Consciously Integrating Big Changes
By Joy Reichart, New Ventures West, Guest Contributor
Life has asked a lot of us over the last couple of years. Much has happened in our individual and collective worlds that in many cases defies imagining, and in many others is long overdue. We’d like to invite you into an exploration of all that has become integrated in you along the way.
One way integration happens
For an example of how integration happens, let’s look at the pandemic, since there is hardly anyone on the planet that it hasn’t touched in some way.
Think back to March of 2020, about the shifts we were compelled to make abruptly, and the additional ones that came over time. At first those shifts were likely logistical - working and connecting remotely, canceling plans big and small, figuring out how to care for those who needed us. We experienced physical changes like wearing masks and keeping distance from others. Eating, drinking, sleeping, bathing, dressing, exercise, and other very regular routines shifted.
These shifts eventually made their way into our emotional space, evoking feelings that ranged from deep depression and isolation, to terror and grief, to relief and joy. From here came more existential questions of what matters to us and why, resulting in big, permanent changes in direction for many folks: leaving jobs, moves to be closer to family, major endeavors finally begun or put down, and so forth.
Adapting versus integrating
At first, we had no choice but to shift with the shifting circumstances, doing what we had to to survive. We adapted to the logistical and physical aspects of big change. It was a little further down the road that some of the shifts became more deeply embedded or integrated in us, having a deeper effect on our lives. All of the information, data, input we were receiving from the world made its way further and further in until we were living it. Some of the feelings we had at the outset endured, transformed, and wove themselves into our individual and collective fabric. Our lives changed.
This is an example of integration: when a particular issue affects so many domains in our lives that eventually the way we see the world begins to shift, taking the rest of our life with it.
Integral Coaching helps us engage this inevitable process in a conscious, supported way. Clients usually come to coaching when their life has been interrupted by a layoff, a move, a loss, or another major life transition—or when there is a deep stirring in them that something must shift. This interruption is likely showing up in many domains of their life: physically, emotionally, relationally, existentially, and elsewhere.
The coach comes alongside the client, attending to what is already in process for them, and supporting them in intentionally stepping into what is occurring. What pieces of all that is ‘up’ right now can intentionally be examined, developed, and integrated into this person’s life?
An Integral Coaching program helps the client discern, through self-observation, the most relevant pieces of what is occuring, and what it is all pointing toward. They also take up practices in the somatic, emotional, relational, and other streams to integrate these possibilities into their life.
Self-reflection: what have I integrated?
During a time of year that many spend in reflection, we’d like to invite you to do so through an integrative lens by taking up the questions below.
- What was the biggest disruption I experienced in the last two years? What have been its ongoing effects?
- What newness have I grown accustomed to over the past year or two? This could be habits, living arrangements, states of health, people in your life or no longer in it, et cetera.
- From your answers above, what permanent shifts felt like conscious choices? Which felt more automatic?
- Given what you’ve discovered, how will you move into the next period of time? Who / what can support you in this?
We are always here to support you in stepping into greater aliveness. Join us at a free event or introductory workshop to take up the exploration. Take $100 off tuition using coupon code MINDFULLEADER. We wish you all the best as another year draws to a close.
Joy is the Communications Director at New Ventures West, an Integral Coach training school in San Francisco.