Sometimes it pays to walk along the fringe, out on that edge where the lay of the land isn’t quite known to you, where adventure is the word for the day. That is where I roamed Sunday morning. My journey there began quite awhile ago, with a whisper from deep inside about a path that might some day be mine.
This card is my AEDM offering for day #9. It is inspired by a phrase I have been hearing a lot recently…. Get out of your own way!
Several years ago I started hearing a rumble in my community, even saw part of a preview, about a movie, Chocolat, in which a woman used an ancient blend of cacao (the plant chocolate comes from) and chili to bring transformation to those she met on her travels. Everyone who saw it told me I would love it. They were right.
I watched the movie and inside, my heart yearned to know that kind of metamorphosis. My spirit yearned to know something about the elixir the woman in the movie crafted. Was it just a fairy tale? The story resonated with me probably more powerfully than any other movie I had ever watched. What was it about that chocolate? Was it for real? Could chocolate transform?
As a woman, I have had a connection with chocolate. When my moontime comes close, chocolate always seems to be part of the equation for relief. It is my dessert of choice, and although I don’t cook much, if I do, you can bet there is some chocolate in it.
When I got married, about 7 years ago, I came close to that Chocolat experience. We received several packages that included special blends of very dark chocolate that was mixed with a variety of other herbs to create an aphrodisiac response. I thought at first that it must be hype. But one night, my new honey and I watched our movie and indulged in our own elixir and needless to say, we didn’t quite make it through the movie before the love drug kicked in. I was impressed with its potency but instead of satisfying my curiosity about the effects of cacao, it only served to pique them.
So when my friends, Irene and Milena, took a trip to Guatemala and began talking about Sacred Cacao Ceremonies with the Chocolate Shaman, I wanted to know more. They each talked to me about experiencing the cacao together, but the time never seemed right. Then, in the middle of this past Summer, I got a call. The Chocolate Shaman was touring the U.S. and would be stopping to stay here in my hometown for a bit. I couldn’t help but imagine that I had manifested that, brought him to me. What a grand synchronicity!
Just days later, I went to my first ceremony. I wondered if there would be in strange feelings, anything happening inside. I wondered if it would change my life like it had done to the people in my movie. I wondered what a Chocolate Shaman was. My mind conjured up all kinds of images, all kinds of possibilities. Then I met him, Keith.
Keith is probably one of the happiest, most gentle people I have ever met. His heart feels like it has very pure intentions that are based on honoring the path that those in the ceremony want for themselves. I felt very safe with him. Some of the words I wondered about like shaman and ceremony were a lot less important in the end. Keith was, above all, a good-hearted guy sharing a very special herbal drink with us that had the possibility of helping our meditations to have more meaning and who helped us to understand some of workings of the human condition. It was really as simple as that…..and yet, also that powerful.
After the ceremony that night (the first ceremony I did with him), Keith and his group of helpers (or Band of Gypsies as I call them in the blog post I wrote about that night) came over to my house to stay over until they would be flying out the next day. As I sat in bed, just before turning in, my mind drifted off. I was thinking about the movie and how the work Keith was doing just might have the potential Chocolat hinted at.
Over the last several months, I have come back to those thoughts over and over again. In my work as a life coach, I have found that some of the issues Keith focused on during our sharing were finding their way into conversations with the Creatives I work with. In particular is the idea of being an Empath, a person who has a strong connection with other people’s feelings and emotions.
The first time I heard the word, I thought maybe they were meaning it in a psychic way. But more and more, I am understanding that it means some of that very natural cluing in that so many of us do.
***How you just know how another person is feeling.
***How you might actually feel another person’s physical pain or sense it.
***How so many of us are sensitive to the hurts of the world and take all of that into us.
Keith teaches a lot about this and then using the cacao walked us through how not to hold onto that hurt, pain, drama, and trauma.
And these last several months, I have earnestly worked on putting those exercises into action. The more I do that, the stronger my inclination to share about what being an Empath is, how it can be helpful, and especially how it can be helpful for others without hurting the one who is picking up on all the feelings.
This work is especially important to me because I know what it means to love helping others but having to stop because it all becomes too much to handle. Understanding the work of an Empath and how to manage it feels like a big piece of the puzzle for one of my coaching emphasis.
That brings me back to the fringe. Keith has just finished his tour of the U.S. and will soon be headed back to Guatemala where he will continue his work with the cacao plant. Before leaving, he stopped back in town for a farewell Sacred Cacao Ceremony, and that is where I spent a good portion of my day.
I was a lady on a mission. I wanted to check in once and for all with myself because I am feeling called to work with chocolate and with Empaths. The ceremony was just what I needed. I felt like I worked on several issues that I let hold me back and have further locked in some of the tools Keith introduced us to in the original session. I could feel how my reaction to other’s pain and discomfort was different this time around. I was more at peace and got hooked up in their trauma less often. I was more grounded and more centered. All of that would have been enough, but I got something even more satisfying from the ceremony.
In the end, as we were all cleaning up, Keith stopped what he was doing and walked over to me. He made a point to tell me that he wanted to validate the work I feel called to do with cacao. I shared with him some of my ideas and explained that they would be different than his work. And as Keith is apt to do, he smiled his contagious, glowing grin and told me that one of cacao’s gifts is to make itself available in a variety of ways and that all those ways were right, that I just needed to listen for the way that was right for me.
And so, I will be listening, eating more sacred chocolate, and maybe watching my movie.
For more of the story about my first Sacred Cacao Story, make sure to connect with these posts…