This months blog topic is integration. While this word holds many meanings, I am choosing to discuss it as a healing tool used in TTT.
Integration is one of the most important pieces of our work because it pivots to change and transformation. A traumatic event is characterized by something more intense than the body is yet developed to handle. Through its wise construct, information is stored away until we catch up developmentally to our experiences and feel safe to process. Trust me, in the black and white I know this sounds orderly and even gentle, though highly intense situations rarely store quietly and rarely do they surface quietly. However, the more you understand how and why the body responds and behaves, the easier it becomes to ride its waves, especially when memories or information begins to surface, challenging our constructs and belief systems.
Integration allows us to learn anew thus giving the brain a chance to cast new predictions with intentional awareness to construct a more satisfying reality inside and out.
A particularly transformational moment of integration came to me when I first read the percentages of abusers that were also admittedly abused, especially during childhood. Up to this point it was taught to me people were good and bad and the man who abused me was bad. And because he was bad, it was OK for me to hate him, dehumanize him and basically throw him away. He became the other, apart from me. While this was a protective belief system, it caused me to feel an ever-present threat in the world making meaningful connections difficult at best. I felt intense bouts of depression and anxiety and rarely felt settled in my belly or mind.
As I read this article, what I felt inside was the ground I stood upon, suddenly gave way and I fell hard, hitting branches and brush all along the way. I recall looking up, wondering – now what? How in the world am I going to get back to the top? And while the task to rebuild felt insurmountable at first, something about this new truth felt right, felt resonate and if the old system wasn’t entirely accurate, it would be well worth the journey to build something with greater truth and dignity, and better with deeper love, compassion and connection.
Integrating the Information
This small albeit powerful moment in time reshaped a whole trajectory of study for me concerning trauma – how it has affected me, others and the world around me. And the respect I afforded myself to integrate this new information, giving myself time and space – lots of space – while creating new opportunities to inform this new belief, build value and let myself choose it as my own new belief system is what allowed it to construct naturally. This pacing and time also permitted me the chance to sit with my own shame from ill-advised actions, seeking forgiveness within and from those I hurt along the way. These opportunities taught me that forgiveness is a verb – not just a request for space to try again, but also my own promise to learn and INTEGRATE, creating change, healing hurts, and rebuilding trust and safety.
The Gift of Connection
The most incredible gift rendered from this is a deeper connection and a more flexible understanding both of which bring peace and comfort like no other. A gentler mind and more relaxed body – because the 2 integrate affectively too 😉
We are just exiting 2020, cresting into 2021. Did you experience moments that might have challenged any internal belief systems? Or find any belief systems that are needing an update? How are you feeling in your mind and body and how might you meet yourself with greater understanding?
To quote Rumi, “Beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field – join me there.”
No matter what the information, be sure to move with respect to your abilities and resources. And if need be, call on a trusted friend, family or professional to hold gentle space for processing.
In the true spirit of the Ampersand, let’s courageously bust out of the unserving infinity symbol and learn anew, climb together and move closer to each other than ever before ❤