Burn & Cleanse

As some of you had gathered from this seemingly unassuming post on baseboards, the last handful of weeks for this little family has seen some rocky patches. We don’t tend to air our grievances here on the blog (unless it’s the ups and downs of DIY), simply because we see this virtual home of ours as a happy place. Yes, we’ve been known to get off topic and freely share the insurmountable stresses involved with living in a dust bowl for months (and months), but the reason we come back here week after week (and year after year!) is probably for the same reasons you do – to share how this home is, and will constantly be, unfolding. To be inspired by you, have conversations with you, and as we often do, ask you to chime in with your ideas and help us cultivate the swirling thoughts in our heads.

Lately, it felt as though Scott and I had been handed over a big bowl of lemons, so to speak, and that bowl was getting bigger and bigger and bigger. (If it wasn’t one thing, it was another.) We were starting to get crabby with each other (which is just a terrible feeling), and our normal DIY-tasks for the weeknights and ends felt like mountains we didn’t want to climb. It wasn’t that we were angry to be installing baseboards, no, but a cloud had settled over us and things were feeling… foggy? Despite our best attempts to calmly talk to each other, our recent bout of stressors created hasty judgement and irrational thinking. We were having trouble seeing through the haze, and one day last week, we hit our breaking point.

We said, this has got to stop. We no longer wanted to be upset doing the things that we love to do! We hated that we were being so short with each other! We were tired of feeling exhausted by the idea of projects X, Y and Z – projects we would normally be thrilled to do. It wasn’t our to-do lists making us mad; it wasn’t even this never ending winter. A small dinner gathering with friends had us realizing that hey, listen up! It was up to us to turn those frowns upside down. It’s us – and only us – that can control how we respond during these times that aren’t complete sunshine. So, we did two things.

For starters, we accepted that we were ready to get back to our old selves. (Do you know how hard that is when you’re feeling so down?) And second, we tried something that I had been curious about for years (after first seeing Kathleen do the same). We burned sage.

Sage is known to cleanse, purify and bless, and in practice, it’s commonly done inside a home. (We are by no means experts, and we have the utmost respect for those that are.) This isn’t something we’d typically do, but the negative energy in our home had to go, and to be quite honest, we were feeling that we had been hitting nothing but dead ends. We were open to try something new. We not only needed to clear our minds and give ourselves a mental fresh start, but we no longer wanted this house to be a trigger for our underlying stress – especially when it was never this house’s fault in the first place. And so, we burned sage. After the initial lighting, we blew out the flame and allowed it to smolder, carrying it throughout the house. We held it up to doorways and corners of the rooms, and yes, we even held it up to us and our pets. We said, good riddance, bad vibes!

It has been cathartic in a way that we never thought possible, and whether or not the effects are placebo-esque or tried and true practice, we feel better. Our home feels better. We did the same a few more times throughout the course of this week, and we’re ready to think clearly again; we’re ready to be our best selves. And while this is so far out of our realm of normalcy (add to that our blog-writing-comfort-zone), we’d love to know more from those of you who have banished the bad. Or, maybe, you’ve considered this cleansing, too?

PS… We picked up our white sage ‘smudge’ at Whole Foods, and there’s a good bit left for many, many cleansings.

  • Sally - February 21, 2014 - 6:39 AM

    Very interesting. We are in the process of evicting a tenant for non payment of rent (very stressful) and I have been thinking about how to clear the negative energy after he has gone. My husband will think I’m crazy, but I am planning to clap the energy out of the space, something I read about on the interwebs. I think anything like this is worth a try, and I’m glad you have found something that has worked for you.

    Love following your progress and hope you can find the enjoyment of it all again!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - February 21, 2014 - 6:57 AM

    First, let me say that I’m sorry you guys are going through a rough patch. You’re right, this is always a happy place to come to and read. You guys do an amazing job at being positive and just plain *awesome* on here.

    Second, I think that burning sage is a great idea. I am not sure if I believe that it truly does anything physically to alter the aura or energy or whatever, (though I’d like to think it does). Regardless, I think the act of burning the sage is very intentional, and because of that, it’s like you’re consciously setting the new tone that can help get past an emotionally rough time.

    Finally, I love that you said “It’s us – and only us – that can control how we respond during these times that aren’t complete sunshine.” – I agree so strongly with that sentiment. I did training on that a few years ago at work, about how we are in charge of our reactions. But man, when you’re in a funk it can be so hard to consciously try to turn those negative thoughts in a more positive direction.

    All this rambling to say. . . I agree with you, loved this post, and am sending cheer your way.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - February 21, 2014 - 7:09 AM

    I am so sorry to hear that things are rough for you all right now. I totally hear you though – for us it always seems that when we are down, more and more things keep piling up.
    Honestly we have had a rough couple weeks as well and my mom actually gave me a smudge of sage and although I felt a little goofy at first walking around the house, I honestly love the feeling afterward. It smells awesome which is a plus and it was just a nice thing – I think the act of it, of knowingly setting an intention of good energy flowing into us and the home was the key.
    I really hope things start looking up for you – we are in the positive direction now (stuff has gotten fixed, pups have healed up, etc.) and I know you guys will be soon too.

