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Watch: What is Psychedelic Integration?
November 17, 2022
10 min read
In this recorded panel with our psychedelic support guides Michael, Erin, and Chris, we discuss the basics of psychedelic integration. Would you like to learn more about what it is and why it's so essential to transformative psychedelic therapy experiences? Read our Psychedelic Integration 101 article.
Read the transcript
Pascal: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Psychedelic Integration Panel. I'm your host, Pascal Tramble. I'm the co-founder of Nectara. We're a psychedelic support ecosystem, and today we're discussing the beautiful and wonderful topic of psychedelic integration. What does it mean, what does it look like? Why do we do psychedelic integration?
Lots of really interesting questions with some really beautiful people that we're talking to today. I'm joined by Chris. Hi Chris.
And hi Michael. All three are guides and friends, and really delightful and humble to have them on here today to talk with us. Do you wanna all give like a quick introduction to people out there?
Erin: Sure. I'll go first.
Ladies first. My name is Erin. I'm a Nectara integration guide. I'm also a embodiment facilitator. I host experiences that bring beings into the heart, through the body, through the breath, through the quieting of the mind. And my intention for most of my days is to to see how anchored I can be in the heart while navigating reality in all directions.
And I'm so happy to be here with all of you.
Pascal : Thanks, Erin.
Michael: So my name is Michael. I live on traditional Sinixt territory in southeastern British Columbia. And my, my master's degree is focused on integration of transformative experiences. So I'm really passionate about how to make long term transformation happen and Yeah, I'm also very much into eco psychology and a lot of my integration in counseling work is nature based and linking our psychology with the broader ecology in which it evolved in.
So I'm really grateful to be working
Pascal: Thanks, Michael.
Chris: Chris Rodman here. Pretty much neighbors with Michael Jeffrey, relatively speaking. And I've been on the plant medicine path since 2010. Pretty deeply. Had a,
It was informed and followed by some deep immersion into theasa meditation and 2010. That was the year I finished university and the year of the whole ceremonial plant medicine work chapter opened up.
And currently I'm a guide with Nectar, Great honor. And I'm opening the doors for plant medicine facilitation with my beloved partner, Lindsey.
Pascal Tremblay: Beautiful. Thank you all. What is psychedelic integration? My favorite definition of it comes from Houston Smith, which he says so eloquently that it's the challenge transforming flashes of illumination into abiding light. Basically bridging the peak experience of psychedelics into the everyday life is what he's sharing.
Defining what psychedelic integration is
Pascal: And I, I love that definition, but I'd love to hear from anyone that wants to share what is your definition of psychedelic integration? What does it mean to you?
Michael: I can go with that. I'm pretty informed by transformative learning theory. And in transformative learning theory, the start of transformation is having a big experience, which they call a disorienting dilemma. And so very often the psychedelic journey, our plant medicine journey is this thing that disorients our usual worldview, the way that we perceive the world.
And a lot of parts of our system are, thrown off by this. And they can't keep up with the new information that's come in through opening our mind through this psychedelics. So the integration is allowing the different parts of our system to catch up to the new information that we get downloaded through this psychedelic journey.
How I define it is when the disorienting impacts of the psychedelic journey in all our bodies, so physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, have regulated and are now balanced with the new information that came through the psychedelic journey, and it's not disorienting anymore, is' our behaviors and relationships have updated
Erin: That's beautiful. Michael, when you were, Yeah. But what came through for me was this idea of writing a brilliant essay and then if there's no integration, like you don't click save and you've just written this thing and then it goes, So the process of integration being what?
Allows that experience to be saved into our cellular memory in a way that actually leads to not only a, like a conceptual shift, but a behavioral shift, a trait shift. And it feels like the counterpart, like the soulmate of ceremony is integration and you can't really have one without the other or else it's an incomplete it's an incomplete diad.
Pascal: Yeah. , That's my definit. I love that analogy of the clicking save document. It's like you're going to ceremony and Gmail eats your really long email you just wrote as a draft that you just lost it. That's love that.
Chris: See if I can riff on a few pieces from each of you. That's like where there's smoke, there's fire, and that integration is like the rising from the ashes, from the fire of that transformative journey. And yeah, there's a real period like a real window of ripeness and that where there's a precious opportunity to lay in some new grooves.
