Returning to wholeness doesn’t happen overnight. No matter how profound and transformative an expanded state experience, there is more to explore. We have to be willing to continue to truly look beneath the wounded layers in order to uncover them and fully reclaim our beauty. This is what integration is all about.
After a deep transformative experience, the integration of the new information into our daily lives is an incredibly important piece of the awakening process. Whether you are in the afterglow of a plant medicine experience or another type of expanded-state experience, you will likely need to blend the psycho-spiritual realm and ‘real’ life together. It can be beautiful, tricky and sometimes a bit messy. Thankfully there are many helpful techniques for the integration of the rapid teachings of Iboga and other self-inquiry modalities to light the path!
A LOT of important shifts are happening during an Iboga ceremony, with energetic releases, profound awarenesse’s and for some people- pretty intense visuals. Shifts happen that we may not even be able to quantify, such as neurological regeneration, releasing stored beliefs/experiences and deep physical healing.
Some of these happen simply by taking the medicine, but the lasting and profound changes happen in the approach we take once we begin to integrate. The real work starts when we return back into the folds of our daily lives.
The path to self discovery does not remove challenges from our lives, but rather gives us the opportunity to learn to engage with them differently, learning how to respond rather than ‘react’. We are learning to live more from our hearts rather than through the trappings of a wounded and fearful mind.
Everything that happens in our life is a mirror, reflecting back how we subconsciously feel within. We create a reality based on our belief systems and programming. Life constantly shows us the ways we need to grow and enhance our perception of it, this can sometimes be hard to look at, but the healing received from being willing to dive deeply into ourselves. Viewing our challenges as opportunities to grow rather than from a place of victimhood, allows us to reframe our experiences in a more constructive or positive light. Then we can see that our ‘challenges’ become our biggest assets!
1. Release Expectations
It is extremely important that we don’t expect the medicine to do the changing for us. The medicine will be an agent of change by loosening emotions, stored programming and providing us insight, but WE have to put in the work to make different choices in our thoughts, behaviors and actions.
If we come to the experience wanting to be ‘fixed’ we often miss the subtle and powerful lessons and can perhaps end up discouraged or disappointed that the experience didn’t “work”. Iboga will give you what you need, but it may not necessarily come in the package that we want. We must learn to pay attention to what is showing up to be addressed.
2. Have patience
Retraining ourselves takes time, dedication and patience. Iboga does not DO it for us, it simply shows us how we are engaging with the world. If we learn how to listen, the medicine will show us how to ‘zoom out’ to a broader perspective, to become the witness to our lives rather than be mired and entrenched in our story.
From this place we are able to truly SEE and then create change. This does not happen overnight, trust and embrace the process. It can take a lifetime but it is a beautiful journey!
3. Be gentle with yourself
We all have highs and lows in the days and weeks afterward (and well in life in general), this is expected and an important part of the integration process. The highs show us our true nature and our flow state, what we are cultivating on a more consistent basis. The lows illuminate old programming that is coming up so that we may learn to release these behaviors.
Most likely they are ‘safety mechanisms’ we employed from a young age to protect our little selves from being hurt. Often as we grow and mature, these mechanisms no longer serve the same protective purpose. We need both the light and the dark. The work is to bring the two aspects into balance.
This is the process of learning to be more in the middle and embrace every unique and beautiful piece of ourselves. We must dig deeply in order to do this, and freeing ourself from judging our process is a very important step.
Ultimately the answer to healing all of our wounds is radical self-love and full responsibility for everything that shows up in our lives.This can be a steep climb at first, but the more junk we clear, the easier this is to see our innate and impermeable beauty.
4. Be PROUD of yourself!
This is a truly the hero’s journey that you have embarked on! The fact that you even showed up at all to do some of the most difficult self-study of your life is a true testament to your strength of spirit, and desire to evolve.
Even in the times when you don’t feel strong, and actually most especially in these times, remember this; You are doing everything right, you got exactly what you needed from the experience.
It almost never looks like what we expect but it most certainly is what serves our highest good at this time. The medicine has a “treatment plan”. If we are looking to heal a particular issue but there are other blockages in the way, it will work on these blocks first so as to get to the heart of the matter from a cleaner space.
5. Be OK with where you are RIGHT NOW
This medicine teaches us to be present, to not be constantly waiting for the next moment, the next day or the next week to come so that we can feel better. We are always right where we NEED to be. This is a very challenging part of the growth, but there is eternal wisdom in the present moment.
If we are only focused on getting to the point where we feel better, or life is different…we can miss why these things are happening to begin with, and what our soul is presenting us as a growth opportunity.
6. LEAN INTO in the discomfort
Be with what is coming up. Ask your ego to be the ‘witness’ of the experience and ask your higher self what these feelings or experiences are looking to teach you- lean into it and be inquisitive rather than resistant.
