The Chocolate Fast

The Chocolate Fast

by Stasia Bliss

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452540344
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 11/07/2011
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.36(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Chocolate Fast

Embracing Your Bliss One Truffle at a Time
By Stasia Bliss

BALBOA PRESS

Copyright © 2010 Stasia Bliss
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4525-4034-4


Chapter One

Opening

In the pure and holy embrace of Anything, we find our truest Self.

What if we could fully embrace the joy that comes with eating chocolate, without any sense of guilt, for an entire day? Could we then also embrace other experiences of joy? This is where we begin, with this thought, this question:

What if?

For many of us, our relationship with chocolate is not unlike our relationship with ourselves—with our most natural and authentic self, that is. How willing are we to surrender to the state of divine Bliss that is at the very core of our innermost being? Do we not, for the most part, limit ourselves with regard to the experience of pleasure and ecstasy? How often do you allow yourself the experience of joy—pure joy? Would you go so far as to say that you allow yourself to experience Bliss? I know, that's a tough one—a BIG one. What is it about that word, Bliss?

The surname I bear now is not the one I was born with. When I first began to think about changing my last name to Bliss, it was a very exciting prospect. In my core I felt certain it was going to require a shift in my consciousness, a change in perspective to feel comfortable and 'deserving of' calling myself Bliss. To say every day to everyone I meet: 'I am Stasia Bliss', that would take some getting used to. Yet as I began to be open to the prospect of accepting my Bliss, and I began to embrace myself as 'Bliss,' I also began to move into a space, not just of acceptance, but of the realization that Bliss is my divine birthright. It's yours as well.

A movement is taking place today that urges us to reach within and touch this place of inner peace and divine Bliss. Yoga, meditation, Tai chi, and a host of other like spiritual practices both ancient and new are now (finally!) starting to come to the forefront of our modern reality here in the West. And all of them teach in one form or another that Bliss is our birthright, our natural state of being.

Isn't there just something about the idea of Bliss, of the very word Bliss, that resonates deep within? Beyond all the self-judgment and fear, something that says 'Yes, I deserve to live in state of Bliss!'?

Well, that's because YOU DO!

If you are at the beginning of this road to inner discovery, let me suggest an experiment. Take an already recognized pleasure in your life—journaling, gardening, origami, dancing, cooking, whatever it may be—and allow it more fully and completely into your life, without guilt and without shame. With such an acceptance of something that you already love, we can begin to build our association with the idea of Bliss. It is easier to go somewhere, mentally and emotionally, if you have some kind of reference point. For the journey of this book we are to use chocolate as the reference point for pleasure, joy and Bliss (though you may use anything you truly love in the same manner that we use chocolate here, as the fast is simply a 'concept' which can easily apply to any joy).

Throughout this journey I will continue to quote from a chocolate expert named 'Chloe' from the book Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light , for I resonate with her and find her statements charming. I hope you agree! She says:

Chocolate is extremely pleasurable ... You have just to give yourself permission to enjoy it. As the bouquet of melting chocolate perfumes your palate, it spreads a feeling of well-being. Each of your five senses is excited, and they all interact with each other.

Through chocolate you can get a glimpse of your natural state of Bliss. You already know this has happened, if you think about it, nearly every time you have eaten it. Think about it now, the chocolate melting in your mouth and coating your throat, the taste on your tongue. You feel the excitement, the satisfaction, the joy just in the thought of it. We might laugh a bit to ourselves, thinking we are being silly to believe real joy could be found through a dessert ... And so, just as quickly as we feel the joy, we banish it and move into the feeling of guilt or remorse. Do we think we must balance our pleasure with something 'practical?' Is guilt practical? Do we feel so undeserving of pleasure that we are compelled to replace that feeling with one more 'fitting?'

Fitting?

Do we really believe that we deserve to feel guilt and pain, sickness and loss, rather than joy, pleasure and Bliss?!

Guilt, shame, worry, fear, and other forms of self-censure are all toxic emotions. Any distressing emotion causes our body to produce cortisol, a hormone that -when produced in excess (or kept in the body over an extended period of time) suppresses the immune system by shrinking the production of T-cells by the thymus gland.

Chocolate, on the other hand, is beginning to be recognized as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. In its raw form it is, in its physiological effects, both nutritive and tonic, and is now recognized to be a "superfood"..

When we embrace that which brings us joy, it is not so much the thing that we are embracing that opens us up to Bliss, but the act of embracing itself. It is through this embracing that we allow an inner alignment to take place, bringing about the possibility of living from a higher expression of our Selves— from our true Bliss.

