What I’ve learned holding Cacao Ceremonies

The powerful and beautiful ladies who gathered at my last womans  only cacao ceremony, held on Koh Phangan, Thaialnd.
The powerful and beautiful ladies who gathered at my last womans only cacao ceremony, held on Koh Phangan, Thaialnd.

Image: From a Womans Cacao Ceremony held on Koh Phangan, Thailand in June 2015

About a year ago, I left Guatemala with a suitcase full of cacao and big dreams of spreading the magic of chocolate as plant medicine. What I didn’t realize at the time is how holding ceremony would challenge me to step up and grow more than I ever could have imagined. In the commitment to hold space for others, there was truly no getting away from myself. I couldn’t possibly show up in the complete, full, loved filled way I know is MY way, if I wont shine my own light inside myself.

Thus began a powerful dismantling. I had begun on my own, hiding what felt like inner destruction behind layers of fear and shame, and continued in front of my first audience of accountability, community. This audience brought up deep pains around judgement and facing my own fears of exposing my shadow. Through leading and sharing ceremony, I unintentionally forced myself to dive even deeper, learn how to show up as all of myself no matter how painful the process, and know when to love myself enough to stop and/or walk away. It hasn’t always been fun or easy… and yet something bigger than myself has been pushing me forward, propelling me when I reached even my darkest most self defeating moments.

People who say that following your truth will always be easy and effortless clearly haven’t followed their true calling. Easy and effortless does happen, and when it does it’s probably the most glorious feeling I could ever image, but to face all that you truly are… all that life is…. takes challenge, focus, bravery and sometimes, it takes good old fashioned work.

In many ways, I tricked myself into this dismantling process and sometimes I feel that I never had control over what life was asking of me. Truthfully, I never could have been satisfied living as anything less than everything that is all of me; The good, the bad, the ugly… my blissful totality.

The first moment I met a person who faced their true depths of fear and pain, to emerge embodied and whole, I knew I was screwed; Erin as I knew her was over. It was time to implode, and implode I did. Not always in a graceful, loving, or peaceful way I might add. Over the years I learned how to work with myself and energy so that my imploding isn’t always so dramatic or painful, but it still implodes regularly. I’ve even come to appreciate the implosions, knowing that each release is opening a door inside of myself, unlocking a piece of me and life that wants to come home to wholeness and love.

As I continue my education through action, my ability to show up, face and embrace myself, others, and life in a way that feels natural to me grows exponentially. I still meet ‘set backs’, or as I should say, the next layers of depth within myself, but with each layer of hidden darkness uncovered and exposed, my capacity to hold space for myself and life intensifies.

The world is transforming as we each face the fact that the structures we thought we could stand on are crumbling, and with it, the fall of our ability to deny our own unique way of being… our own inherent inner fullness, power, and love. Inner fullness won’t always mean ‘success’ or ‘happiness’ or even that all we desire manifests the way we want in our set time. It means that there is a bigger life plan, and we are allowing it. Showing up to ourselves and life, knowing there was never any difference in the first place. Falling into our own darkness and fears each step of the way. Refusing to settle for anything less than the truth we feel buried deep in our cores, and refusing to settle for less that true inner totality.

Ultimately, what I’ve learned, other than the depths of my own fear, is that I’m not here to create another ‘spiritual experience’, convince people they can be happy or even to create all they want in life. I’m simply here to become all of myself fully,  live in that fullness, and serve as a reminder to others that what they seek has always been there, waiting to be held and embraced by the totality of their spirit. Bodies waiting to be touched by depths. Minds released from false ideas of happiness, success and love. Hearts activated, souls blazing, spirits charged and true purposes grounded.

Thus, I keep moving forward, one step at a time, one fear at a time, towards my true calling; The call of full embodiment of wholeness. I offer ceremony as space of safety and acceptance for us to face ourselves, as this simple thing is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. My wish is that all people may exist as the whole beings we inherently are. That we may face and accept our flaws and our pains… releasing the shame, self hatred, and powerlessness that has hid precious pieces of ourselves. Then, in that wholeness, that we come together, layering whole circle upon whole circle, until we see the world as it truly is… a perfect and whole multidimensional sphere.