Ego behaves like a spoiled child, unless you lovingly discipline it. Eventually, you can talk with it reasonably and it throws a lot fewer tantrums.
The ego is the protective mechanism hard-wired in our humanity. It is that ego which keeps us safe in this body and protects it from harm. It is a part of the "natural man" the instinctive choice to pull your hand from the scalding hot burner on the stove. Ego is the protective mechanism of the mind and the heart, too. Ego takes everything personally. When it screams, I try to listen. I want find out why it thought I needed protection. The conversation takes practice. Cultivating self-awareness is key. Sometimes apologies and actionable amends are necessary when the ego has run a muck. We owe Mother Earth many apologies and actionable amends.
We cannot kill the ego and succeed. We can teach it to warn us of danger. We can understand its role and honor it with supportive listening. We can be a loving mother to nurse our unhealthy ego to a state of balanced confidence, creating our healthy and humble self-esteem. We can have self-worth without being arrogant. We can celebrate our talents in unison with the talents of others. We are capable beings with infinite power of choice.
Ego is the default decision maker in many minds. We are encouraged to be prideful and tyrannical as a means of strength. If we are strong we are secure. Money is power. Generally, and definitely in agreement with this video, the ego being head hauncho in our lives leads us to dangerous, callous, greedy, and destructive behaviors. We live in a culture aimed at attacking our ego. We are to be fearful of losing everything at all times. We must be first, best, and busy being in control. All of that is illusion meant to divide us from the center intersection of our humanity and our divinity. We are led to find cynicism in anything or anyone who operates from a perspective of community, security, cooperation, generosity, and freely-given love. These mechanisms are used by Ego to gain power and manipulate. It is a vicious game of us vs them. The media plays us. The politicians play us. The celebrities play us. The corporations play us. We play us.
And if I or you disagree with common hatred, we are a "them".
Wetiko wins all wars.
In truth, we are never disconnected. In interconnected compassion we find each other as reflections. We appreciate each others perspectives as unique squares quilted into the tapestry of life. We see our personal purpose as service to the greater good. We have the capacity for greatness. True greatness. Epic greatness. Our technology is brilliant. Our resources are studied and calculated. We are capable of more than territorial wars and religious agendas. We are capable of peace on Earth, if it wasn't for that pesky Wetiko imbalance.
We live in an unbalanced world. This world of ego that is in a state of Wetiko, the cannibalistic disease. We suffer from feelings of isolation and defeat, especially when we put forth efforts that are not reciprocated. We grasp for community. We lunge towards love whole-heartedly. We give of our time and money to supporting others. We foster security as we volunteer our cooperation. If any of these efforts are not well-received, it is natural to retreat into the Wetiko state of bitterness, separation, and greed. We cannot allow ourselves to stay there for very long. We must keep trying. We must keep being ourselves and healing the conditioning of this sickness. We must keep uniting. We must keep listening. We must keep loving. We must keep swimming.
We who are compelled to shift this world must continue to shift within ourselves. Lovingly disciplining our own egos, or personal Wetiko dis-ease. These are the hardest and most important struggles we will ever face. To choose love. To choose trust. To give benefit of the doubt. To do these brave acts, we have to feel secure, balanced, and safe in our own body, mind, and heart - or the Wetiko will come back to teach us more lessons.
Cacao comes to your life organically. From the beginning of its existence to the moment your lips meet, your journey is destined to cross its path. The properties of this sweet drink connect you with a fundamental aspect of yourself: Love. It is a heart opener, a feel-good transmitter, a sacred union. Cacao is literally the basis of a way of life for many modern families in Central and South America. Since ancient times, the gifts of chocolate origin figuratively serve as gesture of romance and love. Cacao is a sweet butter to the harsh taste of isolation, and for eons this plant medicine has been an inherent element of the indigenous peoples interconnections. They joined in community to celebrate their common bonds with each other and with the earth. Their bonds rooted in the experience of the divinity within the humanity, the eternal within the temporary, the pulse of the tribe in sync with every individual heartbeat.
Cacao Ceremony Time Guide
6:30pm Arrive and find your space
7:00pm Call in the Directions
Cacao Ceremony with Guided Meditation
Drum and Dance
8:30pm Regroup and Reconnect
9:00pm Closing Circle
Enjoy each other's company and food offerings.
10:30pm Good night, y'all.
Weather permitting, this will be an outdoor event set around the fire.