As you move forward into this book, keep your mind open to the possibility that chocolate can, indeed, be a doorway to your highest self. By the time you reach the end of the book, you may just decide to release the need for guilt in every area of your life, and embrace the Bliss that is your inheritance!

In the process of the personal transformation that has unfolded as a result of writing this book, these words have come to me:

And so it is, that in the pure and holy embrace of Anything, we find our truest Self.

Chapter Two

Bliss?

So what is this "Bliss?" Our experience of Divine Being-ness or 'God' is intimately bound up with the feeling of Bliss, which could be described as partaking of the Divine. When we begin to let our bodies resonate with the word 'Bliss', initially we may find ourselves mentally categorizing it as an experience that is intangible, an incomprehensible idea or an idealistic destination. For some it is a familiar and readily attainable state. What makes this so? I would like to suggest that we are not only capable of bliss, but of Bliss. Can you feel the difference?

So ... Bliss—What is it? What comes to mind when you think of 'Bliss?' What do you feel? To some, the word conjures up an image of the climactic experience: the rush, the high, the ecstasy that later leaves one feeling a more defined 'low,' like the effects of certain mind-altering drugs, or the sexual experience (for many), or perhaps a brush with death. This type of peak experience associated with an adrenaline rush is NOT what I am referring to when I speak of Bliss and our natural state. It would be exhausting to maintain that kind of heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping experience all the time.

In my life journey I have discovered within myself what I call 'deep yogic roots.' It has been a challenging and delightful process of self-study, and one which leads me to believe that I was a yogi in a past life (or several lives). For those of you who struggle with the idea of reincarnation, I would explain it as having a certain growing ease in drawing from the collective experience of centuries of yogic awareness: it is very familiar to me on a soul level, and feels perfectly natural to live 'yogically.'

In my personal experiences and studies I have come to understand Bliss as a state of deep and abiding peace, a peace that expands. This Bliss is such a pure and natural state that when immersed in it, even those things that would previously have elicited anger or pain are recognized for their ultimate blessing. All things become, in this state, impersonal or 'unattached' to an individual personality and 're-attached to' or remembered as part of a cosmic whole. The ups and downs start to equalize, not in a mundane way, but rather at a higher frequency of abiding union with all of life. For in this state of Bliss, one remembers that we are all connected on a deeper level. We are not separate from the creative force from which we sprung, we have merely forgotten our divine birthright and have accepted misery, stress and poverty as normal circumstances of this bodily existence.

Some argue that there could be no Bliss without this misery and sorrow; that opposition allows for both extremes. Emotional duality is very human, but we are more than merely humans: we are spiritual beings, capable of accessing states of awareness vibrationally higher than those we have known in the past.

When we experience emotional highs and lows we trigger a natural revulsion for those things we don't want to repeat (or create), and a desire for what we wish to create. In our desires we create mental images, which become our goals. The more we allow the Bliss experience back in, the more familiar we become with it. And like anything we repeat again and again, we start to create cellular memory for it, and it becomes 'the norm.' For example, if you have ever taken a yoga class you are likely familiar with the tightness your muscles felt when you first tried to get into those poses. After some time—days, weeks, months—you began to feel some opening and eventually, after doing the same stretch a hundred times, you found that you could practically 'fall' into it with ease, sometimes even out of class while in conversation with friends, or in your living room.

If you aren't a yoga person, perhaps you can relate more to the example of making your favorite recipe. After you have made it enough times, you don't even have to think about it or even measure the ingredients—you have created a form of 'cellular memory' for that recipe. How about riding a bike, learning a piece of music or driving your car to the same place every day? Cellular memory. Steven Thayer, founder of Integrated Energy Therapy, says of cellular memory:

"Every cell in our body has the ability ... to remember. Our cellular memory can store the memory of physical traumas like accidents, cuts, bruises, surgeries or abuse; emotional trauma like heartache, fear, guilt and anger; and mental trauma that manifests in low self-esteem, unworthiness, worry, etc. When trauma is suppressed into the cellular memory, that energy can get stuck. The problem with suppressed cellular memory is not only does it limit our ability to live freely and joyfully in life but it can also support the body in developing physical illness."

This gives us the understanding of cellular memory, but when looked at from a more positive, beneficial approach we can see that we can acquire this same kind of affinity or memory for experiencing Bliss.

At first we fully experience the ups and the downs—in all their often melodramatic glory—that we associate with being 'human.' This has been the 'blessing' of duality. But as we travel on this road toward discovering or 'remembering' Bliss, something starts to happen. We begin to have an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. We stop seeing everything in its small or 'reduced' egoic version—my house, my job, my relationship, my aches and pains. With the perspective of Bliss, we are endowed with the ability to experience the 'bigger picture'—the human family, our planet, our process, the whole. We begin to perceive the greatness expressing itself through the forms of all creation, and the 'impersonal,' loving, all-encompassing creative force behind and within it all.

