Gathering is MEDICINEHEALINGCONNECTIONRESILIENCEGROWTH
Gathering Groups Integration Guide
What a Journey!
Below is a guide to help you through these next days as you begin to integrate the things that came up for you.
A metaphor about emotional healing
It may be helpful to think of your experience as recognizing you were carrying a backpack filled with all sorts of events, memories and beliefs from your life. The medicine allowed you to take off that backpack and look inside. Some of the things you found you were able to let go of easily and completely, simply just removing them from your backpack. There may have been other things you hadn’t known were in there at all and you were able to take them out, have a good look at them, possibly see them in a new way, and either choose to release them, or put them back in the backpack to continue to work with and deal with as you move forward now in your everyday life.
You have the opportunity now, and in the days, weeks, and months that follow, to continue to take off that backpack, whenever you choose to, and examine the things inside. If they are serving you well, you choose to keep them with you. If they are no longer serving you well, you may choose to let them go or continue to work at letting them go.
The real “work” begins after the active session as you integrate the trip experience into your everyday life.
The medicine has done some heavy lifting for you. Many researchers think that the medicine helps us interrupt long-standing thought and behavioral patterns that have kept us “stuck”. These deeply embedded neuro-pathways become open to new ones; new pathways that are congruent with your values and life-goals. Integration is the process where you will practice these new networks to form and reinforce them.
What are some of the core lessons you learned during your trip experience? You get to decide on the main direction you want to take and the new learnings you want to focus on.
The breadth of research done in this area suggests that integrating your experience is the key factor in long-lasting change. The Integration Journal that follows is a helpful structure to start much of that integration work.
We always aim to connect as a group two times following your active session. However, we will also be available through messaging, email, or phone calls to follow up and help with integration and to answer any questions, even outside of our group meetings. If you would like, we will help get you connected with a therapist if your integration work is beyond the scope of our group. Some may feel called to repeat the treatment. We suggest waiting a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before another active session – this gives you time to let the lessons from your first treatment settle and integrate.
Making The Changes, Doing The Work
Integration refers to bringing insight from a psychedelic experience into your everyday life. Although spontaneous healing may occur, typically the experience opens doors to paths of healing: the things which have kept us stuck have now been lifted and we are free to make some changes.
Learning to integrate a psychedelic experience takes time and effort – it does not magically happen overnight. These questions will guide you through an integration process which includes some key reflection exercises. The integration process is very personal but the most important part of the process is to stick with it and trust it. Part of the unique integration experience we highly value is called Internal Family Systems (IFS), a beautiful framework for developing an on-going relationship with all our parts.
We will aim to help you translate your experience so that the learnings from your active session will become an integrated part of your life. Below are some questions to get you started with this process. We encourage you to take time with each one, but it may be that not every question relates to your experience. If that is the case, just let those go and move to the next one.
If you have your own regular meditation process, please make use of this over the next six to eight weeks. If not, here are a few suggestions that have proven to be effective:
Waking Up Meditation App
Headspace Meditation App
Books – For many people, reading or listening to Wisdom literature can aid substantially in the integration process.
Talk to people in your life that you trust about your very personal and meaningful experience. Talking to others helps solidify the new neural pathways in our brain...this will aid in long-term change and growth.
Journal for at least the next month or so.
As mentioned, integration is not automatic, but if you take the time and energy to plant the beautiful seeds given you during your experience, you will begin to see meaningful and lasting change in your life.
1. Write a one-page (or more) narrative or detailed description of your experience. This may be challenging as so many of these sorts of experiences are hard to describe with words. You may wish to try to put a bullet-point outline describing what happened. This should be done in the first few days as, just like a dream, the details of the experience will tend to drift away.
2. What were the three most important insights you had during your trip?
a. Write these down in detail
3. What were two significant experiences you had during your trip?
a. Write these down in detail
4. What did you learn about:
b. Another person
c. An important relationship
d. The patterns you wanted to break
e. Your life
f. God/the Universe/Life/Source
5. What were two important perspectives you took from your experience?
6. Revisit your intentions and reflect how they were, or were not, addressed during your experience.
7. What do you most want to remember/hold onto about your trip experience?
8. What instructions, if any, were given to you?
9. Is there a core idea you want to hold onto moving forward?