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Integration

Psychedelic integration 101 — part 2

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Nectara

January 12, 2022

8 min read

September 23, 2022

This is part 2 of our psychedelic integration 101 series. In part 1 we explored what is integration, why it’s so critical, and ways you can integrate. Let’s continue our journey…

How long does integration take?

The shortest answer is: a lifetime. We believe that every moment is grounds for integrating a powerful psychedelic experience into cosmic significance. The insights you can receive can be quite profound and to truly integrate, it means looking at all the different surfaces in which you interact with yourself, others, and the world itself.

The rabbit hole you enter once dedication to healing meets psychedelic therapy is made out of many different layers of trauma, patterns, pathways, and embedded belief systems. To look at integration as a second thought to a psychedelic session is missing out on the main dish! The integration is the ceremony and where the insights can be languaged out of the air and into tangible action and results.

It’s often the case that it may take years to fully integrate the insights from a powerful session into your breath, your posture, your relationships, your work, your family, your friends, your nutrition… the gifts are boundless and the cycle of change is a journey by itself.

The depths of integration and the transformative power of psychedelics are why we strongly advocate for less psychedelics, and more integration. This is a core pillar of our psychedelic wellness philosophy.

Slow over fast. Quality over quantity. Patience. Compassion. Breathe. Integrate, integrate, integrate.

Where does integration take place?

There are 4 main spaces where integration takes place:

  • Internal: Within your logical mind, emotional intelligence, and subconscious processes.
  • External: In the way you interact with the physical world; via your everyday actions and practices.
  • Collective: When interacting with other people, in your community, and within your family.
  • Spiritually: Within your ancestral lineages, your energetic field, and your higher self.

As you’ve noticed, each space offers an entirely different surface onto which your experiences can be processed, reflected on, and acted. Each area offers a new perspective and grounds for practice in anchoring the insights of your experience. What a world of opportunities! Every day really is a ceremony.

What are some integration techniques?

At Nectara, we want to foster a holistic philosophy of integration called psychedelic wellness. This framework of health and wellness starts with psychedelic experiences offering transformative insights, which are then integrated into everyday life with the support of a diverse set of modalities and perspectives. Within that view, we advocate for fewer psychedelics, and more integration focused on the mind, body, soul, and community.

Within that philosophy, we view every moment as a ceremony and grounds for integration. It’s nothing new as wisdom traditions like Buddhism have long taught to bring things back to the present moment as a rich tapestry of practice and teachings.

Here are some of the integration practices and tools you could explore. Note that some of the methods can apply to more than one area.

  • Internal: Journaling, Inner child work, Internal family systems, Trauma resolution
  • External: Yoga, Journaling, Cooking, Art therapy, Ceremony, Prayers, Plant dietas, Mindfulness, Meditation, Nutrition, Writing, Singing, Land-based integration, Physical exercise, Breathwork
  • Collective: Sharing circles, Community spaces, Relational healing, Reiki, Singing circles, Walks in nature, Men and women’s groups
  • Spiritually: Ancestral healing, Prayers, Wisdom traditions, Cultural heritage

Find what works best for you and what lights you up the most at the time. Integration often happens over many years, and as the path unfolds, new growth areas will show up that might be asking for a fresh perspective or practice.

How do I choose my integration practices?

Choose your own adventure. It will be different for everyone to find out what works and what doesn’t for them. There’s hundreds of factors at play!

Here are a few of the factors that could help you determine how you’d like to integrate:

  • Seasons: Our bodies and soul are attuned to the rhythms and energies of the planet’s seasons. It’s important to be attuned to them for our health and the practices we work into our routines. For example, summer is a yang season as it brings hot weather and more intense and outward energies. Winter, in contrast, is more of a yin season which brings calm, peace, and a time to go within ourselves. Picking the modalities and practices with the seasons allows us to be in better harmony with the world around and within us.
  • Access: What and who is around you? In some areas like cities there might be dozens of classes, courses, or guides to help you with a myriad of modalities at any time. In a rural area, not so much. Are you attuned to the resources available where you live? What is your budget for support? What is available online?
  • Body type: The body is a wise soul but we need to listen to it. What does your body need to be balanced and healthy? Are you someone who moves a lot at work and need to balance it with more calming modalities? Or do you need more fire in your life by moving more or doing cardio? Understanding your physiology and your body’s mechanisms where you are at now can help you integrate by aligning your activities to complement a harmonious and nourishing system of integration.
  • Personality: What sparks you the most? Loving your integration practices is the first step to success.
  • Culture: Reconnecting with your lineage and traditions can be a powerful vehicle for profound integration. What are cultural practices you could include in your daily ceremonies?

