in this article
- What Is Resourcing?
- The Importance of Being Present
- Examples of Resources
- Resources are Personal
- How Resourcing Has Helped Me With Psychedelic Experiences
- Cultivating Inner Resources is a Practice
- Final Thoughts
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Chemical Collective or any associated parties.
In the world of psychedelic exploration, the journey is not just about what unfolds during the experience itself.
It’s equally important to navigate the terrain of emotions and thoughts that surface in the days and weeks that come before and afterwards.
This journey of self-exploration requires a sense of safety and self-assuredness. Without it, the powerful surges of emotion that often come with psychedelics can easily lead to feelings of overwhelm and disconnection. This can lead us to contract, and shrink, rather than to expand. And this means that we wither, rather than grow.
But, how do we establish a sense of security and presence?
One of the best ways we can do this is through resourcing.
What is resourcing?
Fear not. In this article, I’ll explain what resourcing is and how it can help you in preparing, navigating, and integrating intentional psychedelic experiences. I’ll describe and offer examples of a variety of resourcing techniques. I’ll give context to help deepen your understanding of this practice, and share my own personal resourcing techniques, and share how they’ve helped me on my psychedelic journey.
My aim is to offer you a tool for your journey of exploration and healing with psychedelics and to give you enough information to get you started with this practice today.
As always, my intention is to help you improve your ability to safely and effectively work with psychedelics for insight, healing, and growth.
Let’s get started.
Resourcing is the practice of identifying, accessing, and cultivating pathways to feelings of strength, safety, comfort, and connectedness.
These pathways are our inner resources, and can also be understood as refuges, supports, safe places, or sanctuaries. Our resources essentially make up an inner support system that can help you navigate the raw emotions that may arise during a psychedelic journey or in daily life.
These resources can include a variety of practices which include breathing, mental images or visualisation, and affirmations.
The theme with resources is that they do not require anything external. They do not rely on any equipment, items, or other people. As such they can help us build self-reliance, self-resilience, and cultivate a sense of stability from within, rather than without. They can aid us in regulating our emotions.
All they require is your presence of mind, and your attention.
Ultimately, resourcing is about creating and developing a wellspring of inner stability.
Crucially, to our path with psychedelics, for healing and growth, they can allow us to be present with challenging inner states and material.
Fully being present with feelings and emotions is an essential part of the healing and integration process on the psychedelic path.
This presence is about acknowledging and embracing what arises. It is about turning towards difficulties and challenges, rather than turning away from them. This is the path where we often find our greatest insights and learnings.
This is true whether it’s during a psychedelic journey itself or in the days and weeks that follow.
Inner resources, like beacons in the dark, give us access to feelings of comfort and safety. They can serve as our anchors, keeping us grounded in the midst of turbulent emotional states. Without a sufficient sense of safety and presence, powerful surges of emotion can become overwhelming, leading to disconnection and dissociation.
Learning to find our inner resources is finding pathways to inner strength, safety, comfort, and connectedness. As such, it’s an essential first step to being able to recognize and be present with whatever arises on our journeys.
When starting out with resourcing, it’s important to be open to the diversity of resources available to you.
Resources come in various forms, each uniquely suited to different individuals. So when you are starting out, it’s good to try a few and see what works best for you.
Here I’ll share a few of the most commonly used and useful resources:
Grounding is the practice of feeling the ground where it meets your body.
It connects you with the physical world and fosters a sense of stability.
If you’re sitting, feel the earth or floor beneath your feet, and where your bum meets the surface you are sitting on. It may help to gently press your feet into the floor.
If you’re lying down, feel the floor along the back of your entire body as it supports you from below. Along the back of your head, shoulders, back, bum, legs, and feet.
Rest your attention on the physical sensations where your body meets what is beneath you. Hold your attention there.
Deepening your breath is a very simple yet profound physical resource.
Slowing our breathing has a physiological effect which calms down our nervous system. The rhythmic inhales and exhales create a sense of calm and balance within your body.
Simply focus on taking long deep breaths, and continue doing this for as long as it feels useful to you. It might be a few breaths, or a few minutes.
We regain our balance through the proper application of attention and awareness. This is the slowing down, which we can facilitate physically through relaxed, deep breathing which helps release any tension in our bodies. Once we’ve slowed ourselves down and replanted our psychic feet, it is easier to move our consciousness through the resistance or block.
Repeating affirmations can shift your thought patterns and boost a sense of inner strength.
Examples of phrases:
“I am safe”
“I am resilient”
“I am supported”
“I am loved”
Find one which resonates with you, and mentally repeat this phrase to yourself. You may also wish to speak it aloud. You may also use more than one, and repeat a series, like “I am safe, I am loved, I am supported”.
Some people also find that expressing gratitude, for everything that is present, can help to open up to experience. So the phrase might be “Thank you”. Another option is to form words of prayer. So it might be “I ask for help”.
The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
– Soren Kierkegaard
Physical touch can provide a deep sense of emotional comfort.
A popular and widely effective method is as simple as placing a hand on your heart.
You may also like to place another hand on your belly, which can also help connect you to your breath, feeling the rise and fall of fall, as you breathe through your diaphragm.
Healing touch might include various types of self-massage, incorporating movement into your touch. This can bring a sense of soothing.
