Question

So, my last post provoked some interesting discussion over on Facebook. Some were unaware that there’s life beyond white sage, others brought up the interesting fact that white sage is so sought after by new age practitioners nowadays that the plant is now becoming endangered, and others shared tips and personal experience. It was a wide-ranging conversation, the kind I absolutely adore, that leapt from the now-trendy appropriation of NA practices and its role in the endangerment of white sage, to apotropaic practices, to questions that I really didn’t want to just limit to my personal Facebook. And so, rather than typing out a long post over there, with the author’s permission, I decided to feature that question here.

I know a number of folks under tremendous stress and strain right now. My own pattern is that stress gets shed at home, like shoes at the end of the day, and it accumulates. With colder weather coming and the need to keep windows closed, it settles and can be harder to shift. How about something for that?”

– Skylark Crowfancier (Pseudonym semi-invented for both reasons of fun and privacy)

When looking at this question, my first instinct is that it would be better that a person dealing with these kind of issues needs to be proactive rather than purely relying on something hung or installed in the home (although, I have some ideas for that too). Better yet would be to endeavour to not bring that kind of energy into the home in the first place, as I know Skylark knows, that kind of energy knocking about can cause all kinds of issues (as can any loose energy really).

But how would one go about doing that?

There are numerous ways, we’ve all seen those worry dolls in the ‘hippy’ stores, but how many of us keep a worry penny that we might handle while mentally going over our stresses on the commute home? A penny that that energy might then be pushed into and then discarded into running water or buried at the end of the week? A new penny for each week. We might even create our own worry dolls and mentally tell them our worries, or even write a journal entry on the way home from work in a private journal. Practicing mindfulness (either on its own, or as a part of one of these other measures) also helps because that training helps to get to place where we can confront our stresses in an ultimately detached way, and come up with more objective ways to deal (which in turn, gives us greater ability to manage stress). There are some great apps too for people on the go that teach mindfulness. If you have ten minutes of sitting in one place on your commute, you could definitely make use of the free versions of apps like Headspace or Calm. I also really like SuperBetter.

You might even set up a post outside your front door for ‘wiping’ off the dreck of the outside world. It needn’t be a complicated affair, a piece of 2×4 planted in a plant pot filled with earth to both ground and weight it. And of course, it could be as simple or as fancy as you’d like it to be. But it would require the ability to manipulate your stressed emotional energy into your hand, that you would then wipe off onto the post. To help with the process, you might even put a charm on the wall-facing side to imbue the post with the intent that any negative energy would be attracted to it and grounded out through the earth.

Such a set up would also be helpful inside the home, if you’re looking for something to have working away in the background. Just remember to change out the earth on a periodic basis.

Once in the home though, a shower in which you visualise the dreck of the day being washed from you, or even just taking some more time to sit in meditation/talking things through with friends/finding ways to laugh (yes laugh, laughter is so often underestimated for its healing abilities) would go a long long way.

Although these suggestions are simple, things that seem like no brainers to folks when you suggest them, it’s often hard to see the forest for the trees when under serious stress – stress is nefarious in that it robs us of our clarity, motivation, and energy. And it’s not about having a charm to make things right either. Sure, you can have the charm working away in the background, the grounding post that attracts negative energy like some kind of psychic air freshener, but the root issues need to be dealt with as well or things ultimately won’t get much better. Often, part of the stress is that we’re in situations in which we cannot change the current circumstances that are adding to the stress.

Which only adds more stress, and so the cycle continues.

In these situations, the only thing that is left to change is how that stress is handled on a personal level, and make time to work on that – after all, at that point, it’s the only variable left. Which *is* hard, it’s hard to be motivated to meditate or work out when under severe stress. Even when you start in the smallest of ways and build up slowly. But it’s soimportant to push through that and find ways to get it out in a healthy way, be those ways as ‘mundane’ as going to the gym and getting your stress and anger out through physicality, or via more psychological or magical means such as those suggested above.

Because at the end of the day, aside from issues of negative energy in our living environments, stress can take us down as surely as any illness.

The only difference is, we’re far less likely to ignore illness.

So don’t ignore stress, find those tiny chunks in the day, use them to wage your own war on stress, and see it pay dividends in your lives and homes.

NOTICE: If you are dealing with stress and really feel that you’ve come to the end of your tether, please reach out and get professional help. Stress kills.

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