The power of C H O C O L A T E

FROM THE ARCHIVES OF 2019Words and their power. Today it hit me again how one little word can take me out of my overthinking mind and bring me back in touch with so much joy. The word of the moment for me is ..C H O C O L A T E… waves of joy move through my body every time I say it outloud…a while back it was PASSION, right now it’s C H O C O L A T E and the realisation that C H O C O L A T E helps me tap into that part of myself that is joyful, youthful and very much alive!

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

My willingness to now let this word be a big part of my life, well this is my latest practice of self love. Self love for me looks different every day, it’s taking time to cook nourishing meals, spending a leisurely day sitting on my sofa sharing cups of tea (and chocolate) with friends, using my voice to communicate clear Yes’s and No’s, cuddles and creation time with my beloved, time in nature, time alone, yoga classes, naps, writing and anything that moves my body…it’s essentially me choosing to prioritise things that bring me to life.

Right now C H O C O L A T E seems to have centre stage and I’m learning to just roll with it. This love for chocolate I’m writing about isn’t the Tim Tams and Cherry Ripe kind of chocolate, although I do have a softspot for these too!

IMG_5930The kind of chocolate LOVE I’m talking about is for the ceremonial cacao kind I was introduced to when I lived in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The kind I discovered on the porch of a man known as the chocolate shaman and the wizard behind Keiths cacao. The kind that has had me crying like a baby, throwing tantrums like a toddler, laughing like life had just told the most amazing joke ever, hugging like I’ve never hugged before, dancing like no one was watching, loving trees like they were my long lost soul mates and making love to lovers and life like I never imagined possible.

Having written that last paragraph I can see now how and why C H O C O L A T E  has taken on an extra special meaning for me. It signifies a time where I began to F E E L all the feels of life after years of feeling a little numb to it all. This was a time when I began to connect with a youthfulness, an innocence, a simple joy of playing with life that I’d been searching high and low for that has now evolved into me sharing Cacao Ceremonies and Cacao Yoga with others.

Over the years I’ve gradually come to appreciate there is a whole rainbow of experiences that make up a vibrant life. All the shades and all the colours so important to making up the whole sovereign being that I am. But still in full transparency it felt like I had a tendency towards sadness over joy and I’d often get disappointed with myself for ‘still’ having these feelings I thought I’d worked through.

It wasn’t until an experience last year had me realise no matter how much I said I wanted joy and play in my life, I wouldn’t actually give myself permission to receive it and just enjoy the life that I’ve worked so hard to create. As much as I hunted high and low for joy…the reality is I felt guilty whenever it appeared in my life and effectively turned it away.

It was in a moment of vulnerable sharing with a group of women, having them witness and receive me in that moment that began the unravelling of this limit I’d placed on Joy. Then during a pretty intense full moon and lunar eclipse season on more than one occasion I sat up in my bed in the middle of the night with chocolate love running through my body. The best way I can describe it was as if life was making love to me, and I felt the ecstatic thrill in every cell….and only one word came to mind C H O C O L A T E.

What immediately followed was a visceral sense of how I hadn’t been giving myself permission to feel the joy of the C H O C O L A T E magic that has been unfolding around me for months and how it was time to let that crappy story go.

I let a whole lot of past stories go, and a whole lot of spiritual teachings that had somehow seen me tying myself in knots trying to arrive somewhere (a magical yet faraway place called enlightenment). And I woke up on my birthday and decided to start giving a whole lot less fucks about what other people thought and start doing the things that truly bring me alive.

Drinking C H O C O L A T E. Talking about C H O C O L A T E. Saying the word C H O C O L A T E. Writing about the word C H O C O L A T E and sharing C H O C O L A T E with others….these all bring me great joy.

What is joy for me? It’s an opening in my chest, a softness in my heart and an activation of life force flooding my body. When you look at all the scientific studies around the active ingredients in cacao this makes a lot of sense, in its purest form cacao has real scientific based reasons for the feel good – from it’s impact on our Dopamine & Seratonin levels, to the  neurotransmitters and receptors in our brain and the high levels of magnesium that help my body to relax. But at the end of the day take any science away and it doesn’t change the fact that I simply feel good when I let C H O C O L A T E be a part of my life.

An addiction you say? Maybe. We’re all addicts, name your vice we all have one, food, drugs, words, emotions, drama, shopping, sex, internet, social media, relationships. I’m not above this and spent years addicted to my negative thinking and depression so I’m happy to embrace something that supports me in letting go of these addictions. I’m over the holier than thou spiritual wanker crap of trying to be the perfect more than human being….and I’m sticking with simple questions – is what I’m doing helping me come alive? Yes? Am I hurting myself or anyone else? No. Is it stopping me from being in service to humanity. No… soooo hello C H O C O L A T E. Welcome to my world and thank you oh thank you thank you thank you for helping me and so many others to receive JOY!

Then I had another crazy thought…what if I were to love myself as much as I love C H O C O L A T E. Holy shit that’s revolutionary! Imagine if we all loved ourself as much as we all love C H O C O L A T E….how’s that for a Self Love goal?!

If you’d like to play a little with the magic of C H O C O L A T E to help you tune into what it is that brings you to life, reach out, I’m offering private ceremonies from my cottage in Treeby or by skype and have lots of yummy events & retreats coming up in 2019.

Or want to order some of your very own cacao to begin to make your own daily practice of inviting in joy and heart connections. If you’re in Australia you can order cacao ONLINE. Not in Australia, no problems you can order directly from Keith’s cacao and they will ship to you wherever you are.

Wishing you all so much C H O C O L A T E love!! May you be blessed to know what is it that brings you to life and may you have the wisdom and courage to let it in.

