Try to remember the last time you sat down, took a few deep breaths, and checked in. I’m not talking about checking your email, touching base with coworkers, or scanning your to-do list. I mean the last time you created mental and physical space in your hectic schedule to connect. Connect with yourself, with friends, with a loved one. Intentional, authentic, and unhurried. Has it been a while?
Connection to self and others is the foundation for health, happiness, and healing. Without it, our social systems break down. We grow accustomed to isolation, living disconnected from our communities while we trade rituals and rites of passage for ideals of success that don’t truly make us happy. We lose sight of our interconnection with nature and all living things. When we feel disconnected from the earth and its medicine, we fail to nurture the beautiful planet we call home.
Why is a chocolate maker passionate about connection? Because disconnection is at the root of many global crises, and cacao is a medicine of connection. At Firefly Chocolate, we craft ceremonial cacao not to be consumed like candy, but to be experienced and shared in a reciprocal relationship. When we offer our intention to connect with a plant and listen to its wisdom, we initiate a two-way conversation. Today, many of us are used to a one way street of consumption with our food systems. It’s a radical act to sit down with a cup of cacao and have a heart-centered conversation with friends and loved ones. The more we bring this level of authenticity into our daily lives, the more we can reconnect to our center, our communities and our earth.
We Exist in an Increasingly Disconnected World
Choosing a tweet over face-to-face interaction or a few hours of mindless TV over a walk in the woods has become our default in the digital age. Too often, we rely on anonymous conversations on social media, online forums, and brief, impersonal texts to maintain our most important relationships and find our place in the world. Even picking up the phone can feel like a chore.
It’s just as easy to distance yourself from your own thoughts, setting your mind on autopilot to avoid facing your emotions. By chasing after the short-term gratification of material goods and instantaneous replies you travel farther from connections with yourself and others that have a positive long-term impact on your wellbeing. Choosing TV, gaming, and videos over spending time in nature diminishes your appreciation for ecosystems that are the very source of those material possessions society values so highly.
The Consequences of Disconnection & The Joy of Finding Connection
Isolating yourself in these ways, you become trapped in your mind alone, making your intuition weak and limiting your perspective of your place in this magnificent, interconnected web of life. Your head and heart fall out of balance, sapping the joy out of life experiences as you become overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings. Disconnection can turn into a crutch you lean on to avoid negative thoughts or challenging feelings associated with personal trauma or pain.
Ironically, the connection you’re avoiding is the very thing that can bring joy back into your life. Being present with your trauma and pain opens up the path to healing. Growing more conscious of and connected to the natural world increases your sense of gratitude, lowers your stress, and can even lower your risk for chronic disease. Finding that balanced integration of head and heart wisdom allows you to trust your intuition again and bring the magic of synchronicity back into your life.
How to Reconnect and Awaken Spiritually
Tearing down the walls that create your disconnection can make you feel vulnerable, but small steps start the positive momentum. Step one is connecting with yourself and nature through daily meditation, a regular yoga practice, and spending time outdoors. As thoughts emerge, accept them with self-compassion, not judgment. You don’t have to do this alone, cacao is a powerful plant spirit that can ease you into the daunting experience of sitting with yourself. With it’s mood enhancing neurochemical compounds, heart opening energy and the support of grounding tree medicine, it can aid you in reconnecting to a grounded sense of joy in your life.
Create your own cacao ceremony incorporating meditation, embodiment practices or journaling cultivating your relationship with the plant spirit in a way that fits best into your life. Courses on cacao sourcing, history, culture, and nutrition can deepen your practice and put you in touch with others who are also on a journey of reconnection. When you’ve established a deeper relationship with cacao, it may be time to share the healing benefits by guiding a group.
Connected to the Source: How Firefly Chocolate’s Ceremonial Cacao Empowers Indigenous Communities
Connection to sacred ritual and tradition is just one element in Firefly Chocolate’s story. We are one of a handful of makers across the globe crafting ceremonial cacao from the whole bean. We direct trade with almost 1,000 small family growers working in harmony with their local ecosystems, so we can personally vouch for the outstanding quality of each batch of beans we receive.
In a world that’s disconnected from where our food grows and how it’s prepared, we’ve forged these connections to support regenerative farming and ensure the continuation of sustainable farming practices. Our work is woven into the livelihood of indigenous communities around the world. We hear firsthand how the next generation of farmers are staying in the family business instead of moving to the city because they see that cacao crops, cultivated with tradition and respect for the earth, can support their families.
For more than 5,000 years, indigenous Maya and Aztec people have known cacao as a heart medicine. With respect, we’re sharing the power of living heart first so we can change the world. Are you with us?
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Written by Ann Gibson for Matcha in partnership with Firefly Chocolate.