Using Growth & Integration To Reclaim Your Life
There’s a lot of messages out there about constantly challenging yourself, putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable.
We have to push ourselves past our limits. That’s how we step into growth.
But despite living in a world that is based on the masculine and the drive to always be doing, we also need to settle into a state of being.
That’s also how we grow. AND integrate.
It’s this tee-totter of knowing what you need when, and honoring that.
We haven’t really been taught how to do that, have we?
What it comes down to is working with your nervous system at the most basic level, as the nervous system underlies all health issues, especially hormonal ones.
My mom often says to me, “I wish I was like you, and had no fear.”
It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I’ve told her that I definitely have fear. If I’m doing it right, I feel fear nearly every day.
Doing my work in the world brings me fear. Being honest about my feelings brings me fear. Things I’m trying out for my health brings me fear.
Jumping off a tall mountain into deep lake waters brings me BIG fear.
But everytime I do something that brings me fear, I teach my body I can handle it. In other words, I feel the fear and do it anyway.
It invigorates me. It moves props up my dopamine. It makes me trust my abilities more.
Fear is not a bad thing – it exists to protect us, to keep us safe. But it comes from our amygdala – sometimes referred to as our “lizard brain,” which can’t understand the full spectrum of a situation. It sends this information to our hippocampus to be processed as emotions and memories, and then to our hypothalmus to signal out to our endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, ovaries).
We are learning different ways to override deeply embedded fear via things like neurofeedback, psychedelics, hypnotherapay and more.
We can also start to do it in our daily lives when we feel fear but can touch in a conscious place of safety. “Oh, I’ve done something similar before, and I survived. I even prospered.” That’s how we work with fear in a different way.
It’s how we evolve, and how we touch into our dreams.
Respecting Our Boundaries
Thing is, I bet you’ve read a lot about working with fear.
Hustling. Pushing past your limits. Creating the life you want to live.
Just about any coach out there is going to focus on this part of the equation.
But that’s what it is – just part of the equation. The part that is left out, pushed to the side, demeaned, is the being.
Take a deep breath. Or 12.
Turning down that invitation, foregoing that networking event, stepping outside in nature for not just 10 minutes but maybe days or weeks.
Getting off social media, not being a slave to your phone, honoring your body’s calls to lay the F down and rest.
You also have to integrate after you’ve made a big move in your life. Whether that’s completing a big work project that has taken all your attention for months, given birth to a baby or a new business, moved your home, started a new romantic relationship, or won a big award, our bodies need time to catch up.
All of that cortisol and adrenaline and other hormones that have been pumping out for that big move are now dropping off, and your body literally has to recalibrate.
But that’s not how we’re taught to do things in western culture. We’re taught to keep pushing forward, use momentum and jump on to the next thing.
No matter how you identify, female, male, non-binary or other, we all have a femimine part of ourselves that needs that integration. This is where our body rests, processes emotions, settles back down into our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
Not only are we denying the feminime if we don’t do this, but we are also damaging over the long-term what the PNS oversees: digestion, repair of tissues and organs, lowering your heart rate, and sexual function.
And we wonder why we have such a massive amount of digestive issues (particularly constipation), heart concerns, mental health issues, hormone and sexual dysfunction, and autoimmunity in our culture.
The Edge of Balance
So, what do we do? When do we push past our fear? When do we sink in to the desire to slow down?
I call this area “the edge of balance.” And there’s no list of “5 Things To Do To Achieve Balance” that I can give you, sadly.
YOU have to determine that edge of balance in your own body. What I can help you with is finding that edge within yourself.
Here’s some places to begin:
✨Slow down enough to tune into your body. It’s 100% calling to you with the aches, pains, unwanted growths, anxiety, depression. I very well know the desire to want to run when your body starts hurting, but can you take a moment, maybe put your hand over the part of your body hurting, and ask what emotion is there? What does your body need from you?
✨When you are faced with fear, imagine the possible outcome of the situation. Does it excite you? Does it fill you with more dread? Does it feel expansive, or does it feel like it will constrict you? Therein lies your answer.
✨Ask any “outside voices” to sit this one out. Many, many times we are making decisions based on what we think people want from us, whether that’s our partner, our kids, parents, or work. We have a hard time tuning into that inner voice, because it may be the quietist. That’s why it’s essential for us to get quiet, so we can hear her. Sometimes, it takes a bit of time for those outside voice to move over, so give it more than a few moments of your time.
Once you get more accustomed to your body’s signals, your true feelings about things will rise to the surface more quickly. You’ll be able to differentiate between the fear that is an old, outdated protection mechnanism, and the fear that is truly there to keep you safe.
And that’s your edge of balance. It’s not perfect – no true perfect balance exists in life – but this is how you are going to stay closest to your center.
This is where true growth (yang) and integration (yin) live together, allowing you to jump off that mountain and then be cradled by the water.