Tobacco, Sage, Sweetgrass, and Cedar

It’s been no secret, I’ve always loved a good ghost story! I have always seen or sensed spirits since I was a young girl. In my late teens, I decided to explore this realm and study as much as I could on the topic. In my early 20s, I started to do paranormal investigations in homes, and now in my mid-thirties, it’s part of my business. I love teaching people the art of smudging, paranormal investigation, and coach people on how to discover the many different ways we can cleanse ourselves and space around us.

About seven years ago, I started to find my path of purpose with paranormal energy cleansing and began to learn the practice of smudging. I decided to explore this path and learn from a few different Indigenous Elders from the local area and also abroad. Over the years, I have discovered my indigenous roots and now love teaching people how to smudge and cleanse their home. I bring in a variety of teachings from around the world as we are all connected on this planet. By exploring our roots and also the origins of the land where we live, we can have a stronger connection with our higher self to the universe and even our deep soul with Mother Earth. 

So I decided to write down some of the top smudging questions I usually receive when I visit a home or business. Lots of people write about the art of smudging (which is excellent), the “how to do’s”, yet these questions run a bit deeper along a spiritual journey which I’m happy to share with all of you … 

Who can smudge? When I coach people through a smudging routine, I always encourage people to find their smudging routine. Anyone can smudge, and when you practice the art of smudging from the heart centre, it means you are coming from a place of pure and good intention. These teachings are directly from one of my elders. I feel blessed I can pass these teachings over you.  

How often should I smudge? I think this is one of my favourite questions as I always love to encourage people to listen to their intuition. When you feel called to smudge, go for it! Sometimes I need to smudge daily (or even twice), sometimes I can go for a couple of weeks. Like cleaning your home and removing the dust, you do it when you begin to notice that your place needs it. This is similar to smudging. 

Where should I start? I like this one as it can be a 3 part question. I want to suggest that most people begin with sage. Burning sage is where I first started as well when my elder taught me. From there, I discovered many other land medicines that have helped me along the way. Yes, the four sacred medicines are part of what I use now, but I have also used bay leaves (which come from the Mediterranean) and even lavender or rosebuds as well. 

Physically, I always love to start with myself, smudging and cleansing your hands first and foremost to make sure you have moved throughout all the negative energy. Then you can cleanse your space. It’s like washing your hands before prepping for dinner. You wouldn’t want to prep food with dirty hands, right? Next, I move to the front door, and I follow the path of the sun around the house. I have discovered what feels right for me. You may wish to do something different, but it’s always nice to have a frame of reference. 

Lastly – it’s important to point out: you can smudge yourself, you can smudge someone else, you can also smudge a space or place if you need to or sometimes I will light the smudge and just leave it burning on the table, not for any particular reason, but more of a “just in case” scenario. Note: If you are smudging someone else or someone else’s place, I invite you to ask for their permission first. 

Can I incorporate smudge with rocks and crystals? My answer is: YES! We are all connected on this planet as energy, so if you are feeling a pull (or curiosity) towards crystals, then yes please follow your path of curiosity and see what kind of teachings you discover. Some also use Tibetan singing bowls to elevate vibrational frequency as well… GO FOR IT! And as a coach, however, I can help – it’s what I LOVE TO DO!

and I saved the best for last…

Do I smudge ONLY when there are ghosts? Smudging has most definitely helped me connect with the land and also connect with my higher self. I have stronger visions when I use smudge when I do my paranormal investigations. But the two do not necessarily go hand in hand. Lately, I cleansed a home where there weren’t any ghosts; the owners just wanted the land cleansed due to human beings (previous homeowners) leaving behind their own negative energy. So to answer this one: I like smudging when there are ghosts and discovering who they are and what their purpose is. I also like to smudge when there isn’t a ghost, and I need to cleanse energy when regular people leave it behind. 

 

I hope that answers some of your questions regarding smudging and cleansing yourself, home, or other space. Please feel free to contact me should you have additional questions regarding this topic. I’m happy to pass on my teachings. 

Blessings along your path. 

