized that my fingertips weren’t hitting the strings or frets correctly and my posture was completely off.  The strumming didn’t sound right either.  Rather than learning how to play badly without one-on-one instruction, I just figured I’d pay someone to teach me.

Like everyone else, I figured that it was cheaper and just as good to try something on my own. But unlike everyone else, I didn’t give up when I didn’t get it. I changed my mindset to accept that I am not a guitar teacher and I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s better I hire a professional to save me time and energy!

In my first lesson, my instructor helped me loosen the grip on my hands.  He watched me and taught me how to make it feel natural playing chords and strumming the guitar.  I wouldn’t have learned these tricks on my own. I’m not the expert.  Just check out the hundreds of ads on Kijiji where people have written that they bought the guitar on a whim and only ended up playing it a couple times because life got in the way. Basically, for the people who didn’t want to invest in the journey, they gave up.

It doesn’t matter to me that I become an expert at the guitar. I want to play it as a stress reliever because I’ve always loved music. When I was a child, I learned to play a variety of instruments (accordion, harmonium, sitar, clarinet and saxophone) and I remember how good it felt to play a song.  When I was 17, I stopped playing the saxophone because I hated band practice!

So why did I quit music if I loved it so much? I used to force myself to practice at least an hour and I absolutely loathed it.  Knowing what I know now, it was a mistake to make my practice sessions so long to the point that I hated practice at the end of it.  I thought I was being disciplined and everyone else in band was practicing at least an hour a day (or so I thought).  Unfortunately, it made me hate playing music so much that I ended up quitting it for almost 20 years.

Now when I practice the guitar, I don’t practice for an hour.  I practice until my fingers start to hurt too much and then I stop.  That’s maybe 20-30 mins at a time, and sometimes even less. As I build up the calluses, I know I’ll play longer. My goal is just to play what I learned quicker and better than when I started the practice.  If I achieve that, I stop when I reach my high point. It leaves me with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I’m farther now than I was before.  Good enough is good enough.

How many of you reading this were musicians, dancers, athletes once and have given up because the practice schedule felt overwhelming to you and now you have given it up permanently?

 It’s always a good idea to invest in yourself and work towards personal development.

Sometimes you have to fight yourself against yourself too.  Your inner critic is always waiting for you to fail so why not shut him/her up by changing your mindset?  Push out the negative thoughts and pull in the positive ones.  It’s easier said than done and takes practice. But that’s the Law of Attraction and manifestation for you!

Forget Monday or New Year’s Day.  Start your goals today.  Don’t think in terms of calendars anymore.

Here are some journalling prompts in case you are thinking about goal setting now:

  • What goals are you trying to achieve?
  • What have you started and given up on?
  • Why did you give up?
  • Was there anything you’ve stuck to long-term?
  • What made you stick with something longer than another goal you gave up on quickly?

In the meantime, what is your advice for those of us trying to stick to our goals: resolutions or otherwise?  Have you successfully stuck to a new year’s resolution?  Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know!

 

The “pitfalls” of abundance

The “pitfalls” of abundance

I’ve spoken before on the concept of being specific when you are talking about abundance affirmations and meditations.  It’s kind of a big deal and anyone working with the Law of Attraction shouldn’t take this lightly.

If you ask the Universe for let’s say “connecting with friends” the Universe won’t be able to tell which friends you are requesting.  It will just somehow get the attention of everyone in your friend circle that may be open to receiving the call.  This includes acquaintances and perhaps people who may have lost touch with due to a disagreement.

But is that really what you were going for?  Maybe we need to work on our wording and phrasing so the Universe brings us exactly what we desire.  However, first we must figure out what we want.

It’s always a good idea to do some introspective work.  Ask yourself questions regarding the specifics of your goal.  For instance, going back to the reconnecting with friends bit, maybe you want to have a timeline e.g.) within the next month.  Maybe you want to reconnect with certain friends e.g.) give the Universe some names.  Don’t leave this to assuming the Universe will just figure it out.  That’s not really the right attitude.

I also find that if my request is too broad, then the outcome I am looking for never comes to fruition.  But when I specify what I want in even a few details, I will inevitably receive it.

When I was in my early 20’s dabbling with some Wiccan spell rituals, I decided to cast a love spell under a full moon on Halloween night.  It was perfect timing to accomplish anything.  The veil is known to be the thinnest at that time, so I was ready to work!

I spent a couple days gathering all the ingredients I needed for my spell to work.  This included the right herbs, the right tools like candles, a wand, a knife, offerings, a tablecloth, the correct crystals to enhance the energy, writing the incantation and then figuring out the order of how to do things.  This was before the days of YouTube so I read a lot of books on the subject but didn’t really have a mentor.

