Integration is one of the most important parts of any experience we encounter. Just as we go through a process of digestion after a meal to absorb the nutrients, nourish our bodies and release what won’t serve us, we have must have a process of assimilation after any experience to serve our highest potential. When it comes to Cacao ceremonies this is also the case. Here we share some useful tips to use to integrate the teachings of a ceremony in the days and weeks that follow.
Ceremonies and rituals can be experiences in many different ways, and what we may receive depends both on the guide and the individual. At the core of each is a space for genuine human connection and a dissolving of the barriers that separate us from ourselves and the world around us: for each of us, that which we receive from the experience may vary. However, making space for us to explore how we are assimilating is essential. I see the process of ceremonies as akin to a door that opens for us—and that door stays open for us to continue exploring the visions, ideas, and guidance even after the ceremony has ended. In my personal experience, I get to feel into the emotions, thoughts and visions of the ceremony sometimes for days or even weeks. One of the most powerful tools for me lately has been continuing observing those gifts from the ceremony through my dreams, journals, and also discussion with close friends.
The Power Of Community
I am not an expert in trauma, but I have experienced a lot of trauma as a child, a teen, and in my early twenties. A lot of that trauma stored in my body for many years. When it comes to trauma, it is not only the traumatic experience itself that shapes us as human beings but also how we assimilate the experience. As I continue walking this path of self-exploration and creating safe environments for myself, a lot of the stored emotions and beliefs that stem from that trauma has been coming up to the surface to be observed and worked through so that I no longer identify with the trauma. I honor that the trauma is part of my story, but I no longer feel the need to make my decisions from that place. My greatest after-ceremony healing has taking place when expressing what has come up for me, being heard by my close confidants, and being supported through the process of unpacking these issues.
The Power of Writing
Journaling is also a very safe and powerful way to have an intimate moment with ourselves—to tune into how we are speaking to ourselves and if that is language is productive.. Writing can also help us develop some of the ideas or “aha” moments that we may have had during the ceremony.
There are many different ways to approach our writing. Some of my favorites daily journal entries are:
- Morning pages
- Pages of gratitude
- One page of what I’m letting go of + one page of what I am inviting into my life
Writing a letter to someone we have an overdue conversation with (without feeling the need to give it to them)
If you are looking to get inspired in your writing there is an incredible book and workbook by Julia Cameron known as The Artist’s Way.
The Power of Ritual
I find that setting up a ritual with Cacao has helped me process in really profound ways. When I connect with Cacao on my own, I create a safe container for myself to explore what’s moving through. This is where I get a lot of inspiration to continue developing a certain idea that came up for me in ceremony. Thus may also help me shift my mood if I’m having a challenging day– to find the focus and creativity I’m missing, and come back to gratitude. The ritual can be as simple as making a cup of Cacao, sharing an invocation or gratitude mantra, and giving yourself some time to reflect through your favorite mode of self-expression..
The Power of Singing
Singing has been a really important tool in my life this last decade. As an immigrant who came to the United States without speaking the language, I felt a lot of blockages around being able to express myself. Having English be my second language always made me insecure, and I often times shut down my voice for fear of being judged. When I had to do presentations in school, I would start sweating and shaking. Singing got me out of these limiting conditions that I established as a young girl and helped me move past my self-sabotaging thoughts. I see singing as devotional practice that helps us move from the perception of the mind into the vision of the heart.
The Power of Movement and Connection with Nature
Often times when there is a strong emotion or thought that keeps replaying, going out for a walk and connecting with nature can be such a healing experience. Physical movement can help us shift both our energy and our perspective. Connecting with nature and meditating out in nature can assist in shifting stagnant energy and elevating our mood. Receiving sunlight, especially in the early morning, can even help us get better sleep and more even moods!
The Power of Dreaming
Although many people today say they don’t dream or they don’t remember their dreams, there is a lot of power in the aspect of conscious dreaming. All human beings dream, but only some of us remember our dreams. In almost all ancient traditions, dreaming is an essential aspect of how messages and teachings are received, as well as an integral tool to process experiences. Becoming aware of our dreams can help us assimilate experiences and bring clarity to certain aspects of our lives. A good way to start becoming more aware of our dreams is by meditating before bed, while also waking up slowly and observing if any images or parts of our dreams can be remembered before we open our eyes. Writing our dreams can also help us activate this awareness.
There are numerous ways of integrating experiences after a Cacao ceremony, but these are the tools that have helped me the most over the years. It’s important to explore the different modalities and see what works for you. This may change with different ceremonies and what those ceremonies activate within us. I hope to share a Cacao ceremony with you soon!