Just in case anyone is interested I am writing this blog post at 2:47 AM to the sound of my dishwasher whirling upstairs. I don’t know what it is about the middle of the night but it fees like the energy dynamic has the capacity to set my mind on fire. I’m also more mindful about what is happening with my body and where I am holding my tension.
I’ve been working a shovel and some gardening shears all day so I’m feeling some tenderness underneath one of my arms and in the fatty part of my thumb. Before I went to bed, I was googling how to smudge my house. In all honesty, I’ve never smudged anything before unless incense counts. I don’t even think I made it past Harry Potter. I was committed to Lord of the Rings and I might have watched a few old episodes of Charmed. Of course, I am a Hoffman reader, and I’ve read lots of books about old wives tales and stories of magic.
I felt as if I was part of a story tale today as I tried to conquer a vine that was taking over my raspberries, a pile of fire wood, and my chicken coop. I’m sure if I gave it another decade, and if left unattended, that vine would eventually envelop my house. Some hero would have to come along, riding in with a machete, to weed wack the hell out of it and break some kind of a spell.
Which leaves me to the point of my post. My house has a funk I just can’t shake which I may have mentioned before. This house has always felt bristly and abrasive, and if it could talk it would say, “Leave.” First of all, the bristly abrasiveness can be taken as literal in my front yard which has two large pine trees, one in each flower bed. These trees shed pine needles like no other, and I’m not talking about the delicate flimsy kind. These pine needles are long and thick like porcupine quills. Working in this part of the yard without leather gloves is not optional unless one wants to get stabbed. I’ve been stabbed a few times.
There is just something about the pine needles that has made it hard to plant anything in their vicinity that can thrive. After three years, I am learning what type of flowers are hardy enough to take it. No matter how hard I try to keep the quills at bay, new ones are always blanketing the ground.
I have a yellow rose bush in front of my house that I love, but my garden hose lies beneath it. I have to fight thorns and duck down to access my water source. I’ve trimmed the rose bush down enough to achieve this without killing it, but If I don’t remember to lie low and clear the area before returning to an upright position I will surely hit it’s spiked branches with the top of my head. That’s an odd source of pain that one should never have to experience.
As I was hacking away at my troublesome vine, I could not help but think with each wack, “What is it about this house that wants to fight me?” These were thoughts I was having as I watched the sky while listening for distant thunder as three large cottonwood trees loomed over me. Two of which are completely dead. There were five cottonwood trees behind our house when I moved in, but not long afterward, four of them immediately died. Then there were the ants. There are also the snails and the occasional snake.
Our house had a sudden ant invasion. They were everywhere, and we still continue to fight them. Also every single appliance we had in this house went out in a year. I’m talking we had to get a new furnace, water heater, water softener, AC, everything. The only thing that hasn’t been replaced is the dishwasher, and that’s coming. The garage door still doesn’t work unless you are lifting it manually.
I just find it odd. Trees abruptly dying, ants taking over, appliances going berserk all at once. Plants not growing in the soil. One of my house plants completely died on one side the moment we moved here.
My husband lived here with his two daughters before me and my family came to this place. The feeling I immediately got from the house the moment I stepped into it was that a lot of crying went on behind closed doors. Another feeling I got immediately after moving here was that although my husband’s ex spouse was alive and had remarried years before, the house had not changed, nor would any change be considered acceptable. It was like everyone was caught in a time loop.
It also felt like space and boundaries suddenly became obscure. My husband’s former spouse always knocked before he remarried, but suddenly she was hanging out in the driveway and walking in the house without knocking. My neighbors even approached me about it. They were like, “do you know that she just walks in and out of your house when you are not home?” Basically, I felt after moving here, that boundaries had been treaded upon, that would otherwise not be welcomed if reciprocated.
Than I felt like a new energy dynamic got into my husband’s girls. Every time they returned from a weekend at their mom’s house, they brought back feelings of angst and animosity. I wish they had left them at the door. I was seeing the pattern. I began to get the feeling that their mother felt entitled to two houses and I should not make myself comfortable in this home, nor should my children.
That unwelcome mat was always waiting for me, and the goal was achieved. We never have felt comfortable in this house. It’s a big deal when you leave the house and feel anxiety returning to it, or that you have to take deep cleansing breaths just to walk through the front door. It’s telling that my children have felt the same. That sense of home is not optional, it’s vital to well being.
My children and I found some semblance of home in the pets who embraced us and the dog that I rescued who had been confined to a kennel her whole life. The dog welcomed us with enthusiasm and would anxiously wait for us every time we left the house. We all took it really hard when the dog died. The dog was our home. The dog died right after my husband’s youngest daughter moved out. The house “warming” plant that initially died on one side immediately replenished itself soon after all the teens moved out. At one point in this saga, I had even named my plant “two-faced.”
