On New Year's Day, I was in the ER, with a blood clot, and a swollen purple arm. It had seemingly appeared suddenly, with no indication that anything was wrong with me.
This mysterious event stopped me in my tracks and sent me on a journey. While the medical doctors didn't have any plausible explanation, after dozens of blood tests and x-rays, it shocked me into an awareness of a deeper layer of healing that was unraveling. The call was an intense life-threatening event. And it had to be one so drastic, that I couldn't possibly ignore it.
I'd been under immense stress all last fall - disastrous contracting work on my house, hosting a retreat, the death of a dear mentor, and an extreme financial distress. I'd also been micro-dosing with plant medicines who I have deep connections with. These plant teachers gave me an immense amount of support, helping me navigate the external and internal challenges with trust in the divine unfolding, and with resolution and commitment to my path.
After the 12-hr trip to the ER, I stopped everything. For 2 weeks, all I did was go to the doctor, sleep, meditate and pray. I started to see how my body was in over-drive, in over-whelm so great, that I was clenching everything so tightly inside my being. So much so that I could barely breathe.
I knew it was time to reach out for more support. First, I attended to my nervous system, to come out of the stress response.
My body-mind-spirit immediately rejoiced at my attention. Working with a network chiropractor, body workers, rolfers, yoga instruction, & daily baths, I opened quickly.
I expanded into a state beyond anything I'd known before. Freedom, aliveness, and creative energy pulsed through me in a way I'd never experienced before.
I had stopped taking the plants into my body. I knew they'd taken me to the edge that I needed to experience. To a place hidden deep within my subconscious that I couldn't release, and I couldn't quite see until now.
More plant medicines were not the answer. I had to slow down, stop, and let everything settle, so that the new awareness could come through. The spirit of the plants were still right there with me, pointing my attention to the place I previously couldn't see. Guiding me to unravel the stress response, so that the magic that was on the other side, could come through.
And it did with ease and grace.
I see all the time in my work with people and plant medicines - the question arise - When do you return for more plant medicines? Or when is it time to slow down and integrate? Most people return over and over to the plants, not wanting to slow down, in fear of missing something.
People often think without taking plants, they won't get anywhere. But this is not true. The time of integration is perhaps the most powerful time to cultivate and deepen your relationship with the spirit of these plants, and to let the expansion and wisdom emerge and be embodied.
Plant medicines cannot and will not do it all for you.
The truth is, without integration of plant medicines, you can lose the potential transformation of very deep healing that is wanting to happen.
Integration is some of the most challenging work when working with plant medicines. It's not easy; it's not comfortable; and it requires that you be willing to meet yourself on the edge. To meet yourself in the deep corners of your consciousness, in places you've never been able to access up until now.
I had an ultrasound yesterday, and it confirmed that my blood clot had disintegrated. The doctor and nurse hypothesized that I'd fallen asleep in a strange position that cut off the blood flow to my arm (which was my hypothesis all along!). I'd been so depleted, exhausted and stressed, that my spirit had to send me a serious wake up call that things had to change.
I am forever grateful for the wisdom that manifested in this mysterious experience. And for being forced into deep listening and deep integration, so that I could embody the wisdom that was waiting for me.
All in reverence and humble gratitude for my plant teachers who guide me to where I most need to bring my attention.
The word "integration" is thrown around in the plant medicine world, yet what does it mean? Even for myself, I'm always up-leveling my integration practices and my listening, so I can know what is needed and in alignment at various phases of my jounrey.
I've put together a 𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗠𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗚𝘂𝗶𝗱𝗲 for anyone who'd love to up-level in their integration with plant medicines.
May we always be listening for the wisdom in the mystery!
Protectress of Mother Earth, Intuitive, Shamanic Energy Medicine, Sacred Plant Medicine Integration, Soul Adventurer