an elixir to open the heart.
Happy Valentine's Day lightbeams,
Last year on this day I myth busted self-love, and made you a smoothie bowl to honor it. This year, I made you something else: a heart-opening potion.
It only seemed appropriate.
This morning, during a break between classes at SLT we turned on some punk rock, which eventually led us back to the days of Dashboard Confessional (oh yes, we went there.) There’s just something in these songs. They’re simple, and sweet. They’re affectionate (ok, angsty too). You can hear caring in the melodies, the gesture inherent in the lyrics.
Affection makes things that much sweeter.
1 a gentle feeling of fondness or liking
2 archaic the act or process of affecting or being affected; a mental state, an emotion.
I feel like Valentine’s Day is really just a celebration of affection.
Inspired to investigate further, I created this post based off a feeling...
...which manifested itself in the privacy of journals with soft paper, calligraphic pens, the softness of petals, and the permanent imperfection of ink. Affection encompasses the small, subtle actions of caring - the nuance of eyes, the comfort of touch; the way words link together in poetry, succinct and subtle; or the quality which handwritten notes contain.
This is affection: gentle gestures and demonstrations that act as messengers, signaling our hearts are open (..or opening). Not exclusively to romantic love, but just to a deepening of feeling.
I felt the need to redefine how affection shows up in my life, to give it a new name, to take it out of whatever box I’d clumped it into alongside love and relationships and let it stand on its own for a while.
Here are some journal questions to help you do the same:
to evaluate where affection arises in your life, how you relate to it, and let it walk around on it’s own for a little while.
- what does affection mean for you?
- how would you define it?
- what kind of acts signal it?
- how does it feel?
- to give?
- to receive?
- is giving or receiving more comfortable than the other?
- what is affection as compared to.... (love)?
- is affection exclusive?
- is it platonic?
- is it 'reserved for'?
- is it abundant in your life?
- how do you show affection?
- how does it show up for you?
Then, if just reading through those questions makes you feel like you have quite the journal entry sitting in front of you or leaves you nodding your head to the fact you’ve been holding back the amount you care, appreciate, or are attracted in any capacity - towards yourself (self-love for the win!) or others (in a platonic or intimate way), don't sweat it, I know the feeling.
Below you'll find an original heart-opening elixir recipe with the superfood, cacao, as it's star ingredient, a quick breakdown of cacao ceremonies to explain the intention behind the recipe, and some poetic inspiration I photographed from Kylie Johnson's collection, count me the stars to help ignite your journaling adventure.
CACAO: the medicinal heart-opener
First things first, cacao (cu-cow, different from the cocoa - co-co - you grew up drinking as a kid) is the raw, most pure, unprocessed form of what is, essentially, chocolate! 🍫 Derived from cacao beans in the amazon, it’s known as a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant. We all know the bliss we get from chocolate — but that buzz isn’t just the sugar. Cacao actually contains active ‘feel-good’ components, creating a real shift in the brain + body. Additionally it contains high levels of magnesium, iron, and antioxidants. The Mayans and Aztecs had rituals surrounding cacao — treating it as sacred. Using it both ceremonially and medicinally, cacao was believed to open the heart and bring groups together. Cocao keeps us grounded - keeps our consciousness in this reality - but facilitates a connection to our inner selves and an opening of the heart for whatever might need to be emotionally or energetically cleared.
My favorite cacao brands:
CACAO EVER-AFTER ELIXIR:
On the stovetop:
1. Warm 2 cups unsweetened almond milk on over medium heat on stove-top (not boiling)
2. Add 1-2 tbsp warmed coconut butter to the almond milk
- to warm + soften your coconut butter up (so it's easier to measure) I like to put the glass jar in a pot filled with warm water
3. Add 1 tbsp raw honey to the warmed almond milk
To your blender add:
2 tbsp organic cacao powder
1 packet of Moon Juice Sex Dust
1/2 tsp gelatinized maca
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or just a shake!)
a sprinkle of cayenne
1 generous pinch of sea salt
5. Add warm milk containing the coconut butter and honey to your dry ingredients in the blender
6. Add a scoop of Vital proteins Collagen Peptides
7. Blend, pour, (rose petals and dusting of cinnamon optional), enjoy!