JenCB

Many people ask me what mindfulness is. With the rise in popularity, I have made it my passion to try and explain what it is and why we should practice it. Using some examples of my own life experiences, I plan to dive in and share what mindfulness is and how you can incorporate into your daily life. Mindfulness is a way of looking at things differently and allows a way for you to relate to all of the experiences in your life which may be causing you to suffer.  This, in turn, will allow you to personally transform yourself. When journeying through the highs and lows of life, I have had time to think back and reflect what has got me through, it has been mindfulness.  

We as humans are constantly looking for ways to solve the causes of our suffering and then discover how we can alleviate it. I’ve started introducing mindfulness as a way of finding clarity in moments of chaos. Chaos can be something minor (ie. a traffic jam) or major (ie. the sudden loss of a loved one). 

Sooner or later you end up asking yourself questions such as:  “Why don’t I feel better?”  or “Is there something I can do or something that is prescribed so it makes the pain go away.” No one wants to be on pills for the rest of their life. Though I believe that medication does have a time and place in some cases. As we age (and sometimes throughout your whole life) you can suffer from illness.  Sickness, old age and death usually expose us to pain. Through my research, I have found that pain is the surface tension for the body to alarm our whole self that something is off balance. I have suffered from back pain every year due to softball, yet I know these issues are from the deep subconscious. Even this past week I had a minor spasm, as the week unfolded I knew this was quilt related grief that was surfacing in a weak spot of the body. I hit my own “reset” button which includes deep breathing, meditation, stretching etc. Mindfulness is about hitting the ‘re-set” button. You can hit it as many times as you need in order for you to see the clarity through whatever chaos is unfolding along your path. 

Throughout your life, you can struggle emotionally when you are confronted with adverse circumstances.  When you don’t get what you want in life, if you suffer from great loss or have to deal with things you don’t want to deal with you are constantly seeking ways to feel better. Mindfulness is a 2500-year-old tradition of Buddhist psychology.  Mindfulness has to be experienced directly. Especially if you are teaching or sharing content to others (like myself). I try my best to practice it as part of my daily routine. My partner has even helped me when I suffer in low mental moments on how to begin my day with gratitude. I’m not perfect by any means, I’m human just like everyone else. Sometimes I’m mindful of when I’m the teacher, and when I am a student myself.   Mindfulness comes from within because it is intuitive and pre-conceptual. This is why I always say, mindfulness doesn’t prevent you from facing trials and tribulations in life. Mindfulness is about finding clarity in the midst of chaos. 

With practice over time, you can figure out how to become more and more mindful in your everyday life.  Mindfulness can help even if you are in the middle of significant suffering.  Mindfulness has been compared to a deeply personal journey of discovery. What I love is creating different ways we can be mindful. Yoga or meditation may not be for everyone. That is okay. 

Mindfulness is meant to bring about awareness, attention, and remembering.  Awareness means becoming aware and fully enjoying and appreciating the things around you no matter how small it is.  From enjoy a lovely cup of coffee (one of my favourite things to do) or a wonderful drive along a dirt road. You can find your ways to become mindful at the moment. 

When you are attentive, it means that you are participating in focused awareness.  That means that you are aware of what is occurring within and around you.  When you participate in this “awareness” you can begin to free yourself from mental preoccupation and difficult emotions. Being aware that this may or may not be positive is okay. 

The true purpose of mindfulness is to rid yourself of needless suffering. It’s unfortunately how our minds, sometimes, are our own worst enemies. How do you do this?  You do this by becoming aware and cultivating insights into how your mind works and the meaning of everything in the material world we live in.  You are looking for ways to calm your mind and bring peace to your world. 

Through Mindfulness you are re-training your mind in order to manage it.  Mindfulness allows you to develop other mental qualities including concentration, loving/kindness, effort and becoming more alert. It took me years of practice so that I may understand how I could step back away from the hospital bed, and understand the greater perspective. In that moment of “chaos”, I was able to remember my breathing techniques while waiting for the doctors to come in. I was then able to listen to my intuition and know that my husband was needed in other places other than this realm. 

