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Integration, the bestie to healing modalities...

An insight into understanding the emotional process that accompanies healing modalities such as energy healing, ceremony, holistic therapies and mindful movement.

I write this from inside my own capsule of integration. After a weekend of experiencing a cocktail of healing modalities, it felt pertinent to offer out the wisdom I have collected over years and years of providing healing spaces and experiencing them for myself.

Any time we step into any form of healing practice, we are opening ourselves up to be shown something that requires healing within us. Seeking healing in the form of holistic therapies, plants or ceremonies should always be approached with the possibility of this in mind.

Our modern world has us fairly conditioned to seek answers outside of ourselves and to rely on substances or practices which numb our reality rather than allow us to slow down and integrate the full story of the situation at hand.

With this conditioning in mind, I felt it important to document the acutely opposite approach that holistic healing brings so as to allow people to consider this approach through a more informed lens.

Often when something feels off balance we will seek a remedy. We may feel the burden of a stressful situation in life depleting our energy and require some healing. Our bodies are so intelligent and communicate with us all the time in the from of physical imbalance and more subtly, intuition. We just don’t always know how to lean in and listen to recognise this.

Imbalance is common and so we perhaps book a break away or a relaxing treatment or turn to the plants in the form of essential oils, as one example. Seeking nourishing solace in this way is natural and it is attributed to the illusive notion of true self-care. Something we are slowly learning to integrate into modern life.

With our carry-on and push-through attitudes in these modern times of competitive living and eternal quests for non-stop happiness we often completely dismiss the darker side of life. Often referred to as the shadow in the spiritual community.

Suppressed emotions and feelings are collected in our bodies over time as we continue to push on in modern society. It isn’t common place to be emotionally honest. We say we’re fine and distract ourselves endlessly from our wounding and we quite honestly do not even realise we are doing it.

When the time comes along that we feel depleted and decide to try that calming yoga class or go for that reiki session our friend recommended, that opening to something new is often a little calling toward healing. With our conditioning intact we move toward this new territory, often with trepidation and a helping of vulnerability is served to us.

Experiencing the relaxation of the body and mind can feel wonderful in the moment. Allowing the nervous system to finally soften into calm from its usual frenetic state is a beautiful feeling. Wringing tension from the musculature and deepening the breath brings such peace. You can float home from a yoga class or a massage or a healing session and feel the weight of your problems eased for a while.

Or sometimes it can invite feelings we might see as negative. A sudden surge of emotion, bursting into tears is common as we connect to our inner world. Even more difficult to navigate is being triggered. Ever been to yoga and felt hateful in a pose? (This is a regular occurrence for me by the way)

So what about the inner material these modalities stir up within you? Are you aware that moving towards a practice that takes you to connect with your inner landscape will do exactly that thing?

Are you ready for that?

Are you equipped to understand your process and be with what may reveal itself to you in the time following this powerful and potentially transformative occurrence?

These questions are not supposed to be intimidating in the slightest but it is so important to understand that holistic healing isn’t the hippy equivalent to taking an ibuprofen to block out the pain and carry on as you were. In these more challenging moments, we must learn to pause before we act out of the trigger and ask ourselves, what is this discomfort trying to show me about myself?

We can often experience what is sometimes referred to as a ‘healing crisis’ following healing modalities. Sounds a bit dramatic, but it often manifests in the form of exhaustion, headaches, extreme thirst, feeling ungrounded, lethargy, emotional tenderness, physical tenderness, sadness, amplified dream states during sleep and a need for rest and solitude.

This is where the word integration comes in. Now it doesn’t lend itself to modern lifestyles I’m afraid. It is an adopting of time and space whereby you are required to take rest, care for the symptoms you may be experiencing and most of all, just be. Just exist as your experience assimilates in all of your bodies. (Physical, auric, mental, emotional)

I often describe the process of being involved in a healing capsule as being like throwing a bag of dust into the air. If we do not give it stillness, it will continue to float around and never settle.