Journaling

Writing down insights during and after your experience is an easy and impactful way to anchor your integration process. We recommend buying a physical journal reserved only for your psychedelic experiences. Some people prefer digital journaling, but that’s not as convenient or has the immersive and creative quality of writing with a physical pen and paper.

One of the benefits of journaling is that you can refer back to teachings you gathered in the past. Those are a great way to refresh your memory of previous lessons and notice gaps in what you have integrated and what remains to be deepened.

Another benefit is that your journal becomes an effective tool for discerning which insights hold true and which ones may have shifted over time. When an understanding comes back more than once in your psychedelic experiences, it may contain more truth. Likewise, if conflicting teachings come up, it’s good to have a reference from the past to make wiser decisions on what is true or not for you at the time.

Have fun with your journal! Doodling, colouring, and playing with your words can trigger the creative side of your brain and open up the pathways that a more logical approach wouldn’t have access to.

Your journal is a sacred object. Treat it with reverence and care.

How to choose an integration guide

Getting direct support from an experienced guide is one of the most effective ways to resource your integration process. Finding the right one can be challenging as there are a lot of choices out there. It’s essential to ask the right questions up front to make sure it’s a fit.

How do you find the right fit? Here are some suggestions:

  • List out the ideal version of a guide that would align perfectly with your current goals and personality.
  • How do you feel around them? Even someone with tons of experience and an excellent reputation may not be a good fit. Working with someone you really enjoy and feel safe around is a big step towards an effective partnership. Don’t base your decision solely on credentials.
  • How much experience do they have? Navigating psychedelic spaces can be a complex and nuanced process. Do they have previous experience that could be helpful if they are new to psychedelics?
  • What kind of training have they received? Are they highly decorated psychotherapists? Or an underground practitioner who has many years of experience? Just starting out? What else have they done previous to their integration career?
  • What’s their intake process like? Do they just work with anyone, or are they selective?
  • Has that person done a lot of their own shadow work? Dedication to their own healing path is a critical aspect of finding a good guide. Be aware of people who present themselves as having figured it all out. (Spoiler: very few genuinely have!)
  • What skills and modalities do they have in their string of offerings? Are there immediate fits? Are they well-practiced in modalities you’ve been curious about?
  • Check their social media presence if they have one. What language do they use? What are their values? Political views? World views? Differences can be good, and some others might not be a fit for you. Practice discernment on what profoundly matters and what may be minor things to consider.
  • Ask people you trust for referrals. If you don’t know anyone, pay attention to client testimonials.
  • Identify your budget capacity. Gotta take care of the finances, too. Typically you’ll get more out of your budget and your process with longer-term arrangements. You’ll get to dive deeper and your cost per hour will go down. (Integration guides prefer that option, too!)

The importance of community

We’ve often been brought up with the idea that we have to figure it all out ourselves. But unless we really want to, we don’t have to do that anymore. We can let go of that old paradigm of the lone wolf and take some weight off of our shoulders. How good would it feel to welcome in support and ask for it when we need it?

We like to say that people come for the medicine, but they stay for the community. There’s so much richness possible when we invite others into our integration process. Whether it’s working with guides, close friends, your local community, your partner, men or women’s groups, whenever you share the process, you get an abundance of gifts back.

We believe it’s time to reframe the old “I got this” model to “WE got this.” The power of purpose-aligned communities and relationships to support us with our integration process is a crucial piece. We’re so much better when we are supported by others and supporting them as well. Giving is receiving, as they say, and the impacts are far-reaching.

The psychedelic experience can be a profoundly personal one. When we do that inner work and progress on our path of unfoldment, we’re also influencing and helping every person we interact with. We’re never doing the work alone and never just for ourselves. Integration is a collective effort with everyone you relate with as mirrors of one another.

The more we walk our path and do the hard work, the clearer and more authentic we can become with others. This creates increasing harmonic resonance in all our relationships, leading to more openness to collaborate, support, and empathize with others compassionately.

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Psychedelic integration 101 — part 1
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