With the beginning of a new year, many people look to improve their health, wellbeing and spirituality in the hopes of finding healing, growth and purpose -- and it's natural to look for something to use or try out that may help things along. For some, deciding to smudge (the cleansing of a person or space by burning plant material such as sage, palo santo, cedar, sweetgrass, etc) can seem like a positive step -- but there are some things you should be mindful of before you start.
Culture is not an aesthetic, it isn't a theme or a vibe, it's not a costume or a trend. Culture is about heritage, pride, survival, resiliency, life-affirming connections -- and it's hugely significant. It's rich, vibrant, and nurtures vital lifeways. Culture is simultaneously the preservation and celebration of the past, the present and the future. It's not, and never should be, something that's picked apart, stripped of all its meaning, homogenized and sanitized to be used by those it does not represent.
If you live on colonized land, such as the United States, how much do you know about the Indigenous People who are its original custodians? Do you know which tribes and nations resided in your specific area before forced removal? Do you know where they are now? I would take a guess that maybe a lot of you don’t, and that’s something we should all work on to rectify.
Writing prompts can help give us content ideas or alleviate writer’s block when it strikes, but they can also be an opportunity to pause and reflect. We can use them to practice gratitude but also challenge ourselves to examine how we practice our humanity.