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EVER HEARD THE TERMS "SPIRITUAL BYPASS" OR "INTEGRATION?"

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Spiritual bypass can happen with any modality if the person receiving it doesn’t understand how to integrate what they learn or how to get support for integration. Acknowledging what we're working on is just the first step. Integration is asking the self, “How will I bring this new insight into my everyday life?” and then doing so on multiple levels - mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and in the will.


Sadly, when many work with plant medicines, and essentially any other modality that gives them benefit, they aren’t shown the importance of integration. They may never have been acquainted with the concept and have come to whatever modality because of hearing of its miraculous ability to heal or shift. I consider it a practitioner’s responsibility to educate their clients on the topic of integration and encourage them to find integration support after working with them. We can process essentially any practice or experience through a lens of integration if we learn that it’s even a thing and know how to find support. Let's break it down.

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SPIRITUAL BYPASS

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In a nutshell, spiritual bypass is when someone recognizes things aren’t working in their life and they take up a spiritual practice for relief of the difficult symptoms, but get stuck there. For example, we may have friends or acquaintances tell us, “yoga (or Buddhism, or plant medicines, or Biofeild Tuning, or any modality out there) changed my life.” We may be called to try one of these methods so we too can change our lives. Often times it certainly IS beneficial to try these new things. Getting into a new practice is a great first step, there may be a number of benefits from the new practice and it might look like a big change on the outside, but often times, the inner work is left undone. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially without an awareness of what it means to integrate. The danger here is when someone ends up in a place where their spiritual practice becomes their new identity, and they go no further.


Plant medicines and other practices can help us get a glimpse of one or many root causes for our difficulties, but then we need to see how we'll use that insight to make the changes we want to make - to INTEGRATE this new insight into our daily lives. A one-dimensional approach can be a way to avoid facing, feeling and moving through deep wounding - it becomes a bypass. And it can happen without even realizing it.

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INTEGRATION

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Integration is ongoing, but probably the most important part. Here's what helped me better understand integration. Several years back I was studying core energetics while also experiencing various indigenous visionary plant medicines. I was fortunate to be able to process and embody my plant experiences through my Core Energetics training and practice. It was incredibly valuable in helping me to bring my new insights into my life in a really practical way... to make changes in my perspectives and behaviors, in the action I took or chose not to take. Back then, I didn't even know of the word "Integration" or the phrase "spiritual bypass." However, I was noticing a number of people who were working with plant medicines who kept going back into plant medicine ceremony over and over, as though the ceremony in and of itself was the work. Not only did it become a bit of a crutch and obsession for some, but they were doing them so frequently, without giving themselves time to sit with what they'd learned. Ultimately not much was changing. I wished people could see how helpful it was to have the space I had to process and integrate my plant medicine experiences.


A couple years later I learned the term "spiritual bypass" from Gabor Mate’s writings and discussions, and I realized that was what I was seeing in those folks who weren't progressing. I realized that I’d been given the opportunity to "integrate" even though I hadn’t realized that was what I could call it at the time.


Flash forward to now, as a practitioner working with the superconscious in Breakthrough Sessions, kambo, biofield tuning and magentic pair therapy, I’m seeing something wonderful and fascinating. Each one of these various practices allows a doorway to integration for the others - if you learn how to process for integration. Thera are many other practices for integration as well - things like journaling, nature time, meditation and lots of exploration into perspective and belief. I have tons of fun working with people in these ways and they really enjoy it. Integration is a process, a practice and a habit I teach my clients.

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WHAT'S IT LIKE TO INTEGRATE?

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A great time for integration is when a spiritual practice such as yoga or plant medicines, etc., bring memories and uncomfortable emotions to the surface and we spend time processing those things with an open heart, then ask, “how will I bring this new insight into my everyday life?” When we commit to bringing the insight into our life and making an adjustment to our way of being in the world, we integrate the work we’ve done in our spiritual practice.

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HEALING ON MULTIPLE LEVELS

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In integration, we bring our insights from our spiritual practices into greater dimensions of healing. In order for complete healing to occur, we want to address the root cause on at least five different levels - mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and in the will. I might even add energetically or within our "biofield" (the energetic torroidal shape surrounding our body). If we face those deep wounds and those root causes on all these levels and dimensions, we gain a powerful opportunity to release our old subconscious programming and re-create our lives anew.


