Cacao Magic

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  CACAO WARNING: Cacao can seriously increase your happiness – are you ready?

Hopefully, you have experienced the heart opening magic of cacao. Maybe we did a ceremony together and you want more of that magic.  DONE!!!

Depending on the group and intentions I use a combination of guided meditation/journeys, sound healing, drumming to facilitate guests’ ability to sink into their universal truth of love. In sacred space, prepared with incense, crystals and loving intentions we sit in a circle. Discovering ceremonial doses (about 4oz.) raw cacao is a powerful heart opener that paves the way to transformation through self-love. Revered in Mayan traditions for its ability to connect with the heart and open the senses, cacao is said to bring you to the door and you can choose to enter the heart space. For those willing to go deeper, the process can accelerate an understanding of loving clarity of heart and mind. Imagine a blissful grin spread over your face while a wave deeply felt love rippling through the body, first at energetic and emotional levels and eventually at core and spirit levels. Cacao can help us, from this loving state, release and transform old pains and densities that we hold allowing us to reconnect to our truest nature. Sometimes this appears as giggles and belly laughter or tears of joy while releasing old sorrow. Over the past 9 years of working with the spirits of cacao, I’ve had the pleasure to watch beautiful transformations.
The ceremonies are about 2 hours in length, generally seated or lying down, but the effect of cacao as a stimulant can last many more hours depending on sensitivities. For those resisting the possibilities of sacred cacao all it does is create a caffeine like buzz. Physiologically, the main active ingredient that we experienced in ceremony is Theobromine. “Theo-broma literally translates as God-Food, and potentiates the release of dopamine, the ‘pleasure’ hormone.” Additionally, phenethylamine, helps relieve stress and depression stored in the body and can lead to emotional euphoria, heightened sensations and empathy.
Our Cacao is prepared especially for ceremony and comes from Mexico and Guatemala.

It is safe to drink however please make us aware if any of the following apply to you:

* If you are taking anti depressants or any other medication (MAOI’s and some antidepressants should not be taken with cacao, intense headaches are likely. It is still possible to participate in the ceremonies with a very, very, low dose)

* If you have a heart condition as cacao increases the blood flow to the brain and heart by at least 40%

* If you are pregnant as we will give you a smaller dose
What to bring:

* Your journal and a pen to write down any insights from your journey

* Any crystals or tools you like to connect with while journeying

* Dress in comfortable loose clothing

* Your water bottle. Drinking water during the ceremony is not encouraged, but you should hydrate well immediately after the ceremony and throughout the day to facilitate the flushing process.
For those that have joined me for a ceremony, Here are links to some of Keith the “Cacao shaman” and sources for cacao sourced with loving kindness from Guatemala.

http://ceremonialcacao.blogspot.com/2012/05/The-Glow-Meditation.html

And a lovely Go To Glow meditation to try with cacao.

Enjoy!!!

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Coconut oil candies

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Measure right in a blender

  • 1 CUP COCONUT OIL (don’t use the one that stayes liquid – your candy will melt immediately into a puddle – oops)
  • ½ CUP CHIA (optional but so good for you why not add it?)
  • 3 TABLESPOONS COCOA 
  • 3 TABLESPOONS sugar (any sweetener you choose to taste; honey, dates, stevia) 
  • 1/4 tsp VANILLA EXTRACT 
  • Hand full of mixed nuts (again, your choice, I like a little crunch) 
  • Line ice cube tray with craisins or dried fruit (4 -5 EACH)
  • MIX INGREDIENTS IN BLENDER UNTIL CREAMY SMOOTH, pour in ice cube tray
  • FREEZE FOR 30 – 60 min. Store in the fridge. 
  • This should fill up 1 ice cube tray. In a normal ice cube tray this yields 16 chocolates, each with a 1 tablespoon dose of coconut oil.  

Dosing is varied 1-2 chocolates a day???  Although the Coconut oil gets a lot of press and being a “healthy” and “miracle” oil the truth is there is almost no research.  There is very little incentive for anyone to pour millions of dollars in researching something that you can buy in just about any supermarket these days and that no one is going to make lots of money off of.* 

I was motivated by the antidotal work conducted by Dr. Mary Newport on Alzheimer’s. To read more, this link discusses Dr. Newport’s work with her husbands struggle. My curiosity was equally personal, my father was suffering from what I believe was statin (the class of cholesterol reducing drugs) induced dementia.  His doctors had their head in the sand and I couldn’t sit idly by while he was slipping away from us. I looked for any and all possibilities (including tumeric with black pepper and music).  I encouraged my parents or cook with it and ingest it however they could but compliance was tough. Swallowing it by the spoonful wasn’t happening and they were not using it consistently or enough in cooking.  I looked for solutions and this recipe is what came about after a bunch of experimenting. There are so many recipes online for coconut oil candies and I tried so many that I didn’t enjoy eating. For the most part hardened coconut oil doesn’t taste that great. These chocolates became an easy way to get a good measured dose in and it didn’t seem like medicine. 