Mindfulness is not an end-all or doorway to happiness but it can provide you with the foundation you need to build those skills. Which is why I said, it’s not about eliminating the trials and tribulations but finding clarity. I’m not here to pretend, things happen in life. 

By allowing yourself to get rid of habits in your mind that can cause you unhappiness the result will be letting go of anger, envy, greed or other harmful behaviours that serve no purpose. It may take some time. But a constant practice of mindfulness will help you along your path. 

Mindfulness brings about self-acceptance and self-understanding.  We bring upon ourselves unwanted emotional and behavioural problems simply by trying to avoid discomfort and throwing ourselves into some other sort of change-seeking activity. I always consider this kind of training as a guide in helping people find their centre or compassion and self-healing. 

 

Being an extrovert it’s difficult for me to sit still, even if its for 5 minutes. This weekend I was forced to do just that – … and to avoid the pain if i moved, and face the discomfort, while not moving physically, to learn and let go. Yesterday I had an unfortunate experience of pinching my sciatic nerve. Anyone out there who has had this, i won’t need to go into the agonizing details of the pain that consumes your body. 

What I will explain is what I do to recharge? Normally on a weekend I’ll try and make plans, go out and be with friends; It’s not too often I stay home and watch tv. Yet this is exactly what I did this morning. Mostly because, once upon a time, tv was the window to my outside world. I was lost in TV during my low period years. My depression turned to tv, binge watching anything on the TiVo – trying to figure out exactly what was reality and what was normal. I moved from the living room to the office (between tv and computer) in my apartment. This is the reason why I don’t like to watch a lot of tv these days simply because it brings me back to a time where I was dependant on this commodity. 

However I had plans and was forced to change them to focus on my own well being. I felt bad letting people down as I was cancelling events one after another. Even last evening I had to cancel at the last minute simply because my stubbornness had taken over. However, as I stood at the top of the stairs, and a shooting pain electrified down my left leg, I knew the only place I could go was the bed. 

I woke up this morning and poured a cup of coffee and sat down on the couch and put on one of my old favourite “Dawson’s Creek”.  I binge watched the episodes and pondered healing from the inside out. I always love watching these shows, teenage angst pent on over-analyzing their lives to figure out what love is most attractive each week. Same story routine re-written but I do love the small town they grow up in and secretly like the east coast feeling where the lead character has a passion for finding life’s greatest mysteries that are found in the movies.

So I sat there and wondered exactly what it is I’m supposed to do and how am I’m supposed to heal from this. I sat and was reminded of going back to the basics in life. As I walked lightly around my home I enjoyed the wonderful taste of my morning java. My puppies played off to the side of the room as they do whenever they get a burst of energy – they like to pick on one another. Do I read? Do I research? Do I work? or Do I just simply do nothing. Well after about 3 hours of doing nothing and enjoying those moments of watching the candle flicker as Season 3 Episode 6 of teenage melodrama comes on, I decided to pick up my laptop and work and chose to refocus. 

I chose to see this, not as a setback, but as an opportunity for me to slow down and heal from the inside out. I needed to focus on myself and that is okay to do. Disappointment may come however it is my journey to do my work. I was reminded of a story about Finding Nemo and the Heroine’s Journey parallel. As Dori and Nemo’s dad struggled to find Nemo, they were caught in the face of whale, being pulled against the grain where Dori pulls him to the edge and by allowing trust and to let go of the scenario, then are plunged down deep within the darkness of the whale only to surface 1 step closer to the lost fish. 

Acknowledge your honour and how the process is unfolding. – it’s an expression of the scene of the belly of the whale. The journey can be dark and unknowing what lays ahead but to trust and let go. 

So I’m caught in 2 decisions – do I write or ignore. Is there a connection between bottling up those unsettling natural feelings. I’m faced with something and do I bite into the apple or do I ignore it – or do I face it with strength … as I stand in my truth. I trust and let go of the scenario and decide to fall into the darkness hoping that I’ll be lifted up into a more peaceful place. Now call me crazy but as I wrote this – my pain subsided and I was able to move a bit more. In my line of work- there are no such thing as a coincidence… and as I usually put it – you simply cant make this sh*t up.