While sometimes we may achieve a big release in plant medicine work, there are also times when we are continuing to release over time. This is where integration plays a very important role. If we come in and facilitate further release, we can activate vastly greater potential in how our spiritual work can benefit our lives. Just remember, facing the root causes of pain and trauma can feel scary or intimidating, but it's totally doable. It may be helpful to do a heart-based personal check in to see if you're getting the most out of your spiritual work or if there are still pieces that need support and attention to integrate.

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WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T INTEGRATE?

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The downside of not integrating the information and insights we get in our plant medicine and other journeys, is that the benefits may not last as long as they could if there had been integration. Feeling detoxed and clean with a new perspective can make a difference until time has past and things build up again or we don't replace old behaviors with new ones. If we aren't clearing blockages and making changes that address all the levels - mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and in the will - symptoms and patterns tend to resurface either the same or in one of the other areas. Integration is the difference between muti-dimensional or holistic healing vs. the one-dimensional or symptomatic healing that goes back to where it was over time. I continue to find drastically better results for myself and my clients, that are more lasting, when we work on things multi-dimensionally through integration.

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IN SUMMARY

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So there are three important parts here: 1 - Starting a new spiritual practice. Awesome! 2 - Processing the personal material we find there. This can sometimes be the scary part that is easy to bypass. It’s helpful to have a coach or therapist for this when the material is a deep wound. You have courage - You can do this! 3 - Integrate the new findings (lost parts of ourselves that we recovered, insights into our deep wounds, letting go of things that no longer serve, bringing in the things we dream of, etc.) into our daily lives.


Integration makes shadow work less scary and easier to move through. We see and feel the results that empower us, turning the shadow into a safe place to enter, and much less of a dark mystery.


If you’d like to explore this more, head to HeartCoreglobal.com, send Stacey an email, or book a free 30-minute Strategy Session! Stacey can help make this a doable, comfortable, gentle process. Sometimes it’s actually a lot of fun. You might be surprised! 💗👍🏽

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IN GRATITUDE AND WELLNESS - STACEY


Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash



HOW TO START A SELF-CARE PRACTICE

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The first time someone said that to me, it was almost incomprehensible. "Gentleness and love? To me? - Pshhh, that sounds pretty weak." This was the reaction from my egoic inner voice when I attempted to feel into this idea of gentleness. It felt… ineffective. I'd been working soooo hard to PUSH through all my perceived shortcomings and lacks. Pushing through depression and anxiety, pushing through feelings of being lost or unsure. The only way I'd been able to "carry on" in my life was to muster up a bunch of strength so I could step up and measure up to those nasty inner dialogues constantly telling me how poorly I was doing and how badly I needed to step up in my life. Then I took over and proceeded to bully myself into "step-up" shape. And what was it all for? To be good enough, to look good enough, to perform good enough to be - well, enough. Enough that I would survive and be accepted in the world, be loved in the world. I wasn't completely aware of all those details at the time, but eventually I was able to see what I was doing to myself. It was BRUTAL! And this all new idea of being gentle to myself made me immediately pull back, hold my breath and feel my entire system of survival would fall to pieces and I'd end up going ….absolutely….nowhere.

Now that it's all said and done - This couldn't have been farther from the truth. But what did it take for me to see this differently?

For me, I had to FEEL the difference between gentle and non-gentle self motivation. And because I like to drill into words and meanings, I had to break down what I was doing that wasn't gentle and take a good deep look at what it really was - SELF ABUSE.

First off, we can only really thrive and flourish from a place of gentleness, safety and love. A place that allows us to cocoon when we need to - to rest and rejuvenate… to SELF CARE and self nourish. That simple first-time advice I was given included something I now say all the time: "If you need a nap, give yourself one, if you need to cry, let yourself cry. "Say what??? Take a nap? Who even does that?" I thought. Lol, back then I couldn't see myself having time for any of those types of "indulgences." I was way too busy on that push track. Go go go, and if I don't, I'm failing. But - I was there to learn new ways, try new things, let go of the difficulties in life, SO after getting this advice, I tried it, I felt my way into it. After a particularly deep session with my then therapist, I went home and GAVE MYSELF A NAP! I had to admit, now that I had permission to do this, it actually felt pretty nice. Who would have thought? So I kept doing it. Rests, naps, cries, pauses, I was giving this thing a try.

