"Light up the darkness" … Bob Marley

Posted by Elizabeth Forst in Life After Paralysis on November 11, 2016 # Health

The 2016 elections are finally over. We survived months of negative televised debates and commercials, Facebook rants, and heated discussions amongst family and peers… It's been a long road to Election Day. There are so many issues and differing perspectives enough to make anyone's head swirl with confusion, uproar, sadness, elation, cheering or booing… whatever side you resonate. In times of adversity, we need to breathe and find hope and unity for our nation so that we may continue to grow in love, support one another and find peace for the world and ourselves. Like Bob Marley said, we must light up the darkness.

It got me thinking about how I handle dark situations in my life, a woman who recently became quadriplegic and navigating the throws of a paralyzed existence. What does one do on dark mornings when you resist getting out of bed due to pain, depression or the repetition of daily cares? Every day in the life of a quadriplegic is like Groundhog Day – a long and arduous process requiring enormous amounts of patience. I call in the light, the positive. And then, for my secret weapon against the negativity –I perform a sage clearing. This is what lights up my darkness.

Sage, or salvia, is a beautiful purple plant that when dried can be burned in a space to clear negative energy from an area. Sage can be purchased as a wrapped up small bundle of herbs, found at any natural food store for a mere five dollars. When burned, the sage produces a thick white smoke that has an herbal/earthy smell that permeates around your body and physical area – a technique called "smudging". Smudging with sage has been used for thousands of years across dozens of cultures to clear negative energy, enhance positive vibration and provide an invitation for protection. Every human being has an invisible energetic aura that permeates approximately 6 inches away from our bodies – this energetic sphere interacts with our physical environment and those in our close proximity, especially those in physical contact. Just because you cannot see this auric field does not mean it does not exist, for it is extremely powerful if you can tap into it. Smudging clears this energetic aura.

While seated in your wheelchair, close your eyes and have your sage clearer blow on the lit sage stick so a good amount of white smoke emits all around you. Starting from the crown of the head, the facilitator of your sage smudging moves the smoky bundle in a downwards clockwise circular direction around the body towards the feet with gentle flicks of the smudge stick towards the ground with the idea that Mother Earth is absorbing any negative energy. Then, from the feet, the smoky smudge stick moves upward through each of the seven energetic chakras starting at the root chakra, sacral area, solar plexus, heart and throat chakras, third eye with its final destination at the crown of the head. Of utmost importance is the visualization of negative energy moving away from the body absorbing into the earth all the while attracting a clear, positive energy and white light. The heaviness of negative energy lifts, and the lightness of a cleared energetic body and space resides. It is also helpful to call in the light, and quietly manifest a sense of peace, tranquility and protection from anything negative.

Smudging is a powerful tool to light up the darkness. Not only can you smudge yourself, but smudging a room can also provide a clearing technique from the heaviness of anything negative residing in your bedroom or living spaces. Often times, if I'm having a difficult day, I have my caregivers smudge the corners of my bedroom where negative energy tends to hide out. Opening a door and letting fresh air in while the negative energy is released outside allows for a beautiful flow of positive energy. It is a simple technique and the effect is priceless.

Finding the goodness in any situation can be challenging, whether it is understanding how to traverse these chaotic political times or in your personal life dealing with depression, or the doldrums of living a life paralyzed. Staying grounded and finding tranquility in stormy times is paramount – smudging is just one small way to get you there. Thank you Bob Marley for the reminder. Now let us light up the darkness.

Keep on keeping on, EB Forst

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.