On Finding Purpose: the Cacao Laboratory Story

On Finding Purpose: the Cacao Laboratory Story

Very few people inherently know their purpose, and many will spend their entire lives searching for one. It is one of the most fundamental quests of life, but I believe the search is often over-thought. I had spent some time in my younger years struggling to the reconcile my principles with my purpose: I knew that I was driven by a desire to lift others up and seek justice, but I wasn’t sure how to best do that within the framework of my professional life. It was only when I started to have a bit of fun, keep my eyes wide open to the world around me, and simply keep my principles first, did my purpose become clear. Today, my maxim is simple: life is all about having fun and not selling out.


When I am guided by the principle of having fun and I allow serendipity to take over, magic often happens. Such was the start of Cacao Laboratory. My sister, Florencia, approached me to help her craft a brand for something she felt was calling her: ceremonial Cacao. She had started working extensively with Cacao and ceremony, and she felt it was time to take it to the next level and share her passion more widely with her community. So, I took a chance and we traveled to Guatemala to visit an heirloom Cacao farm and begin the journey of Cacao Laboratory. This was a great adventure, but here’s the best part: even a week earlier, if you’d have asked me, I would’ve had no clue I would begin working with Cacao as medicine and even become a chocolatier in the process! This whole company and community to which we have given our lives arose from a simple “yes” to a family trip! 


Lake Atitlan, Guatemala


It was from this seed of experience that I realized that, yes, hard work is important…and we’ve worked damn hard on this. But hard work toward a manufactured purpose—one which you have decided is the “right” thing to do without true excitement to propel you forward—is ultimately only hurting you and those around you. As I said above, “not selling out” is hugely important, in my eyes. But what is “not selling out”? Not selling out is fully embracing yourself without compromising. I’ve found that in doing so, the things that make me special—what is authentic to me—will hopefully culminate in something that the world needs, something that people want. This is where I find purpose: at the intersection of skills and impact.

This is all very exciting, but living with purpose is not always easy. The dedication required to pursue something meaningful in life can put strain on relationships. For us as a family, working on a project the magnitude of Cacao Lab required working through many layers of trauma and toxic family dynamics. At times, we felt that perhaps it was not worth pursuing this dream at all because, ultimately, we do not want to sacrifice our bonds to an idea, no matter how worthy. But—and perhaps this is all part of the purpose of this endeavor—we have continued to do the hard work, continued to grow as people and in our our relationship as family, in order to continue our relationship with you, our extended family in Cacao.  


brother and sister smiling with bowls in hand

All this is to say, you may stumble upon your path of purpose just by living your life. But, the continual fortitude it takes to walk that path is no joke. I may have found my purpose through having fun and staying true to myself, but in order to grow as a person (and really, what is the point of finding your purpose if you’re not going to grow as a person?), I must see things through and keep word to myself and others—in the good times, but especially in the hard times.

For me, finding purpose has never been a matter of thinking hard about it.  To find it, I have had to live mindfully and with integrity, allowing the journey to unfold and let life guide me where I need to be, where I am most needed. Finding purpose is not necessarily about starting a business venture, or any organization for that matter. Sometimes, purpose is found in raising a family, taking care of others, or even of just taking care of yourself! Sometimes, purpose is found in just a moment: one shift in perspective, perhaps over a cup of Cacao, perhaps at a retreat. Just stay open to the world and its needs!

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