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Should you ditch your daily makeup routine?

A part of almost every woman’s morning routine is makeup. Whether they go for a neutral look with some concealer and blush, or opt for a more glamorous contour and fake lashes combination, it’s no secret that women spend a lot of time enhancing their physical features for both visual appeal and mental satisfaction — no woman can deny the power they feel when sporting a bold lip.

However, there seems to be a shift in beauty practices recently, as female powerhouses such as Alicia Keys and Hilary Clinton were seen at some very public events without a spot of makeup on their faces. The message behind this small change is simple; women don’t need makeup to be fierce. Its not only empowering, but rather inspirational. The no-makeup trend has created a wave on social media with both women and men either criticizing or embracing their choice to wear makeup, in addition to posting bare faced selfies for hundreds of people to view.

Brr.

Although it would be empowering to hop on to this bandwagon as a testament to 2017, going makeup free is just not something I’m ready to commit to. I personally love the transformation that comes with a good makeup look. It gives you the ability to travel eras; from a classic 1920’s winged liner and red lips look to a modern day grunge, featuring black lips and a smokey eye.

Personalities alter with makeup. Ladies can attest to the flirty side that is revealed with the right red lipstick, or the inner goddess that comes out to play with a dark, burgundy pout.

Unfortunately, I’m still at a point in my life where going bare-faced makes me feel less confident and a little underdressed. Battling self esteem issues has influenced me to hide my imperfections behind a plethora of concealer and a dash of self loathing. But the more runs I make to the convenient store across the street in sweatpants and the unwanted guest on my forehead, the more I realize the beauty that comes with going au naturel.

The vulnerability that comes with a bare face is refreshing. It allows people a more personal view into your life. Only a handful of people are able to see a glimpse of what you look like first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. And although expanding your audience to your Chanel bags and freckles can be daunting, it is something that should be on your bucket list.

Going makeup free not only forces you to build self love and confidence, its opens the door to breathable, clearer skin- in addition to more time spent doing things other than cleaning your makeup brushes, taking off your makeup, and of course the stressful morning ritual of actually putting it on.

If Alicia Keys can hit the red carpet with her perfect flaws, an army of empowered women is bound to follow. It’s time women gave patriarchy the middle finger and stopped covering up behind over priced foundation. “Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing,” as Keys so beautifully vowed.

I’m behind you, Keys- a few times a week, especially on Sundays.

Will you join the makeup free trend? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Cleansing your new home with a sage smudging ritual

A common Cherokee proverb is “Listen with your heart, learn from your experiences, and always be open to new ones”.

Moving into a new house often feels like the beginning of a new chapter. This can be incredibly exciting, but also incredibly scary. Building a house full of love and comfort is no easy task and rituals often help to make me feel more at home. Each time I move, I have a smudging ritual to cleanse my home and begin anew.

Smudging is an indigenous tradition also known as the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. It has been a tradition for thousands of years in many clans across North America, and I was fortunate to be taught about the ritual from a Cree friend in Western Canada when I was a child.

Smudging has become a popular tradition among spiritualists as well. At the risk of it sounding like cultural appropriation, and with permission of my aboriginal friend, I have also used it for many years. The tradition differs depending on the region you live in. For example, in Western Canada, people traditionally use desert sage, sweet grass, pinion and tobacco. In the East, it is more common to use cedar, juniper, pine needles, cypress, sage, tobacco and sweet grass. Using an Abalone Shell, a traditional bowl in First Nations culture, to hold the sage while it burns is recommended because it signifies water in the ritual.

For my new home, I decided to bring desert sage from a small native arts & crafts shop near Calgary, my birthplace. Sage often comes in bundles, but can be burnt as loose leaf as well. I prefer the bundle because there is less chance of the embers spreading in your home. Find a feather for the ritual and then you are set to begin the smudging. By lighting the sage in a bowl, it releases smoke that is said to soak up all of the negative energy and bad thoughts, cleansing your space.

Once the sage is burning (embers only, no open flames needed), take the feather and cleanse yourself by moving the feather from your feet up to your head. Try to think of all the negative thoughts being dispelled in the smoke to rid yourself of negativity. If the sage lights on fire, blow out the flames and leave the embers burning. The smell of sage is earthy and has an incense-like scent. It is not for everyone, but I personally love it because it reminds me of where I’m from.

There are a variety of smudging prayers that you can say or you can complete the ritual in silence while meditating over the negative thoughts leaving your body and home. I prefer to complete this part of the ritual in silence. Be sure to cleanse anyone else taking part in the ritual. Next, I begin cleansing the home of any negative energy. Begin in the eastern corner, which represents air and the fresh breath of the rising sun each day. Move slowly to the south that symbolizes earth, and the creative inner child within. The west represents sun set and the deep introspection of darkness and water. Finally, end the cleansing ritual in the north, which is the direction of fire and knowledge, compassion, and the future of your home. Continue in a full circle ending back in the eastern corner of your home and be sure to fan the smoke in each direction. I also play drum music, which is believed to imitate the sound of the heart and say a prayer while completing the ritual.

The prayer is as follows:

May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.

May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.

May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.

May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.

May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.

And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.

After the ritual is complete, I make a feast and have friends and family over to celebrate the ritual and my new home. Because the house is cleansed, it is a good time to create positive and loving energy in the home, with the added benefit that the smell of sage cleanses everyone who attends. Another common custom is to burn sweet grass after the smudging ritual to encourage kindness and peace. I have not tried this before, but may try it this time.

The smudging ritual is a custom that causes one to pause and consider what energy we want to bring and sustain in our homes. Oftentimes, people are so busy trying to move their furniture in and continue their lives that we forget to meditate on how to create love and happiness in our new dwelling. Every new beginning is an opportunity to cleanse and recreate the ever-desirable feeling of peace in the midst of urban life. The peace of mind and renewal that comes from the ritual is worthwhile and leaves me refreshed every time.

Disclaimer: You may want to disengage the smoke alarm temporarily, or it may go off. Don’t forget to turn it back on!