Meditating on the Beach

Integration

Post medicine ceremony integration can be challenging. Whether it is the Amazonian liquid nectar, a sacred gathering, other medicine ceremonies or any type of deeply spiritual/shamanic work, re-integrating back into daily “normal” life is rarely “back to normal”. The first few days can sometimes feel particularly rough, leaving you feeling so out of sorts that you may second guess everything that you just KNEW was true while in the ceremony space or it can be extremely enlightening, nirvanic. I would like to share with you some practical tools for integrating back into daily life.

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Re-entry can be a challenge on occasion for a few reasons:

After mystical experiences, your sensitivities are heightened far beyond your normal thresholds.

So, lights, sounds, voices, and other sensory inputs that were previously completely tolerable to you (perhaps even enjoyable) can suddenly feel jarring, disconcerting, and downright unpleasant. The noise of traffic, airplanes, air conditioning, your refrigerator, your neighbors talking, dogs barking, and all the “white” noise in your life can become amplified – making it difficult to focus or relax.

If the work was particularly strong, there is a good chance that you experienced firsthand the unity and connectedness of our universe.

 

But this unity is not immediately obvious to everyone in your life, nor is it easy to stay connected to as distractions and obligations pile up and time passes.

 

You want to shout about it from the rooftops, but not everyone in your life “gets” it. Your existing group of friends and/or family members may not be the most supportive people when it comes to talking authentically about spiritual experiences. Prejudice, judgement, lack of personal experience, cultural or religious dogma may prevent them from hearing you with an open mind. Because they care about you, they may express concern stemming from their own fears about what you have been through. KEY TIP: Remember that anything you hear along those lines is an expression of love, no matter how misguided it is or how it’s stated. Even with supportive or curious people around you, ceremonial work is so deeply personal that there may be no one that can fully understand or relate to your experience. This can create feelings of isolation, depression, and a strong desire to escape back into the medicine realms. But escape is never the answer. (Please know and understand that my guidance with you does not end because you returned home. Please feel free to reach out to myself, Mother Owl, at any time following our work together. I will assist you whenever possible.) Medicine work is most powerful when you are open to receive teachings and healing, rather than being in a state of desperation or lusting to escape reality. There ARE many people who understand ceremony and would love to hear about your experiences, regardless of whether they are similar to their own.


You may feel disconnected from your body. Quite often, glimpses of spiritual enlightenment can leave you feeling physically shaky, ungrounded, and a bit ethereal. The heaviness of our everyday world can feel totally dissonant with the peaceful, beautiful, artistic, synchronistic, spirit-drenched version of reality that you left behind when the ceremony ended.


Reality is not as it seems. Especially with shamanic medicine work, it becomes abundantly clear that everything in our world/universe is not what it appears to be. Time, energy, light, and matter all take on new properties that are illuminating, expansive, exciting, and beautiful. Spirit and Soul are more immediately accessible. It can be sad, frustrating, and even scary to “lose” the vision that medicine exposes you to, and have it replaced with the oh-so-mundane world of cars, billboards, computers, and violence.


You may be tempted to relapse into old patterns and habits. You might find yourself going back into ways of being that you thought you “cured” in the medicine work. For example, relapsing with drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviors. This can happen because these things are available to you, they are familiar, and even though you do not intend to go down that path, you are not sure what else to do with yourself. This can create further havoc if you judge yourself harshly for these “slip-ups”.

You suddenly want to quit your job, leave your marriage, leave society, or make other drastic life changes. The information and insight from your spiritual work may indeed leave you feeling pretty clear about who and what do/do not belong in your life. *And* it is unwise to act on that information immediately following ceremony because all of the above may also be happening for you. 

 

Here is a question: How do you know if you are having trouble integrating?


If any or all of the below resonate for you, then you would benefit from the re-entry tips that follow. Please also feel free to share this article with others who are returning from medicine ceremonies or shamanic work, (such as Ayahuasca, Huachuma (San Pedro), Psilocybin, (Mushrooms), Kambo, Iboga, Sapo, Bufo, or Ibogaine.

• You are having trouble sleeping.

• Significant changes to your appetite (increase or decrease)

• Feeling jittery and highly sensitized to noise, lights, smells, etc.

• Moving from one emotion to another

• Higher-than-usual anxiety and/or feelings of isolation

• Feeling strong desire to work with medicine again immediately.