And something about the intensity of the experience that you spoke to. There's this increase of entropy that happens in our inflexible brains. And then it gets jolted out of its old patterns or it's like there's a snow globe. And there were some previously like familiar tracks that had been made use of, and then all of a sudden you get it all shaken up and you get this fresh field of powder and now you know you've got the.
This opportunity, this potential of authorship to really decide who do I want to become with this fresh kind of view, so to speak. So maybe integration is about, yeah, being clear on who it is you wanna become in the aftermath of which you've experienced. And certainly there's can be a lot of letting go and releasing of illusions and limiting beliefs that opens up the ways for new ways of being.
It's all kind of anchoring that in and nourishing the seed and the gift of what was received with good elements to have it take root and grow and flourish in your.
Pascal: And why is psychedelic integration important? There's a lot of people that are entering journeys or experiences without fully understanding what is it exactly and what are the benefits of it.
Why is psychedelic integration important?
Pascal: Why engage in psychedelic integration?
Michael: I can go there's so many benefits to it. Fran Boza one of the more popular psychedelic guides in the west of contemporary Times, she says something like, It's an insult to the potency of this. Transformative work to not integrate what has been revealed. So in, in one way, it just feels like a respectful, honoring, if you're gonna go into a psychedelic journey, it's a lot of time and effort and energy and such riches can come of it.
I think of it like you're going into this cave of your inner world and mining out these precious jewels, and then you can just put them in your pocket and leave it as an experience. Or you can do the integration work to, embed them in a ring or a piece of jewelry that you can, wear to the world or give its gifts.
And it, it takes this really deep journey and brings beauty to the rest of the world. Outside of that and, without good integration, then the benefits that come don't necessarily benefit you or others. They just stay as this separate distinct experience that happened in the plant medicine ceremony.
And there's always gonna be some bleed out in integration, but the more you do, the more the gifts from it can be benefiting yourself and others in the world.
Erin: Yeah. What comes up for me around integration, I love that analogy of the jewelry, Michael, is it can be really challenging when you see something that you can't unsee, that you have a, an awareness that opens something or gives a different perspective or creates a desire for a different kind of orientation to reality.
And when there is an integration, there's almost like. You can't unsee something. And from my experience there's this tension between but wait, there's this experience that I had and I know something could be different and maybe some of my suffering could be alleviated, but if I'm not taking the time to really turn towards the experience and bring it into my body, then I'm left looking across the river at this experience that I maybe don't remember, but I remember the feeling of possibility.
And there's there can be this like yearning a little bit of disorientation and a little bit of What, so what do I do now? And then eventually what happens is we go back to what is, what we know and what's comfortable. And then there's a, let me go back to the medicine to see what I forgot.
So it's integration presents an opportunity to not have to keep going back to the well, but to be able to really be, become the become the well of nourishment and inspiration from that experience no matter what you're doing, wherever you are.
Pascal: Beautiful. I hear a lot of the. Some of the common goals of integration is realizing you are the medicine.
And somewhere along the path, sometimes we do have these revelations, but I love that analogy of coming back to we are the medicine and not having to chase healing, which is very prevalent in the space of psychedelics. And I think it's a direct relationship to our understanding and application of integration.
And you're right, once we do, like Michael was sharing, the more we do integration, the more we actually harvest the gifts of the ceremony. There's always more layers to explore. And so one ceremony can become a, a year long endeavor to integrate. I'm still integrating my first Ayahuasca ceremony from six or seven years ago, and there's a lot of gifts there.
Chris: Yeah, it's it's as important as you make it. And in a sense we reap what we sow.
And it can look so many different ways. And I think the measure of am I integrating if there's any question of that in a person's mind is how has my life changed? Am I feeling more love, harmony, beauty? Relaxation, surrender, trust, clarity in my life. And relative to what was before then, that integration is probably taken root and and having its effect, whatever it is that you're doing.
Pascal: . . And what are some challenges that can happen after an experience? When there's no integration present or very little?
Erin: I can share, an experience I. Had the experience of sitting in a really a powerful ceremony, that medicine ceremony. And then the day after I had, I was traveling somewhere and that week I had stacked as it was any other week and quite full of work, of clients, of teaching, of moving around.
