Recently, I went through a time of massive expansion: within a month I married the love of my life; spent a week celebrating our love in communion with our nearest and dearest; met many of my sweet soul sisters in person for the first time at a life altering retreat; received a divine download of my core message and mission; and saw my business go through a period of exponential growth.
Amazingness? Absolutely. But then I came home and had to integrate all of those experiences and all of that learning into my current reality… trust me, there was plenty of resistance.
I think of expansion as an increased awareness of our connection to the universe, our connection to others and our connection to our own Authentic Brilliance. Integration, on the other hand, is bringing that connection into our lives… grounding it into everyday reality, feeling it in our bones.
Over the years I have had many opportunities to learn the lessons of integration, which is simply a stage in the healing process, in the process of returning to wholeness, and remembering who we really are. And yet each time I seem to resist at about this same point in the process.
I have found the expansion (and the subsequent integration) at in-person retreats to be particularly intense. Some of the most powerful retreats I have experienced were during my energy healing training, a three-year program that included four week-long retreats in the mountains of British Columbia each year. Much of the program’s focus was on personal transformation, because in order to heal others you have to learn to heal yourself first.
Each time I returned home from a retreat I would need to integrate my new awareness and experiences. Often, I would find myself resisting the process, mainly because I would come home floating in that magical place of expansion, feeling an intense connection with the universe and not wanting to let it go. Amazing? Yes. Practical... not so much.
One time I came home from retreat and tried to ignore the inner work I needed to do and I walked right through an open stairwell!
We had been renovating and had removed the railings from around our staircase and I somehow managed to literally step off into thin air. I fell 13 feet – landing on the wooden floor below and breaking my tailbone. How’s that for a universal smackdown on getting grounded!
What I learned is that even though it’s incredibly intoxicating to float around in the wonder of the spiritual stratosphere (and trust me, there are lots of people living up there, completely disconnected from their bodies), we are spiritual beings who have CHOSEN to have a human experience. We need to take all this expansion, illumination and awareness and ground it into our daily lives and into our physical bodies so we can truly own the wisdom.
Integration must follow expansion. We must call the light back into our bodies and live in the here and now.
The beautiful thing is that once we take this expansion into our bodies… when we fully integrate and ground our new awareness that is when it becomes a truly embodied knowing. That is when we own the wisdom and are then able to share it with others.
In my Because You Know program there is a major focus on integrating and fully embodying the lessons and ideas the women learn -- in fact there is an entire module devoted to it! It’s such an essential (and often overlooked) part of the healing cycle.
So today I’m sharing one of my favourite routines for moving through the integration phase and learning to embody and truly own your new wisdom.
Set an intention. Acknowledge what you are doing… it’s so much easier to get somewhere when we know where we are going. Write out your intention and check in with it daily.
Get physical. Move your body and allow yourself to really be present. Exercise and movement that focuses on the mind body connection, like yoga and dance are particularly good.
Keep clear. Limit your exposure to harsh or toxic substances, people or situations: avoid processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol as well as people or situations that you find negative and draining. The clearer you are the easier it will be integrate.
Make room for self care. Take extra special care of yourself, get plenty of rest, eat nutritious foods, enjoy a massage or simply relax in a bubble bath. This is not time for a jam-packed schedule and going full out.
Go outside. Being in nature is one of the best ways to get grounded. Get outside and allow yourself to feel the ground beneath your feet and your connection to the earth.
Meditate. You knew this one was coming! It’s because meditation is such a powerful way to find clarity and connection. Even just 5 or 10 minutes a day of closing your eyes and paying attention to your breath can do wonders.
I would love to hear about your experiences with expansion and integration. Are there times when you have struggled to really own some new awareness and make it part of your everyday life? What ways have you found to ground those experiences and truly embody the new wisdom?
And if you’re looking for more concrete tools, soulful support and sisterhood as you discover and own your Authentic Brilliance, check back early next year! We just finished a hugely powerful Because You Know program earlier this month, and I can’t wait to launch it again with lots of new goodies in 2015.