“I am living today as someone I had not yet become yesterday. And tonight I’ll only borrow pieces of who I am today, to carry with me to tomorrow.”
Closing the ritual is as essential as the beginning. Welcoming in the circularity of the practice or an integrational interlude giving space for all that needs to land, to land. Integrating all that has surfaced and moved you to ‘shape your soul’.1 Think of integrating Cacao as savasana – a closing ritual that keeps on giving.
The beginning, the in-between, the closing – let these all be to the unique shape of your own soul. Your threads woven. Your expressions shared. Your wonderful and peculiar ways honoured.
Be open to where your mind wanders during your ritual. To the visions and thoughts that might surface. Resist judging them. Follow, instead, these threads of invitation with curiosity.
Of meeting myself here
And letting it all be
What arrives, arrives
What is thought, is thought
What is written, is written
What is felt, is felt
What moves, moves
Simultaneously being here and there
A moving symphony of past, present and future
The circularity of all time
All alive together
Between the two poles of before and after; past and future; exhale and inhale
Is every delight you could desire
Below I share some ways in which I meet the delights of cacao infusion:
Most mornings the ink of my pen moving across pages of paper feels most yogic to me. I am more often drawn to the Uturunku cacao which supports that gentle turning of our gaze inwards. Sometimes my pen meets the paper after the first sip of cacao. Noting what is needing to be re-membered.
Usually, once I am filled with cacao, I practice free writing. I set a timer and my pen does not lift from the paper. This way of being with words allows for a deeper presence to the conversations that want to come through me. There’s this quiet distilling from the busy mind – the seeking, grasping, over-curating mind – into the vastness of all truths. Of all possibilities. As I write, I am as much the reader as the writer. Often surprised and delighted by what appears on the pages.
As pauses in flow arise, as they will, my pen speaks to that. I will literally write, ‘and I notice a pause arising’. The invitation in this practice is to simply write and continue to write. To write beyond the known.
For the times when I need an anchor to begin, writing prompts can open flow. Inspiration could come from a line of a poem; a word that perhaps came to you while drinking cacao; a song lyric; art; a question; a curiosity, or, I offer some anchors below:
This. I don’t know why, but this….
In the quietness, I….
I remember when….
I bow to my heart….
What is my relationship to slow?
In this moment, I need….
What are my joys this season?
What is my discovery today?
Cacao invokes a possibility of being moved beyond our own moving. To surrender to (what Mary Oliver so beautifully named) the ‘soft animal’ of our body and let it move as it moves. An embodied poetry of movement.
Of breath. Of bone. Of organs. Of fluid. Of whole body. In silence. Or held in sound. Inside. Or in nature.
Allow the warmth and energy of cacao speak through the shape of your soul.
This is my life’s thesis.
To remember my origin.
To remember my lineage.
To follow streams back to the wholeness of the ocean.
Where self merges with us.
Where they and them become I.
The nadis of the body.
Streams of breath.
Coursing through subtle channels.
Dancing through organs.
Cascading down the waterfall of spine.
Meeting the boundary where streams join the ocean.
Becoming the ocean itself.
Listening and learning the many different ways of quietness.
To know the quiet aliveness of my pelvis.
To sensate the vibrations, the thrumming beneath the sound of movement.
Beneath the sound of the world around us moving.
To dwell in the quiet space where only the song of creation is sung. Is felt. Is sensed.
Even in quietness – in silence – much is spoke.
A language felt not heard.
Find the many different ways of quietness.
The quietness of my kidneys.
Within the hum of blood filtering.
Beneath the hum.
What is the quietness here?
What does this quietness say?
The quietness of spine. The quietness of bone. Chambers of silent echoes. What says the spine in the quietness?
The way of quietness in blood. How she flows. Silently gathering. Silently offering. Silently renewing. Sustaining. What is spoken in this silence?
The quiteness of muscle. Gentle strength. Contracting. Expanding.
Feel the quietness of muscle as it moves bones through the world.
Quietness, the birth place to curiosities.
Who instructs who? Does the muscle ask bone to come with it? Or does bone ask, ‘muscle, carry me here’. Is it a common desire? Both supporting each other to express here. This way. This. This. This.
The quietness of the body orchestrating life.
The symphony of aliveness.
Every instrument playing.
Tissue. Blood. Muscle. Nerves. Bone. Organ.
And yet quietness resides here.
A silent, sacred home.
A temple of soul.
Where truth is loudly spoken.
Inside the many different ways of quietness.
Cacao – off the mat
All that is harvested during ritual is never restrained (contained?) to the altar or mat we practice on. It moves with us throughout the day. The ripple of cacao’s medicine can flow well beyond the moment of sipping her.
These ripples may appear as synchronicities in your day – perhaps it is a sign on a building, a word or image on someone’s t-shirt; or connecting with someone you were thinking about.
As part of my integration, I love noticing the residue cacao leaves inside my cacao mug. Root tendrils that have invited a deep meditation into being with the root of the root of myself; the silhouette of a figure walking towards a threshold which became a theme for writing; the stamp of a pair of lungs in the cup that awakened a practice exploring breath and meeting the back, side and front of my lungs with awareness in movement.
Notice with a kind curiosity to what unfolds for you. What you are drawn to? And allow yourself to linger there. For a moment. Before you exhale.
1 - Svarupa is a Sanskrit referred to in Lorin Roche’s, Radiance Sutras as the ‘shape of your soul’. He says: ‘in all that you do in meditation, follow the shape of your own soul’.
Steph Le Gros is a health coach, personal trainer, Reiki practitioner, and qualified Yoga teacher based in Nelson. She completed her 200 hour Yoga teacher training with us in 2021. In this three-part article, Steph talks about her passion for cacao as an important part of her yoga practice. She introduces us to yoga and cacao as practices of homecoming; shares a delectable recipe and ritual; discusses the tradition of cacao; and finally shares some of her poetry and practices inspired by yoga and cacao:
Meeting cacao in the wholeness of the bean has opened up something within me. I feel that to know my wholeness, I need to meet life in her wholeness. In all her arcs and expressions. When we meet life in fragments, we will only know fragments of ourselves.
Steph Le Gros