Back to doses. According to Dr. Newport’s calculations, just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or seven level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT (medium chain triglycerides) which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.  So, basically two chocolates a day.  Based on what I observed, splitting the chocolates into two and taking it 3-4 times during the day seemed to work best.  

And a little blurb about metabolism and coconut oil. Fat is good for us. Fat is required for the production of hormones, optimal brain cell function. We have to eat fat to lose fat. However, not all fats are created equal and not all fats are healthy. Many healthy fats exist, but for one of the best fats to boost a sluggish metabolism is non-hydrogenated coconut oil. So, a healthy chocolate to help boost the metabolism!
*There is currently ONE clinical study in the United States at the University Of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute. The study is specifically looking at a manufactured coconut oil product, already proven to raise ketone levels, called Fuel for Thought. The study was slated to be completed already but is still recruiting participants. I looked into the study, my dad didn’t qualify but I was provided with the relevant info and we tried that for a while too. It turns out my dad likes the chocolate better. 

Time for turmeric

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It’s everywhere these days. There are literally hundreds of scientific studies showing efficacy in dozens of conditions. It’s time to add it to your diet using food as medicine. You could always take a pill but why?

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Always combine it with black pepper, the two together make the turmeric 1000 times more bio available.  
  • It stains. Use a little extra care when cooking with it. 
  • Just try it already! Give it a week or even a month and see what happens. 

I personally use it a few ways. I learned to make a paste that lives in the fridge and I add it to my golden milk or smoothies or anything else I feel like (I usually add “pumpkin pie” or chai spices – beacuse they taste yummy). That way every time I see it I am more likely to remember to use it!  Or I use the fresh root for tea or drinks. I’ve taken the pills, I suppose getting it in you iscertainly better than not taking it at all. But I want to encourage you to try it, make it a treat that you can enjoy. 

Here are all the links you need! 

Choose you, choose your health! Take worth a shot. 

The kind of love my heart wants…

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Since it is once again a strong new moon and the time to plant seeds…this is Still what I want.

Michelle B. Helfner, L.Ac.

you show me yours

Love is Simple…it is not filled with conditions, restrictions, expectations or demands it is just love.  Unconditional love begins with loving the self and sometime setting our own boundaries is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and for others.  How honest and clear in our thoughts and communication with ourselves and others with what we want?  Are there things that need to be healed within your being so you can create the life of your dreams? We know that attachments will weigh us down while releasing what no longer serves your highest good will helps you ascend. The choice is yours, and it is a choice, do you want to learn through love or do you want to learn through pain…choosing the path of love feels so much better.  Sometimes finding the space to simply be love and be in love requires us to remove the old…

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Meditation made easy…well maybe just easier.

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There are a lot of things that I don’t’ know, I do know that I am happy, and often giddy with delight. That was not always the case but my life changed for the better when I began to meditate. The word for meditation in Sanskrit is “shamatha”, which means “peacefully abiding.”

You have heard it dozens of times “you should mediate” or “meditation is so good for you”.

You may have even tried it once or twice only to be disappointed or frustrated because you could not be still and your mind was racing.

THAT is NOT meditation.

It is the beginning of a process to start to reclaim and control your mind, to hopefully become a detached observer of your thoughts and feelings. (quick link to get right to the point) I encourage everyone to develop a meditative practice, but this post is about helping you find tools to help you begin to rewire your mind so that you can mediate and calm your mind. We are all just vibrating atoms moving along at different frequencies, by using sound and vibration we can entrain our minds to the vibratory state we want to be in. Much like an orchestra tuning before a performance if only one instrument is out of tune is affects the entire symphony. Just a little bit of tuning can create a beautiful harmony; the same can be true of our minds. At best, if you are starting later in life you are just trying to find concentration, maybe even single pointed concentration. How easily and causally people say “just clear your mind”. The sentiment is generally well intentioned, and offers the recipient the opportunity to figure out how to mediate, but most people who are told to “clear their minds” are already intrinsically stressed and require a bit more assistance to get the practice started. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce tools to facilitate this process. You have spent years, maybe even decades, hard-wiring your neurological system to be something else. You can change it and have a peaceful mind if you choose so but it will take work. Much like a surgeon or pianist must practice their craft if they expect success – you must practice to have a quiet mind. Imagine if you will, being invited to someone’s home but they don’t give you a map or directions. Depending on your ingenuity and determination you might one day find their house. Wouldn’t it be much easier with that map? The use of sound has been used for millennium to facilitate an altered, more relaxed and even sometimes euphoric state of consciousness.