When we do this we connect with the wisdom of the medicine and can move through the experience more quickly.Lean in to ALL of it and don’t be afraid to truly look at what you are experiencing. It can be scary at first but it is so freeing once you can let go of old stuff you no longer need.
The more that we push back on the lessons that are coming our way, instead of being inquisitive as to why it is showing up, the more we suffer. Truly seeing how our mind creates our suffering is a huge part of the healing process.
7. Embrace the Journey
The journey to awakening our true nature is just that- A Journey. It is not a destination, there is no ‘end’ or finish line and no where to ‘get’ to. The return to wholeness comes in levels and each level is dynamic and profound in its own way.
Yes there are times when we are in the flow and feeling like we have ‘arrived’ and this is a beautiful feeling. Yet life continues to happen all around us and the next growth opportunity is sure to come, thankfully!
Most of us who are reading this can agree that we have learned a LOT from the challenging times- so embrace the ups and the downs, they are a crafty gift from our soul and the Universe along the way.
This is a lifelong process that is FULL of beauty, embrace where you are in this moment, you are right where you need to be.
8. It Takes a Village
Enlist many tools to support yourself in this journey. It is strongly recommended to have some type of coach or energy healer (or both) to support your integration process. We have some that we recommend highly but this is your process, trust your intuition on who is right for you. There are many many options to help support one’s spiritual evolvement.
This is true for anyone that comes to do deep personal work, no matter what stage of your growth you are in. It is beautiful to have like-minded friends in your community to lean on, but they are not appropriate for true integration support.
Look for someone who is familiar with the integration process and highly skilled in helping to decipher the rapid and condensed lessons that come through doing this kind of deep work. Even simply a couple sessions in the weeks after your experience can be extremely helpful.
Engaging in this type of support on a more consistent basis can deepen and strengthen our process along the journey. It also can reduce the suffering exponentially by helping us unpack what is coming up and to release it that much more quickly and effectively.
At Awaken Your Soul we are also ALWAYS available to offer extended support and help you find some clarity and often the integration tools that are right for you. When you decide to work with us we are committed to the full process- not simply the week retreat. Reach out if you need to.
9. Hit The Reset Button Daily
Can you carve out two 5 minute sessions of quiet alone time where you can sit, breathe and reset your energy? We could call it meditation, but let’s remove that label, as there can be some resistance in many of us, thinking that we unable to meditate or ‘clear our mind’, etc.
The intention in this exercise is to allow time for you to come back to you, to your center and to have a moment of stillness. We encourage a long as you feel you have, but even 5 minutes in the middle of your day can be profound.
It doesn’t have to be any special time of day (though first thing in the AM, in the middle of the day or right before bed are recommended), do whatever you can with no rules or judgement.
Even something as simple as petting one of our animals and becoming still can be incredibly soothing (they love it too!). Some say the busier you are the more time you need to be still, make the time for you, you will be amazed at how good it feels.
Some options to focus on:
– Simply breathing slowly in and out through the nose or mouth
– Reconnect with your Iboga experience or insights that you have received
– Repeating a prayer, a saying or a mantra over and over
– Revisit one main intention that you are working on
10. Nourish Your Body
It becomes much easier to care for the mind when we care for the body and vice versa. No need to be dogmatic (unless you want to) but some small shifts make a big impact.
– Sleep is amazing medicine, don’t worry if you are sleeping waaaaaay more than normal… it is not permanent but it is super healing for the body and the soul, there is a ton of work being done in your dream state that we may never be able to quantify.
-Eat fresh, vibrant and minimally processed foods. Many people find when they exit a medicine space they begin to slowly shift how they are eating. That’s not to say never eat some “cheat” comfort foods but the cleaner we keep the body the better we feel in all aspects. Start tapping into your intuition and asking your body what it needs.
-Move Your Body, exercise, spend time in nature, even if it is gentle while your body is still recovering. Do yoga, tai chi or a simple walk in nature, maybe with a pet companion. If you are used to high-impact physical activity and it is just not feeling right, listen! You will get back to feeling your energy, promise! Don’t push yourself, you have been working hard in other ways ;).
–Flotation therapy is an incredible wellness technique that compliments medicine work very well. It is a unique form of mediation, self-care, stress-relief, and is great for any achy muscles among so many other benefits. You can almost always find one in your area. It is also called ‘sensory deprivation’.
-Breakwork is an incredible tool to continue to shift and release any residual trapped energies that have been coming up. It is something that you can have access to work with daily or weekly to continue the healing process and allow the energy to move through you and to be set free. You can seek out a coach, go to group sessions or do it all on your own with a little guidance from an amazing woman we recommend to do in the comfort of your home and empowering yourself to be in charge of your own healing (she also does one on one private virtual sessions).
11. DON’T EVER GIVE UP! -Remember that something drew you to do this deep personal excavation for a reason, don’t turn your back on the call no matter how uncomfortable you feel. The medicine is working hard to help you create more internal peace by forcing you to look in some difficult places. The more work we do to clean, the easier it gets, you can do this!