When Plant Medicine Integration Feels Difficult
In this article I will share some personal thoughts on the process of plant medicine integration, which has felt very difficult.
What this means in its most simple form, is what do you do when you arrive back home and land back in your life and experience a lot of suffering and discomfort?
When I boarded the plane back home to Canada, I could still the plant medicine running through me. They say that it stays in you for a couple of weeks post ceremony, but I’m inclined to say, 2 months out, that it stays in you forever in some way. The lessons and downloads are permanent shifts in our souls.
I remember as I walked through airport security, part of me felt like it was off in a fifth dimensional realm still (not 90% of it, like in ceremony.) I also felt strangely serene and peaceful. My brain (and ego) were not engaged in the constant whir of thinking, planning, strategizing, analyzing. It was a strange sort of silence and peacefulness that as an analyst and researcher, I am unfamiliar with.
As I checked in at the airline counter, I remember hoping that I’d had enough brain power to remember all of my various Covid vaccination documents and airline documents to actually make it back home to Canada. I remember feeling surprised that I made it back no problem, only forgetting my coat in the process.
Coming out of my week of ceremony, I truly felt like an alien that had just arrived on earth. This is one of the first things I think people should be prepared for in plant medicine. It may happen. It may not. This is simply my version of events.
My ego had shut down and I moved through the airport with an acute awareness of energy, entirely taking in each moment in the present. It felt like I had added an additional sense; picking up on energy. Standing in the security line, I could feel this lovely radiant aura coming off of the man behind me in the line. We began chatting and within 30 seconds the conversation turned to spirituality and he revealed that he is a Deacon. In that floaty place I remember nodding to myself thinking, that makes sense!
Walking to the gate, I could various punctuations of anxiety and fear amongst people. I could feel flashes of anger of people at check in desks fighting the vaccination situation, but I floated along in a bubble. It was like I had an extra sense installed; that of energy.
Coming Home Can Be Difficult:
Landing back in Canada felt like a hard landing back into life. I was over the moon to see my family but also feeling so discombobulated, so attuned and sensitive to energy that I also felt horribly unprepared and so raw/open.
Coming back with what I now call “alien perspective” aka “a fresh set of eyes” was difficult when I faced areas that were misaligned before I left.
For example, I had been extremely frustrated with the education system and the constant stop-start of my children’s schools in covid, the quantity over depth of the curriculum, the anxiety being programmed into them, sickness shaming, teacher / parent overwhelm and the inconsistency of messaging.
Plant medicine (particularly Ayahuasca) will go to work pointing out misalignments in your life. There will be ones that you already knew were there, but it will also dig up deeper ones from your subconscious.
I’ve heard people say ayahuasca is like doing 10 years of therapy in a night and I would say absolutely, unequivocally, YES! It would have taken years of therapy, and deep personal work to unlock the growth and insights I got in a week. I am profoundly appreciative to have so many things unearthed from my unconscious that were actually affecting me on a deeper level that I was not consciously aware of.
Misalignments could be conscious, and they could be unconscious. They could be things that are not feeling right or are in direct opposition to your values. They could be as a result of your own actions, or a result of external circumstances.
One by one in ceremony, Aya showed me areas which cause me pain, misalignment or incongruence.
Coming back from my journeying, I could feel the pain and frustration around the schooling system even more acutely. Though there is no immediate answer to the situation, I now have an ability to look at it from many angles, explore the feelings of discomfort and sit with it. The answer will come. It is not there right now and I surrender and trust that it will.
Part of the work of integration is sitting down, honouring the discomfort and exploring what is actually, a gift. It is also surrendering and trusting that where there are no answers, or solutions, it is because you are meant to be right there, in the discomfort. The ego can’t fix this one. You have to let go and let god/the universe. The solution is coming. Trust.
The feeling of suffering and discomfort upon returning to your life after plant medicine is a true gift. It is an indicator that growth, spiritual evolution and healing are on their way.
These feelings are also an indicator that you have finally realized that the ego, for all its whirring and thinking and predicting, controlling and protecting, cannot solve and get you out of it, otherwise you would have.
Some try to get away from the difficult feelings with self-medication. Alcohol, distraction, eating, medication or even more journeying to ‘escape’ the hard feeling of landing back in 3d life. There’s been some mornings I have been in such acute soul pain that my chest literally ached and I thought, I can’t feel worse than this, I can’t do this level of pain!
I am here to tell you integration can be beautiful, some are quick and easy fixes and realignments, but others are going to be difficult, especially if they are dealing with matters of the soul or heart.
