As we start to close the book on 2017 it’s a time not only to celebrate the holidays and New Year’s, but it’s also a time for reflection and integration.
When thinking about this blog, I came across this definition and I love it!
Integration is the coordination of mental processes into a normal effective personality or with the environment. I love this definition because it speaks directly to the mental process that must happen to take all of our experiences and digest them, learn from them and then incorporate them into our lives.
To me this means that all of our experiences in 2017; the mistakes, lessons, love, success and failure all need to be examined in order to fully step in 2018 with awareness, growth and the ability to move forward in a conscious way.
For years I spent so much time trying to figure out how to live in both worlds. As many of you know I come from an interesting background much different than many of my close friends, my husband and even my own daughter. For years I couldn’t figure out how to integrate that part of me into my life. I never hid from it or treated it as taboo, but I didn’t talk about the gifts it gave me. As much as others I know talk about their summer camp experiences and the friendships and growth it gave them, could I talk about the carnival and learning how to work young, getting along with everyone and the fun of travelling all over southern Ontario? I have learned that of course I can.
I realized a long time ago all of the things that have happened good or bad have shaped us into who we are. However, when we characterize something as bad we tend to forget or stuff down the whole experience and not remember the lessons. We forget that there are pieces that created who we are, that even the bad can be integrated to help us move forward and that in order to be whole we need to integrate all parts of ourselves. In yoga I teach about light and dark and that all of it creates who we are, the yin and yang, the feminine and masculine.
I have been reading Marianne Williamson’s book, Law of Compensation and it shows a good example of integration. In the book she was helping a woman work through trouble with her business. The person, at one point in her career was a successful businesswoman who also had a degree in social work and non-profit. She became jaded by greedy corporate life so she quit to open a business more in tune with her moral compass. She tried to create an environment that was warm and inclusive however she felt wrong trying to earn a profitable living from this wholesome environment. This caused the business to fail. If she had integrated all parts of her previous jobs’ knowledge she would have been more successful. Sometimes we judge experiences and then label them bad or good or not appropriate for certain situations, but in life a story creates a feeling and it’s those feelings we need to hold onto.
As we move forward can we integrate all that has happened in 2017, can we take good with gratitude and take notes of what worked for you to help you move forward or create happiness and joy. Can you also learn from the mistakes, how we reacted in situations, or even the things we think are not our good qualities?
In learning to love or even be comfortable in our discomfort, of all parts of us, we create space for empathy and compassion for others (because when they suffer or struggle we feel it). If we can apply the lessons of 2017 to help 2018 be a year of growth, change, peacefulness and acceptance, all of the experiences will have been worth it.