Integration Practice

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Often in life when we have a profound and life changing experience, a new awareness or sense of self is palpable and alive for us, and we don’t want to lose it, yet we are unsure of how to land it well in our lives.

Maybe we have just spent time at an immersive retreat or on vacation, or we’ve had a peak healing experience. Or maybe we are in the process of learning a new skill set or way of being.

And we have truly changed, something is fundamentally different about us, yet we also know that the new hasn’t fully landed or been owned. It hasn’t been integrated into all aspects of our life. And we’re afraid of falling back into old patterns and ways of being when we’re plopped back into our familiar and day to day life.

We want to hold on to and remember the epiphanies we’ve had, or the new mental state we have experienced or to apply the skills we have learned.

We can look at this process of embodying our transformation as a dance or as a weaving.

And in that process there are 2 basic aspects to help us integrate our new understanding.

One is active and one is passive. We tend to be really good at one or the other form of integration. Mastering both helps us really transform our lives in alignment with our new understandings.

Active Integration:

Build Bridges:

From the new awareness it’s important to begin building bridges. And to start allowing yourself to settle in and come down from those heightened states willfully. What I mean by that is…often after these types of experiences we become post verbal. We are so expanded we are unable to articulate or relate to the constructs of our everyday lives.

From that expanded state allow your awareness to settle and begin calling to mind and feeling aspects of your life. Your memories, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, relationships. Get a birds eye view, an overall felt sense, of what’s going on within and around you in your entire life experience. 

Not letting the old patterns take over, but not denying what is either, let every nook and cranny of your body and being be touched by your new awareness. Let every part of you receive the benefit, the blessing and the memo of what’s new and happening here.

As you do that recognize if there are areas that might have a harder time settling into the new flow, or receiving the new awareness. Begin a dialogue with those places and see what they may need in order to get on board.

Create a list of Commitments:

From that dialogue make a list of commitments that are generated from the resistant parts, addressing what they need to get on board. The ironic thing is that those parts are the ones with the keys of how to actually transform your life and land the new awareness into tangible form.

-Maybe there’s a way the tightness in you back knows that you need to exercise in nature 3x’s a week for it be able to sustain the new level of energy.

-Or the heaviness in your gut knows that those late night heavy dinners make it hard to get the rest and digestion you need to be as clear as you are in this new state. So you need to eat lighter at night, or stop eating earlier in the evening.

-Maybe the pain in your neck that radiates into your jaw knows that there are some new boundaries or things that need to be voiced in relationships to maintain the quality of presence you are now embodying.

-Maybe the busyness in your mind is asking you to commit to carving out a set time each day or week for self care or for creative expression of some sort.

Whatever it is, taking the time to listen to the resistant voices and limiting sensations will give you a very specific and clear path, and actionable steps, towards integrating your new insights.

Create a System of Accountability:

Once you have a list of manageable commitments create a system of accountability.

-Maybe it’s a white board with days and activities laid out that you can check off and tally at the end of the week.

-Maybe it’s finding an accountability buddy to check in with via email each week.

-Maybe you find an app (there are many) and you gameify your practice.

Figure out what’s going to work for you to hold you accountable. Remembering that this process is organic. There is no set goal, it is a moving target. Each week you can reassess your commitments and re-shape them to meet your current needs.

In this process always remember smaller commitments are better than larger ones. Taking on just a few at a time. Set yourself up for success… and grow, step by step, from there.

Over time you will not need to track some of the practices as they become fully woven into your life or no longer necessary.

Passive Integration:

Set an Intention and Surrender to the Magic:

This phase of integration happens when we're not paying attention. There’s nothing here to do or solve. It’s more about receiving.

During this phase it’s important to set a clear intention of what we’d like to see integrated, and then to hand it over to the vast intelligence and to the wisest aspects of ourselves.

It’s kind of like teaching a kid how to tie their shoes. At first they’re really focused, learning the technique, understating the concept, maybe sometimes getting frustrated….

And then they maybe have a few days where they forget about it, they go back to playing or working on something else that’s peaking their interest and stimulating their brain. And then the next time they go to tie their shoes…. they can actually do it. And a few weeks later they forget that they ever couldn't.

How does that even happen? I don’t know. And it is my absolute favorite part about learning and teaching; that how we learn is actually pure magic, that is totally beyond our control to micromanage, that it’s beyond our capacity to fully understand.

Do a Reflective Practice:

Because so much of the transformation process is Mysterious and Magical, and takes pace in the unseen realms, we don’t always recognize it happening.

And, most of our "life lessons" are spiral in nature and multilayered. We peal through things like layers of an onion. So it can feel like we're working on the same thing year after year. In reality we are in a very different place than we were a year before. We often don't even notice or acknowledge what has changed.

Doing some type of reflective work helps us get a bigger picture. It gives you an opportunity to reassess your goals and own how far you have already come.

There are many ways to reflect….

-You can take some time to journal to help you notice every single time you have integrated and landed something that was part of an intention you set.

-You can call a friend or meet for tea and review and share you successes with one another as a way of catching up.

However you choose to reflect, I believe it is a foundational aspect of learning and growth. It allows you to take ownership of your own wisdom, authority and understanding. It builds resiliency and integrity which is the true benefit of integration.

Celebrate your Achievements:

When kids learn something like how to tie their shoes we often take a minute to celebrate their achievement. At least well Loved and cared for kids get that.

This is an important step in integration, to remember to celebrate our achievements and receive the bio chemical benefits of that celebration. It plays a significant role in growth, learning and healing, cementing in the new neural pathways through positive reinforcement.

You get to determine what celebrating looks like for you.

-Maybe it’s taking yourself out for a walk in a place you Love.

-Maybe it’s doing a little dance to your current favorite song.

-Maybe it’s messaging your accountability buddy and receiving their reflection and acknowledgement. 

-Maybe it’s getting a massage or scheduling a day cation in nature.

It’s not so important what you do, or how flashy it is, more that you get a genuine rush of pleasurable sensation to steep in, that is connected to your deepening embodiment and new way of being.

You can then use that positive momentum to reinforce your intention and update your commitments, further transforming your life.

It's amazing how much our minds and resistance soften into coherence when they receive  acknowledgment, nourishment and support.

Not taking the time to integrate profound insights can de-stabilize the system. If we spend too much time seeking out peak states, escaping our life, and then trudging through our day to day….There becomes a rift and a split between our growing level of awareness and the content/context of life experience. And this is painful and creates symptoms of discomfort and disease.

These practices can help alleviate that rift, restoring balance and helping your entire system and life evolve. I hope that they are helpful to you.

Here’s a little re-cap:

Active Forms of Integration:

-Create Commitments out of the expanded Awareness and it’s interface with internal resistance.

-Create accountability systems that work for you around those commitments.

Passive Forms of Integration:

-Set an intention.

-Surrender to the Magic. With faith and trust, let go.




With Love and Blessings,

Gitanjali Hemp

Art 'Photosynthesis' by Justin Williams

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