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What I'm Currently Integrating

As a plant medicine integration coach, I place more of an emphasis on the ceremony that begins once the plant medicine ceremony is over… the ceremony of life.

As I wrap up my time in the little beach town called Olón that has been my home for the past 6 months, I’m sharing some of the lessons I’ve received from the sacred plant medicines I’ve sat with and how I’m weaving these insights into my day-to-day life.

I Am Love

Love is my essence. When I am in my heart and I act from this place, I feel my best. When I am kind to myself, everything feels easier even when I’m passing through challenging moments.

Having connected to this feeling, the intention I have set for myself and for my life is to live and lead from the heart. I know that if I want my thoughts, words, and actions to come from this place, I have to be very mindful. So my mindfulness practice is key.

My morning practice is the foundation for starting my day off mindfully and requires me to devote a solid ~ 2 hours to it these days. It includes:

  • Meditation – often with rapé

  • Mindful breathing

  • Writing 3 pages in a regular-sized notebook as a way of emptying out whatever gibberish is in my mind

  • Movement – yoga, walking, or functional training

It can be hard to stick to this routine as I’m still in the process of converting it into a habit, but it is what I want my new normal to be. The benefits I experience serve as my motivation to keep up with it.

When I start my day with this practice, I feel more grounded and I have a greater capacity to respond versus react to things that I experience throughout the day. When I respond instead of react, I am more mindful of my thoughts, words, and actions and this allows me to be in alignment with my intention of being heart-centered.

If I can’t sit for my full meditation or write the 3 pages, I aim for a “quickie” version, so I maintain the practice while giving myself the flexibility I need for whatever reason. Being kind towards myself also means listening to what I need at any given time, and sometimes I just don’t have it in me, or I simply don’t want to do the full practice. The most important thing is that I maintain consistency.

My body is incredible and deserves to be treated accordingly

How I feel physically is another thing that influences my capacity to do the things I mentioned above, but aside from that, plant medicines have shown me time and time again that my body is freaking incredible and I need to be more conscious of how I treat it.

When I contemplate all of its functions, as I often have during ceremony, my mind is blown. Besides everything that all of my limbs, organs, and cells do for me 24/7, my body has been tolerating all of the garbage I’ve been putting in it over the years, and continues to keep me alive and well.

It’s kind of ironic to me because it’s fairly obvious that if I want my body to be well, I have to be mindful of what I put inside of it. I’d say I’m relatively healthy most of the time now, but I’ve also been smoking since I was 18 years old, have a massive sweet tooth that I allow myself to indulge and have definitely prioritized the momentary pleasures of eating foods that taste oh so good, but are loaded with things that are not so easy for my digestive system or organs to process or derive any benefit from.

I’ve been tending to my mind for years and now expanding that focus to my body. My digestive system has been sending signals for a long time that something is off and I’ve ignored them and accepted the discomfort. Since I know that how I feel physically is tied to how I feel emotionally and mentally, I am choosing to make this a priority now. How this is unfolding for me practically is:

  1. I decided to sit with Kambo for the first time last week. I heard about the benefits of this medicine for the first time ~3 years ago but hadn’t felt called to sit with it until recently. I also had some fear/resistance to it given the unpleasant physical side effects I understood to accompany the process, but decided that the benefits outweighed the temporary discomfort. Sitting with Kambo was my way of initiating a deep detox and boosting my body’s ability to heal itself. A reset of sorts.

  2. I quit smoking. I’ve ‘quit’ before, but this time feels different. In the past, after going a few days without a smoke I’d lie to myself and think that I could have one every once in a while, but I’ve learned that’s not possible for me. Now that I’m learning about how powerful the master plant Tobacco is and how it is used in ancestral traditions, I can see that the relationship I’ve had with it is unhealthy and disrespectful, and I want to create a new relationship to it grounded in respect.

  3. Nutrition. The most important element in this process. I started a 3 day long fast today. I won’t consume anything but water to alleviate the inflammation I’m experiencing in my digestive track, and from there I’ll be following a very specific protocol with food for 2-3 months, accompanied by a variety of plants and tinctures that a medicine woman will prepare for me to accompany the process. I’m going from letting myself eat whatever I want, whenever I want, to being really disciplined with myself because I know I can do it, and it’s a form of self-love.

Everything is always all good in the present moment

I’m not a person who ever ruminated much on the past, but I am definitely someone who spent a whole lot of time thinking about things that hadn’t happened yet and experienced a lot of anxiety as a result.

In multiple of my Ayahuasca-Yage journeys over the past few months the experience was entirely about being present in the moment. At first, I could observe the part of myself that ‘wanted’ the type of experience I have also had when it feels like I’m in another dimension and I’m getting downloads and insights at lightning-fast speed, but I found that there was something so profound about being truly present in all my senses, that I fell in love with the feeling. When I am truly present there is so much for me to take in and learn from my surroundings, what someone is saying to me, how the wind is blowing, and what my body is conveying to me. When I tune in to the signals I’m receiving in a state of presence and allow myself to be guided by that, I feel like I enter into my flow and it’s a truly incredible feeling.

Again, my mindfulness practices are key pillars of support in cultivating my presence. So is slowing down. I thought quitting my job and moving out of New York was enough of a slowdown, but I am learning that there are still a lot of opportunities for me to slow down even more. I’m unlearning a deeply engrained belief that I always need to be ‘doing’ something, or that the more I do in a day or at any given time, the better. So I’m intentionally planning my days so that I have a chunk of time for ‘doing’ (ex: work), and leave a lot of time free for me to simply be, and see where the flow takes me.

When I work with my clients, I always share that plant medicine integration is a process and it’s about making micro changes that lead to transformation over time. The greatest gift that sacred plant medicines give me is awareness. I feel like they shine a light on things I’m not seeing on my own. Then my work is to look at how I’m thinking and acting and where some changes would be appropriate based on my newfound awareness.

Integrating the 3 takeaways I’ve shared will be a lifelong process, but this is how I'm approaching it today. As always, I’m super grateful to the sacred plant medicines I’ve sat with for showing me exactly what I need for where I am in my life right now.


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