Cacao From Coast To Coast
2017 marked the first year that Kristin and I facilitated #cacaoceremonies in all three countries in North America. I actually just realized that while looking at our Events Page on our website! The spring of 2017 brought a new wave of inspiration for sharing #ceremonialgradecacao with sound journeys to help our guests align with the divine vibrations created using an array of sound healing instruments.
We were grateful to be able to collaborate with our very talented friend and sound healer named Tanya Devine. She is one of the most amazing didgeridoo players either of us has ever witnessed. She is also a kind and gentle soul who has been on a path of awakening for many years, helping to pave the road for many others who are following in her footsteps as sound healers in Victoria, BC area. Tanya co-facilitated with us at a beautiful yoga studio called, Harmony Yoga, in Duncan, BC where she shared an awesome sound journey with the group.
We were blessed to be able to co-facilitate a series of #cacao infused events, called Soul Medicine, in the first 4 months of 2017 with our Soul Sistar, Astaria Light. By this time we had quite a bit of experience co-facilitating with a lot of different co-hosts, who offered many different modalities. We really appreciated working with Astaria because of her authenticity and commitment to her work, encouraging the awakening of humanity using sound, as well as her boundless love for #keithscacao!
We offered two Soul Medicine #cacao ceremonies in the Victoria area, one in Duncan, one in Port Alberni and finished our "cacao and sound tour" of Vancouver Island in beautiful Tofino on the west coast. These were some of the best received events we had ever hosted and it was very effortless to co-create with Astaria as she was like a long lost sister we'd finally reconnected with! Some of the highlights of our ceremonies together were: one guest sharing with us that she felt like she had remembered how to feel love for herself after realizing that she had gone a long time without. Another one of the ladies who attended a very small and intimate #cacao #ceremony proclaimed she felt that she had connected so deeply through our sharing during the #ceremony that she felt like she knew the other guests who she had just met better than people she had been going for coffee with for 10 years!
Kristin and I had decided to travel to her hometown of Honesdale, Pennsylvania to complete our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in June of 2017, but before we left we hosted one last #cacao #ceremony in our "hometown" of Duncan on Vancouver Island, BC. We invited a good friend of ours who is an amazing drummer and musician to facilitate a sound journey for the group who gathered that evening. After a guided meditation and visualization our friend and her partner led an absolutely incredible sound journey that really deepened the experience for the group. We realized during the ceremony that this would be our last #cacao #ceremony in Duncan area in 2017 as we weren't sure when we would return from our trip. Several of our friends and regular ceremony guests expressed to us how much they would miss not having regular #cacao #ceremonies to attend while we were away.
Kristin and Astaria co-facilitated a Women's Circle with a #cacao #ceremony together at a friend's lovely home near Victoria, BC. A wonderful group gathered to enjoy #cacao and allow this gentle heart medicine facilitate a wonderful sharing circle.
We hosted three more #cacao #ceremonies in 2017 before leaving Canada, the first was a very intimate gathering at a friend's home on beautiful Pender Island. It really is special to host #ceremonies at private residences. I remember appreciating this #ceremony a lot as we had the time and space to share a few snacks with everyone afterwards which was a special treat. One of the reasons why Kristin and I called our cacao business Cacao Connection was because of all the wonderful connections that #cacao has created in our lives...and is YET to create.
We collaborated one more time with our dear friend Astaria in North Vancouver at a beautiful location called Munay Space. This #ceremony was very profound for us, in particular we felt very thrilled to have a couple of special guests join us. One was our long lost soul sister, Natalia, who, 2 years prior, together with her partner Bernardo was instrumental in encouraging Kristin and I to begin hosting #cacao #ceremonies initially. The other guest who was very dear to us was a relative of mine through marriage, named Melanie who joined us for the first time. She has since sat with us a couple more times and is now offering #cacao #ceremonies for women each month in North Vancouver at a lovely space she calls the Soul Sanctuary.