• Falling into old (sometimes INCREDIBLY old) patterns and habits.

• Feeling deeply misunderstood by, and potentially turned off by people in your life that you were previously close to.

With all this possible aftermath, it can make you seriously doubt that deep spiritual work is worth it. In almost all cases, most feel it is SO worth it! There are COUNTLESS eventual (and sometimes immediate) rewards for coming home to yourself, unwinding your patterns, and learning how to walk forward in your life with power and grace.

These rewards are not something you “earn” by doing the work… They are not necessarily material in nature, and you have no guarantees (ever) of an easier time while you’re here. These rewards are a deep sense of personal power, an open heart, an ability to create authentic connections with others, and a strong sense of self-trust.

Changing your life completely is not easy, or everyone would be doing it more often and much more rapidly.

But those who are brave enough to face their inner darkness, ask hard questions of themselves, and take responsibility for their actions and reactions have INCREDIBLE potential for their lives. Often, we can feel alone, misplaced and like we do not belong. Take from us and many others that have done medicine work and we continue to attend sacred medicine ceremonies, and as healers,
our journey to heal, never ends. We will continue until we return to the universe.

So…. hang on with your re-integration. It really is all worthwhile…

Here are some tips to help you land back on planet earth and live a life path with what you came here to do.

1. Cultivate a supportive community.

If you desire to share your experience, ask questions, and explore further. First and foremost, please know that whether it is us that served you or another facilitator/practitioner, once you attend these ceremonies, I and any assistants holding space are here for you always. There are also a number of open-minded online communities to start with what resonates with you, which may lead to local connections, but give it some time before you dive into storytelling…

2. Do not share your experiences too soon or too widely.

The visions and insights in your ceremony or gathering were meant specifically for you. They are deeply personal to you and your journey, even if some of the messages and symbols seem to be similar to others’. Sharing with your fellow participants within the ceremonial space or circle may be part of the ritual design and this is usually a facilitated process. That is not what we are talking about here. Once your circle is opened or the gathering ends, it can be a huge temptation to share your journey with the guy next to you on the plane, strangers on the bus, friends, clients, etc. But if you immediately start sharing with others the details of what you saw, it is an energy leak and can even dissipate spiritual power/insight. And, if someone expresses shock, disbelief, or anger at what you say, it can make you defensive and irritated; energies not at all in resonance with connection, trust, and love. Thus further removes you from the state you have worked so hard to access. Share with like minded individuals other than those you attended the ceremony with in the beginning. I suggest that you think of your journey as a private inner fire to cultivate and nurture. Once it is nice and strong, with plenty of internal fuel, then you can share a bit of your experience (with discernment). After a few weeks, you will run less of a risk of being deflated or feeling defensive if you are met with any opposition. If you feel like you need skilled support with a Shaman or therapist, reach out to me and I will be happy to connect you with someone if you are feeling I am not your best fit. Never feel obligated to the person you first worked with when seeking assistance. Sometimes you are being directed to someone else. There is no judgement or should never be any judgement in feeling the need to look elsewhere.

3. Take time for personal reflection/meditation.

Journaling, shamanic journeying, or meditation can be excellent tools to help you understand and put words to what is initially a wordless state of knowing, seeing, feeling, being. Putting language, imagery, metaphor to it can help you make sense of what you saw, felt, knew and help you retain that understanding going forward. Meditation can also help you continue to practice being a Witness to your thoughts and yourself.

4. Practice being The Witness.

Learning to Witness (and not label or judge) your thoughts, behaviors, and yourself is a lifelong practice that will serve you in every situation (and deserves a full post of its own). Being a “witness” means that you notice your thoughts without attaching to or identifying with them. You simply observe yourself (and others). This observation and “mindfulness” practice keeps you from getting tangled up in your emotions, stories, and patterns and allows you to watch them, as if you are watching the sky change with the weather. With practice, you can then notice and release judgements, and return to a state of compassionate open heartedness toward yourself and all beings.

5. Eat grounding foods.

To help you reconnect to your body and root yourself firmly on Terra Firma, eat foods like root vegetables, sustainably sourced meats, nuts, and bone broth as a few suggestions. Being grounded helps you feel safe, secure, provided for, and creates an overall sense of well-being… Feeling rooted and stable creates a sense of self-trust that you can handle whatever comes your way.