My altar was set, I invoked the cardinal directions, cast my circle with a blade, read aloud my spell and set my intention to attract the perfect boyfriend.  I gave a few specifics (I wanted someone tall, kind, loving to animals, and financially stable).  I thanked the spirits, gods and goddesses, closed the circle and grounded myself.

It was pretty powerful stuff I was dabbling with!  In fact, I refuse to even do this kind of work anymore unless it’s something serious that I feel I need assistance with.  I didn’t even know how this all worked or if I would even end up achieving anything.  At that time, I’d been single for a long time and I just wanted to find someone.  The risk was that it could have backfired as well with the Law of Three (any energy good or bad that you send out into the Universe comes back to you threefold).

I did end up meeting a man with all these qualities.  However, we had a hard time communicating. He was not as book smart as I would have liked.  I found out that he was cheating on me. There were things lacking in the relationship that were huge red flags.

From that experience I learned a lot.  Still, I reflect back to what happened and find new things I didn’t know before.  Most importantly, I learned that being as specific as I was, the Universe gave me exactly what I asked for.

Abundance manifestation is not easy and there’s no formula to it.  You must work at it and find your own way.  Our thoughts and intentions are very powerful.  I caution you though: use this at your own risk.  However, be prepared to reap the rewards if you work hard and learn to do it right.

Have you done any abundance or manifestation work that didn’t go as planned?  Tell me what happened if you are open to sharing!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Stop talking yourself out of your life purpose!

Stop talking yourself out of your life purpose!

It can take a while before you figure out what the Universe has in store for you. People see me all the time to find out their life purpose. It seems so obvious to me what a complete stranger’s purpose is but why doesn’t he or she know it for themselves? Actually, they do.

Why does it take someone you don’t know to tell you what your heart desires before you believe it? The answer is pretty straightforward, and it sucks, frankly.

Doubts and fears debilitate us. They prevent us from moving forward into the unknown. We have a tendency to look back to where we came from because it’s comfortable. But as we all know, change happens outside of our comfort zones! Just because we know a universal truth in our minds does not mean we have any sort of faith in it.

Sometimes a trusted friend can cut through the bullshit and tell us the truth. Or, the same friend may hold back the truth to protect us from getting hurt.  The dichotomy is infuriating!

I’m a big believer of unfettered honesty. Wouldn’t you rather know the truth than blindly chase something that isn’t real? My time and efforts are valuable to me.  So please save me the trouble of wasting my time on something that isn’t worth it when you see it.  I may not want to hear it in that moment, but after I calm down I’ll probably appreciate it.

For instance, you know that a job isn’t right for you. It’s not fun. You hate your boss and coworkers. Waking up to get ready for work fills you with dread. You clock-watch the entire day waiting for the misery to end.

So why don’t you quit? Looking for new work is hard. The learning curve sucks at a new job. You will deal with the same politics when you move on. Now, this concept is not limited to your job or career.  The same can be applied to relationships, poor eating habits, starting an exercise program, education, etc.  So why don’t you quit doing what’s wrong for you, and do what’s right?

You convince yourself you won’t make money at it. Entrepreneurs are notorious for failing at businesses. The good ones eventually succeed but it takes a lot of time to get there. Time and money that you may not have.  Moving on from a crappy relationship is hard because your finances might be tied up, or you have kids, or a million other reasons why you can’t leave.

But what if you absolutely crush it when you move forward? What if you are unstoppably successful? 

Are we so scared to succeed we talk ourselves out of trying in the first place?  Life is hard. Without risk, there is no reward. We are making life way harder than it needs to be.

How do we get out of the cycle of repeated torture? We need to reprogram our brains to stop the negative self talk. Fill up our minds with thoughts of success rather than failure. Rip out the criticism and replace it with praise for all the things we love to do and are good at! We need to be our own cheerleaders. Don’t look to other people to give you approval, give it to yourself.

Can we escape from the prison of our minds? Yes we can! I’ve seen so many people chasing their dreams and making them a reality. I want that for myself. Every little step I take in the direction of my dream is one more step closer to achieving it. It’s not easy, cheap, or quick. But it’s something. Real.

When I started Sacred Ash Divination back in April 2013, I was scared to death.  What if people didn’t support me?  What if I lost my friends who didn’t believe in new age-y spirituality?  What if no one thought I was good at mediumship or psychic readings?  I hustled hard and got my website up, got my Paypal account hooked up for online payments, and I started up my Facebook and Twitter accounts for my business to get the word out.

I made the most money I ever made in that first year at this business because I had everything on the line.  I had been laid off from work and was unemployed for 4 months.  However, I put my full-time efforts into my business and it blossomed!  But, I panicked that I wasn’t making as much money as I had in my corporate career and I convinced myself to go back.  Soon after that fear set in, my efforts on my business dwindled and so did the success.  I didn’t lose any friends, in fact many of them paid for readings and supported my venture!  But what I came to realize is that I took one step forward and two steps back.  Fear is the killer of dreams.