Another form of resource is that of visualising supportive figures. This visualisation technique taps into the human need for connection and can be a potent resource in times of vulnerability.
To do this, call to mind persons that help bring you to feelings of support, safety, love, strength, or connection. These might be heroes, loved ones, spiritual guides.
Here are some examples:
With those who most bring you a sense of safety and strength, you can see them in your mind’s eye.
Imagine them standing beside you, watching over you, or simply visualise their presence. You can also choose a few and visualise them standing around you, forming a protective circle of support.
It can help to focus on details to build out a picture; their eyes, their face, the shape of their body.
Allow their presence in your psyche to bring about those feelings of support that you are seeking.
Mentally picturing nature imagery is another method of visualisation.
Images of nature can offer a sense of stability and peace, and there is current research that suggests that images of nature can reduce stress and promote peace.
Imagine a serene nature scene.
This could be a remote forest, with trees swaying in the breeze, and chirping birds flying overhead. It could be a still lake, surface untouched, with an expansive clear blue sky overhead. Or it might be a quiet wooded area with a babbling brook flowing nearby.
You might visualise mountains, connecting with them as a symbol of strength and stability amidst life’s ever-changing winds, weathers, and seasons. Or you might imagine a peaceful beach, the sound of waves lapping against the short.
Imagine small details to help build out the image in your mind, and spend some time there. There is no need to do anything in the scene, simply stay with the images and be present with them. You can place yourself in the scene, or just picture the scene itself.
Outside of images of people and nature, you may also visualise other locations.
They may include specific places that hold sentimental value or personal meaning. This might be a location from your childhood, like a bedroom or park, or a sacred place you’ve been, like a church or temple. You might also use images of specific memories, or activities that bring joy.
By exploring and embracing the diversity of resources, you can tailor your resourcing practice to your unique preferences and needs. Resources come in various forms, each uniquely suited to different individuals and what resonates with you might be different from others.
Some may find grounding techniques, such as feeling the earth beneath their feet, most helpful. Others may deepen their breath, allowing the rhythmic inhales and exhales to create a sense of calm and stability.
For many, healing touch or comforting words and images act as powerful resources.
Remember that your resourcing journey is a personal exploration that allows you to discover the supports that best nurture your inner strength, safety, comfort, and connectedness.
If you’re working with a tripsitter or facilitator for a psychedelic session, it can be helpful to let them know about your resources in the preparation of your experience. They can act as a grounding force, gently reminding you of the pathways to comfort and safety when the journey becomes challenging.
A few years ago, I had a very challenging and fearful psychedelic experience. Largely it was because I did not properly respect the experience. I was a bit lax in my approach.
Early on in the experience, I experienced what felt like a malevolent presence – something that felt like an entity that threatened me. A lot of anxiety came up and I had a bit of a freakout.
It kept me tight in fear, and meant that for the rest of the experience I did not have feelings of trust, and unwilling to let go. As a consequence, I resisted and tried to bring myself out of the experience as much as possible and I held on tightly.
In the end I rode out the experience in resistance and made it through. As you’d expect, I didn’t gain any personal insights from this experience. What I did gain was a healthy respect for these powerful mind and reality altering substances.
Afterwards I was quite fearful to reenage with psychedelics. Because of this experience, I was scared to reenter the psychedelic realm.
After some months, I set up for another psychedelic session. I was far more careful and intentional in my preparation, and I worked on my inner resources, developing and cultivating my pathways to feelings of safety and strength.
After I dosed, early in the experience, I felt anxiety and worry creeping in as the effects came on.
Then, I used my resources.
I took long deep breaths, focused on my inhalation and exhalation, repeatedly mentally affirmed ‘I am safe’, and visualised my late grandfather watching over me – a personal figure of wisdom and strength.
It connected me to safety and strength, turning my anxiety down, and I was able to transition into my journey.
This experience got me back to a good place with psychedelics; a place where I felt I could trust them and once again successfully work with them for the incredible tools for insight that I know they are.
I hope this personal story helps to illustrate how resourcing can be used to navigate challenging emotions during psychedelic experiences.
Resourcing isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing practice. These pathways are strengthened through regular exercise, like a muscle growing stronger with each repetition. Remember that what we focus on expands:
“Where attention goes, energy flows”
Resourcing isn’t confined to the psychedelic journey alone. It’s a versatile tool that can support us in our daily lives. By integrating resourcing practices into our routines, we create a foundation of emotional resilience that extends far beyond our psychedelic experiences.
Consider starting your day with a few minutes of deep breathing and visualisation. This simple practice can help strengthen your pathways and set a positive tone for the day ahead, helping you face challenges with a more balanced and centred mindset.
On your path of psychedelic exploration and personal growth, resourcing can become a support that you can lean on. It can serve as a source of strength and stability amidst the ever-changing tides of experience. It can assist in being fully present and open with our experience, helping to open to the depths of our psyche with grace, and to integrate the lessons of our journeys into our daily lives.
I invite you to identify just one resource today, and begin practising it whenever you feel some challenging emotion bubbling up as you move through your day.
Best of luck out there.
Stay safe, journey well.
John Robertson | Community Blogger at Chemical Collective | mapsofthemind.com
John is one of our community bloggers here at Chemical Collective. If you’re interested in joining our blogging team and getting paid to write about subjects you’re passionate about, please reach out to David via email at email@example.com
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