Integration is going to be a gradual process. You will still be using your brain and thinking powers as you explore and ask yourself questions. Journalling and talking to others are HUGE in integration - but in many ways integration has to also take place in the body and emotion. We can’t really explain or control those, we just have to surrender and let them happen and listen to intuition. In coaching, I always tell clients that we have to think of ourselves existing in several forms: Mind, Body, Emotion, Energy and Soul
Your ego has bought you here to research and read, because the ego wants to explain, control, predict, and of course, keep you away from anything that feels unpleasant but this is exactly what you are supposed to experience.
You’ve been like a frog in boiling water, immersed in your life and the various misalignments and things that ‘don’t feel right’ were increasing the temperature.
You were pulled out of the boiling water and had an opportunity to look into that bowl from the outside during ceremony.
But… you’ve just plopped back in, and are really feeling the discomfort now. You are frantically looking at ways to bring down the temperature of that boiling water, like me, you may find yourself googling about spiritual awakenings and dark nights of the soul and plant medicine integration.
The more deep, spiritual and expansive your plant medicine journey was, the more time it is going to take to digest and unpack.
You will find yourself remembering things randomly. You will be going about your day to day work and you will have “ah hah” moments. You will also have what often get called “downloads” or “transmissions” which can be described as realizations, or that moment where a lesson truly lands — not just on an intellectual level but on a real “in the body and soul“ level.
I sat on that plane home with my journal and filled pages and pages. My pen was flowing furiously as I tried to capture everything I brought back from ceremony. I caught myself almost trying to force insights and lessons.
When I arrived home there was so much to catch up on in my work and family life, that I couldn’t sit with a journal or meditate as much as I wanted to — but I have to trust it is all ok.
The lessons will come down. I/you will remember the ones that matter. As I said, it is not just a matter of remembering the lessons. You will embody them. They will be there, installed and running, in your deepest programs. Plant medicine is a healer and a teacher. It is medicine. It is in there, doing its work.
A further note on Embodiment:
I mentioned that I was taught about taking care of and loving my body, and I was shown a variety of plants and fruits to eat. That is a lesson that makes sense intellectually, and something I’ve known for a long time, I’ve read so many books on it, listened to plant based podcasts and have improved my diet in fits and spurts — but I could never find my groove or get the habit going. Coming back from ceremony, I have embodied this lesson. I literally have little to no desire to eat junk food. I naturally crave fruit and plants and as I write this, am more than 20 pounds down in two months. I know this may wear off and I have to work to not allow bad habits or the past to creep back in, but the inner knowing is powerful to a degree I have not experienced.
During ceremony, the lessons around nurturing my body came in visually through images, as a voice but also as an energy that to this day has stuck around in my body, that drives me to want different forms of nutrition.
Tip: Don’t Get Home and CHANGE EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW:
Advice for myself first, and foremost. This is a biggie.
Integration also deals with how you land back in your life and interact with others. After all, they’ve been continuing on with day to day life. You’re the one that gone and had a life altering experience and has landed back home.
You’ll find yourself trying (and failing) to describe the profundity of the experience. You’ll find yourself trying to set boundaries around personal time and space, so that you can just sit and process what in the fuck just happened, and you’ll definitely have to work on not dropping in like a hellfire and changing everything all of a sudden.
You have to honour that others did not have this same experience. This may make you feel tired, sad, and wanting to withdraw or maybe even deeply uncomfortable and frustrated.
Personally, I found myself unable to go out to crowded places like big grocery stores. I had to take it very easy and have a lot of quiet time my first two weeks home. I strongly recommend anyone that decides to journey with plant medicine to allow at least a week afterward where you have some time and space to just sit and be.
I’ve also had a lot of horrendous days which I can only describe as a dark night of the soul. I’ll be writing a series of posts on that when I am ready, but through the ups and downs of spiritual expansion, I truly believe it is all just a sign that integration is underway and this is a more critical time than ever to practice deep self-forgiveness, self-compassion and self-love.
Be gentle with yourself as you sort through all the ways that you realize you haven’t been true to your soul, your deepest inner desires and you feel discomfort in ways you have been living and showing up.
Forgive yourself as you realize how much outer programming you’ve taken on board and how much unlearning has happened (and has yet to happen.) Apologize where you need to. Make reparations where you need to. Speak your truth where you need to, especially if you were shown that you need to step into your power and your voice.
Love yourself through this. Everything is unfolding as it is supposed to. You will be carried through integration. Yes, you’ll need to do some reflection, some capturing of the lessons, but you’ll notice you are showing up differently.
Synchronicities will happen. It’s the universe’s way of showing you that indeed, you are on the right track. People will come into your life and new opportunities will come. The winds of change blow strong after plant medicine. And of course, (hopefully) the gift of suffering and pain will put a final stop to that which was not right for you. As you clear away those elements you are opening new space and energy in your life for who you were meant to grow into.