ENTHEOGENIC AFTERCARE BASICs
Integration Tools suggestions
You are back from an intense and deep experience. Maybe it was a deep spiritual opening, maybe psychologically challenging, emotional or very physical. No matter what was your experience – you now have it on your mind and you want to learn from it and make a change.
We put together an introductory list of integration tools and practices we know are profoundly supportive in helping yourself “land gently” back, and start working with your experience.
We deeply believe that taking time to reflect, feel and engaging with your experience is as important, if not even more, then the experience itself. Integration is what allows the profound experience you had to become a part of you and create change and transformation.
General recommendations for the first few days:
1) Make sure you sleep well. No matter the nature of your experience, your body needs to recover and rejuvenate. Another reason is that there are studies that show that the mind recovers and integrates data during sleep.
2) Healthy diet - Good nutrition and foods that fuel neurogenesis (brain growth): Omega oils, Coconut oil, Broccoli, Blueberries, Almonds. As you come back from your experience, your body and senses might be very open. We recommend you keep a healthy diet and avoid fast return to sugar/salt/fried and processed food.
3) Avoid social media – if your work permits, avoid jumping back into Facebook, news, twitter, email and the like. Even if you need those for work, try and limit it to work related interactions only. You have been through a unique experience, and might have allot to process. Our cognitive, emotional and physical systems react to stimulation. Let yourself stay with your experience and its continual impact on you for a few more days before you let other data in.
If youre interested in going deeper with your experience, here are some practices and tools to get you started :
Tell the Story – Share the experience with someone who you feel comfortable and safe with and can understand you. They don’t have to be an expert, but some experience with entheognes/ psychedelics can help create a sense of deep understanding and connection. Tell them the challenges and the blissful moments over tea. Try and notice if something new comes from you telling the story from beginning to end, or from questions you are asked. Notice where you get emotional and why. In case such a friend isn’t an option, look for a sharing circle of like minded individuals. Research shows that community is essential to feeling understood, counter feelings of isolation/loneliness and to facilitate change.
*For a little while, you may not want to share your stories with those who aren’t enthusiastically supportive or who don’t understand, and that is okay! Let your stories be sacred to you.
2. Journal – We believe journaling is a powerful tool for remembering and opening your preparation or integration process and we highly recommend it. Marion woodman, Jungian analyst, saw journaling as a spiritual practice, soul journaling. She believed that if we allow ourselves to journal freely, we can tell reflect on the words that come from the deepest parts of ourselves. Write your experience – how it felt, what you saw, thought, sensed in your body, envisioned, your insights and your questions. Allow yourself to do so, to just be honest and free in your own private space between the pages.
In the ceremony I saw… I thought… I felt… I cried because… I was terrified… My stomach hurt… I experienced bliss as …
3. Feel Into It – your feelings are messengers, they have an elaborate and healing message with them. Recap (if you journaled you can look back to what you wrote) the intense feelings that came up for you. Allow yourself to feel into those feelings again. Try and see what they are trying to tell you about the past, present or future. Some might be challenging, some might be joyful. Staying with the feelings allows them to open and reveal more of the experiences they are related too. This can help not only understand them better, but have new layers open up.
In ceremony I had these feelings…when I feel it now I experience…
These feelings are familiar from… I have never had these feelings..
4. Develop a practice
There is extensive research done the importance of having a practice that allows us to quiet our mind, transition from the usual state of doing and producing to a state of being and feeling. Meditation, dance, nature walks, art – what ever makes your spirit happy. Do it. Try and weave in your experiences to your new / old practice. Dedicate an art piece to your experience. Invite it to your meditations, to your weekly ecstatic dance. Carl Jung said that full integration can occur only when the artistic and the intellectual collaborate.
Prompt 4 :
I will start practicing (meditation, dance, being a better partner, working with passion…). I will do it as an ongoing practice that I will build through time…
5. Seek support of other healing practitioners:
Seek the help of professional and experienced individuals. In contrast to popular belief in western culture, we cannot do it all alone. Somatic work (such as massage therapy, acupuncture and energy work), psychotherapy (preferably with practitioners who have experience with entheogenic/psychedelic/ASC integration work or work from perspective that sees the importance of such experiences) or integration sessions with practitioners are all deeply helpful in understanding, opening and starting to integrate your experience; to both facilitate your well-being and maximizing your potential for change. For more information or referrals please feel free to check our referral list or contact us.
6. Follow and implement
Sometime we can come out of entheogenic/psychedelic experiences with a “recipe” or “recommendations” that we received or had insight into. This can show up as - start dancing again or for the first time, to paint, to write, to start surfing, to not work as hard, to break up a relationship or fix a broken one, move to a new house and the likes. The nature of our mind is to cling to what is familiar and safe. By keeping your experience on your mind and engaging it, you keep yourself open to new things. What ever the recipe is – give it time, reflect on it for a while, and if it feels right follow it.