MY CACAO STORY – cacaobreath


Hi there. My Name is Nikko Miyatake. By the time you finish reading this story, you’ll have a better understanding of the MAGIC of medicinal cacao and how I came to be apart of the ceremonial cacao wave that is now a current trend amongst the spiritually minded and alternative health folks.

I hope this story inspires you;

To take your own sacred journey 

To know that you are more than you appear to be

To know that you are a spiritual being having a human experience

To know that it is not our darkness that we most fear, but the brightness of who we already are and who we can become

This is my story of how I came to be intertwined with the spirit of cacao.

It all started when I was 17 years old. I was experiencing my first cacao ceremony in 2011. I can still vividly remember the inner journey on that day in 2011 that was my initiation into working with cacao

Sitting in a newly remodeled living room, I sat next to my mom and across from Keith (cacao shaman) and his wonderful partner Barbara. We drank our cacao. I thought I was tough so I put a good amount of cayenne in my cacao, knowing that this potentiates its effects. With every sip, I felt my cells light up with energy from my head down to my heart. This was also my moms first official cacao ceremony. My mom and I were a part of an energy healing group in training and we had heard about Keith from this group and that he was touring through SLC, UT at the time. As I sat in a meditative state with gentle guidance from Keith, I was all of the sudden on a battlefield that took place in my heart. The inner vision took place in a dry, dusty and grey landscape. It was me and a demon who kept attacking me, trying to dominate or end my life. Truly, I didn’t understand the motive of the demonic entity in front of me, all I knew is that it wanted to fight, it wanted to end my existence. I never once engaged or fought back with this demon. This one sided fight took place for hours. My consciousness was transferring back and forth from being embodied as the one being attacked, and from being the witness to this fight. Eventually, my physical body grew tired and weak so I transitioned from sitting upright in a chair to laying down on a couch in the living room. I could feel the pain from this inner battle taking a toll on my heart. I felt dissociative and empty. This experience was baffling my mind. How could this inner vision and this fight feel so real yet so imaginary? How was I actually feeling the effects of this fight physically? I didn’t understand it, but I KNEW that I had to finish the fight, I had to outlast the anger and rage of this demon. I had to know that I ultimately could not be hurt, that my true identity is beyond pain, fear, anguish and hate. I had to see it through for my consciousness to transcend the illusion of fear and pain. The fight went on and the demon grew more angry. The more I remained peaceful in the midst of war, the more the demon raged. At some point during this fight, Keith turned his attention toward me, looked right through me and said “now that’s a heart!” And then turned back to working with my mom. Eventually, this fight came to an end. I knew I couldn’t be hurt and the demon finally gave in. The demon vanished from sight and the landscape remained somewhat gloomy. I sat there in what felt like a void. Inside, I knew I had just overcome something, as though this was some sort of milestone on my spiritual journey. 

This experience served as my initiation into working with cacao. After that session, cacao became a part of my daily life. Every time I drank it, I sensed its innate power and inherent wisdom. As I would later learn, cacao held a very prominent and spiritual role in the Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations. 

I continued working with Keith for the next two years over Skype, doing private ceremonial cacao sessions once or twice per month. My love and appreciation for cacao grew and I began sharing it with all my friends and doing my own small ceremonies from time to time. When my friends didn’t take to it like I did, I felt confused as to why they weren’t in love with chocolate the way I was. Something must be wrong with them, I thought. I remembered something Keith had said during a session “everyone is on their own journey and everyone is at their own stage of evolution”. This gave me hope for all the people that didn’t like the bitterness of real cacao. 

Nikko making cacao

During a session with Keith in the late winter of 2013, my life took a turn. He had offered me a scholarship to come study the human energy field on his ‘porch’. He offered to pay my way down there and put me up in a basic living situation. I can remember the feeling……. Like life had become a fairytale, that magic was all around me, the promise of the unknown, mystical world was knocking at my door and I’d be damned if Id’ve said no. 

