HOW DO WE PREPARE AND SUPPORT OUR SOULS FOR DEEP DIVES INTO OUR UNCONSCIOUS WITH PSYCHEDELICS AND ENTHEOGENS?
- HOW CAN WE RESOURCE AND BUILD RESILIENCY AROUND TRAUMA LOOPS WE EXPERIENCE THAT CAN BE AMPLIFIED IN THE SPIRIT REALMS IN RELATIONSHIP TO THOSE CORE WOUNDS LONGING TO BE SEEN HELD AND MET IN NEW RELATIVE WAYS
Oftentimes people come to the entheogenic experience with intentions to heal the negative feedback loops and patterns in relationship or what they are experiencing as “trauma-based reality.”
This is when we perceive all of our reality through a filter created from our past traumatic experiences. The “normal” reality we experienced prior to the traumatic experiences can only be sensed for brief moments.
Learned Helplessness (Seligman) is a kind of feedback loop because if we are in a situation in which we are legitimately helpless, we learn that in those kinds of situations we are helpless.
Then, when in a similar situation, we behave helplessly even if we truly have power to act.
This reinforces our perception of our self and internal experience (felt sense) of being helpless.
And so it continues. Learned helplessness is related to depression;
How can we truly walk working with an experinced steeped and and trained guide who not only knows very very well the terrain, colors, shapes, textures, languages and scopes of the spirit they are serving you.
Its also incredibly supportive to work with someone who is skilled and trained in trauma sequencing and body centered therapies to support the learnings, teachings, invitations, sublimations, and integrations of what the psychedelic healing journeys could support.
Working with a guide in preparation for journey work will impact the quality, depth and impact of your experience. It is with deep reverence and respect for earth, her medicines, her resources we approach this gift of an opportunity. We dont need to take so much medicine if we resource ourselves better in preparation to meet these places inside of us that are awaiting us to meet them, feel them, learn from them and their somatic amplified expressions and processed in relationship with a trusted and experienced ally(s)
Some ways we can steep-
Setting an intention, prayer. Being willing to surrender one thing to make space for what you are asking for. Making physical offerings to spirit.
When meeting ourselves in meditation practices in preparation and in session-
Tracking involves placing awareness / presence on your sensations and finding words to describe them that are part of the language of sensation rather than the language of emotion or thought (such as “bubbling and tingling” as opposed to “happy and excited”).
As these internal sensations shift and change, you continue to watch and be with them as witness, you can track the changes as they happen.
“Tracking” is pretty much the same thing as the “Felt Sense”
“Resourcing” specifically is where you first briefly focus on naming the sensations you are experiencing related with being dysregulated (highly stressed and amped up or shut down and checked out).
Then you change focus and spend a little time thinking of a good resource for yourself.
The resource should be anything that, when you experience it within your active imagination, brings forth in your body a better state (even just a little better will work) than the challenging state you have been stuck in. So, the resource brings about either “neutral” or “positive” sensations.
The imaginary Safe Place and a memory of a settling experience:
the moment any kind of danger or stressor went away and safety was restored,
the moment help arrived,
an object like a special possession, a pet, a person like a friend or relative,
a special place like a park or room, an imaginary figure like a wizard,
a mythical or literary character, an imaginary setting, a life experience,
or an inner strength you possess like wisdom, open-heartedness, strength or determination.
When searching for a resource, it’s good to allow your mind to kind of free associate without censorship and see what comes up, and just speak about whatever happens to be there even if it doesn’t seem like a resource. Even if it feels too chaotic to find anything, whatever is there.
The mind may be presenting something that has some resource in it and you just have to start talking about it to realize there is one tiny moment or some object that the body feels settled by remembering.
A resource doesn’t have to be positive but can be neutral.
Getting a moment to rest like the first moment in bed,
a neutral feeling like sitting watching ducks on water,
feeling settled when hanging out with a friend,
a still feeling when looking at trees or plants,
Bringing up a memory from the past as a resource is actually one of the more complicated skills to learn because some memories are huge multi-faceted collections of both positive and negative things.