I hope you’ll start believing in your destiny if you haven’t done so already. Where might you end up if you stopped talking yourself out of your life purpose?

Happy.

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Journaling as a stepping stone to manifestation

Journaling as a stepping stone to manifestation

As a little girl, I remember I used to sit in my closet and journal in my Disney Pocahontas diary.  The pages were lined and purple.  The diary even came with a lock and key!  Without fail I would lock away my thoughts, literally, and hide my diary in a far corner of the closet so none of my family members would ever discover it.  In the mind of an 11-year-old me, I had a dramatic existence.  My trusted journal contained the sordid details of my friends, my crushes, how much I disliked homework, and also how I coped with being bullied.  I have a funny sounding name that most people hadn’t heard before.  The hideous variations that kids would spew at me through the hallways at school and on the playground still invoke a sadness in my heart.

The point is that my diary contained everything I never wanted to share with anyone else.  As a child I didn’t have a lot of close friends because my family had moved frequently through my formative years.  That diary was the only constant in my life.

Over the years I continued journaling on and off.  I never got into a steady habit until a few years ago when I started developing my mediumship practice. That’s when everything changed.

My strange experiences started showing up in patterns.  Things happened in a way that I could sometimes anticipate them.  The instincts I had naturally started being proven to me when I had a record to compare to.

Writing my goals, my affirmations, and drawing pictures within my journal helped me focus my thoughts so that I could one day start my mediumship business.  It helped me get through a period of time that I was laid off for four months as well and no income was coming in except my unemployment insurance cheques.  That was a devastating time, but my old friend – the journal – kept me sane and optimistic.  And when I finally got offers for jobs, I would create pros and cons lists to see which I should accept and why.

Have you got a regular journaling practice?  What kind of diary do you like to keep?  Is it a pretty, leather-bound one?  Or, do you prefer just a utilitarian exercise book?  Tell me about your journaling practice, I’m very curious to know if you have a practice.  If you don’t, why not?

Thanks for reading!

Playing mind games…with yourself

Playing mind games…with yourself

Positive thinking.  It can lead to better health, less stress in life, and improved relationships with people you know.  So if I just tell myself it’s a nice day outside and put a smile on my face, is that enough?  Am I going to achieve great things from making a few small changes?  Will I be abundant?

The answer to all those questions is a giant MAYBE.  Yes, if you have a smile on your face it can make you feel a bit better throughout the day.  Putting your best foot forward is always a good idea.  Making small changes every day will lead to a big change in the near future.  Everything must be in place first before you can move forward.

One of the biggest things people forget is that you have to be precise about what you want to accomplish.  If you have ever gone through a performance review at your job, you know I’m talking about goal setting.  Your boss is always asking you to be specific about the goals for the coming year so that they have a benchmark to base your performance on.

Manifesting your dreams is the same idea.  You must ask for something specific and tangible.

For example:

If you are tired of your current work situation, you can’t just say “Universe, I want a better job!”  The Universe doesn’t know what you mean by “better job”. Instead, say something like “Universe, I am blessed because I have a career with amazing benefits.  It pays me well. I like the people I work with.  I’m happy with my job and I have a great boss.”  Notice the difference in the tone and phrasing.  The tone is present tense as though you already have it.  Then you must believe and feel that you already have it.  Imagine what it feels like to have this dream job.  Visualize the space, the coworkers, the location, how happy and excited you are to be there.  Go ahead and tell the Universe how much money you want to make. Do this exercise every day until you begin to believe it’s real.  Next the universe will catch up to you (rather quickly) and everyone will be shocked that you were so fortunate.

Except you weren’t fortunate or lucky.  You worked to make it happen through the power of your mind.  Thoughts are incredibly powerful.  Books have been written about the subject.  Your mindset is so important if you want to have a rich and abundant life.

Last month, I was feeling really down on myself and things hadn’t gone as I had planned.  I encountered a bit of emotional conflict and wanted to reach out to people to support me but I didn’t know how.  I’d lost touch with a lot of old friends and I wanted to reconnect.  Would they even welcome me back since I’d been so lazy staying in touch?  I asked the Universe for help and phrased my goal in this way: “I’m reconnecting with my old friends.  We are going out for dinner, drinks, hanging out, etc.  I’m feeling so blessed to be surrounded by my friends and they are exactly where I need them to be.”  The Universe responded in a big way.  All of a sudden, my social calendar was filled up with girly dates!  We went for dinner, coffee dates, walks by the river, wine nights, and dancing!  I was going out and having fun.  Friends that I’d lost touch with for months and even years were getting in touch with me.  My texts were filled with notes from beautiful souls!  I would say that from the time I requested being surrounded by friends till I manifested it into reality was maybe a week.  It’s been a month now since the request was made and the manifestation is still happening!