Big fat chocolatey love to you all <3

Chasing Cars…or was that Joy?

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

~ Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol

Today I found myself thinking about all the crazy ways I’ve tried to chase Joy, in people, places & experiences – and this song by Snow Patrol came to mind…as I wondered chasing joy or chasing cars…is there really any difference? We’ve heard it often enough that one of the greatest causes of human suffering is our seeking of pleasure and aversion to pain, or joy and sorrow. This endless searching, grasping or aversion to things outside of ourself we believe will or won’t make us happy, whole, complete is a guaranteed path of suffering as we try to hold onto the impermanent.

In the busyiness of searching for Joy I overlooked the reality of the joy right here in beingness, that has never been about anything outside of myself. With a shift away from a corporate career and home ownership I celebrated no longer chasing after material possessions but it seems despite many warnings by teachers I accidentally slipped into the trap of substituting consumerism for spiritual materialism. Acquiring more and more experiences, spiritual teachings and blissful states but not really fully embodying the wisdom. I still chased after the bliss states – and foolishly labelled this as Joy. Along with the mislabelling of Joy was that anything other than those blissful states, particularly sadness, anger & confusion were relegated to the naughty corner where I demanded they be quiet and stop.

As I listened again to the Chasing Cars lyrics, what I heard was not a fairytale romance, but the immense longing that I believe we all have, not for one person – but to know intimately Love, Grace or the Beloved. To lay down and merge completely with Love. What has become so apparent to me is I don’t want to chase anything, I don’t want to try anymore.

” Do or do not, There is no Try”.

~ Master Yoda

I want to BE. What I sometimes forget is joy in it’s most simplest – the joy of being. Laying down the swords of inner & outer battle and letting go all the thoughts and ideas about what needs to happen or what needs to be done in order to belong. Instead letting energy be funnelled towards Allowing, Embracing, Accepting life exactly as it is and moving in harmony with life.

Does it mean I want to physically lay down and never move or do anything ever again – not at all – I love to do many things with many amazing people, but I’m attuning to the fact that sometimes laying down physically is in fact what feels aligned and I’m trusting that…and learning to go with it. REST is the opposite of contraction – and to me it feels that when we’re resting in our bodies it’s easier to drop into the Heart. It’s also an amazing practice to share with others, when was the last time you lay down with someone you adore and just shared that moment of laying there together in the sheer joy of just Being?

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Trusting there will come a time where laying down is no longer what the moment calls for – and there will be movement – action. Can we also begin to feel the stillness in the movement, to allow the movement to come from a place of emptiness. Free of our projections, free of the ‘me’ identity we’ve worked so hard to build up, free from the should’s and should nots. And full of the – this feels authentic and aligned and REAL and is for not just my own personal benefit, but for the benefit of all beings.

“We have a fear that if we give up our person then there is nothing left to have a life. When you give up the person there is nothing left to have a life, there is just life. You are life.”

~ Mooji

Real, raw and authentic – this seems to be my mission in life right now – what brings me alive – and the reality is this doesn’t always look like the bright chirpy version of Joy I’d hoped the journey of awakening the Heart would be. In fact real, raw & authentic means feeling everything that comes along – and it is sometimes messy. But learning to be with it all and not get lost in it has been the path of Joy.

Joy gets hijacked when I get caught up in ideas that I must do more, that I am not doing enough, or lately the most ridiculous of ever – who I’m Being is not Being enough. Or when I feel this building pressure to ‘know’ my purpose here in this crazy life. All of these things are grasping, and trying to understand with the mind – and they’re exhausting – they pull all of my energy into a black hole and away from Joy.

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What if my purpose is only to Love. How exactly would I explain that to anyone. What exactly does that look like? What tangible outcomes can you see from loving? How do I justify that all day every day that’s what I feel I am here to ‘do’ and to BE.

As I typed I thought woah Lani you’re sounding a little crazy here – are you sure you want to share this with the virtual world?! And this is when I realised another old inner battle has come to an end – the battle between my belief that LOVE is my purpose and the fear that LOVE is not enough. My unconscious fear has been part of the barrier I’d built up against love.

But I can see this fear that love is not enough, isn’t real for me right now. It’s old and outdated. And as I become my own inner authority, what feels true, real, authentic, aligned – Love IS my purpose. If I am loving I am joyful and if I am joyful I am loving, the two cannot be separated.

When I feel into why I share what I share, why I offer yoga classes, meditations & cacao ceremonies the very simple truth has nothing to do with any special teachings. I simply love to love because love loves to love. My main intention with every sharing is to provide a space where people feel deeply seen, heard, received and nurtured and a space where they feel safe enough to really reveal the fullness of who they are.

So all this time I’d been looking for Joy to look a certain way, you know bubbly and hyper and maybe even a little rambunctious at times. But in my grasping at this idea what I’d missed was this beautiful sweetness that rests in the Heart when I let go, when I’m resting in Being, when I’m not needing life to be anything other than the way it is in this moment. Even if that moment comes complete with anger, grief or confusion, when these are embraced & allowed to be seen and expressed – Joy is also revealed. The Joy of Being.

The irony is that as soon as I allow Joy to look however she wants to look – the bubbly, hyper and a little rambunctious often does make her appearance, but far more than that Joy is not an emotion – it is an inner attitude. An attitude to be cultivated in Love alone. It’s not something I can describe with words but if you’re reading this and we have a chance to sit together I hope we can share a moment of this Joy as we meet in the Heart.

“Love loves to love, it isn’t personal’

~ Mooji

In love, gratitude and service <3