A Call to Upgrade.

shaman, CJ blog post

I sat for several hours on the Chocolate Shaman’s porch, observing many of the participants having individual and unique breakthroughs. I watched as men and women of various ages and backgrounds were processing the teachings of the cacao medicine, recognizing the holding of their minds and egos and dropping into their hearts where they could release the stored and stagnant energy. The release showed up in different forms ranging from quiet tears to heavy sighs to bodily shaking to dramatic screams. Thank you cacao!

I had come to the cacao ceremony in San Marcos with my mother-in-law, Rena. My husband’s parents were visiting us at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, and I felt like a ceremony with the Chocolate Shaman, AKA Keith, was a must-do-experience while in San Marcos. Keith’s ceremonies on his small porch by the Lake are different every time, but always carry an underlying message of “getting out of your own way”.

As I listened to Keith’s guidance and felt the Spirit of cacao moving through the space, I found myself in a familiar and comfortable place. Having spent many sessions on the porch drinking cacao and doing my own inner work, I didn’t feel particularly compelled to dive into my own personal healing on this day. In my comfort, it felt more like a time to observe, hold space for others and offer my mother-in-law her own experience of this work.

As a result, I stayed mostly in this earthly dimension, taking notes and containing my energy as to not suck up other people’s “stuff”. My heart was still open to give support to those going through a process, but my mind was mostly focused on capturing the glimpses of wisdom that come through Keith. His messages were ones that I have heard before, but was receiving and understanding in a new way...a sign of a great teacher.

Another sign of a good teacher is calling people on their stuff, and Keith is quite gifted in this regard. I should have known that I wasn’t going to get away with staying in my comfort zone, taking notes and “observing”. It is sometimes hard to know when the cacao ceremonies are over. In this case, after about 4-5 hours, some people were starting to make their way off the porch, but the work was still happening and the energy was still being held for those who were choosing to stay.

Rena and I made the decision to start making our exit, stepping carefully over the bodies strewn out over the porch. As we passed by Keith, I gave him a quiet nod of appreciation, and he asked me, “Did you get what you came for?” “Ahhh…yes,” I said. “I always do…thank you so much.” From his deep stare, I could tell that answer wasn’t going to cut it. I tried to go deeper and said, “I got some really great nuggets of wisdom, and I got to bring my mother-in-law, and…” Before, I was able to finish (or continue) my ramblings, Keith said, “Close your eyes.” Then he looked at Rena who was searching for her flip flops among the pile of shoes at the entrance. He said “Mother-in-Law, come over here please.” Rena lifted her gaze and willingly made her way back into what I was now feeling as ‘the lion’s den.’ There was no escaping now.

Rena came and sat next to me. We sat side-by-side and hand-in-hand, and went to work. Keith asked Rena to give me an “upgrade.” I didn’t think much about what that meant, until I felt it. Apparently Rena knew exactly what he meant as she placed her hand on the back of my heart and I felt a charge of Pure Joy running through my body. The back of my heart is the area in which I had been focused during Keith’s Go-to-Glow meditation earlier in the session. I immediately found myself returning to the void and place of spaciousness that I had felt earlier in the meditation.

As Keith guided me to open to what I was experiencing and get out of my own way, I was able to step into a higher perspective of Oneness, and let go of the need to do anything. Keith shared an analogy that my right hand (my dominant side) represented giving to myself and others, and that this hand is running the show right now. My left hand represented my ability to receive from others, and was sitting in the back bleachers. I recognized that my tendency was to do all of the work on my own, with my giving nature dominating the process. Self healing is a great intention and skill, but in this moment, I was able to fully experience what happens when we create space for others to assist us in our healing.

The more I got out of my own way, the more I felt Rena’s intention of upgrading pulsating from her hands into my body and spirit. Now I was the one going through the breakthrough. Although there were no tears or screams, the sensation of receptivity was intense, and it was clear that this was the real reason I came to the porch. I was not there to observe or support others as I may have thought, but I was there to learn how to receive an upgrade. In this case, it wasn’t about Rena’s hands doing the healing, but it was about my acceptance to receive the upgrade that was allowing the healing within to happen.

Healing comes from within. However, ‘within’ doesn’t have to mean without the assistance of others. We are one, and we all carry healing vibrations. When we connect to each other on this level of unified consciousness, intention and receptivity, our capacity for healing is greatly magnified.

I thank Keith and the Spirit of cacao for drawing us back in, for I now know that I am not alone in this process of inner healing. As I metaphorically and physically bring my right and left hands together, they meet at the heart and offer a perfect manifestation of union. From this place, I bow to the wisdom within and the wisdom without, knowing that they are one in the same.

This is an invitation…a call to upgrade. Recognize the potential in receiving as well as giving healing energy to yourself. Ask for assistance. Practice receiving. Get out of your own way. Find like-spirited individuals with whom you can practice…and then utilize each other’s vibration for greater awakening. Upgrade your spiritual potential. Upgrade to more of who you truly are. Upgrade to Conscious Presence. Upgrade to Joy. Upgrade to whatever it is that you need for your own divine spiritual evolution. This is a gift to the whole.

ananda bio, blog post

Ananda facilitates 200 hour and 300 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings, Shamanic Cleanses and Transformational Retreats giving each person the heartfelt attention and direct facilitation that cultivates ecstatic, healing and magical experiences. As a teacher, she sees each of her classes as an opportunity to hold sacred ceremonial space.

Integrating her teachings and passions, Ananda has developed a system of intentional-based healing that draws on the philosophy that we are all a part of a collective life force that is driving us towards greater consciousness. By exploring our gifts and expanding our relationship with higher Self, we come into alignment with our inner purpose of Awakening. Through our collaborative efforts and unified intentions, we magnify the richness of this life's experience.