That Spring, I had tied off all my loose ends; quit my job and dropped out of college. I was ready to fly. Five hours of flight time and four hours of driving through the Guatemalan highlands and I was on the shores of Lake Atitlan in a small town called San Marcos. I spent the next 6 months being immersed in my own healing, though at that time, I thought that everything I was experiencing was so that I would be able to help other people. Prior to my arrival in San Marcos, I had mentioned to Keith that I was interested in acupuncture and alternative healing. Upon my arrival, he had linked me up with a fellow named Peter who was was a licensed acupuncturist who spent half the week in San Marcos, and half the week in Quiche, a town about 3 hrs away, where he treated patients in rural parts of Guatemala where healthcare was essentially non existent. Peter utilized acupuncture, massage and reiki to administer healthcare. For three of the six months I spent in Guatemala, I was working alongside Peter. To see the way people lived in this part of the world; how hard they worked, how little they had and their health or lack of it left a deep impression on me.

I felt humbled and almost a bit disgusted with the state of the world. How could we live so comfortably and carelessly in a consumer society where we are more concerned about our social or economic status while these people were working day in and day out to hardly make a living. I learned a lot over those three months; Cranio-Sacral techniques, ear acupuncture, cultural history, chicken buses always had the right of way etc. 

In an alternative way, I was in an intense training course. Spending half the week treating native Guatemalan people and half the week doing my own inner work on Keiths porch, I felt like I was in a masters training program. 

On Keiths porch, people from all walks of life gathered. Keith called it Hogwarts or Xaviers school for extraordinary people. I had many experiences on that porch that I cannot explain. Keith was utilizing cacao as a plant medicine partner to do inner work and healing. He single handedly reintroduced cacao to the world as a plant medicine partner for healing, creativity, manifestation, enhanced workflow, enhanced connection and natural health. On Keiths porch, there were the ‘regulars’ such as myself and the new people. At every ceremony, Keith gave his opening talk about cacao and how he became the chocolate shaman.

“Cacao was overlooked in the 1st wave of expanding consciousness in the 60’s and 70’s likely because cacao doesn’t take you on a trip. Cacao is a partner, not a teacher. She works with you, not for you. A teacher can teach you things, will show you ‘the way’ and depending on the quality of the teacher, can strip you of your own personal empowerment. A partner is there to take the journey with you, is ready to walk side by side and hold a safe and loving presence. A partner will never push you towards things you aren’t ready for. Cacao acts as a plant medicine partner, reminding us to be open hearted, to not take life too seriously, to be playful and have fun. She holds space for your own empowerment. Some people aren’t keen on cacao because it doesn’t create the stimulation that people are looking for and ought to be able to conjure inside themselves. While cacao is a mild stimulant, it has just enough stimulation to open the door for YOU to take an inward journey and will act as a great facilitator for what you are ready to connect with. Cacao is a connection and partnership facilitator. It never takes you where you aren’t ready to go.” 

This lifetime is meant to be the most fun and the most loving lifetime we’ve ever experienced. This isn’t the lifetime to sit and meditate in a cave and attain enlightenment. This is the lifetime to get out there! You didn’t come to this earth to fit in, you came here to stand out, to create a new way.”

“In our society and culture, we don’t have the monks, nuns, healers or priests to validate gifted youngsters. We don’t have these types of people showing up to our doorstep to say ‘your child is gifted, we’d like to train him/her to be the healer that he is so he can help others.” Keith validated a lot of people who thought/felt they were different, who thought they were healers of some sort and/or had something special to share with the world. One of his main teachings was about Empaths. 