This music is essentially a map to help re-wire your brain into a calmer state of mind. Go easy on yourself while you are beginning…we didn’t learned how to do this from an early age. Many of you, like myself, came to this later in life with tons of mental, emotional and spiritual obstacles. It is not easy, but the results are sooooo very worth it. It is called a practice for a reason, the rewards are life altering. There are multitudes of different ways to mediate; seated, walking, guided, focused, mantra, physical, creative…it keeps going. Basically anything that slows the brain waves and allows for a relaxed and “altered” state of consciousness. It’s not as scary as it may sound. Imagine our most relaxed and peaceful self or that space you feel just before drifting off to sleep. Ideally the brain waves slow from the normal Beta waves that we are using all day (to process, think, assess, and evaluate) to a slower Alpha or Theta wave. Physiologically the heart and respiration slow as well. When this happens we are in the “zone”, those moments in life where everything just effortlessly falls into pace. the mind begins to quite.

Meditation it will become easier as you uncover and release old and negative patterns that keep you from a loving and happy heart. When I began to meditate I struggled, sometimes I would have the most exquisite and relaxing meditations, a beginners luck, just touching on something I knew I wanted more of. It was some of those incredible meditations that had me continuing to show up and try to quiet my mind. Along the way I discovered that my mind was more easily settled when I would focus on my breath, a virtue, or a mantra. I began to use a few different Sanskrit ones until my thought would settle and I could just BE quiet and still. I have had two distinctly different experiences with music/vibration to not only deepen my mediation but to take me directly to the space I was seeking. While on a yoga teacher training I was introduced to Shamanic drumming and connected deeper than ever before to the space in my heart where we are connected to everything in the universe. Time and space ceased to exist. I was fascinated and looked for why and how. The other experience was with Binaurnal music, it almost immediately took me so deep with that it felt like time stopped. The use of these tools helped to rewire the neural pathways in my brain so that I could return to a theta state on my own unassisted. I suddenly knew where I was trying to get to with mediation, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. In the book Soul Retrieval by Sandra Ingerman states:

 Many native Americans refer to drumming as “the heartbeat of the earth” In this regard it is remarkable that the electromagnetic resonance frequency of the earth, which has been measured at 7.5 cycles per second, is equivalent in brain waves to high theta low alpha. It appears that drumming allows shamans to align the brain waves with the pulse of the earth.

There are so many wonderful tools towards this end and I encourage you to find ones that resonate with you. The use of hemi-sync or binaurnal music is a great help. They are described by Dr. Gerald Oster, of Mt. Sinai Medical Center, in his paper printed in the October 1973 issue of Scientific American entitled “Auditory Beats in the Brain.” He explained how this method of delivering tones separately in each ear using different frequencies caused the brain to entrain to the difference in the two frequencies. For example, using headphones a frequency of 200 Hz is presented in one ear and a frequency of 210 Hz is sent to the other ear, the difference 10Hz is experienced in the brain. The binaural beat is an electrical signal not an actual sound that can be created only by both sides of the brain working together thereby improving the communication between the two hemispheres. This beat forces your brain into a deeper state of consciousness, so that as you are learning to calm your mind for yourself the music provides a road map to help you get there easier.

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Here are some of the ones that I have enjoyed…keep in mind if you find ones that seem like nails on the caulk board find other ones.

We all have certain frequencies that we are aligned to and some that are distracting.

I’ve had great success with BrainSync by Kelly Howell, my personal favorite is Sacred Ground. You can sample and find ones that work for you – there are some great guided meditations. I like her stuff because the frequencies are combined with music…often the frequencies alone are difficult to listen to.  I wouldn’t necessarily suggest diving right into the deep end of pure frequencies.

Try this one for 10 minutes – hardly a big commitment, but it could change the way you think about being able to meditate.

Shamanic Drumming

Deep Sleep – Theta

Alpha and waterfalls

OM

I don’t have an iphone but I know that there are a ton of apps for binaural music. If you find one you really like let me know so that I can share it with others!