If you are not committed to noticing, tuning in and understanding your own emotional process then you will likely come to attach a negative connotation to your experience. For example, “I had reiki and it made feel weird I’m not doing that again” or “that yoga class made me feel angry and sad, I’m not going there again’ or “that massage gave me a headache, that therapist did it wrong”

This is totally natural and maybe, for you at that time, you're just not able to or interested in or have the capacity to dive in and be with that stuff. Let's not forget that our coping mechanisms in life and our distractions are sometimes our biggest protection from that deeper material. Some of us may never be in a position to want to look at what lies beneath and that is your own personal journey.

Practitioners that hold the space for you in whichever modality you choose to approach are there to do exactly that. Open a room, invite you in, guide you, provide the healing environment, be it hands on therapy or guiding movement or consciousness, and to give you advice on how to move through this to the best of their ability.

The rest, my friends, is actually up to you.

I came across this quote a long while ago when I was seeking lots of answers and was feeling the need to look outside of myself for help all of the time…

“A healer is not someone you go to for healing, a healer is someone that triggers in you your own ability to heal yourself”

This clicked in my head over time that as much as healing spaces are necessary for me, I would only really begin to benefit from them when I let go of the expectation that that alone would be the magic answer.

We all need support and guidance as we scour the more challenging, perhaps darker side of our existence. This is where seeking healing practices comes in. But self awareness is a crucial ingredient to understanding that our darker sides are just as much a part of our existence as the great, happy ‘positive’ material that we all so love and prefer. Myself included by the way! It’s so much easier to move through a happy, light moment in life isn’t it?

In my experience however, my most insightful and greatest feelings of release and breakthrough have come from creating a loving relationship to my darker material.Carving out the time to sit with it despite the discomfort. This isn’t an easy notion and it doesn’t happen overnight and I still find it extremely challenging.

Seeking some time in therapy is sometimes helpful if the material feels too heavy to take on by yourself. A practice of meditation or quiet moments of contemplation on a regular basis whilst using tools like journalling can bring so much information forward to you. The simple act of downloading thoughts onto paper can be as cathartic as a healing session itself. We often struggle putting pen to paper in fear of not knowing where to begin but actually if you begin with a simple sentence such as “I am feeling…” you will be surprised what can spill out of you.

I think the main point I am making here is that stepping into the more esoteric practices that are becoming more and more available to us requires us to broaden our minds and be open to cultivating a deeper relationship to looking within and creating space to be with ourselves afterwards to integrate the experience. I know from my own experience that when I connected these dots, things began to become smoother for me in my healing journey.

Here are some practical tips on integration post healing that you can adopt to support your process…

  • Drink far more water than you usually would. (Ideally it would be filtered) Water will help to flush through stagnant toxins and energy and clear out any unwanted material holding in the body. It can help to prevent headaches too.

  • Avoid adding toxins to the body at all costs during this sensitive time. Avoid coffee, alcohol, heavy fatty or sugary foods and drinks, smoking and especially drugs.

  • You can diffuse or anoint the body with essential oils for emotional or pain support. Frankincense is wonderfully protective, emotionally supportive and a great companion to inflammatory response in the body.

  • Take rest, sleep, be comfortable and take solitude and quiet where possible. Warm baths with salts and naps are more than just a luxury when integrating.

  • Gentle walks in nature, intuitive dance or restorative stretching and gentle yoga poses can be very supportive. Try to avoid heavy exertion in the body if you feel fatigued. Bare feet to the earth might not be the most natural notion to you but standing on the grass and feeling the earth beneath your skin is very supportive for grounding you into your body.

  • Seek therapeutic support via counselling or talking therapy if you feel the material coming up is too much to cope with alone. There is no shame in seeking professional help to work through your challenges.

I always love to know your thoughts and any insights that may have sparked in you from my ramblings… feel free to comment with any questions or wisdom you may have on this subject…

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