Now the goal of my post, is not to vilify. Children of divorce who are caught in the crossfire of adult problems, abandonment issues, and sadly, methods of parental alienation can not be held completely accountable for their actions. Also, statistically blended families don’t fare as well when their are teen girls involved. (Don’t I know it?)
There are things I tried to do to help the energy dynamic, some of which had blown up in my face. I felt the propulsive energy dynamic backwards was detrimental and unrealistic. I tried instigating change with paint and color, essential oils, aroma therapy, salt lamps and of course plants, if I could only get them to thrive (TBH only the toughest did).
New scents were not welcomed, essential oils were considered rank, any candles I used were foul, any paint or light choices I made were heavily critiqued. Nobody was enthusiastic about making changes even when efforts were made to include others. The bottom line was that any change that deviated from a previous life that existed before we came here were considered unacceptable.
This house was definitely divided and some members were more stubborn than others. That torch can be carried for a long time (maybe forever). So when I write about my family and how there are seven, it does not mean that there have not been tender moments within the seven, or that there are not endearing feelings that go beyond all of this, it’s just that it’s complicated.
The propulsion to cling to the past, as understandable as it was, did stunt energies moving forward. We all came with a history. Many studies reveal that depression among step mothers is quite high because basically, step-mother’s become the vessel for everyone’s emotions, and they take upon themselves the pressures of the family’s lack of union. It always felt like my failure. Stepmothers are so easy to hate. Society’s slanted views on stepmother’s didn’t really help my situation.
I began to struggle with a depression that I had not experienced since my last child was born. I had the worst auto immune flare. I had dental surgery that went wrong and was suddenly experiencing chronic pain. If felt like inflammation and unexplained fevers had become my norm. I got an infection that had to be tackled with multiple rounds of antibiotics. I had to fight my way out of sickness, I had to fight my way out of depression. I eventually had to fight just to get up everyday. Physically and mentally it was all taking a toll.
I knocked myself out trying to exceed the bar, and realized I would be resented just as much for trying too hard as I would be for not trying at all. At one point, I stopped trying to meet everyone’s expectations because I had to. Most of the time it felt like I was damned if I did, and damned if I didn’t. At one point, I even felt completely defeated. It was then, that I felt I had zero worth.
At that point, I wanted out of the house because if felt like my physical, emotional, and mental well being depended upon it. I just wanted calm and quiet and an escape from conflict. It became clear that this was something I would have to do or get pulled under. I felt so deflated that I could hardly even muster the energy to try and remove myself from what I perceived to be a toxic situation. I felt stuck. I felt trapped. It felt like everything had taken me down so far beyond the point of my own rescue. As a step mom and as an empath I felt like I had become a sponge for negative emotions, and a lying doormat.
To this day, if anyone were to ask me if I would do it all again, my answer could very possibly be a no. I also never would have moved into this home if I had any sense of this house’s former energy dynamics with two of it’s former occupants. It’s not just that this house emulates my husband’s past with his former spouse, or all the nuances of his former family dynamics, or even the fact that it’s enshrined all of the above, but the occupant prior to my husband’s former spouse had been deemed “mad.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard stories from my neighbors about “the weird guy who used to live in our house.” The thing is I can’t get my neighbors to peg exactly where that sense of “weirdness” comes from. I usually get something along the lines of “he was just something else.” It’s not even an eccentric vibe I’m picking up from the neighbors, but a troublesome one. Something about the man just did not sit well with the neighbors.
I’ve had unusual night terrors since I’ve moved here where I dream about orbs of light or strange mists and the most terrifying thing about these nightmares is that I can’t tell if I am dreaming or if I am awake. They just seem so vivid and so real and I’m not necessarily a paranormal type of person, or one who has been exactly drawn to anything paranormal. I don’t even watch those types of movies, in fact, I pretty much avoid them.
By now, some of you may be more fluid in energy dynamics, while others of you may be critics. I imagine some empaths among you have already picked up on what I was throwing down, which is… that the energy dynamic in my house could really use some good cleansing. I could use some smudging as well. I’d be lying if I were to say that I did not harbor feelings of animosity that were not detrimental to myself.
In a nutshell, I have felt that I occupy the space of two former occupants who have had malicious intent. It is an energy that does not want my success or happiness for reasons I can not comprehend. Their was no foul play or infidelity involved in my husband and I’s union. I can’t shake it. My husband’s former spouse had remarried long before I met him. His children had not exactly embraced her new partner or the change.
