Slowing Down with Cacao
ENJOY THIS GUIDED MEDITATION & JOURNALING PRACTICE
AS CACAO INVITES YOU TO SLOW DOWN AND SIMPLY “BE”
Our society is conditioned towards perpetual “do” and “go”. The ritual of preparing and consuming Cacao is an inherently slow, meditative process, allowing us precious moments to slow down and notice what is going on within.
The constant clatter and bustle of our daily lives can lead to a lot of internal “noise”, making the act of simply “being” a rather uncomfortable and challenging art. When we stop long enough to tune into our inner-landscape, we may find a lot of unprocessed emotion that can leave us wanting to escape by rushing on to the next distraction…
Developing the capacity to be with inner-discomfort while regulating our nervous systems through the experience helps integrate unprocessed material, supporting our physical and emotional wellbeing.
We’ve put together this guide to support you in developing this practice. Create some time and space for yourself and follow along below…
LET’S GET STARTED…
Although you don’t need Cacao to participate in this practice, the energy of Cacao is a powerful ally for dropping in a little deeper. To get the most out of this practice, we suggest setting up a sacred space for yourself (this does not have to be elaborate – just intentional) and preparing yourself a cup of Cacao, or herbal tea if you are not working with Cacao today.
If you are going to practice without Cacao, jump down to Step 3.
What you will need for this slowing down practice:
- Quiet, peaceful space where you won’t be disturbed – make this beautiful and sacred for yourself with candles, incense, flowers, herbs, crystals, shells, etc.
- Laptop / mobile to watch and listen to the guided practices
- Journal and pen for the questions after our guided meditation
- Your cup of Ceremonial-grade Cacao (see below for preparations)
STEP 1: PREPARE TO DRINK CACAO
A NOTE ON WHICH CACAO TO USE
Not only is it important to prepare Cacao intentionally (such as the slow-brew method in the video), but also to source the best Cacao possible. We use Ceremonial-grade Cacao, and recommend you do the same, as this is the highest quality and vibration, with energetic connections to the hands which grew and nurtured the Cacao, and to the ancient wisdom of Cacao. Ceremonial-Cacao is known as “heart medicine”, supporting us on physical, emotional, mental and energetic levels.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Ceremonial-grade Cacao.
STEP 2: DRINKING RITUAL
If you are new to working with Cacao, we’ll help you get started with your ritual. After preparing your Cacao, settle down in your sacred space with your cup. Hit play on this next video, and Cape Cacao founder, Fran Siebrits, will activate the medicine in your Cacao with song.
You will then sit quietly and sip your Cacao, while holding the intention to show up fully for yourself: to allow yourself to connect to your body’s experience and to hold yourself through whatever comes up with total love and allowance.
STEP 3: PREPARE FOR GUIDED MEDITATION
Shortly, we will begin a guided Yoga Nidra meditation together. Prepare a comfortable space where you can lie down – either on a bed or on a yoga mat on the floor. Use a thin cushion to support your head. Endeavour to stay awake.
The purpose of this short meditation is to shift awareness out of the head and into the body. Try to detach from “the stories” that your mind creates around your experiences, and JUST BREATHE, FEEL, NOTICE. This is a practice of communion with your physical form and its sensational experiences.
It is important that you read the note below on regulating practices before participating in the guided meditation practice.
During the guided meditation below, you will be prompted to notice the sensations present in your physical body, as well the emotions they are linked to. For some this can be quite an uncomfortable experience, particularly those who typically disconnect from their feelings.
We all have different capacities to be with our physical and emotional sensations. Capacity can be built up, but it takes time and practice. Pushing yourself too far too soon can be counterproductive and traumatising.
Get curious with what you can feel and play with your “edge” but be sure to back off if you notice you are beginning to feel overwhelmed. If at any point during this practice you do begin to feel overwhelmed, back away and focus your full attention on regulating your nervous system by communicating safety to your body by using any of these regulating tools:
- Slow and deepen the breath. Breathe into the belly, being sure to activate the diaphragm. When we are in danger our breathing becomes shallow and we hyperventilate. Deep belly breaths that engage the diaphragm communicate safety to the body (because you can’t breathe deep and slow if you’re fleeing for your life!).
- Make the outbreath twice as long as the inbreath. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, breathe out for 8 counts. Repeat. This is called 4-7-8 breathing.
- Humming regulates the nervous system. You can hum on the outbreath while practicing the 4-7-8 breathing technique described above.
- Hold your torso in a self-hug while rocking gently in a seated position (you can couple this strategy with 4-7-8 breathing and humming).
- Vigorously tap the soft indentation below your collarbone (while breathing and humming). This is a very effective self-regulation point.
- Focus on a pleasurable or neutral sensation in your body and breathe into that. See if you can expand that sense of pleasure / neutrality into the rest of your body. Detach from any mental stories that feed into physical sensations of stress.
Even if you spend most of your practice regulating your nervous system, this is amazing work towards building the capacity to hold emotional sensation.
Be gentle with yourself and go slow!
STEP 4: GUIDED MEDITATION
Now we will begin a guided Yoga Nidra meditation together. Settle into a comfortable space either lying down or sitting, where you can be completely relaxed yet remain awake.
You are about to participate in a guided meditation designed to hone a very powerful practice: the practice of being with (and allowing) the body’s sensational experience.
STEP 5: MEDITATION DEBRIEF
Our bodies are the vessels that hold all our lived experiences. Every event we experience in our lives is processed through our bodies as a set of sensational impulses linked to feelings. Emotion itself is a physiological / sensational experience caused by energy in motion – think about it: E-motion… energy in motion!
Energy, by nature, flows and constantly transmutes. Our bodies know how to transmute and process emotions… Studies suggest that it takes only 90 seconds for the body to metabolise and shift an emotion. Isn’t that amazing?! However, there’s a “But”…
When we don’t have the capacity to truly feel and hold an emotion, we disconnect from it, pushing it down and trapping it in our bodies. The mental “stories” we attach to emotional sensations can also act as an energetic constriction, locking emotional currents into our physiological wiring and preventing us from transmuting them.
When we allow ourselves to feel emotions fully, releasing associated mental stories and simply staying with the raw physical sensations (with the breath as an ally), energy can move and the body can metabolise it.
STEP 6: JOURNALING PRACTICE
It takes time to develop our capacity to hold emotional experiences – especially if there is a lot that has been suppressed. We never want to “flood” our system with more than we are equipped to handle, so go slow and develop your practice over time. This next part of the practice will assist in integrating experiences of strong emotion through healthy inquiry.
As much as we have encouraged you to detach from mental stories during the guided meditation practice, it is also important to be able to identify the stories rooted in a particular emotional experience.
The stories we have internalized often perpetuate and feed into an emotion. Much as our bodies can metabolize and shift an emotional experience in just 90 seconds, we have to be able to heal the underlying story in order to fully release the associated emotion.
This begins with awareness of what your stories are. We need to remember to be compassionate with ourselves around the stories we hold, as these often come from places within ourselves that feel hurt or deprived of love. Being about to give those hurt parts what they need from within yourself begins the healing process.
Use the journaling prompts below to revisit your experiences during our meditative inquiry. Let’s see if we can use our insights to work backward to our root stories and the parts of ourselves that hold them… And if you find that part, remember it is just one of many facets of you. Shower that part with love and acceptance, as you would a child that needs comforting.