When you settle on a resource, then you imagine being in that place and time and deepen your body’s experience of it.
You name many details about the experience, such as weather, colors, names of people, textures, sounds and actions you took, which help to bring it into your body more and more.
Take time, minutes, streeeeetch this out...focusing into the felt experience of the internal sensations brought up in the resourced or resilient state for the nervous system to “reset” itself.
The goal of resourcing is to briefly open up the negative responses and then reset the nervous system by deepening the more resourced neural pathways.
Simply doing this in sequence — noticing the stress and then immediately bringing the resourced state online — demonstrates to the nervous system a new direction to take, new pathways to travel, that it had not had access to when stuck in stress.
Once it resets it also brings online parts of the higher brain that were inaccessible while stressed.
Everything about this resourcing process — from the greater presence placed around the stressful sensations prior to invoking the resource, to the new neural pathways brought online by deeply experiencing all the sensations of the resource as well as all the higher parts of the brain coming alive and accessible
— actually change the internal stance or response to the original stressful situation that was causing trouble.
The last step of this skill is noticing this change: you describe what has changed about how your body responds to the stressful situation you had focused on in the beginning.
You can also pick 3 details that represent the experience of your resource best and memorize them.
When you are stressed. you may experiment with bringing the 3 details back to mind and see if you can reset your nervous system this way.
Note that it’s important not to unconsciously begin to invoke resources in order to try to escape, deny or gloss over bad things rather than to retrain neural pathways.
It’s easy to try to use positive things to repress negative things if this has already been a coping mechanism.
Grounding – Grounding includes processes to deepen your felt sense connection to the earth, gravity, your body, your sense of weight, location, place and 5 senses.
Gesturing – Gesturing is a process of bringing awareness to spontaneous gestures/movements that are self-soothing in order to use them consciously and deliberately to reduce activation.
Help Now! – The skills taught for Help Now! are quick, simple and practical (and easy to remember) strategies to get back into the Resilient Zone if experiencing emergency, extreme or very stuck states in which you find yourself completely overwhelmed and unable to get out of the trauma vortex. These emergency states include such things as: panic attack, meltdown, shock, “losing it,” going off the deep end, mental breakdown (due to trauma), utter paralysis, completely zoned out.
Shift and Stay – Shift and Stay involves shifting into the Resilient Zone and challenging yourself to stay there. This is basically exercising a muscle that has gotten weak during the extreme stress of PTSD – the muscle being the capacity to remain in your Resilient Zone.
Titration – slowing down and taking small bites of emotions and bodily sensations– – gently guiding the nervous system to remember its natural process of going between being settled/calm alert (parasympathetic) and being activated (sympathetic).
Pendulation is a technique to help the nervous system become more flexible and to restore its natural rhythm and flow after it has been badly injured/disabled/harmed by trauma.
Completion of Survival Responses – This involves allowing the energies of flight (running jumping, walking) and fight (pushing away, holding off, fighting) that were never able to express themselves during the trauma work their way out of the body tissues within a safe space held by a therapist.–
Contact/Self-Holding Exercises I included Contact/Self-Holding Exercises from Somatic Experiencing in my list because of how much those exercises have helped me. They are my emergency go-to exercises. Peter Levine refers to them as “Contact” exercises because they involve placing attention on areas where you make contact with your body using your hands.
Community- Community because connecting with people, when ready and able, can be very healing for trauma recovery. There are numerous ways social engagement, with psychologically safe (accepting, nonjudgemental, present) people, bring a person out of activation/survival and stimulate other parts of the nervous system (polyvagal theory covers this thoroughly).
Presence, Self-Acceptance and Self-Empathy are all positive postures to take towards one’s own process of recovery. Recovery is a real process that needs to take place. Recovery really can be something you need to make some extra time for. It can cause limitations in life for a while. Sometimes it’s hard for us to accept the reality of the needs of the recovery process, like time, rest, therapy, relaxation exercises, so many things! – but accepting that this is part of life right now will help us make more progress with it.