What to bring:
• 2 litre bottle for drinking water and a personal mug for liquid cacao
• Paper plates etc will be provided, though we encourage you to bring your own plate and spork
• Wear soft, comfortable, layered clothing which allows you to move (leggings, soft trousers, etc)
• Meditation cushion, zafu, folding chair if sitting on the floor/ground is uncomfortable
• Pillow and blanket for comfort during inner journey work + resting (optional)
• Any significant personal item(s) that you’d like to place on the group altar (returnable!)
• Drums, flutes, rattles and shakers, and any other musical contribution you are willing to make to the evening
• A snack to contribute (vegetarian please and easy to serve)
• Your openness and willingness to connect authentically and honestly with your Self and the non-linear, spontaneous wisdom of the Cacao Deva.
Flavor Enhancements Include:
cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, raw honey, maple syrup, pink salt, coconut milk
We will provide some of these. If you want any in particular, please mention that in the comments.
To learn more about cacao and how to prepare yourself for the ceremony, read on:
During a sacred cacao ceremony, you will be invited to let go of what is not serving your life, to call in what you would like to manifest for personal growth, and to deeply open your full capacity for love. A cacao ceremony is an opportunity to connect to yourself and open your heart, literally and figuratively. Cacao aids in any transformational shift, whether you are looking to deepen your understanding of your unique purpose, release old patterns and past traumas, move into a more self-assured awareness, and awaken a sense of wonderment and joy. Whatever your path, the intention is yours to cultivate. The cacao enhances your intuitive insight and conscious awareness, thus moving you closer to your goals. Sound healing and meditation are tools we use to support your process. Together, we are committed to creating a kind atmosphere of sharing. We climax our experience with drumming and dance, during which the cacao activates within the body and the chakras, allowing a truly transformative and ecstatic process to unfold. Before we close the circle, we offer a chance to share anything that wants a voice through our experience. Then, we eat our shared meal, exchange contact information with new friends, and have ourselves a good night's rest.
The body-mind can become flooded with the many emotions stored in the heart, some of which can be painful. It is not always an easy experience. I have seen many tears shed as people peel away old layers of hurt. It is not only okay to cry, it is CELEBRATED. Tears are healing. A wise native once said, "The tears of the body are the blood of the earth." When you heal yourself, you give others permission to heal. When humanity heals, the earth heals. As the cacao facilitates a deep sense of self-love, tears are followed by smiles of deep gratitude. Flow with it.
There is a two-week period following a fire ceremony in which “instances of opportunity” appear. These instances provide the opportunity to translate your intent for healing into reality. You are advised to think of the ceremony not as an instantaneous magical change, but rather an opening for healing distinctive habits and patterns. Recognize this opening and seize the opportunity to change your behavior in the real world. Let the universe take care of the details; listen for the signals and follow your inner guidance.
Post-cacao residuals can be noticed a myriad of powerful and subtle ways. Enhanced dreaming, physical detoxification and purging, and random emotional releases, are some signs you are working through energetic blockages. It is possible to support this process by being kind with yourself. Nourishing the body through whole foods nutrition, meditation and rest, practicing embodied movement, spending time in nature and silence, bathing in Epsom salt, and receiving bodywork can be helpful tools to move through the discomfort. Very occasionally, there may be an experience of headache or nausea, which energetically is an indicator of resistance. For discomfort lasting more than a day, you are welcome to contact any of your facilitators for support.
Cacao was known as the food of the Gods by the ancient peoples of Mexico, Central, and South America. It was prized as being of more value than gold and was traded as currency. Kings used it to enhance their libido so they could satisfy their harems. In common practice, it was known to activate sources of love and energy within body and mind, leading to its aphrodisiac status. Signifying both life and fertility, it was ingested by royalty in ceremonial deity worship and in sacrificial ritual. This sought-after plant medicine has had it’s beneficial effects altered and diminished through cooking and processing with sugar and milk, turning it into what we know as "chocolate". When cacao is prepared in it’s raw form and imbibed in sacred ceremony, we can experience the full benefit of this miraculous “Food of the Gods.”
One of the main active ingredients is Theobromine. Theo-broma literally translates as God-Food, and potentiates the release of dopamine, the "pleasure hormone". This, alongside phenethylamine, which is known to help relieve stress and depression and is released in the body during emotional euphoria, creates a heightened sensation of connectivity and empathy. The high amount of nutrients in the cacao support detoxification of the liver, spleen, and kidneys.