I get the sense that my husband’s former spouse went down a path that was not supported, so his most certainly would not be either. None of this really ever had anything to do with me personally, but I’ve taken a hit by default. Having a plan B pulled from everyone might have also flipped everyone into a tailspin. It was another adjustment that nobody wanted to make.
The energy dynamic of all of this encompasses me like a shell and I feel as if my husband has a knot around his neck that needs to be loosened. His noose has become my noose. I have vivid fantasies of leaving this home all of the time. I’m not even looking for an upgrade. I’m just seeking something that does not feel like this. Our older girls have moved out and in a sense moved on, but seldom visit or stay long. This house harbors ghosts of troublesome times.
Their rooms are essentially storage units. They come with keys to retrieve their stuff on occasion, and head back out to find their way, processing their own lives. It’s as if their former memories here are somewhat endearing and vividly painful at the same time. They don’t stay long enough for any of it to seep into their core, and other times, they stall, and as if they don’t want to leave.
It’s as if the girls were clinging to rocky crags in a storm but now that they have let go it’s been somewhat liberating and melancholy at the same time. My stepdaughter is happy playing softball for a college team living in the dorms away from adult problems, and much more pleasant since getting out from underneath maternal influence.
Nobody could really be deemed a bad person for wanting what they wanted. My other stepdaughter found some peace from the Pacific crest trail. She was the one hanging onto the past the most. I’ll never forget how much my heart ached for her after we got a new couch to replace a couch that was so old it had stuffing coming out of it. She took a section of that couch and kept it in her room, even though she had limited space or use for it. That piece from her past was like a security blanket. She just was not ready to let it go.
I’ve never sensed an energy dynamic so profoundly at peace than the energy I felt coming off of her after she set out to complete the Pacific Crest trail. She did the whole thing. All the way from Mexico into Canada. Sadly, soon after she returned, the profound energy dynamics from all that nature that had seeped into her pores and emboldened her soul were quickly extinguished by her new living arrangements.
This is when I realized the potency of what she had been up against, and what I had been up against for the last five years. It’s also felt like an underlying animosity that had also seeped into my own children effecting their happiness that felt far reaching, limitless, and had no bounds.
My husband is a STUBBORN man. He made a declaration that we would start fresh somewhere, or that when the girls moved on, that we would move on also. None of it has come to fruition. His reasoning is numerous: He is highly attached to his shop, or there’s a part of the house that he built. Moving is cumbersome. What is the housing market doing?
Meanwhile we fight the ants, the trees that are dying, the vine, the thorns in the head, the pine needles that prick, the garage door that doesn’t open, and the energy dynamic of this house that still lingers.
It’s challenging constantly trying to nurture a house that doesn’t feel nurturing. The murky sediment has settled. Yet, I’d call our home’s energy dynamic the equivalent of Dr. Seuss’s “the lurch” or the “waiting place.”
I work outside because that is the only place that feels like home. There is an area of land that the home’s former, more troublesome occupants never touched. My strength is replenished in the soil. I feel blessed that we have land for animal rights and chickens and a place to plant a garden in these troubling times. I feel as if I have a “spot of earth” that is mine and somedays I feel hopeful that I can create a garden of Eden and drive out all this madness but part of me is torn with the sensation of just wanting to leave it all behind
Do I keep trying fruitlessly to make a life here or start anew? I fantasize about just having a clean slate. My husband? Not so much.
With every gain I have made since coming here, I’ve always felt a slide back and that is how I would describe the energy dynamic at my house. A propulsion backwards. nothing fluid, nothing flowing, nothing growing, nothing healing, resistance. Stagnant energy of a former life that will never be again that is trapped in a bell jar. Energies that are trapped that need to let out so that they can move forward. Repressing them or having animosity towards them does not seem to be the answer.
I live in an Mormon community that is full of patriarchy and only males are granted the “keys to the priesthood,” which translates to god’s power. Yes…it’s far out I know. I was a single mom for ten years. I refused to believe that god was going to abandon me because I did not hold “the keys” to god’s graces because I was without a husband. Technically I could ask for a blessing on my house by male religious leaders “in authority to do so” but choose not to. Also technically, according to mormon theology in my community, my husband will still be married to his former wife in the after life. It gives me so much to look forward to.
This may be blasphemous by some patriarchal accounts, but I don’t feel masculine energy is going to do it for me because masculine energy has never been on my side.
I lose sleep tonight because I realize it’s going to have to be an energy dynamic which I trust to take on this negative flow. I’ve researched “cleansing rituals” and to be honest, at this point I will try anything. This is my last ditch effort and if it does not work I have no choice but to consider abandoning this place for the sake of my well being and that of my children. I have a lot riding on “a ritual” and I’m somewhat of a critic. I’ve been pushed to the limit.
