Wednesday, November 29, 2017

El Camino del Corazón

This blog used to be called “Along the Heart Trail” when I started writing it in 2013. At the time, it was how I felt I was living my life- following my heart. A couple of years ago I decided to align it with our then-new business, so we changed the name to the one it has now. I was recently moved deeply to hear this phrase in Spanish at a beautiful cacao ceremony. “El camino del corazón”; the Road/way/path/trail of the Heart. It was the first time we sat in a ceremony that was completely in another language. It was so touching. The setting was a beautiful home here in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. When we finally found the location (sometimes Mexican addresses are so tricky!) we were welcomed warmly by the hosts and a small crackling fire warmed the ceremonial space. Gorgeous local flowers covered the floor in vases and various forms of cacao decorated the room. We brought a fresh cacao pod from the mountains of Oaxaca as an offering for the altar.

The facilitator of this ceremony was our friend, Izaias, who is a Guatemalan medicine man and a lover of cacao. We hadn’t seen him in over two years so it was very special to meet again. He also came bearing a suitcase full of cacao medicine from Guatemala, which was a beautiful thing for us to receive. We haven’t had access to our favorite Guatemalan cacao for nearly a year. The Guatemalan postal system basically dissolved in September of 2016 and so going there to get it was the only option. When we asked for a special favor of him, to bring the cacao to us in southern Mexico, he said he had been thinking of hosting some ceremonies here anyway. So it all worked out beautifully.

I have been avoiding writing this blog post for several weeks. And the longer I have waited, the crazier it feels to sit down and write because each day that has passed has seemed like a whole blog post in itself!

San Miguel de Allende at sun up

So I will try to compress a month and a half of amazing experiences into a reasonably concise post here...

It took us about a week to get from my hometown in Pennsylvania through the Midwest and down south to Texas where we crossed into Mexico. On Halloween night, we swung through St. Louis, Missouri to catch a Nahko and Medicine for the People performance of their new album. It was incredible. Go see/hear them when you can. They keep getting better and better. 

While crossing the USA, heading west and south, we visited my brother and then we met my brother’s half-brother for the first time as adults. We then carried on south to Dallas, Texas to deliver some antique family photos to my dad’s brother, who I hadn’t seen since my grandmother’s funeral in 1994. We had a profound visit. 

Ancestral connections have been slowly lost since humans have been able to traverse the earth so easily. Just the other night we were discussing having mixed European ancestry back several generations and having no knowledge of the sacred ceremonial traditions of our own ancestors. We intend a tour of Europe in the next few years to go dig deep and learn from the elders there. Until then, we are traveling North America’s terrain and gathering all of the wisdom that we can find, especially in the realm of ceremonial practices for healing and inspiration. 

I just realized how cold I am. It is about 5-10 degrees celcius at night in the highlands of Chiapas this time of the year. The buildings are mostly concrete blocks and there is no heating in many homes (including the hostel we are staying at for these two weeks). So I am under a fleece blanket and a Coleman sleeping bag and I’m wearing a wool hat, hand warmers, a sweater, hoodie and down vest with wool socks. And I’m still cold. In a few short days we will head back to the west coast in Oaxaca where it is sweaty and tropical. A huge contrast.

"Free On the Road" with a Quetzal, which is a very rare bird
- one of many excellent VW's we have seen

So I want to talk about the retreat project we are in the midst of.
Where to begin...well, to be perfectly up front and blunt- it appears that most of western society is in the midst of utter chaos and desperation for freedom, unity, connection and health of body, mind and spirit. I really can’t say what the status of the other side of the planet is, but because we are one continuous network of hearts and minds, I sense that it’s at least somewhat similar elsewhere.