And the most basic level the reason for integration or the challenge that can happen is it is a lot on the body and it's a lot on the nervous system. And it's a lot on what it's a lot on this vessel. And Really properly giving the space and the time for integration is so kind for, for our being.
My experience is, was I ended up getting sick physically and then mentally and emotionally, and I just felt after this really peak, beautiful life changing rainbow laden experience, reminding me of my connection to oneness, I found myself in this deep, dark depth of tired and contracted, and my liver was pulsing and my throat was tight, and I couldn't really sleep.
And so I just wanna speak to the body, like these medicines go through our body. And so that, that piece feels really important to name.
Michael: . I'll add a couple pieces to that too, to, to the challenges of integration. I think a more wild one, like using the metaphor that Erin shared before of.
The experience happening on one side of the river and then you standing on the other side. And I think this one challenge is just speaks to the need for support with and community around integration. But it's a lot of work to build a bridge to go back over to the other side. And I think a lot of people just give up because there's a lack of resource within their system to go back over.
And then, the risk there is you just don't change really. You had an experience but it didn't really change your life. And then a bit more dangerous challenge that I see in integration, and Erin just spoke to this a little bit, but kinda like to think of trauma in a capsule or a file and then if you bring the psychedelics online, it gives you so much resource and capacity.
And the master teachers bring so much wisdom they can really open up these capsules or open up these files. And. Depending on how much resolves within the session, those files or capitalists can stay open within your life. And if you don't give enough time in the following days or weeks to integrate it, they can cause major problems.
I in the past I've seen people I've worked with have major family blowups and disown their children or, have some major symptoms that they just, the too much trauma got opens and it wasn't regulated sufficiently and it led to long term issues. So it is really important to make sure there's enough holding on the back end so that the files get closed up and resolved well or put on the shelf until you revisit them again with enough support.
You might hear some people like going off the deep end, ending up in a. Psychedelic induced psychosis. This is cuz there's not enough integration holding on the back end.
Pascal: Yeah, so integration, is really honoring the power and the sacredness of the medicine too, and how much openness and can do on our capsules and our files. Like it can open up a lot of like different avenues for our psyche and for our life that it really does require like a deep, intentional dedication to the integration process.
Chris, did you wanna add something to that around what are some challenges that can arise if you don't integrate properly?
Chris: You just, I think there's like a breaking of trust that can happen with oneself. As an example, my last ditta, I came to a pretty strong realization that there was a lot that I hadn't integrated from the previous ditta.
And I think a really important thing is that I noticed that and to not make it wrong or go into a shame response or Oh my God, I didn't integrate right the right way, or, like just, or induce fear about the need to like integrate appropriately and put all kinds of pressure on that. I did notice that, oh yeah, my confidence is really off and oh, here are the reasons why.
Because I got these things and I didn't follow through and take accountability and have the conversations or take the actions that I needed from the information that I received at that time. And it's okay. I still have that opportunity. I can, every moment is a new moment to start again.
Building trust, following through, taking the lessons and nurturing them and letting them have their effect. And I've been doing that since that last one, and it's fantastic. . The next integrative step for me has been opening up the doors for facilitation and I actually resisted that for quite a bit.
And and it feels like game on now and the, yeah, I can see the benefit playing out and it's very inspiring to, to keep moving forward.
Pascal: Yeah. Thanks for sharing. Yeah. What are some common misconceptions about integration? I think for me personally the main one is that integration is one call or a group circle after a ceremony.
And then you can go home and your integration process is not complete, but it's closed to me. Integration's a lifelong, journey. It really is, like our tagline nectar, like our philosoph, is that every day is a ceremony because integration can really happen not just after the ceremony, but like every moment in our life is a grounds for integrating bridging, like Michael was saying, bridging the insights into our bodies and our words and the way we interface with life itself.
And so it's a beautiful journey but also it's not a short one.
Common misconceptions about psychedelic integration
Pascal: Are there misconceptions that people have around integration?
Erin: I say as a. Yeah, recovering perfectionist. That , I get caught on the piece of am I integrating right? Is this okay? Like, how do I do this and make sure I'm really savoring because I don't want the capsule to open and not be able to, I don't wanna, I wanna make sure I'm doing it right.
