In the city where I lived for the last nine years and for most of my adult dating life, it is notoriously difficult to never see somebody again. This includes your ex.
In other places, blocking somebody on Facebook might mean that you don't run into them again for months or years at a time. On more than one occasion, I have broken up with somebody, only to, weeks later, look over and see them at the same movie as me.
At one point, it was so bad that I even had an ex buy a house behind mine less than a month after our breakup.
All of these ghosts taught me a lesson, though. When geography doesn't allow you to move on, then you need to find a way to do so, spiritually.
Here are the fail-safe steps I follow to cleanse my life of my old relationship, and make room to bring in something new.
Get rid of all visual reminders of your ex.
Hopefully, if you're at the point of wanting to get somebody out of your life completely, you've already stopped talking to them.
If you are still texting them, then what are you doing? Break the cycle by taking your phone, throwing it out in the street, and running over it twice. Leave it out there until it rains.
You're going to want to do a deep clean of your apartment to get rid of any visual cue that reminds you of your ex. Start by putting all the items that belong to them in one box, and everything that belongs to you, but reminds you of them (for example, that salt lamp she bought you for your birthday) in another.
If you come across any samples of their handwriting, keep one to perform a binding spell later.
The same should apply to electronic communications as well. Go through your email and text messages, and cleanse your ex from all correspondences so you don't keep encountering their name. Remove all playlists from your Spotify.
If you are the sentimental kind, you can simply move the messages out of your inbox and to another folder where you can look at them when you don't care anymore. The choice is yours. Just know that this will not cleanse your ex from your life completely.
As for the boxes of material items, what you do with them is up to you. I recommend dumping their belongings on their front porch, and then, burning rubber as you squeal away.
Or, you know, you can always burn them.
Conduct a smudging ritual.
When the items are stowed, take a bundle of sage, and cleanse your ex and their aura from your home by smudging your space. Smudging is an ancient ritual wherein the smoke from a sage bundle actually changes the composition of the air and calms you.
Sage bundles can usually be found at your local herb shop, or if you grow sage, you can make your own by bundling it, tying it, and hanging it upside down for it to dry.
Light the bundle of sage until it smokes, blowing out any flames that might appear. Wave it over your body from your feet to your head, imagining your ex leaving your life.
If you want to whisper an incantation to accompany this action, you can repeat this a few times:
"All negativity now disperse. May this house be cleansed, free of all bad forces, thoughts, and energies. May it remain so."
When you have cleansed your body, cleanse your apartment by conducting the smoke into all corners, passageways, and doors.
Once you're finished, press the sage in a heat-proof container -- such as an ashtray or ceramic bowl -- until it stops smoking. Bury it in your backyard to complete the ritual.
Rearrange your furniture.
Once your ex's aura is cleansed from your space, rearrange your furniture so that you don't associate the memory of your ex with your space.
Put your bed in a new corner, making sure that it is not positioned in the center of your room. If you and your ex spent a lot of time in, say, the living room or kitchen, be sure to change up the furniture in both of those rooms, too.
Changing up your lines of sight will mean that when you look at your familiar surroundings, you won't automatically remember your ex sitting in a particular chair or lying in your bed.
Think of it as a way of cleansing them from your involuntary memories, just like you're cleansing them from your physical space.
Banish their name.
Make sure your friends and family know that you are deep-cleaning your ex from your life. This means that they should avoid bringing up your ex's name in conversation.
If you live in a small city like I did, be sure to specify that you also don't want to be invited to parties or gatherings where your ex is going to be. Cleanse your ex from your social circles like you cleansed them from your home.
This will make sure that, even if you blocked them on Facebook, you won't find yourself sharing a Friday night with them.
It ought to go without saying, but you might also want to let your friends know that you don't want to hear news about them.
No, you don't want to know how they are doing or who they were out with the other night. You're moving on and so are they, but that doesn't mean you need to know any details.
Cast a binding spell.
Even if you have cleansed your ex from your space, mind, and friend circle, it's still likely you are going to end up running into them, at least within the first few months after a breakup.
The universe has ways of testing you like that. Also, it's hard to set into a new routine right away, and you and your ex probably had shared spaces that you liked to go together.
A binding spell won't cause any harm to your ex. It just means that if you should find yourself in the same space, they won't be able to do any harm to you.
On the next waning moon, take an old, black T-shirt, and cut out two layers that are roughly the shape of your ex. Sew up the sides, but leave the head of the poppet open.
Through this opening, fill up the poppet with Earth and a handwriting sample from your ex (if you have it). If you don't have a handwriting sample, you can include their photograph.
You can also put in a piece of smoky quartz and amethyst, if you have small crystals on hand.
Wrap the poppet up with black ribbon while envisioning the ribbon is tying up your ex, preventing them from doing further harm from you.
Once it is completely bound, hold the poppet out from you, visualizing all of the negative energy your relationship and breakup brought you, then throw it away from yourself.
Toss the poppet in the nearest body of water, and don't look back when you walk away.
If a binding spell doesn't sound like your thing, you can always just avoid that one noodle place where you always used to go together. Whatever works for you.
Create an altar to bring new love into your life.
This is my favorite step of the cleansing process, because it allows you to put yourself at the center of your life again.
Clear off the top of your favorite bookshelf, including wiping off any dust with a cloth. This should be a space that is often within your line of sight.
Choose several objects that you consider sacred. They should be items that feel good when you hold them. In the past, I've included seashells, candles, photographs of friends, and crystals on my altar.
Whatever you choose, the items should represent you.
Arrange the items on the top shelf in the way that is most pleasing to you. As you are arranging the items on your altar, visualize what you want to bring into your life.
If your thoughts always leap to love when making a wish such as this one, I recommend wishing for love for yourself. When you are secure in your love for yourself, it allows another's love to come in.
You can replenish it with fresh flowers and new objects on a weekly basis.
While there might not be any scientific evidence that building altars and conducting binding spells actually get rid of your ex, belief never needed any proof. Besides that, many have learned by now that to cleanse your ex from your social media feed only does so much.
Conducting these little rituals of self-care gives you time to meditate and clear out your inner space, as much as the space in your home.
Sometimes, your mind is the most difficult thing to set right after a split. These little spells might just be the trick.