Thursday, August 20, 2009
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to photograph smoke? After many attempts, that faint wisp of grey that is just above the sage bundle and can only be seen against the background of the smudge pot is the one. That is my photo of smoke. There you go. Exciting, isn't it?
When my eldest sister was going in for her 5 bypass surgery, she was given a video to watch in the hospital regarding what to expect after the surgery. After the video was complete, she looked at me and said, "So what are you going to do so that you never have to go through this?" My response was, "Sweetie, I don't smoke at all, whereas you smoke a pack and a half a day, so why would I ever go through this?" I was remembering a time in my early 20's when I would wake up every morning to cough up half a lung and decided on the spot that I had had enough of this particular activity. So I threw away 3/4 of a pack of cigarettes and did not look back. Apparently not everyone in the world can do that. I was hooked and it took a lot of will power, but I never started up again. Considering that I smoked from the time I was 13, I figured that I had taken enough years off of my life and was determined that I was not going to spend one more minute of what was left coughing up a lung.
The very next morning after my conversation with my sister I woke up and proceeded to cough up a lung. I was quite surprised by this as it had been years and years since this had last happened. I was beginning to wonder if I was doing a surrogate cleanse on behalf of my sister. Then a resonant voice said to me, "Just because you don't smoke cigarettes doesn't mean that you don't smoke." Suddenly I realized that I had been smoking a lot of ceremonial sage. Seven clients a day would be smudged, and I would also be smudged with each client. Now, for each of them that wasn't much, but for me it was an overdose of a good thing. That is when I moved my ritual into non-toxic incenses. They are lighter and can be easily extinguished as soon as the smudging is complete. I still use sage for ceremony, but only if that ceremony is being held out doors. During indoor ceremony I do not burn the incense for the entire duration. After all, too much of a good thing is still too much. We need to be able to adapt what we do so that we don't wreck our bodies while doing something that is supposed to be healing.