And there can be a there can be a kind of loftiness of integration when really I love the question of how do I wanna greet my experience today? How do I wanna nourish what this relationship with the medicine nourish myself inside of this relationship? How do I wanna spend time with where I was in my psychedelic experience?
And there's so many different ways to do that and it's looks pretty different for everyone. I would also say that, A misconception that like we have to do it ourselves. That it's like just us to figure out if we tend to sit, have these journeys in songa and community and the integration process, having support for it is really beautiful.
And I think amplifies the gift of the medicine when we share it and we work it together through our reality.
Pascal: To say that we come for the medicine, we stay for the community because it really is like rum us that we're walking ourselves home.
Michael: Some really great points there.
Erin? I just speak to the same question, Pascal, and I think there's the probably two, two main things I see in. Misconceptions around integration, and one is like, Oh, I don't need to do anything. Like I, I went to the ceremony and it's all done. And the other is like the extreme part of the perfectionism Erin talked about, but another was just like, I need to totally change my life around completely this week because of what happened.
And that it needs to be rushed or be this intense life changing process. But, integration would be really gentle and slow and sweet and doesn't need to totally upend your life. And it actually works far better if it's really well, if the integration process is already integrated in, into your life and just making small, subtle changes.
Pascal: definitely the integration process can be delightful. And beautiful. Joyful as well. I think that's another misconception is potentially is that integration is this really intense thing that is like really challenging or like lots of work or there's a lot to do and there's all these different modalities and I have to try all of them and I have to do meditation for three hours every day.
But really the idea of microdosing integration is a powerful one because you can have these little moments of integration during your day that don't require lots of energy intensity or time investment, but can really help change the trajectory of your plane. I like to talk about this, the concept of one degree shifts, which is the plane goes from New York to San Francisco if you change it by one degree, ends up in Alaska.
And so integration can be this series of micro doses of integration to, eventually a point in your life where you look back three years before this and you're like, Wow that's been large shifts. But how we walk the journey is very important. Taking care of ourselves, like being gentle, rest and relaxation are really important.
It can be become a really beautiful practice of almost a philosophy of life to integrate a psychedelic experience that way. And Chris, did you want to add something to, to the previous question, which was some misconceptions about integration?
Chris Rodman: I guess you have to know about integration or the idea of it to have some misconceptions around it and maybe one of them would be if I'm not.
Doing what I think integration is then I'm doing this wrong and the whole experience is wasted. And that feels like a potential misconception
or that I need a coach. Maybe you do maybe you don't. I think it's so much of you're gonna get out what you put in and finding that balance point of right effort in terms of producing the most fruits from the experience.
Yeah, I think I would hazard a guess there's folks out there who have been on the path of these journeys and not heard a thing about integration and had extraordinary and profound life transformations. And it's just something that can, it can actually happen quite naturally without even needing to study what integration really means.
But that said it most certainly helps to have some support and community is Yeah, a beautiful element and yeah. That think was said earlier of needing to do it alone's. That would be a, that would be a misconception.
Michael: Don't do it alone.
Modalities for psychedelic integration
Pascal: Yeah. Absolutely. And how do you integrate?
Like Erin mentioned, it's different for everyone. There's hundreds of different modalities and tools and techniques and frameworks out there. I'm curious to hear from all of you if you wanna share around what are tools or modalities that were really helpful for you and continue to be helpful for you potentially around your psychedelic integration process.
Michael: Chris said something earlier about the integration process being woven with the intention of the ceremony. So I think that's an important piece here of different tools will have much different value depending on what you're working with integrating. So starting with the idea that the tools that really work are the ones that are linked to the content of the session and the intention.
But and speaking to maybe a higher level, that is what really works for me is making sure I approach it from a lot of different angles and perspectives. Having some sort of body based integration technique, having some sort of, mental intellectual way of approaching it, making sure that, there's some sort of emotional component, engaging with the integration process, making sure that there's a social component.
So making sure that integration process is integrated and, within there's hundreds and everybody has their own, unique skills and experiences and community that they come to the process with that they can draw on. That's gonna work way better. So whatever works for me is not gonna be what's truly gonna work best for anybody else.
