Smudging is an ancient practice, albeit you probably did not learn about it from an indigenous person. As with anything, culture is commonly abstracted and then appropriated for the benefit of mass-appeal.
A lot of the information we will touch on in this article is sourced from the Niji Mahkwa School in Winnipeg. As part of their Indigenous Inclusion Directorate Manitoba Education and Training, they created the 2019 Smudging Protocol and Guidelines. And it's a great resource for understanding the reason smudging has been around for so long.
It’s important to connect to the roots of practice so you can get the most out of it. For example, manifesting is great, but if you don’t do the deep work, it is not as effective.
We want to share with you the true purpose of smudging to encourage you to refocus as we head out of winter and into a fast-approaching Spring. Because changing your lifestyle is never easy, any practices that can help you live your best life, it’s our duty to share those with you.
Before you buy a sage bundle from some obscure retailer, we want to encourage you to buy from an indigenous person or organization. You’ll want to use one of the four smudging medicines: sweetgrass, sage, cedar, or tobacco. But only the first three are commonly used.
To Clear The Space
“We smudge to clear the air around us.” - Community elder for the Smudging Protocol and Guidelines, 2019
Sometimes life gets messy, we lose sight of our priorities. Our homes become messy, reflecting our cluttered mental-space. We let toxic people into our sanctuary or may have become embodied in toxicity ourselves. There are so many reasons to clear the space you spend so much time within. However, before you smudge, we couldn’t recommend any more fervently that you clean and organize your home first.
Research shows clutter equals stress. Americans have a lot of stuff. An average home may house upwards of 300,000 items. You are caring, tending, and accounting for these items every single day. Not to mention the pressing emotional attachments we form to our belongings. Organizing and streamlining your home will bring you tranquility.
A well laid out home can improve your mental wellbeing and productivity. That doesn’t mean throw out all your sentimental objects. On the contrary, placing key objects of importance where they can shine and be on display, could improve your mental and physical health, says UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain.
To Hit The Mental Reset Button
“We smudge to clean our minds so that we will have good thoughts of others.” -Community elder for the Smudging Protocol and Guidelines, 2019
Negativity can weigh us down, sending us spiraling away from inviting goodness into our lives. A negative attitude, which we can invite in with judging thoughts of others, will impact every area of your life. Negative attitudes can place our bodies under the influence of chronic stress. Chronic stress disturbs our hormonal balance, weakens our immune system, and puts us in a crappy mood.
When you are on a mission to lose weight and be happy, you don’t want to harbor ill thoughts of others. Save your energy and health, clear your mind.
To Invite positivity Into Your Life
“We smudge our eyes so that we will only see good things in others.” - Community elder for the Smudging Protocol and Guidelines, 2019
Part of inviting positivity into your life is being positive. Thoughts make the woman, so they say. Use smudging as a tool to reset your attitude throughout the month, we are only human. Let us be realistic, It’s not plausible to be happy-go-lucky all of the time. But as long as we don’t ruminate for too long we can keep striving to make the best of our lives.
“We smudge our ears so that we will only listen to good things about others, we smudge our mouths so that we will only speak well of others. We smudge our whole being so that we will portray only the good part of ourselves through our actions.” -Community elder for the Smudging Protocol and Guidelines, 2019
Creating rituals can anchor you when you feel adrift, keeping you in-line with your goals. But it is also deep-spiritual work. Smudging is a part of the Aboriginal worldview, or as the Smudging Protocol and Guidelines put it:
“The “Aboriginal worldview” — guiding principles and traditional values of Aboriginal societies. This suggests the way Aboriginal peoples see themselves in relation to the world. It is a holistic process where learning takes place across different spheres of human experience including spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental dimensions. Worldviews may also consider relationships and experiences of the past, present, and future as interconnected.”
We love the aboriginal worldview because it is so similar to the holistic approach we take here at Body Complete Rx. Let go of those past diet failures by shifting the word failure to lessons. Stop dieting and look at your life. What will bring you joy, good health, and contentment? What can you do today to be good to your body, mental health, and people in your life?
Reflect-away and then put thoughts into action. Start living.