What I learned on my 1st Cacao Ceremony


So I did my first cacao ceremony yesterday.

Dude- it totally made me sick.  Or rather, it showed me how I have slowly been making myself sick.

Allow me to explain.

First off, this was no ordinary cacao: it was ceremonial cacao that is normally used in sacred Mayan healing rituals (you won’t find this stuff on the chocolate aisle at whole foods). Everything about this is special: from the way it’s grown and prepared to the way it’s used.

I honestly had no expectations when I drank it in hot cocoa form (in water, with some cayenne, cinnamon and honey). Moses of HeartBlood Cacao, who supplied the stuff, told us that everyone experiences it differently. For me? It exposed to me just how weak I’ve allowed my immune system to become.

The ceremony was complete with meditation, music and sound healing. I bonded deeply with all the people who partook. Most of the night, I sat beside my guy, singing songs and feeling the overall love in the room. See, that’s the thing: cacao is known to open your heart, and with an open heart in the right environment, it’s easy to allow the love to flow right through.

the lovely Cacao Tribe at The Sanctuary, East Haddam, CT

the lovely Cacao Tribe at The Sanctuary, East Haddam, CT

Overall lovely. Except for one major inconvenience: I could not stop sneezing and my nose would not stop running. I felt like a wreck! I hadn’t felt this sensitive in my sinuses in years (when I used to get the worst seasonal allergies). I felt so weak, tired and drained. And my logical mind kept demanding: “Oh, I thought this was medicine. This don’t feel medicinal. You got some explaining to do.”

But see, it was medicine.

On our way to the ceremony earlier that evening, I had been feeling so disconnected, so blasé, so uncomfortable, so unlike myself. My intention coming in was to get to the bottom of what was causing me to feel this way.

And lo and behold- as soon as I entered the sacred space, my whole immune system pretty much collapsed. Like a maiden faints in her lover’s arms. My immune system the maiden, the ceremony, my lover.

It wasn’t until this morning, when I felt better and stronger, that I was able to understand what had happened.

I’ve made it my life’s work to practice Exquisite Self Care and inspire others to do the same. But the truth is that lately, I’ve been somewhat lazy with my own self care. I haven’t been moving my body as much. Haven’t been juicing as much. Haven’t been eating enough greens or even getting enough sleep. Even my water intake has been kind of low.

Now, I don’t share this from a place of judgment of, or even disappointment in, myself. Truth is, I spent all of November traveling, and I haven’t quite yet figured out the most effective self care practices when my schedule requires lots of planes, trains and automobiles. So, I honor that while I was out there adventure-hopping and setting the foundation for the 3 biggest business ventures I’ve been involved in thus far (a juice company, my movement couture line, and a sacred Bikram yoga retreat in Ecuador), I didn’t honor my own self care as much as I wish I had.

I share this from a place of self-forgiveness.

Last night during the cacao ceremony, I felt so outside my power. I couldn’t will myself to stop sneezing or my nose to stop running. I felt deflated. Barely, just barely, making it through the night. Not at all at the top of my game.

After the ceremony, my guy started playing his drum, the energy went through the roof, and everyone started to dance. Me? Outside in the rain, sneezing uncontrollably. And later on, when he was selling his famous maca bars and chatting up people, I was in the corner, using up all the tissues in my bag. A mess.

okay, slight exageration, but you get the gist

okay, slight exageration, but you get the gist

When my body shut down last night, the sign was clear: it’s time to step it up, not just so that I can feel like a million bucks and enjoy my life. That’s no longer enough.

I realized that my self care will allow me to show up with presence and power for those I love and those I’m here to be of service to. Whether that is standing by my guy while he vends his amazing food or standing in front of a group of people who show up to my Bikram class. I want to give them, gift them, my best.

Where do I even start, you ask? Great question.

The water ritual, for starters. Then, I’m gonna revisit WomanCode and start eating according to my cycles again (I’ll post some cycle-related recipes in the coming days). I’m also gonna get to Bikram at least twice this week. I will meditate every day. Plenty of rest and cuddle. Stop eating past 8pm. And get my ass in bed early enough to get some much-longed for sleep.

Winter’s coming (wink).

And I plan on it being the best winter yet.





My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.