But that said, I do have one preference that I think works really great for everybody, which is time and nature. I think that is the modality that I see, is most accessible for most people across the board and has the highest beneficial impacts.
Pascal: So a lot of nodding with the nature piece that I think that's universal. There's a thing that says there's no wonder that trees are green because it's the color of their heart chakra. And so when you're going out and observing trees, you're, they're saying, I love you all the time. And I just love that just by that itself to me is very peaceful and resting.
Erin: Yeah. The, along with that spending time in nature outside also this piece about spending time, like in our nature and Michael, you said like a body based practice, but. and simplifying that to be in, in real, listening to what the body is asking for after that experience, it might be a lot of activity because there's some digestion that wants to happen energetically.
And so movement and sweat and sound and being around people in that experience can be quite profound. It might be really soft, sweet time on the floor. It might be a certain type of food the body's asking for. So I find Go into nature and also go into nature and that combination of listening to the call from the body is really supportive because it is the thing that is holding the insight and the experience and the revelation.
So it, it is the thing that is going to communicate what is needed for that to hold that well. And it's kinda easy to get into the mind, especially if you have a schedule and you have people to tend to and work and all of these things. So to carve out a little time each day to really step back, pause and knowing that your body is holding such a, such an experience that it's working to, it's it is working to integrate it all the time.
Can we give it the attention, the inner ear, the Can we greet the body and say, Okay, what do you need now I'm here, I'm listening, and then go from there.
Pascal: The wisdom of the body. Yeah. We'll touch on somatic therapy and a little bit. I'm curious to hear thoughts on that. Chris, what are some tools and modalities that you've experienced that were really helpful for your own journey?
Chris: I just love what's been faired so far that interweaving of the outer nature and the inner nature and being present with each of those.
I was thinking about like when you mentioned earlier something about I'm still integrating stuff from my first iasa. I was like, Am I integrating anything for my first And then I realized it wasn't the first, somewhere like the 12th or who knows what, but where my voice opened up and, musicianship has been a big part of my life ever since.
And that in all likelihood, I could probably say is something that I'm still integrating and cultivating that gift that came through. For me musicianship was a big piece and then also through the medicine dance really came through and erupted from within as a way of yeah, moving energy and exploring myself and expressing divinity, even if you will.
I think ultimately, yeah, finding what is it that brings you joy in your life, even before that experience, What are the things that you dreamt of doing with your life? Do that, if it's painting, I always wanted to get into painting. Oh, I'll try opening up those creative doors or singing, dancing all the various creative modes of expression.
Maybe just climbing the mountain peak or whatever it might be. That, that feels like it's gonna bring you joy.
Pascal: So listening to the soul's intelligence or the soul's calling, which yeah, brings true most of the time, if not always. . That's great advice. And Erin, you touched on this a little bit earlier this like quality of slowing down and listening.
The importance of gentleness in the process
Pascal: I'm curious to hear more around rest and relaxation with integration. What does that mean to you and why is it important? Yeah.
Erin: Yeah. It's, I'm smiling because this is something that is it's such a learning for me. And so it's something I teach and it's something I offer to clients, and it's something that I also need to continually hold myself accountable to honor this truth that we aren't designed to be in constant activation and in constant intensity.
In constant movement. We are very much designed to, Heal in spaces of rest. And the way our technology in our technology works is when our nervous system can arrive into a soft and open place, then it's it is the lotus that just comes, that blooms effortlessly. And the healing, the insight, the remembrance happens when the system is soft safe, relaxed.
And I find that in our modern moment, and this isn't anything, any of us don't know, but it gets crowded and it gets loud and there's a lot of demand for attention and energy. And there's always a place to go. There's always something to tune into. So throw in a. A catalyst, like a, of an experience, like a plant medicine journey can be, or a psychedelic experience can be.
If you throw that into a routine that is, is quite and energetically activated, it's quite full and intense. It's like, where does that experience go? What does it have actual room to, to be, as Michael had said, to be watered, to be nourished, to be nurtured so that seed can bear fruit.
The it's very much a, it's very much a thing with intention and attention. Like I find prioritizing it. Just like we might prioritize working out and going to this class or spending time with our family or drinking enough water. Having rest and relaxation be be a technique has been really helpful.
