Integration is an oft talked about, but usually misunderstood, part of the transformational process.
Integration is what happens after you return from a transformational experience. That experience can be a potent coaching call, a powerful seminar, workshop or intensive, a ceremony working with plant medicine, or even a vacation that moved the needle for you.
Integration is the energetic re-negotiation that happens when you return with a new way of being to the life you left.
This life is one that you created from your old way of being, and so you are returning to a you-shaped-hole that fits the old energetic shape you had when you embarked on your journey.
But there’s a problem: you’re no longer the same shape as that hole. You’ve shifted.
If you take a lock, and a key that doesn’t fit it, and continue to push these two together for long enough, eventually the lock and key will start to reshape in order to fit each other. Geologically, this is called erosion, but it applies anywhere one form of energy is bumping into another.
When we return to the world we left, we often feel frustration. Don’t people understand things can be different? Why are they relating to me that old way? I’m new and changed, don’t they see that? You don’t have to live this way people!
During this period, we often feel disillusioned by the work we did. A lot of the same feelings we used to feel are still showing up, and so, without a deeper understanding, we begin to conclude that the work wasn’t real, or that we just made it up. Over time, we become resigned that things actually can’t change, and that’s that.
Slowly, but surely, we return to our old ways of being.
Alternatively, we conclude that we just need to go back to whatever gave us the experience of the shift, and do more work there.
In reality, the bulk of your work is happening during this period.
One of the claims about Ayahuasca is that it’s like ten years of therapy in a week. That’s great, but consider then that you have ten years worth of integration to do, following that week.
Rather than attaching a disempowering story to what we’re feeling during our period of integration, we’re better served by surrendering to what is coming up.
If we are feeling angry, we typically try to figure out how to make that anger go away, so that we can get back to feeling as good as we did during our transformational experience.
Instead, a more powerful way to relate to this anger is that it’s being brought to the surface again so that we can continue to heal it.
A more powerful way to relate to what is showing up for you during your period of integration, is the stand “This is showing up for me BECAUSE of the work I did. What there is for me to do is simply allow myself to feel this.”
Integration tends to be a lot of surrender, and in the West, we don’t like that. We prefer to take action, because we’ve made that mean we’re doing our work.
Instead, we practise surrendering and simply being with.
And, as you practise this art, you will start to discover that the old ways of being fall away, and the world starts to negotiate around the new shape you are holding, rather than you returning to how you once were.
There can be no transformation without this process of integration.
Hold it sacred.