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by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 04:24 AM
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by Brandy last modified Sep 05, 2011

This may come out of left field for some of you and after this, you may write me off as some kind of woo-woo new age hippy type. And while it’s true I used to teach yoga and it’s true … Continue reading →



This may come out of left field for some of you and after this, you may write me off as some kind of woo-woo new age hippy type. And while it’s true I used to teach yoga and it’s true that I have my hippy-dippy tendencies, I tend to be a fairly grounded individual. I think. Like the Dalai Lama (though it’s probably a complete sacrilege to compare myself to his Holiness), I am unwilling to believe anything that can’t be validated by direct experience. In other words, I won’t believe it just because you told me to. Maybe I am really from Missouri. I do believe in energy because I have experienced it in many ways and with many people. Some people call it gut instinct. Some people call it their Spidey Sense. Some people call it total BS.

However, desperate times call for desperate measures. Our lovely previous home, a perfect representation of Seattle Craftsman bungalow style, has been on the market for over 200 days now. Besides the fact that we don’t want to be paying for TWO houses, we need this house to sell and aren’t sure why it hasn’t. Everyone who sees it says it’s gorgeous and honestly, it is. It’s in great shape, well priced (finally…we started a little high) and completely re-done inside. We’ve done everything imaginable in the practical realm. I love the phrase ‘Trust Allah, but tie your camel’ and I think we’ve done all the camel tying we can at this point and maybe a little trust in Allah or the universe is called for. At least this is what my mother tells me when she offers to send me rosary beads.

Thinking that maybe there was some kind of bad energy around the old house and our leaving it, a friend of mine suggested smudging it. Yesterday I posted a question on my Facebook page and the Facebook MCML page (please go there and give us a big LIKE!) asking if anyone had any experience with smudging. For those of you wondering, smudging is a Native American ceremony intended to rid people or homes of what I affectionately refer to as bad juju. I got a lot of very interesting responses. I was surprised at how many people had participated in smudging ceremonies of their own.

Some people suggested burning sage sticks, some cedar. Maeve insisted it was sweet grass. I went to Whole Foods because I remembered seeing something akin to those sticks there. I bought a pack that included sage, mugwort and sweet cedar bundles. I decided that three was better than one. (Jaymi, if you are reading this, that was for you!) I went to the old house with those and my votive candle that I bought at Sacre Couer in Montmarte (which for some reason I had decided in my superstitious Catholic-raised way would dictate the timeline of selling the old house) and started my smudging.

I lit the candle, put it in the middle of the living room, put on some Michael Franti (just because he’s so positive and makes me feel good), and went to work. I opened all the windows and doors. I started with the sage and let me tell you, don’t do this if you don’t have immediate access to a shower after because this smells remarkably like pot. I took the smoking bundle and started along the baseboards and up the walls and in the corners. I even opened all the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, the glass doors of the built-in bookcases and wafted the smoke in there. I did all the rooms, closets and even the shower stalls and tub.  Then I did the same with the mugwort followed by the sweet cedar, hoping that using it last would ameliorate the lingering pot smell.

I am not a big chanter or anything like that. I am too self-conscious to do something that feels false to me. But I did realize in the midst of it all that I was talking to the house. Telling it (most likely myself) that it was okay to let go. And I needed that too. I needed to let go. Let go and trust. Then I sat in the middle of the empty living room with the doors and windows open and just worked on letting it go and trusting that everything currently in motion was supposed to be in motion.

And then I closed all the windows and doors and cupboards and drawers and packed up to head to my car. On the way to my car, I ran into Miss Alice. Miss Alice was a neighbor of ours that I always felt was a kindred spirit. An African-American woman who had lived on the street for over 50 years, Miss Alice always seemed the soul of the neighborhood to me; its conscience and its mouthpiece. She ran over and gave me a huge hug and started filling me in on her life. Miss Alice is very religious and peppers her conversation with many references to the Lord and God and his intentions for her. Now I don’t subscribe to those beliefs but I respect her and have always appreciated the authenticity of her convictions.

For reasons I still don’t completely understand (or maybe I do), I burst into tears while she was talking to me and she took me to her home. I had never been inside her house. We always had talked on the street and sidewalks and at the block party. She took my sorry blubbering self into her home and sat me down and talked to me. For a long time. About what I really wanted, where I was really happy and about learning to let go.  A little more trusting of Allah than tying my camel with a million knots. And then she asked if she could pray for me. Hmmm.

My usual response to this is no, but for her, I said okay. It was basic wishes and good intentions for me and for my family and selling our home and moving on fully into our new life. And while I am not a subscriber to her belief system, I was moved and touched by the authenticity of it. When one human sincerely wishes good for another, energy shifts and amazing things can happen like this other poster I love from my Pinterest board. I am grateful to Miss Alice and all the good people in the world like her who openly share their goodness and humanity in selfless ways. It gives me faith. Faith in good energy, faith in good people and faith in good outcomes.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Brandy O'Briant, MCML, Mercer Island, mid-century modern, mid-century modern blog, mugwort, sage, smudging, sweet cedar




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