This isn't just something that that I could do. It's an actual vehicle for healing and for expansion and for growth. And it is a direct defiance to most of our cultural conversation, which is No, don't do that. Don't rest, don't pause. You've gotta keep going. You've gotta keep going. And so I've really honor the beings that can take a stand to the story and say this matters enough to me to do the thing that's gonna really support my integration, which in my experience is space for best.
And there's many techniques that we could go into about
Pascal: how to do that. Yeah, it's so beautiful, Erin. And I really think it is a pendulum or a counterbalance to the exponential age that we're living in where information, like you said, is so all around us that rest and relaxation is really taking a stand for our own wellbeing.
It's almost a lack of rebellion these days because it's, you need to put a little bit of effort into creating that bubble and time and space for ourselves to just come and relax and rest. And a lot of that energy and integration happens in the body.
Somatic therapy and the wisdom of the body
Pascal: And Michael we talked a little bit about somatic therapy earlier.
Do you wanna talk a little bit about what is the body's role in integration and how that plays a role into translating the insights into everyday life?
Michael: There's a number of things there, but if you look at most spiritual traditions have some sort of metaphor for this as the body is the vessel or the vehicle or, the living church of like where spirit can inhabit. But it's like the, this is the place that houses that, all the places where the other information and experience of life can happen.
So it's the foundational piece. And if the psychedelic experience isn't landed or held or grounded in the body we're missing the foundational component and then it's just not rooted in earth. It's not grounded. We can't lead to transformation or support of others with, within the physical realm.
So it, it seems foundational like in, in the most basic sense of the word. And I was just thinking when Erin was speaking the importance of rest and relaxation, like for these things to, to integrate as part of the somatic integration. And it's like the nervous system on a oversimplified level is basically doing two things.
It's, scanning for stress and it's scanning for resource or safety. And depending what the balance is, if there's more resource, it can relax and upregulate more. And that's the only place that new information can land. The only place that we can learn new things really, otherwise we're in a more activated animal response, survival response.
So to really get things to land in a way that's gonna, really transform us on all levels is like a certain level of. Relaxation and de-stressing so that we know that we're really safe in our resting place is absolutely essential. So I think like I break down the integration process, like the first part of it, like the day or two afterwards.
I don't even call the integration time. It's like the recovery time and then the integration happens after that. And for me, it's like hard line. Like I'm not gonna review anything for two days after a ceremony. Maybe other people don't have so much resource or privilege or space in that, but really just do nothing for two days except for eating, nursing, food and getting massage And spending time in nature I think is like key to, to let the nervous system and the new neuro pathways like really land after a session.
The more I've walked my own journey, the more I've brought it back to the body a lot more and realized that there was some integration in the kind of mental, emotional, spiritual realms, but had a deficiency in the physical realm. And I found breathwork to be really powerful for integrating inside the body and bringing all the teachings that were integrated in other ways, but really landing them in the body in the moment.
I found that to be a beautiful practice for me. And we've touched on this a little bit, and of course an entire, and we talk about community a lot. One of the most powerful things for me in my experience, is it's just been to be around other people and having this coherence of our nervous systems together and basking and shared humanity, really.
The importance of community for psychedelic integration
Pascal: And I'd love for anyone who wants to share around the power of community and what role has it played for you in your integration process and what are the benefits of walking the path with others?
Michael: for me it's a really core part of integration. I often like to put this hero's journey map over any psychedelic journey, which is basically you leave the village and then you go into the underworld and you. Challenges, and then allies come, and then gather the gift and then you make the journey back to the village.
And it's like the whole cycle's really important. But in the psychedelic journey, maybe the psyched dogs are the helper, but you go into the underworld and you gather these gifts and you need to have community to bring it back to you. If you just gather the gifts and hoarded them to yourself, then the main part of the cycle completion isn't there.
So having community to share the gifts and the insights that come from this work is key.
Are just social creatures without having some social integration component it's, things aren't integrating on a whole systems level.
Erin: Yeah. And re people to reflect, to hold you in your experience and reflect back. It's been, it's so grounding when someone hears you and reflects back what you're saying and affirms like, Yeah you're right where you need to be or, Yeah I'm here with you in this, or, I know what you mean.