We said our goodbyes to Astaria and headed from Vancouver to a beautiful town near there called Harrison Hot Springs, BC. We had connected with a woman named Elizabeth who is a yoga teacher and sound healer in Harrison and she invited us to co-create a #cacao #ceremony with her in her beautiful home. Together with Elizabeth and her friend Cheryl we combined to offer a powerful #ceremony to a small group in Harrison. One thing that still stands out to me about this ceremony was something a local first nations woman said to us after closing #sacredspace. She hoped we would return and share a #cacao #ceremony for her family and relations on their reservation to help spark the healing process that is so desperately needed in so many indigenous communities across this continent. We have yet to return to Harrison or to step into offering this type of work so far but who knows where life will take us from here. This is certainly an area of our north American culture that needs some healing but honestly, what part of our planet doesn’t?
We were excited about our Yoga Teacher Training and also to get to meet Jeff, a yogi who had started an artisan coffee and chocolate company at the Himalayan Institute's campus in Pennsylvania. We had reached out to him earlier that year and tried some of his 100% pure #cacao which was very good and we were pretty excited to see his #cacao processing and chocolate making in action. We wound up sharing some of Keith‘s Cacao with him and his team as they were really interested in how we use #ceremonial #grade #cacao in #ceremonies. It was very cool to see them making 100 pound batches of chocolate and to learn how conching the #cacao for up to 72 hours would alter and effect the taste and flavour notes that came out with each different origin of #cacao they were using.
There were so many amazing highlights to the 22 days we spent doing our Yoga Teacher Training, however one of the funniest was during an evening lecture by the spiritual teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait PhD. He was talking about how yoga is getting mixed and combined with so many other things and how pretty soon we were going to see Ganesha holding a chocolate bar instead of his traditional sweets of choice, called laddus. We got a pretty good kick out of this, as we had taken the picture above a few years prior. Yoga is all-pervading so it is only a matter of time before every facet of our culture has merged with the wisdom and characters of the Indian scriptures.
One of the other main reasons for our trip across the continent was to spend as much of the summer with Kristin’s only nephew, Ben, who lives in rural New York State. We had a blast taking Ben camping, fishing, swimming, hiking and even doing yoga. He is an awesome kid and we were so thrilled to have the freedom and flexibility (yoga helps more than just the body) to be able to spend time with Ben. We both look back fondly on the many people who added so much richness to our own childhoods, so it was a real treat to be able to share some time with Ben. He loved spending time with us too, doing different things than his parents did with him and talking about the things Kristin and I do and how we live our lives and why. We strive to empower him to learn how to do things for himself and we often discuss a few subjects that may be too awkward to bring up with parents.
We were also invited to co-host a #cacao #ceremony with a woman named Rhonda from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She had connected with us after the #ceremony we hosted in Harrison Hot Springs and we assumed that she knew us through our friend who lived in Harrison. Turns out they had never met and regardless of anything else we had an amazing #cacao #ceremony with one of the most awesome sound journeys we’d ever been a part of. Rhonda had an amazing collection of gongs, singing bowls and chimes that combined beautifully with all the instruments we normally share. I remember one highlight from our visit to Virginia Beach was the Edgar Cayce Foundation’s headquarters. If you’ve never heard of Edgar Cayce, he was a pretty amazing medical clairvoyant who wrote and documented his work extensively in the early 1900's.
After our Yoga Teacher Training was finished we had been approached by quite a few of the staff and faculty who seemed to think that we would be a good fit to stay on after the training was done. We both contemplated staying at the Himalayan Institute‘s Pennsylvania Campus as it is a beautiful setting and a wonderful organization to be able to work for and also to learn from. In the late summer we had an idea that we would go to Mexico for the winter and do some volunteer teaching at a retreat center or yoga school. This would be a perfect fit, where we could also help out with our many skills and abilities as well as continue to hone our own teaching abilities. Through an incredibly synchronistic series of events we agreed to rent a small retreat center on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca for three entire months. Needless to say we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into but we had a desire to learn and experience what it would be like to plan, organize, host and run retreats. What happened next is enough to write an entire book so I will save it for another blog post... or Two!