Yesterday I got to participate in a Welcoming/ Opening ceremony at work.
We’ve been working in a temporary office and yesterday we moved into our newly renovated digs. To celebrate the opening of our new work space, a community elder was brought in and she performed the ceremony.
I really enjoyed being part of it. As a matter of fact, the elder gave me the burning sweetgrass so that I could help with the smudging. Smudging is a type of cleansing ritual. I had no idea what I was doing but everyone said that I did a good job.
Basically I took the smouldering sweetgrass around the room and held it in front of people so that the smoke would flow over them. Everyone did something slightly different but most people directed the smoke towards their eyes, ears, mouth, over their heads and towards their heart. I have to say that it was really a special experience.
During the smudging the elder was speaking in her native tongue and when she was done she translated what she had said into English. Finally she did a chant saying the word “Welcome” while beating a drum.
I really love this kind of stuff. Being part of this new cultural experience was a treat and I felt grateful that I was able to experience it. I feel a little silly in that I don’t know more about the people who I work with but I am happy to have the opportunity to learn.
Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know but it is important to keep an open mind and to take advantage of learning opportunities when they present themselves.