These experiences can really defy some of our perceptions and some of our structures of reality can be challenged, which is beautiful and it can be quite disorienting. So to have someone's hand that you trust to be like, Is it, was this, How is it for you? How do we do this human thing now?
It's It's so beautiful. And then Pascal, like you said this, quoting really great ramdas like, then we do get to walk with each other and maybe there's some, there's something that we get to learn from someone else while we are integrating our journey. We get to share in the magic of that.
Pascal: Yeah. There's a deep sense of togetherness, but like you said, like letting go of some stories of I'm not good enough. I'm the only one going through this. I'm not, I don't belong as a big one. There's a whole host of different stories that we've built inside our minds through like childhood events, through our parents, through our communities, through our social structures, around just not feeling good within our own body.
And I found that sitting in circle of others and having the reflection as Erin we were sharing around having that space of reflection allowed me to let go of like really deep stories about myself just by virtue of listening to other people's journey and not feeling alone in that journey. It's not about them fixing me or them giving me the solutions, is just knowing that we are walking it together and I found so much healing just in listening to those things.
And Chris, what's community been like for you and what has, what role has it played for you in your. Psychedelic wellness journey.
Chris: There's this idea of in terms of who you want to become to surround yourself with people that are like that. And so folks who are devoting themselves to self-discovery and and true nature and spiritual unfolding can really can be of great benefit
There's an element of like co-regulation from the somatic therapy world. And this ties in with relaxation as well. If you're going through a particular process in a journey or not, where you're feeling activated and agitated and you're able to be in the presence of a person or people who are experiencing moments of, self-regulation and, attunement to the present moment, that can have the effect of oh yeah, it's I dunno if you've ever seen this video of a bunch of pendulums on a table and they're all off in a different rhythm, but naturally they just start to, and they're just allowed to be in their process of having different rhythms.
They eventually all attune and co-regulate into the same rhythm. It's a, an amazing sort of principle of self-organization. It's quite a phenomenon. And so yeah, being in community with that orientation is it's Jesus had this line of like, where one or two are gathered in my name, and not to get all Christian about it, but like in the name of truth and the name of like you were here gathered to get to the core of what's real in relationship to who I am and who you are and what this phenomenal existence is all about.
There's a, I think there's a a collective field of the whole being greater than each of the parts or greater than the sum of all the parts. Yeah. So that
Pascal: beautiful. There is definitely like a deep piece around community that also touches on reconnecting humanity to each other and to the web of life as well.
It's not just the community within our own inner nature like Erin was talking about, but also our connection to the external nature and beyond that really will help alleviate a lot of our social kind of ailments that we have in society these days. A lot of it is based on disconnection, so to me, community is really a bridge to a new paradigm of living that is just calling us in each other back home.
The role of a psychedelic support guide
Pascal: And what is the role of a guide or a coach or a facilitator or a therapist or psychotherapist in walking that journey? What are the benefits of working with someone on a personal level to do psychedelic integration?
Michael: Yeah, I like to think of the inner work in as a reflection of the outer work. So if you're gonna go, adventuring in the outer landscape and you've never, walked in the Alpine mountains before, or you've never gone for a hike in this particular jungle, which has particular dangers and risks it's really helpful to be with somebody who's gone through that place many times before and knows how to keep you safe and find the most efficient pathway and can help point out the beauty to you that you might not notice otherwise.
Come look at this amazing flower. And it's edible and like you, there's just so much more joy that can be revealed when you have a well experienced. To walk with you. And you can just go way farther. Whereas if you go by yourself, you might enter the jungle and you hear some scary noise and you're like, That's enough.
I'm going back to where I feel safe. So you know that co-regulation element of a community member who's really grounded in this particular terrain that you're trying to navigate is a huge resource and benefit.
Erin: Yes. Someone to, to someone you can lean into, especially on the leading up to supporting, I find like accountability to be to. Important as far as here are the things we're gonna commit to, leading up to the ceremony, to the best of our ability. Exploring any of the fears that might be coming up, exploring any of the factors that may, play a role in the experience that they're going to have.
And then after afterward, thinking to the hero's journey analogy like that, that the guide who goes into the cave. It's once you have the experience and you've gone into one cave and now you get to keep going back with someone who, who's Let's our journey with you. Let's see what we can find.