“Empaths aka earth angels are people who go around soaking up energy that isn’t theirs. Energy follows the path of  the least resistance, like water flowing down a mountain. Empaths are that point of the least resistance. The trained empath can ‘read the book without eating the pages.’ There are different kinds of empaths; there are those who act as the ground for a work environment  and make things run smoother in the workplace, there are empaths who soak up the energy of a landscape or forest with dense energy that was caused by humans in the past, there are empaths in social groups who have made it their social identity to take on the garbage of others”…… “Empaths are those souls who made the choice, before they arrived to Earth, to clean up our planets pain body in a patient and loving manner. Empaths are a part of a larger plan with the mission to heal the earth and facilitate/hold space for the awakening. As more and more people wake up, there will be a toxic dump of energy coming out of people as they let go of the conditioning this planet has offered them and those people will need your help as a trained and loving empath/healer to help them get through it. There are two main archetypes heading the empath mission on earth. Arch angel Michael and Ganesh. You can connect with these energies to facilitate your journey as a healer and an empath.” 

Keith would regularly take us through a series of empath trainings that taught how to ‘read the book without eating the pages’. This was about directing energy outside of the body. “Know where you end and they begin. Pick a point either above or below the person and direct the density to that point where it can be transmuted for clean up.” 

Keith would also work with the emotional feedback system to teach people how turn triggers into treasures, pain into love, mess into message. “The human nervous system is the most advanced healing technology on the planet. Our Karma has us wired in a very specific way and if we work with the thoughts/feelings that come up as messages from our subconscious and unconscious, we can transmute the pain, fear, doubt, shame, guilt into wisdom and understanding. What if I told you that everything that happens to you is part of your own divine plan for your own greatest growth. Why wouldn’t you look at life through the eyes of ‘everything is a gift.’ When you take responsibility for everything that has happened FOR you, you are no longer the victim, although Vic and Tim will always try to be your friend, you aren’t here to make everyone happy. You can’t make everyone happy dear empath, so don’t try. 

For most of his life, Keith was a spelunker and climber. He even claims to have invented some of the climbing gear used today. He made the first prototypes and then his friends went and mass-produced it. He has plenty of crazy spelunking stories. He also volunteered to work in the hospital with HIV patients for years. He was never afraid to engage with them which was very healing for them. At one point, he was an herbalist who was more interested in healing people than making money. He seems to be detached from all things physical. He lives simply in a small house near the shores of Lake Atitlan. He met the cacao spirit in the early 2000’s and regularly received and acted upon guidance from this spirit. He would tell the story of how he made his way to his first cacao grove only accessible through a local indigenous community that wasn’t fond of Americans. Keith was persistent and they eventually let him in. The place where he sources his cacao is allegedly what is leftover from cultivation from the shamans in the olmec and mayan civilizations. In my opinion, Keith is a shepherd of consciousness. He would tell you that he got his training from beings without bodies in the late 80’s early 90’s ( Lazaris, Bashar and others ). He was quite gifted at being able to tune into someones energy and nudge them in an appropriate direction. It seems as though his highest joy is being a pioneer of consciousness; offering great insight into peoples pain and peoples expansion. I could always see the inner child in Keith. He loved to play and have fun and was passionate. He cared and was rather selfless. Again, he single handedly re-introduced cacao as a plant medicine partner to the world. I believe he’s the reason for this resurgence of ceremonial cacao. I happen to be one of many chocolate babies that he birthed. He empowered a lot of healers to go out into the world and do their dharma. He would say “you don’t need any permission slip from the outside, you coming to this porch and sitting here is your permission slip. Again, you didn’t come here to fit in, you came here to stand out, so get out there and HAVE FUN!”

After these 6 months, cacao became a companion to me. I didn’t go anywhere without it. I was hooked and I would share cacao with those who I thought would be open to it, as i quickly learned that it wasn't for everyone. After my time on the shores of Lake Atitlan, I traveled around the world for about a year and a half. I lived on the big island of Hawaii for about 5 months, then in Iceland for another 5 months, Bend Oregon for 8 months, then back to SLC. 

I hope this story inspires you and I’d love to hear your comments below!


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