Integration (The Story Behind It All: Part 2)
This is part 2 in a series. "The Story Behind It All" introduces the stories leading up to the creation of the new BeingBreath offering, which will be shared in just under 2 weeks from now. I'm taking you along the process and introducing some new contemplations along the way!
To read more about this series and Part 1, CLICK HERE.
Part 2: Integration
Nod your head along if this has happened to you.
You take a 6-week online class. You go to an in-person weekend retreat. Or perhaps a 4-hour long class with that teacher you've been secretly stalking online for years. Or that day-long seminar / workshop that includes teamwork and breakout sessions. Or you dive into that book that you stay up until 2 a.m. finishing and adding exclamation marks and highlighted notes on every page.
The experience is everything you'd imagine it would be and more.
You come home or finish the course or book, inspired, ready to implement what you just learned.
A week later, you are back to the same old routine, doing exactly what you did before that experience. In fact, you are already longing to take that next class you heard about last weekend....
I've been there. Done that. More times than I care to admit. And if you were nodding along just now, then you understand that irresistible longing to LEARN. There is nothing quite like immersing yourself in studious exploration of a topic that lights your fire.
The problem arises when the source of that fire disappears.
Too often, we bask in the light from the teacher and forget to practice making our own fire. We imagine that the light must come from "out there", so we never work on recognizing it "in here". Back in our mundane lives, we easily slip back into the same routines that we were trying to change by attending that class or workshop.
It is a VERY common problem, so first, please exhale in the combined relief that you are not alone.
There are many reasons that we find ourselves immersed in a project of learning, creating, growing...then returning to the same habits and patterns once the experience is over. To-do's that we temporarily ignored pile back up, tricky relationships knock us off course, and environmental factors (clutter in the home, noise at the workplace, etc.) clog up our newly-found clarity.
I've constantly examined my own experiences with this. I've also had countless conversations with friends who have expressed the same troubles:
- Class after class left unfinished because life got too busy.
- A weekend workshop that was SO fabulous...that becomes just another story and a some fancy digital photos a few months later.
- An investment in a pricey course where the "Secrets That No One Else Knows" are quickly discovered and forgotten.
After years of contemplation on this, I've found an essential key to actually making any course material, weekend retreat, book wisdom, or teacher's guidance have value BEYOND the time you spend in direct contact with it.
(And no, it isn't a secret.)
The key is INTEGRATION.
The structure of the course must lend itself to integrating with your life AS IT IS. And you must be willing to practice the lessons outside of the direct guidance of the teachings, to integrate them into your mundane life.
Think about it: A course that is 6-weeks long with meetings every Monday might provide a WEALTH of information. But it isn't of any value to you if an unexpected business task comes up 2 weeks into the course and you can no longer make the course a priority. Or perhaps this: Learning meditation during a long weekend is extremely valuable. But if you don't meditate once you leave, you won't gain any benefits.
This is notto say that current course models, retreats, and books are not valuable. (Would I EVER say books are not valuable? Sacrilege!) We are living in a time where information is available in countless forms, and these current ways of transmitting this information can prove extremely successful for those who are able to INTEGRATE the learning into their lives.
But I've spent the past year coming up with a different way of sharing with you, of guiding you, of inspiring you.
A format that promises to lead you straight into integrating the practices and wisdom into your life, AS IT IS.
What you get out of it will be up to you, as it is with any teachings. But I can assure you that this format takes into account those pitfalls that usually arise, and works around those common obstacles.
I know, because I've been there so many times. I've both forgotten and integrated much of what I've learned. I know what works for me and what doesn't. And if this all resonates with you, I can't promise results...but I can promise that this will open a door to a new way of practicing and learning that has the potential to move you into a much deeper place of mindful understanding.
Regardless of what path you are on and what lessons you are studying, I encourage you to look at how each part of your life works with every other part. How might what you are learning now inform an area of your life that you thought was totally unrelated?
Here's to our curious wonderings and the ways that they weave into our lives.
The Story So Far
Part 1: Going Groundless was a reminder that one small step in the vastness of our uncertainties can make all the difference.
Part 3 of The Story Behind It All will be shared on Friday, June 5, 2014.
A gentle reminder: If you are feeling moved by these stories, I encourage you to sign up for the BeingBreath newsletter. That way, you don't have to think about stopping back at the blog - these inspiring stories will appear right in your inbox! Sign up by CLICKING HERE.