If you’re a seeker, you know there’s nothing like the wonder, the confusion, the adrenaline rush of new beginnings; nothing like the moment your heart alights on something (or someone!) new and time begins to telescope from your present moment into distant and suddenly possible futures.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re twenty-two or eighty-two, whether the journey you’re beginning is spiritual, emotional, or physical.

There’s something about new beginnings that reminds us that we’re alive: there’s the heart-stopping moment of stepping up to the precipice and peering over the edge, which leads to searching for a teacher, a path, or a fellow seeker with whom to travel.

And in doing so, exposing your soft underbelly (oh sweet fear!), revealing you’re in the chrysalis and ready to emerge on trembling wings, that your life isn’t as fixed and stable as you may pretend. Will you be judged? Will you be thought a fool or a daydreamer?

Even this anxiety is, in its own way, cherished: your inner-warrior rises to defend your newfound idea of self, still damp from the cocoon.

It’s a delicate time: you’re seeing the path to come but your wings are still too wet for flight. The dream depends on both restraint and willingness; it requires both momentum and reserve—a seemingly impossible balance.

But true learning takes time. It takes heartache. It takes bravery and laughter and loneliness. Click To Tweet

All these thoughts flitted through my mind as I typed a note to a young woman who had posted on Facebook her newfound desire to learn the ancient (and new again) art of Cacao Ceremony.

As I read back over what I’d written I realized this was the advice I hope someone will give me the next time I’m newly emerged from the cocoon and gently fanning my wings. Bookmark this page: it’s what I want to say to everyone who is starting again:

I can’t be your guide on this particular quest: the only one who can guide you is you. I’m here for a cup of tea, a kick in the ass, to cheer you on and salve your wounds. But it’s you who has to take up the compass, don the hiking books, and grab the walking stick. It’s you who has to learn to say no, learn to say yes, learn to feel as well as think.

Go to source. The Cacao Ceremony was learned from the cacao tree, and while the beans hold the energy of the tree, they are not the living tree—they are instead the potential to become the tree. To explore this path in its fullness, to understand the Medicine of Cacao, you need time with those trees. More than you need time with a shaman or ceremonial practitioner, you need time with the source.

The trees and the animals and the earth and the sky train the shaman. Click To Tweet

If you speak to those of indigenous descent who walk the shamanic path, they learned by being left alone in the wilderness. They learned from lonely and excluded, exhausted and hungry, to come into deep relationship—not just with other humans, but with the world around them.

The depth you bring to your future practice, to the ceremonies you will lead, will come through the experiences you have in becoming the woman capable of leading those ceremonies.

My best advice: take the long road, enjoy the scenery, realize this is a calling that may also become a career, but might not. Answer the dreams and let them guide you. Talk to the trees.

Any empath can sit with someone as they drink cacao (or kava, or matcha, or ayahuasca, or tulsi) and lead them through a deep and rich human experience.

But only those who have taken the time and created the heart-space can lead people into a transcendent experience of what it means to be in relationship not just with humanity but with all of being—with the trees and the wind and the earth crumbling beneath our feet.

I sense this desire in you. Find the teacher who points you always toward your personal experience of relationship and connectivity to the source of this Medicine you want to share and you’ll know you have chosen true.

For the seeker, there’s nothing like a good beginning: the adrenaline rush, the confusion, the wonder.

But new beginnings are simply new-found colors and wet wings. The real joy is in flight.

Grab a free copy of my manifesto here; stick it on your ‘fridge or pin it by your desk to keep your inspiration up as you contemplate the new beginnings coming with the New Year!

Tell me about the last time you went into the chrysalis. Who were you before and who did you become?