Knowing fully that you contain everything you need for this integration insight, wisdom to emerge and flower into so many gifts in your reality Let's, let me support you in that. And here are some techniques, some methodologies that might help us navigate this terrain as we harvest from this experience.
The and really at the basic level, like you're not alone in it. Like you're, you've got someone who's who you can share everything. The darkest parts of the journey is not gonna say, Whoa what are you talking about? Who can say Yeah, it's all welcome here and now how do we wanna greet it?
How do we wanna work with it? .
Chris: It's really magical to have someone who's holding the highest vision. Possible for you. And it's just simply in a sense there to be really present and curious and to listen really deeply. And not necessarily not at all attempting to fix anything. And yeah, just having that curiosity of, what more is there and what does that mean? And sometimes it can be like a reflection of, reflecting back a belief that a person expresses and Oh, where did that come from? And Oh, is that serving you now and is it still needed? And what would it take to let it go? And who would you be without that belief?
Then as the coach or therapist or whatever, there's a great opportunity for me, it's like the next integrative step in my work is showing up in this way. And it's beautiful because I get, continued opportunity to learn through, holding space and being curious and discovering something new about myself through the person that is in front of me.
And yeah. So it's a beautiful relationship and it's got a lot of power to continue to catalyze the self-discovery journey.
Pascal: I love that you brought it back to as well, what you've learned as a guide. And I'd love to hear from Erin and Michael, if you have something to share around this.
The benefits of working as an integration guide
Pascal: What has your path been around guiding people and what are the gifts that you've received? Having the privilege of holding space for people during or after the experiences.
Erin: Working with another being is like the space in the therapeutic language. They talk about the third that emerges when two people come together in this vulnerable open space.
And that third being what is actually doing the healing in between. So this entity that only two people can really is unique to them in that moment. And if there's a triad that's, it's another energy that comes through and I've really experienced what comes into the space, what that third brings is always in some way of bene to both of us.
And what I, whatever insight or. Seeing that comes through me when I'm working with someone else. It's so much clearer when it's coming through for someone else. And inevitably my work after the session is to then also integrate what came through as a reflection. Because ultimately if I, if if you spot it, you got it kind of thing.
So if it's coming through, it's for all beings in the space. And I would also say the remembrance every time of we're all such complex, yet simple, beautiful messy put together, evolving beings. And it's so gorgeous to really get to be in such intimacy with someone working the so close to their center.
So close to working with such. Important questions. So I find it like such an honor and privileged to go into such intimate space with people. And I learned so much about being a human every time.
Michael: I re I resonate a lot with what Erin just said. There's a, there's such a sweet intimacy that happens when someone's vulnerable and trusting enough to like really bring you as a guide into this place of their inner world. Which is often connected to some of their deepest traumas or places they've been avoiding going in their life.
So there's such a sweet tenderness that happens in that space and I am continuously just brought into this awareness of. Sort of the perfection of everybody in their messiness and their issues. There's just this deep natural intelligence and goodness that is within everybody that I just find again and again when working with people.
That I think just keeps bring, bringing me back. It just brings me more faith in the world and like the goodness of it.
Yeah. And there's another piece of, I ju I just discover so many new worlds also like going in inside somebody's psychology just opens up to all these new ways of seeing the world that there's no other way I could come across otherwise. And they're fascinating and beautiful and magical and sometimes it's scary, but, there's just to be able to see the world from somebody else's eyes just shows me how much more complex.
The world is and helps me open up my own eyes to see my own life and through my own eyes in a totally different way. There's so many gifts to guiding.
Pascal Tremblay: Yeah, thank you for sharing and thank you for sharing today and exploring this idea of integration. We could probably go like 20 more hours and talk about all the different facets of it and the different things that go into it, and we'd still have another 40 hours to talk about it. So I really appreciate the insights.
I hope it was helpful to people out there. We'll probably do more of these as the time goes by and, really explore the different facets of integration and how we can implement these things into our lives so that our psychedelic experiences can be safer, deeper, and more connecting and transformative for everyone.
If you wanna connect with Erin, Michael, and Chris, you can do so on Nick chart at co. And you can find us on Instagram and we'll put the links in the show notes. And thank you so much for all of you being here. I really appreciate it. And have a beautiful day and beautiful journey.
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