My life has been so enriched by a simple request that was specific and real.  If you haven’t tried this little mental trick yet, give it a shot and see what happens.  What have you got to lose?

Intro to Smudging

Intro to Smudging

After you have done some of the releasing that you need to, it’s time to cleanse your home.  Clearing your space isn’t just about tidying up and tossing out garbage.  Conducting an energetic clearing of your home removes blockages and negative energy that may have built up in your home or office over time.

When you enter your home from a long day of work or school, you may be exhausted or stressed.  Those energies that you bring in keep piling up in the place that is meant to be your sanctuary.  Compound that with arguments at home with your spouse or children, and more of that negative energy builds up.  If you have a tendency to attract toxic people in your life, that energy will also pour into your home.  Eventually all of that “sludge” will clog up the air and you will feel tense and unrelaxed.  If you are an empath like myself, you’ll feel that energy begin to put a damper on your mood and you will feel the inclination to maybe open a window to let some fresh air in.  This is a great temporary fix.  And when you live in Calgary, where the temperature can fluctuate between freezing cold and boiling hot from day to day, it’s not always practical to leave your windows open constantly.

One of the best methods to clear your space is to use something called “smudging”.  Typically, you can pick up a smudge stick at a metaphysical shop or at a business that sells incense.  Shopping online will open up even more options for buying in bulk or getting herbal blends within the smudge for certain scents that may appeal to you.  Sage is typically the main ingredient, but some places will sell individual herbs to create your own smudge stick at home.  Maybe you’ll want to add cedar or lavender to the mix.

A lot of practitioners will also buy an abalone shell to carry or snuff out the smudge.  Another tool to help you fan the smoke around you is a decorative feather.  This could be something found in nature that you come across on a walk, or you can pick up something special with colourful beads, leatherwork, or extra embellishments that appeal to you.  The fan is a symbolic representation of spirit’s hand in guiding the smoke as it cleanses your space.  Tribal cultures always honour the ancestors (or spirit) before and after a clearing ceremony.  Consider doing this yourself as I find asking for help makes the ritual much more effective.  Thank your spiritual guides after the work is complete as gratitude will invite more positivity into the home.

Before you start the ritual, ground yourself and get into a meditative space.  Open your heart and mind, and set your intention to clear your home or whatever space you intend to detoxify.  Ask spirit to help you remove any blockages to abundance and prosperity that may have built up over time.  Invite spirit to welcome new opportunities for health, financial stability, or attracting better relationships.  Breathe in deeply and get ready to commence.

Upon lighting the smudge, it will give off a fragrant white smoke.  I prefer to use a BBQ lighter because my smudge has a tendency to go out after a few minutes and I need to re-light it a few times before I’m done clearing.  It can take a bit of work for older smudge to light properly so a match is not the best for this task.  Candles are a great option for lighting smudge.

Close your eyes and visualize that this smoke will detoxify your space as it reaches the far corners of your home.  Use your feather to fan the smoke outward from you.  As you walk around your home carrying the smudge, be sure to spend extra time in a place that you think has stagnant energy.  This could be a home office, living room or kitchen where you spend a lot of time.  The bedroom is a great place to focus if you want to improve your sleep and clear the air of the lingering thoughts that fill your head and prevent restful sleep.

Bring your attention to exterior doorways and windows.  Run the smudge smoke along the perimeter of the windows and entryways of your home and ask that no negative energy enter.  Imagine that you’re creating a shield around your windows and exit doors that will stop toxic energy from coming in.  Ask that only positive and loving energy be invited.  Setting your intention for what is allowed in and out makes the work much more powerful.

When you are done walking through all the rooms in your home and you’ve set up your shields around the windows and doors, go back to the first place you started and thank the ancestors, spirit, or angels (whoever you invited to assist you in the first place) and snuff out your smudge into the abalone shell.  Maybe it’ll go out on its own naturally.  Some people prefer to let nature do its work, but for safety reasons I prefer to snuff mine out in case there is a lit ember that I’m unaware of.

After you have finished, breathe in deeply and revel in the lightness of your home.

How frequently should you clear your home?  I think that depends on your circumstances.  If you have a home-based business or you invite a lot of guests over, they can carry a lot of energy with them that you may not know is positive or negative.  Maybe in that situation you may clear your home every day or every week.  Or if you don’t have a lot of visitors, you might clear it every few weeks or months.  It really depends on your mood and what is practical for you.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.  Enjoy the work and give it a shot!

Get in touch with me if you are hesitant to try this on your own and would like a professional space clearing done.