Next the word-breakdown came into play. Being hard on ourselves through those nasty inner dialogues feels nowhere near what a place of gentleness and love feels like. It's the difference between feeling like a kicked dog out in the rain versus a freshly watered flower blossoming in the sun. We're trained and taught through cultural standards in families, schools, sports, religions, etc. to become SELF DISCIPLINED. We're told that through "self discipline" we'll be successful in life. But just think about that two-word phrase - SELF DISCIPLINE. Here's the top definition of the word DISCIPLINE: "The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience." Woah, harsh! If we're not careful, "Self Discipline" can become a slippery slope into patterns of SELF ABUSE, especially if we've seen or experienced abuse in our lives. Well that was enlightening.

Now years later, I've swapped out the idea of Self Discipline for SELF MOTIVATION and PRACTICE. I like being self motivated, when it's my choice, when it comes from an inner voice whose on my side, a cheerful, loving voice of kindness and respect. Bringing myself into connection with this feels more like a Practice. I'm NO LONGER WILLING to beat myself into submission through a nasty abusive pattern of self talk.

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So what is a Practice and what does having one look like?

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Having a Practice really means determining my true needs and putting those needs first by finding support for them. Giving myself permission to support my needs without guilt or shame. Yes, in the beginning of this Practice, taking time out for deep self care made me feel guilty and ashamed THAT I EVEN NEEDED IT. I was supposed to be so STRONG. After all, I made it through all my traumas by being STRONG, right? …right? Hmmm… wait a minute. What if all that strength was really just my inner sad kid clamoring for approval from that nasty demanding, not-nice-at-all voice? That voice that was shaming me, calling me names like lazy, weak, unaccomplished, lost, ugly, fat, gross, etc. Yeah, the more I felt into it, the more I saw how that voice was downright abusive and a bit of a slave driver. You're tired? Sad? Tender? Stressed? So what! Get back on track ya loser! - Yikes!!

And THEN I realized those voices weren't mine at all. They were shadows and remnants from voices of the past. Voices of ancestors who had to be strong to survive, voices of parents who'd been given the same programming, voices of teachers, aunts, uncles, etc. Voices from characters in books, movies or on television. Voices that all came from OUTSIDE OF ME. These were a multitude of voices that the ego had taken on so as to actively beat the shit out of me day in and day out.

And even though Eckhart Tolle's books had taught me about unpacking these voices, I still hadn't embodied the concept and act of being "Gentle" to myself.

I mean, why was I complying with those nasty voices anyhow? Why had I taken on behaviors rooted in self criticism and being downright mean to myself? Most definitely not because of gentleness and love. Was I thriving and flourishing? No! Even when I was forcing myself into the molds I was being told I needed to fit into, I was feeling like crap - pretty much most of the time. I was second guessing myself so much. I didn't trust myself or others.

Despite always having had an inner rebel - I started seeing that a big part of me was in a mindset conducive to submission, obedience, and a desire for acceptance and praise from those nasty voices. What a HUGE difference between that versus a place of gentleness, safety and love. I was beginning to FEEL into it. I was now entering a place that allowed me to cocoon, to rest and rejuvenate; to self care and self nourish. The result? Discovering more natural energy to channel into what was truly good for me, to give myself what I actually needed, resulting in better mental, emotional, and physical health. I was resting, stopping when I needed to, speaking nicely to myself, cheering myself on and giving myself credit for even the tiniest job well done. I was being kind to myself when feelings and emotions showed up. Allowing space for tender or difficult feelings instead of getting so angry at myself for feeling sad or bad about things. I wanted to be good for myself. I began to feel so much more authentic and legit, solid and self directed. I was being me and I liked it. Over time, the feelings of being lost were replaced by feelings of true decision making - knowing clearly what I'm willing and not willing to do to myself and what I'm willing and not willing to accept from people and situations around me. So so different than the beat down I'd been giving myself for years - decades. SO MUCH BETTER!

So now I pass this bag of butterflies over to you. It's your turn to learn to live and thrive from a place of gentleness and love through inner listening and self care. Take some time to look deeply into whether you're self disciplined or self motivated. Whether you're being beat into submission by some nasty inner voice or if you're creating a loving, nourishing SELF MOTIVATED PRACTICE to help you move through your life authentically. It's a huge first step in Releasing and Recreating your subconscious programming.

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MY WISH FOR YOU is that you discover your very own authentic self-motivated Practice that works for YOU every day.

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IN GRATITUDE AND WELLNESS - STACEY


Photo by Stacey Lara