A quote from Drugs.com: “N-acylethanolamines are compounds found in chocolate that are structurally similar to anandamine, which is similar to the cannabinoid responsible for euphoria from cannabis. These compounds may not exert their effect by binding with the tetrahydrocannabinol receptors, but by inhibiting breakdown of endogenously produced anandamine, thus prolonging a “natural high.”
You may feel it providing extra circulation to the body within 30 minutes of ingestion. As the brain receives more oxygen, you feel the buzz of its activity. Those with an empty stomach will notice a more rapid assimilation, so if you are ready for that level of medicine, eat a good sized lunch and fast for 6-8 hours before the ceremony. First-timers are encouraged to have a light vegetable-based snack around 3:30-4pm, or 2-3 hours before partaking. Noticeable effects of cacao typically last 4-5 hours. Costa Rican, or Central American, cacao has less caffeine than South American varieties. It is ideal for inner work, lucid dreaming, and shamanic journeys. Whereas the South American varieties are often used in a similar manner to the way North Americans use coffee. To be certain you get adequate sleep, drink more water than your usual habit.
Please avoid all caffeine, alcohol, sugar stimulants, and bovine dairy products on the day, or at least 5 hours prior to event, as they do not mix well with cacao.
The theobromine in cacao is diuretic. Again, drink as much water as you can manage. This will help you avoid physically induced headaches and nausea. Those who need dietetic detox, especially if undergoing chemotherapy, may become nauseous 5-6 hours after a large dose, as the bitters stimulate the liver. Lower doses may also be needed for people with lower body weight or those who regard themselves as sensitive to drugs or energies. Note: many antidepressants do NOT mix with the tryptophan and MAO (Monoamine Oxidase) inhibitors in cacao. Research your medication before partaking. Cacao is a vasodilator, opening blood vessels, increasing their flow, and reducing blood pressure. If you get migraines from coffee, you may experience that effect from cacao, but it is not likely with the Costa Rican variety. A larger or full ceremonial amount of cacao combined with intense aerobic activity or a high-heat hot spring/ tub/ sweat/ sauna could make anyone nauseous.
Although cacao is classed as a stimulant, many find they go deeper and quieter into meditation and contemplation with the help of cacao. Same for most babies through the breastmilk. The variety we are using, lower in caffeine, is considered safe for pregnant women and for small children. The dosage should be based on their body weight.
Credit for content contribution to authors:
One step at a time... every single bridge is crossed one step at a time.
You are going through the motions. The shallow life you have been leading has made you sleepy and tired. You slow down, get depressed, and you feel stuck ankle-deep in muddy water, steadily sinking where you are planted, and you know it is time to make a change. You cannot travel in this mud anymore. You know in your gut it is time to move forward, but there are trees in your way and invisible jagged rocks lurking under toe. The safest thing to do is go back to dry land and find a safe way across.
Faithfully, you walk the edge of the water and eventually you find a bridge that's made of iron and wood. It is sturdy and reliable and ready to support you every step of the way. All signs are GO and you are on your way to the other side. No one is there to stop you. Nothing can stop you. You have decided to cross that bridge, and by golly, you are crossing. You make the choice to take the first step, and the second, and the third. Just keep walking towards your goal.
One step at a time.
You may decide to stop in the middle to look at the progress you have made. Looking forward to the landing and backward at the beginning of your journey can give you perspective on how far you have come. Whatever the obstacle, bringing awareness to the ability you have to OVERCOME it will help keep you motivated. Come over to the other side. The bridge is sturdy. Hold on to the rails if you feel weak. Remember, you just keep walking one step at a time. Yes, you can choose to go backward to the old pattern, the old life, the old way of thinking. Look within yourself and discover the obstacle you are crossing. Where did it come from? Remember the sinking feeling of being stuck? This pause gives you a moment to assess what you are bridging. Is it a gorge or a river or a little stream? Do you really want to be on the other side of it?
The path is clear. You have a bridge. You can point yourself
in the direction of your dreams and move forward
ONE STEP AT A TIME.
To view more images from Walker's Creek go here.
Death is haunting us
Creeping around the corners
And chilling our bones
Leaving us breathless
We sing with the mourning doves
And drift in darkness
Stiff tight constrictive
Reptilian skin's release
Offering fresh pores
Room to breathe and grow
Sensitive new skin
We wear it with care
As we dance into the dawn