What can we do about this epidemic? Ultimately, we need to each help ourselves first and foremost. Begin by healing any and all emotional traumas to the very best of your ability (yes, this is an ongoing lifetime project because new things will arise, but it gets easier and easier). Say YES to whatever you need to (even if it seems really far out and kinda crazy) to heal the parts of you that are wounded, fearful, judgemental, ashamed, guilty or angry. None, I repeat NONE of these things will help you or anyone else to create a better world. So drop them off, bundled in forgiveness, and choose carry on lighter. If you are not willing to face your own dark side, and become BFF’s with it, then do not pass GO or collect any other workshops or courses etc. Seriously. You can NOT avoid these issues and detour around them forever, and think that you can truly help our society to become a more loving place. If we do not love and respect ourselves, we cannot truly know what it is to love or respect others and to feel true connection and unity. You can change careers, move to a new place, have a new partner, etc, and YOUR personal core wounds, patterns and challenges will still be inside of you when you lay your head on your bed each night....until you meet them and greet them and dissect them and make them your allies. I would like to hear an argument against this that can prove otherwise. I have never heard one that stands up to this assessment that can prove that there is any other way to truly thrive and LOVE LIFE DEEPLY. It is amazing how people want to make excuses and tell stories about why they are an exception to this concept. So here is another tip: There are NO exceptions. Admitting that it ALL starts with ourselves is the hardest step to take...try it. That is a dare.

Angel of TRUTH

Two of our friends are offering a two week Sacred Medicine Journey that will be one of the most life-changing experiences one could intentionally sign up for. It is happening from February 4-18. These ladies (with the support of myself and Tanner) are offering two things that go hand-in-hand: week 1 with Dr. Ariel Jones, ND is a week of deep detoxing of the body through juicing, a couple of days of water fasting, and then some simple, clean meals to help your physical body to flush itself out and to prepare to stage two: a week of shamanic plant medicine journeys and integration time with the magical and fun medicine woman, Christina Sol. She has over 15 years of experience with these sacred medicines. 

Having participated in all of these pieces, I can confidently say that these experiences have catapulted my healing (on all levels) and overall state of existence to a place that I couldn’t imagine was even available. Wow! If I could personally pay for everyone I know to attend these two weeks, I would do it in a heartbeat. I can’t do that at this moment, so I will leave that part up to the magic of the universe. I can’t wait to see which 7 people are the ones to undertake take this two week journey with us. 

In addition, from January 14-21, we have a week of diving into the Gene Keys book and it’s philosophy of self-exploration. It has been an integral part of our lives over the last year and has deeply inspired us to stay our own unique course in life. To each our own and in our own way we will blossom and grow toward true awakening and bliss.

We are offering 3 separate weeks of cacao intensives that we are calling Spirit of Cacao. We will share multiple ceremonies, workshops and daily yoga classes to open up and grow both individually and together as a community. January 21-28February 25-March 4,  April 1-8

The Wisdom of the Chiapaneco OWL

Tanner’s mama, Cori Ellingson, just released her second book called Choosing a Vibrant Life. She shares a lifetime of her trials and tribulations with SO many great tips for living a vibrant and joyful life. Most importantly, she is reminding us that we all have choices and that we each must claim our individual power to create the lives we want to live. Her retreat from January 28-February 4 will be amazing!

Our friend Kelly-Ann La Sirena is a pharmacist by trade and a mermaid-yogini when the sun is shining and the waves are just right. Her passion for movement and ocean medicine combined with her humor and upbeat vibe will surely wrap these retreats in a bubble of fun! She teaches yoga, surfing and stand up paddle boarding. We will be there creating beautiful plant-based meals and making sure that everyone is enjoying their time with us. Her two retreats called Mermaids in Mexico are March 11-18 and March 18-25.

Last but not least, we have 4 weeks of rest and rejuvenation time that we call Back to Basics Retreats. One in late February (right after the Sacred Medicine Retreat) , one at the start of March, one late March (following the two weeks of Mermaid retreats) and mid-April, which will conclude our 13 weeks of retreats. These are the perfect thing if you want a little yoga, nourishing clean meals and a lot of downtime. Ahhhh.

ALL retreats are listed in more detail here: 

So, I just want to wrap up this mega-blog by saying that, although it may appear that the two of us are just kicking back and having nothing but jolly good fun, this is not entirely true. We have been working our butts and our fingers, eyes and ears off for 4 months (and we have nearly 5 more months until we have seen this project to completion) organizing and detail-tweaking this experience for...YOU. With excitement and passion for positive change. Sure, we are super stoked to be able to offer all of these amazing retreats, and we are doing it for not just ourselves, but for humanity
For healing. For community. For connection. One World. One race. One Love. One heart divided into 7 billion tiny pieces. Together we walk the path of the heart.

The coat of arms on the Mexican flag is derived from an Aztec legend that their gods told them to build a city where they spot an eagle on a nopal cactus eating a serpent, which is now Mexico City. 
Watch for the signs....