I’ve never done anything like this before, and part of me feels like it should just be a no brainer. This house has never been spiritually cleansed, Not ONCE. That is A LOT of energy to cleanse my friends.
I googled “smudging” and I talked it over with my husband. He thinks I’m crazy. He thinks there is nothing wrong with the energy dynamic in this house but I think it is because he is used to it. As a newcomer I felt it right off. I feel it all the time. So he either undermines what I am feeling, or he knows and just does not care. For some reason he needs this house, to me, it feels like kryptonite.
Okay, so smudging 101. Take some white sage in bundles. Eliminate all clutter and clean the space you are trying to cleanse beforehand. A tapered candle and an abalone shell are recommended, as well as a feather to fan the smoke. Use a wooden match and not a lighter. Light a cleansed candle. Energy supposedly travels through your home the way people do. Start at your front door.
Open all the doors and windows in your house. Light your candle and pray or meditate over it with intention. Light your smudge stick with the candle and hold your sage over the abalone shell. use a feather to fan the smoke. You can sage yourself first if needed (I need it). Travel throughout your home in a clockwise direction (I’ve also heard counterclockwise, East to West and other strange voodoo).
I get caught on these obscure instructions about directions, so decided to go with advice that stated that one should travel in the direction that feels most natural to them. Travel in every room through out your space, not forgetting the closets and the corners where energy can be concentrated. Ceremonial music in the background is suggested. Concentrate on your thoughts and intentions as you do this. Asking that the negative energy leave the house, and that the positive energy be returned or embraced.
Another side note, the sage represents earth, the flame, fire. The abalone represents water, and the use of a fan represents the wind. Keep the house well ventilated without creating a fire hazard. You want to keep the air flow circulated. I believe the energy flow dynamic relates more to my intentions and should be given careful consideration. Extinguish the smudge stick. This can be done by dipping it in a bowl of sand. Did I miss anything?
Okay, this seems too easy. Could all my home’s negative energy really be alleviated in one smudge? All I can think is that it is worth a shot and it would have to be one powerful smudge. I thought about this in the middle of the night, the middle of the night when everyone is resting and the energy dynamic was not being drowned out by activity and noise. I lied awake for hours thinking about this. I really kept coming back to the idea of intention in a way that was meaningful for me. I did not get any negative vibes for pursuing this. I felt I would not be condemned for this and as if I had permission. I said a prayer to be sure and when I fell asleep it felt like a deep restful sleep.
My plan has materialized.
These were my final decisions. I would fast before hand and it would not be a food fast. I would do a media fast. I would add three new plants to my space that were known for their cleansing properties. In the rooms that I felt needed the most cleansing, I would also place salt in the corners and eliminate them later. I would test my hunches with water, vinegar, and a salt solution. I will clean my windows with a lavender solution and my floors with a lemon and sage cleanser. My candle would be a 100 percent pure beeswax candle and my abalone shell would be one that I felt a connection with.
I would cut lemons and drink a lemon tea or cleansing lemon water mixture before starting my cleanse. I would also bathe in epsom salt before the cleanse to detoxify myself. After smudging myself and the house I would make a stovetop potpourri using vanilla extract, basil, and citrus. I found a mixture that is supposed to make your house smell like Williams and Sonoma. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been there.
Once I felt the smoke from the smudging had dissipated I would light three white candles downstairs. I don’t know why I felt compelled to do this, but I do. I would also finish painting my walls white in my main living area before doing this cleanse (representational of a clean slate) and have fresh flowers on the table. I would be sure that all dead things were removed from the house before doing this cleanse.
I’d wear loose comfortable clothes preferably of natural fibers and make a wreath for my home or head made from items on my property. Because adornment seems to play a part in any ritual. I will do this when my children are at their father’s next week.
I went on multiple other tangents, but decided this would be enough. I really can’t add anymore. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
So these are my items:
Epsom Salt for bathing
sea salt for testing energy, to place in corners where negative energy is the most concentrated.
one tapered beeswax candle
A wooden match
white sage smudge sticks
Lemon sage floor cleaner
Lavender window and all purpose cleaner
grasses, branches, and leaves from the yard.
flowers that move me spiritually.
That’s it people. These are my thoughts on my last ditch purifying effort. I’ve run out of patience with time. I am a desperate woman. I could be a crazy one. This could work or be an epic fail. I have no idea. I’m going forward with the intention that this will work. It has to. If any of you are magical folk, please send me your positive energy. Any other suggestions are welcome. I want this to be powerful but I don’t want to get in over my head. I’ll keep you in the loop.