Bliss begins to become the 'norm' when we stop striving to be something that we think we are not but should be, and start living from a place of joy. When I say stop striving, I don't mean to let go of motivation and action, but rather to start embracing who we are now. Instead of looking for the next best thing, the next 'look,' the next something that will give us that all-important edge: the faster, stronger, whiter and brighter, 'greener,' sexier, more technologically superior, better tasting, more nutritious—whatever. We can enjoy the pleasures of this world without depending on it for our fulfillment and source of happiness. Instead, we have the opportunity to embrace where we are now—to find the Bliss that is ours within this moment, and from this place of Bliss - truly appreciate all that is around us fully, in more depth than ever before!

In some religions the emphasis on what 'not' to do is so constraining and overwhelming that it often takes away from the possibility to live from the heart and in the moment. Self-judgment and criticism, fear and guilt find their way into the top four habitual emotions, crowding out the peace, happiness, empowerment and Bliss that are naturally ours. As we allow ourselves to experience more and more of the 'Big Picture' perspective, the harshness of duality doesn't disappear, but rather fades, eventually taking the form of contrasts on life's canvas. For example, when a great loss occurs (death, financial loss, divorce, etc.), even within the state of Bliss we still experience the emotions that need to be felt in all of their humanness. But now, human 'attachment,' as the Buddha calls it, does not triumph; and feelings of depression, abandonment and defeat do not conquer. Rather, the 'big picture' enters in and soothes the soul, bringing the knowledge of the opportunity for growth, heart opening and deeper understanding. For there is always another perspective from which to gain insight, especially on a perceived tragedy. What great comfort there is in the knowledge that we are more than this body, these thoughts and these emotions—we are infinitely Blissful beings, all connected, all part of a picture much greater than the drama of human reality that we are immersed in daily. And so, though we live within the dramas and emotional polarity of the human experience, we are not of it. It seems necessary to feel fully the separation of being human at times, for without these humbling moments in life we might not be compelled to remember the Union underlying everything.

Bliss is the ability to live peacefully with what is and see its greater meaning. Chocolate is just one of the many keys we can use to assist us in unlocking the door to our Bliss. It's all in the perspective.

So, let's get to the chocolate!

* * *

The primary mythology surrounding the origin of chocolate is simply delightful! See if you can relate to any of the perspectives in the fable below; let it give you some insight into your own beliefs about both chocolate and Bliss. This is the condensed version of the story I found in a children's book of Mayan folktales by Linda Lowery called The Chocolate Tree, and it is probably the best rendition of the origin of chocolate I have ever read. So, whether you are someone who celebrates the wisdom of folktales, or someone who just enjoys a good story, this ancient tale of chocolate is sure to give you a smile. And if you're like me, you won't mind a little additional 'historical' proof to validate your personal argument for chocolate as a divine substance.

THE GIFT OF CHOCOLATE

To the Maya of old, all crops came from the gods: corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, you name it. One of the great kings of Heaven would visit the people and bring them seeds from his home in Paradise. This great one was called Kukulkan, 'the feathered serpent.' He wore a cloak of colorful feathers and his skin was like that of a snake. Now, Paradise was where all the other gods and goddesses resided, but Kukulkan liked to spend his time with the Earth people, as he loved them so and wanted them to have their own paradise on Earth. (Isn't that nice?) He was the one, they say, who taught them to grow their crops and to enjoy the earth's bounty; who taught them of the calendar, and how to track the seasons. He also brought them music and dance.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Chocolate Fast by Stasia Bliss Copyright © 2010 by Stasia Bliss. Excerpted by permission of BALBOA PRESS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface....................xi
Opening....................3
Bliss?....................9
Embracing....................17
Receiving....................25
Remembering....................35
Relaxing....................41
Releasing....................47
Intending....................51
Aligning....................59
Expanding....................63
Embodying....................73
Feeling....................75
Reasoning....................79
Creating....................85
Blissing....................89
Being....................95
Chocolate Chakras....................105
Chocolate Revelations....................109
Chocolate Recommendations....................121
Health Benefits/Nutritional Profile....................125
Chocolate Studies....................129
Recipes....................131
Tea Sources....................135
Cleansing & Fasting Practitioners....................137
Yoga Centers & Teachers who teach yogic philosophy....................139
Meditations....................141
Select Bibliography....................145
Thanks....................147

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