We are all just vibration the science of cymatics– helps for you to SEE the patterns of sound. Different frequencies makes very different patterns…sound effects form…imagine it having a stronger effect on your well – being that you could have imagined.

Give it a try a few times a week, it could be a life changing tool!

We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For

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Once again I was inspired by music.  Not so long ago, I went to a small party at a friend’s place and Troubadour Shawn, the musician, sang a song that spoke to my soul, I heard the words of the Hopi Elders*…We Are the Ones That We’ve Been Waiting For.  The song stayed in my heart and mind reminding me that we ARE.  If not us than who? If we want to see change we are the ones to do it. BUT the change needs to come from within each one of us first. We each need to recognize our own splendor and connection to everything around us.  Only from this space of connection can we make the changes humanity longs to see and experience.

I woke early made coffee and went down to the hammock on the beach to process the incredible events of from the evening before. Sitting with the tears welling up in the corners of my eyes and the overwhelming gratitude stirring in my heart I laugh at the polarity of crying tears of joy. In trying to meditate on these sensations stirring within I was in wonderment of the ways information integrates in the physical body. I had a beautiful opportunity to be witness and maybe even doula to an aspect of spiritual birth or spiritual midwifery, because it was witnessing the birth of a ‘new’ being. I laugh a little to myself at the concept. The first time I heard it was just the week before from a client, to which I am humbled and grateful for the acknowledgement of such a beautiful metaphor in her journey. So often I do not know what happens within my sessions, sometimes I can feel aspects of the energetic shifts but I am unaware of the experiential aspects of the transformation.

The night before I was a member of a circle of magnificent beings all in varying places on this crazy journey of life. We joined together in Salon fashion to talk about healing, spirituality and meet a wonderful medical intuitive and his partner. I am honored to have been a witness to more than one of these women crossing over an invisible and indescribable threshold to an expanded state of being. They were hesitant to move into this new space of thinking, feeling and believing. More than anything else I feel immense gratitude for all of my teachers known and unknown that have guided me on this path. I felt very fortunate that I have experienced safe encouraging spaces and helpful beings guiding, leading and clearing the way on my own journey. We collectively held an unexpected space for multiple birth that night. In a protected space their truth and wonder became so strong, they had to bring it into the light. Beautiful questions emerged and a desperate need to be assured that what they feel and know is truth despite all reason and logic. They struggled and cried, tears of relief and some of fear while they shed layers and old beliefs. We each see, hear, feel, know and understand information in multitude of ways and we each are more inclined to one or another, but can develop all of these abilities to some extent. Only experiencing a fraction of all of the infinitesimal ways and realities of what is potentially around us. Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hand and say yes. Yes, the things you know that are beyond reason and thought are true. I am constantly in awe at how far we have created lives to ignore and cover these natural perceptive states. Each of these women was born “sensitive” with abilities that ideally would have been seen as gifts or blessings but instead like many others was indoctrinated by family, culture and religion to ignore and set aside such ‘knowing’. This creates a chasm in the spirit longing to become whole again, longing for union to the reality of our incredible spirits.

We are all atoms, and beings of light wrapped in these cloaks of physical bodies, we are stardust. Along the way, we acquire more and more scaffolding of thoughts, patterns and beliefs that are sometimes erroneous and prohibit us from remembering that simple fact. One of the purest moments of sheer love and joy I experience with people I encounter is the moment I look deep in their eyes, and ask simply, “can you see light with in me?, all of the beauty, joy or whatever it is you can see in me is simply a mirror of the possibilities and truth within you. I am the same as you.” More often than not, there is a spark ignited that rings that truth so loudly to the soul that I can see it flicker in their eyes. What I see is a receptive space for a seed of possibility to be nurtured and fertilized. What happen next is not for me and I often don’t know what unfolds for that person next. However, in the people that share their journeys with me, it is the simplest clicks of revelation and perception shifting to believe that they ARE. That they are deserved, they are entitled, they are loved, they are love…that there are infinite possibilities as to what they are now being invited into but perhaps for the first time also giving themselves the permission to have. We are all just remembering ourselves. I honor and applaud every courageous being willing to take these steps, even hesitant steps will eventually get you there.

We are the ones

We are the ones

*In the vein of full disclosure and a peek into my mind, I have to say there is some debate about the origin of these words and I prefer to make the connection to the Hopi Elders – but Peter Levine went out of his way to look for other answer too so, if you have a curious mind like I do feel free to find out more http://peterlevine.ws/?p=6105.