the urge to feel physical pain had been gnawing at me for quite some time. while my heart had been in the process of feeling pain and offering forgiveness, i needed to feel it on my skin. i was craving the needle. craving the color. the ink. i was craving to have the birth of a deep-rooted design which has meaning in my life etched upon my skin forever. then, while meditating one night, the cacao pods spoke. i looked up and felt a beam of light pulsing from my heart to my altar which is covered in cacao beans i collected during my trip in Ecuador. it struck me and i immediately knew i was ready for another tattoo.
my trip to Ecuador was nothing short than amazing. i experienced every emotion under the sun during those two weeks but the last three days are what changed my life. my intention for the trip was to be alone and experience the incredible power of letting go and trusting the universe will provide no matter what comes my way. near the end of my trek, i was disappointed i had not been given the chance to play among the cacao trees. i had been seeking them out and asking the chocolate gods to show me the way but nothing had happened until i arrived in Tena. this was the last city i had planned to visit before i would return to the states, although, when the bus dropped me off, i wanted to go back to Banos. i had no desire to be surrounded by more tourists and covered in the dirt and smell of pollution. i felt discouraged and let down and halfheartedly wandered around until i found a decent hostel. i checked in and went up to my room. i sat down on the bed and said to myself, “seriously, heidi. this is how you are going to end your trip. there has got to be something more out there.”
i walked downstairs to check my email in hopes of finding comfort from a message or a friend to chat with online. after almost two weeks of zero physical contact, my heart was aching with just the thought of a snuggle fest with my girlfriend. what i would give to be at home. but. still. this quiet voice in my heart kept saying that there was more for me to discover. my intuition was beating loud at the door and while i was not very present to hear the voice, my eyes were open to seeing the words and i spied a small flyer that read, “Chocolate Jungle Lodge“.
my body moved so fast that i felt like i was floating. i ran to the nearest phone and called the lodge to see if they had space for the weekend. my heart was racing and my whole body was sweating with excitement! the man on the other line said that i had 45 minutes to get to the dock and join a group of five friends from Austria and ride across the river to the lodge. i raced to my room, grabbed my gear and hopped in a taxi that was conveniently in front of the hostel. the drive to Misahualli dragged on for hours. or so it seemed to me. my mind was racing. the intention had been placed and all i had to do was let go of the outcome and then the cacao was brought to me! i was sitting in the back of the taxi with the biggest smile on my face! i had not experienced that much happiness during my trip until that moment. all of the hardship and heartache that i felt during the previous ten days was for this moment. to be on the way to play, explore and sleep in the land of the cacao!
this moment changed my life: i stepped off the boat and was brought to my room. it was pitch dark and i had no idea i was walking along cacao trees on the way to the lodge. my eyes were adjusting to the darkness and my heart was on fire. pulsing so hugely that i thought i was going to burst. then. i was alone again. i opened the door and that is when my breath was simply taken away. in front of me was the first cacao tree i ever laid eyes on and i began to cry. i cried for the happiness and sadness that i had experienced during my time in Ecuador. i cried and laughed at the craziness i went through to get to this one moment in time that will forever be a part of my world. through my eyes; only i can see what it meant to me. the expression of my heart and the tickle on my taste buds. knowing that i have eaten the most amazing chocolate that is produced from Ecuadorian cacao beans and then to be standing among them; this moment was pure bliss. it was one of my dreams brought to light!
this moment is what i have captured on my arm. the depiction that has been inked into my skin is from a picture of the first cacao tree i saw that night. the branch holding space for the perfectly placed cacao pods; one fully ripe with the fruity cacao beans and the other was in the beginning stages of life. they perfectly captured my experience of those two weeks in Ecuador. i ventured on that trip to break free from my shell and learn what it was like to explore life beyond my comfort zone and to dive into all that the world has to offer.
tattoos take on various expressions for each individual person. for me, they tell a story and have deep meaning. my cacao plant tattoo is a way for me to express my love for chocolate and creates a pathway to open up a conversation with others and share the journey i am on. i do not let my tattoos define me. instead, they are a direct replica of what is painted inside my heart and now inked into my skin for the world to see.
i am so grateful for the opportunity i had to travel through Ecuador and the experience of having one of my dreams come true. these are the moments we live for and strive to create. but, in the creating, we have to be patient and understanding of how the universe is meant to unfold for us. we may be walking the right path but in order to create the dreams and desires of your heart, you must let go and trust your intuition. for your heart speaks louder than words and they are always flowing, if you simply open up and trust in your soul.
below is a video i made during my stay on the cacao plantation. please watch it to discover more about my journey and raw cacao!