6. Rest and hydrate.

Naps and extra water or coconut water will work wonders for your nervous system and energy levels. Sometimes a bit of lemon in your water, will also help to detoxify. You have likely just hit a major RESET button on many aspects of your physical, psychological, and emotional self. Even if you are not sure why, you are probably fatigued, outside of the physical stamina required for the gathering, ceremony, or other work. Rest is always recommended when we are in a growth spurt. Just like when we are babies, sleep can help replenish the extra energy it takes to evolve. Go to bed earlier than usual and avoid electronics at bedtime to allow your body to shut down properly. The additional water will help modulate your emotions and assist any cycles of purging or flushing of toxins that need to complete.

7. Express Yourself.

Spirituality, ceremony, and medicine go hand in hand with art. Your Heart and Soul yearn to express themselves, often to be creative. This does not mean you need to become an “Artist” – a suggestion that perhaps some simple lines and spirals are all that want to come through, coloring in a beautiful coloring book… Allowing yourself freedom to express beauty, color, and form is liberating and affirming. Other options if these items of expression don’t resonate, maybe playing/learning instruments, dance/movement, writing songs/stories/poems, crafts, etc. Choose what suits you best and if these ideas feel like too much pressure, then go for creating something purposefully unskilled! Everyone’s feeling of creativity is different, do what allows you to vibrate with your creativity. Let yourself have fun with it.

 

8. Be kind and gentle toward yourself and others.

You are not always going to be perfect at this. No doubt you will make mistakes, slip back into old habits, speak, or act unskillfully… Following this type of inner work and guidance can create many types of ups and downs emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. You will certainly observe others in their imperfection (that part is easy, ha!). This is ohhhhhhhh-kay! It is all part of being human. There is a beauty in forgetting because it makes the remembering all that much sweeter. Mistakes are gifts, and all things can be ok, depending on how we frame the lesson, event, or experience. Everything we do provides us with information and feedback; opportunities to re-center, re-prioritize, re-claim, re-turn. Life is like a shoreline… We never arrive at a perfect center point. We constantly dance back and forth like the tides… Forgetting, remembering… it is all part of the dance…for everyone. Allow them and yourself to be imperfect. Entrust everyone to their own strength and courage, including you. You can handle this, you got this!

9. Track signs, synchronicities, and symbols.

Deep spiritual experiences of all kinds leave a lasting impression, often in the form of patterns, symbols, signs, and synchronicities. Whether it is a repeating number (like 11:11, 222, 333, 11:44, 444 etc.), a certain phrase, a song, a color, a shape… these things take on personal meaning and become talismans of your connection with the Sacred, both in waking reality and in dreams. Pay attention and make it a game to notice and acknowledge these winks from the Universe/ Source/God/The Divine/Goddess… They are meant to help you remember who you are and let you know you are supported in your journey. Always journal your experiences, it not only may help with a release but there are often messages sent to you, you don’t want to forget them. They might not resonate with you immediately, but when you look back later, they often do at that point.

10. Refrain from making major decisions for a few weeks.

Once you have had time to fully ground, download the wisdom and insights, and allow it to slowly percolate through you until it feels bone deep, then it is time to begin making shifts in your life circumstances… doing so from a place of pro-action rather than reaction makes all the difference in how those decisions will ultimately feel. You do not need to rush.

Even without re-entry challenges of this nature, it is natural to want to extend and hold onto the bliss and peace for as long as possible. Trust that they are always with you, and you truly have nothing to lose. When the feelings begin to absorb back in, you may feel frustration or grief… allow yourself that and focus on the signs of support and magic that are truly everywhere you look, if you desire to see them. Putting the time and effort into post medicine ceremony integration is just as important as the ceremony itself.

 

Create a regular spiritual or shamanic practice for yourself to tap into guidance, connect with your Soul, listen to your body, and give yourself space for stillness. Life will no doubt get busy again, and that’s okay… All the spiritual work in the world does not help a thing if it cannot assist you with your everyday life. So bring it down to the ground and trust yourself, the universe, and the Sacred design of your path.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your network and send it to others who will benefit from it. May your reintegration be as smooth, beautiful, powerful, and lasting as possible. May your evolution be everything more than you could have imagined and for the best and highest good of all beings.

 

CREDIT FOR THIS POST-CEREMONY INTEGRATION SHEET GOES TO LEAH MOTHER OWL - THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO SHARE THIS <3

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