    Thank you for this post and Happy, Happy Friday :-)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ 702 Park Project - February 21, 2014 - 8:34 AM

    I know this feeling all too well. Our 4 month restoration project is now in its 10th month. About a month ago, my husband and I got to a point where we couldn’t even mention the house without a huge negative cloud moving in. We were no longer finding joy in the process and just wanted it to be DONE. But after a long conversation, we both agreed to be thankful for the good things that were happening, and not dwell on the things that weren’t exactly going as planned. Things have been better, and next week we have plans to bless the house, and I’m so looking forward to it! :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - February 21, 2014 - 8:45 AM

    Oh, I totally understand. Working on a house can be draining and fun at the same time. And you’ve been doing so much hard work lately! Hope the sage (and your renewed mindset) helps. From my perspective, you’re doing an amazing job. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 21, 2014 - 8:49 AM

    Sally, I’ve never heard of clapping! And I’m so sorry you have to go through that. Just reading the words alone caused my heart to beat in panic. I sincerely hope things look up for you.

    Thank you, guys! We are feeling much better. Even writing that post made me feel better. Just a series of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances came along, but things are turning a corner, thank goodness. (We can’t remember the last time we felt so out of whack.)ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - February 21, 2014 - 9:17 AM

    I actually really like this. I’ve had a lot of financial stress this week, and at one point, I said out loud: I need to start over. As someone else said, this is a really “intentional” way of doing that. I may just have to try it myself. Thanks, and I hope you guys are able to pull yourselves out of your funk.ReplyCancel

  • zandi @ radical possibility - February 21, 2014 - 9:57 AM

    i’m always drawn to blogs that are happier, with a focus on the good sides of life rather than using it as a platform for venting. but, by immersing myself in those corners of the internet, it feels as though i’m the only one that hits walls, that fights with my partner, that just does not want to finish a project.

    all that to say, im sorry you hit the wall that we all know too well, but i appreciate you talking about it. its real, and it sucks, and im glad you’re nearing the light at the end of the tunnel! i honestly think that this spring is going to be what soooo many of us chicagoans need.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2014 - 10:08 AM

      Zandi, agreed. I enjoy reading blogs for inspiration, and I avoid the ones that vent. Even still, it’s helpful to know that the beautiful blogs have specifically curated that happy space, and that doesn’t mean there are never road bumps! We all have our bad days.

      Also? I was totally catching up on your blog while you left a comment on ours. Whoa.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - February 21, 2014 - 10:25 AM

    This post totally hit home for me today. We’ve felt lost in a bowl of lemons at our house too and hit the breaking point last night. Fortunately, after a long night of talking and listening, we came out of it with a plan of attack. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for putting it out there, it was a good read this morning.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 21, 2014 - 11:41 AM

    Angela, we’re sending good vibes your way!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - February 21, 2014 - 12:01 PM

    I believe in these kinds of ritual-type things, a form of meditation. I also have realized that my diet plays a huge role in my emotions. Sugar is soooo bad for my mind; I get depressed & downright mean!!! I also have discovered how awesome stretching before bed is; you realize just how much tension you physically carry in your neck, shoulders & back!!! It’s nuts & helps ease that “weight of the world” on your back. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 21, 2014 - 12:22 PM

    Jill, great tip! I always think I should stretch before bed, but neglect to do it. Diet is another thing we should take into consideration, especially because there are days where we’ll be so into working on a project, that we’ll totally forget to eat! Not good. We’ve been better about it, but we need to make a much better effort for our own sanity. (Scott will say, you’re getting “hangry!” – you know that!)ReplyCancel

  • Grace - February 21, 2014 - 12:49 PM

    This light is epic! It works perfectly with the basketweave tile…so chic!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - February 21, 2014 - 1:55 PM

    Best of luck getting back to “normal”. I can’t even begin to image how much stress can be brought on by a home renovation. Have you thought about taking a break from the projects? Do you work on home stuff every day?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 21, 2014 - 1:59 PM

    Thanks, Leslie! The home renovation really isn’t the problem, and that’s the most frustrating part. Our other “gloom” was, however, bringing us down during the renovations – which was causing the frustration. And yes, we’ll be taking a little bit of a break this weekend! :)ReplyCancel

  • caroline [the diy nurse] - February 21, 2014 - 11:34 PM

    I love this. My husband and I have also been in a rut but more of a physical fitness one [that was quickly spreading to other areas]. I just wrote a post of how I was starting to come out of it. It’s amazing how exercise and eating right can give you so much more energy- not that that’s news but when it’s the last thing you want to do it’s a big deal when you actually do it. SO yay for getting back on the diy horse, sage and all :)ReplyCancel

  • WEEKEND LINKS. - PINK LOVES PURPLE - February 28, 2014 - 8:04 AM

    […] Burn & cleanse?  I may have to try this… […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - January 11, 2015 - 10:36 AM

    Do you mind me asking where you got the sage? I am not sure where I can buy something like this? Did you order it online?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 11, 2015 - 11:57 AM

      Hi Sarah, we picked ours up at Whole Foods :)ReplyCancel

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