A Recipe for Integration Carole Ames, M.T.C., Dip.C., B.E.S. leads and co-leads several courses at The Haven and frequent!J assists Phase and Come Alire courses. Carole Spersonal history and interest in a van·ery rif topics from Faith to Humour haJ benefited from ber commitment to integrating learnings.
I've been thinking about the concept of integration-what it means, how it happens, how I can . recognize it. Probably a useful exercise given that I am such a proponent of it! This is what I've come up with so far. Integration can refer to a specific concept or awareness, or in a more general sense; to an over-all state of being. In the first instance, I could define integration as "an authentic shift in perspective," whereas the second instance might be described as "congruence in perception, thought, feeling, and action, over time." In considering how integration happens, I looked back over my own experiences and noticed some common ingredients. One example is my recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, both of which I was diagnosed with in 1990.
Recovery from these conditions is uncommon, and I believe that in my case it was my ability to integrate several new concepts, and to bring my entire being into a more integrated state, that led to this. When asked how I managed such a full recovery, my short answer is usually that I did a lot of "Haven" work. A more complete response highlights the elements essential for me in this processmy 'Recipe for Integration' as it were: 1. Motivation. I was unwilling to continue to shut down my body, lose connection with the world, and depress my spirit. I became motivated to do something different. 2. Curiosity. I became willing to look at myself and consider how I was contributing to my condition, and why. This was contrary to standard medical advice, and required that I abandon my more familiar victim stance. 3. Vulnerability. I re-connected with my body and my feelings, and began to experience the world, my relationships, and myself from a more centred
place. This was daunting given my typically fear-based approach to everything! 4. Risk. The labels of 'perfectionist' and 'fielddependent' were well suited to me, so it was hard to try new things with no guarantee of success. What if I stumbled, failed, looked stupid? Nl of that happened, and I kept going. 5. Humour. I realized that my sense of humour could be used for more than just entertainment or deflection-laughing at myself, and the world in general, was a way to disengage my defenses and move deeper, with more ease. 6. Faith. I started to develop a level of faith in the 'process' I was participating in at The Haven, and in those teaching it. This was an excellent antidote for my fear, and eventually led to more faith in myself. 7. Practice. I discovered that doing something differently once was tough, and didn't guarantee that I would continue this approach. ... continued on page 16
"How do we break the trajectory of our lives and do something new?" ••. Sam Keen
The Quantum Laugh ... Shifting with Humour Learn how to use humour in the process of shifting beliefs and behaviours. Experience more humour, joy aud connection iu your life and your relationships. Laugh out loud! with Carole Ames, MTC, Dip,C, BES ofCreative Pursuits- Facilitation, Counselling & Consulting Services
s&en - Issue 34 Summer 2004
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