How to Taste Chocolate Online


Community Chocolate 01Mmmm,
chocolate! Rich yet sweet, deep and fulfilling, truly something to savor.

Chocolate is one of my deepest loves and being part of a community center with the name chocolate in it gives me good reason to look online extensively for unique brands of chocolate, luscious chocolate images and the latest and most delicious chocolate treat.

If only I could taste it all online!

Of course, I cant.

Online images just don’t give me the same kind of pleasure as when I actually get to taste its sweetness, breath in its aroma and the enjoy the happy effect oxytocin has on my nervous system.

I think it’s the same with people and relationships. 

There is a rich and satisfying quality to being with another person face to face that we just don’t get through the internet or on our devices, and this quality is more than just a tasty treat.

Its something that nourishes our soul. 

We need each other in a visceral way, our in person interaction feeds us on every level, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically – as there’s nothing like a hug from a friend to help lift our spirits.

Just like chocolate, there is a physiological response to being together in person and for women, research has shown that we crave that interaction more often than men.  When we miss this in our lives we may experience loneliness, anxiety, depression, low self worth and even shame. Luckily, when we do have more in person interaction in our lives we feel more connected, optimistic, enjoy higher self worth, feel more in control of our lives and are happier overall.

Whether it is catching up on our lives, celebrating each others victories and gifts, cooking and enjoying a meal together, or just listening to one another, we crave the opportunity to gather, to share, and to grow together as part of a very real, very vibrant community.

Enjoying time together is a lot like enjoying a rich bite of chocolate, they are both oh so sweet!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the sweetness of chocolate and time with friends?

I am looking forward to seeing you all in person again very soon (mid to late July) on Tuesday mornings for favorite gatherings like TED Talk & Chocolate, Creativity, Connection & Chocolate, Craving Quiet and more, to share our stories, reconnect and expand our world together.

Community Chocolate 17

 

 

 

 

Warmly,

Elissa

Community Chocolate…connection is sweet!

Boy, was I wrong!

Dear Friend,

These past 6 months have been rich and delicious and I’ve learned so much from this community!

When I began this journey called Community Chocolate six months ago my original desire was to create a space for women to connect, explore new ideas, enjoy conversation around meaningful topics and expand our world.

As our Tuesday gatherings unfolded, I found myself challenged at times thinking I needed to constantly provide new and dynamic content for women to want to gather. I sometimes struggled with finding compelling ideas and topics concerned that if I didn’t, the gatherings would not be as meaningful.

Boy was I wrong!

The truth is, YOU are the magic!  

The connections you have made with each other, your openness and willingness to share your ideas and feelings, your interest in growing and learning, and the humor and laughter and lightness you bring to each others lives…that’s what Community Chocolate is all about.

That’s what’s meaningful, and it’s what I originally envisioned for this community when we first started.

I’ve learned so much with you along the way, thank you for seeing the importance of this community and for supporting the vision.

Let’s keep going and keep sharing with other women the special experience of the gatherings at Community Chocolate.

June, especially in Phoenix, is a often a time to get away from the heat with family and friends, so we will pick up where we left off in mid to late July with favorite gatherings like TED talks & Chocolate, Creativity, Connection & Chocolate and Craving Quiet.

As always, I’d love to hear from you.  What have you enjoyed most at Community Chocolate? What topics or experiences have been most meaningful for you?

In the meantime I’ll keep sharing with you via newsletters and connecting with you through your emails and comments ( Oh, and by the way, we finally have a Facebook page so please join the conversation and “like” us there!)

I look forward to seeing you in person very soon!

Have a sweet June!

Community Chocolate 17

 

 

 

 

Warmly,

Elissa

PS…To keep in line with summer fun we will be sure to have a frozen chocolate treat or two at our gatherings! Here’s one of my favorite local summer chocolate treats…Paletas Betty Mexican Hot Chocolate Pop.   Enjoy!

How to Master Mindfulness in 3rd Grade

IMG_5055My daughter had a teacher in 3rd grade that taught her how to write like a poet.

A poet herself, this teacher inspired my daughter to listen inwardly and write from her heart. She taught her how to notice the small things, the interesting things that caught her eye and to keep them in a writers notebook for future reference.

She taught her how to pay attention to the relationships in nature between birds and insects and trees, between people and their pets, parents and their children and the rain drops on the windowsill.

Over the year this writer’s notebook was filled with the thoughts, feelings and observations of a third grader that seemed well beyond her years. My daughter’s passages were deep and insightful and I think it had a lot to do with of the encouragement she received to listen within, to pause with wonder, and noticed the beauty that surrounded her.

She was learning how to be in the present moment.

I’m embarrassed to say that it took some time for me to realize that I too could stop, tap into the present moment and allow creativity to come through just as my daughter’s teacher had encouraged. I would often find myself irritated, angry and at times jealous of my daughters ability to just be still and write creatively and with such inspiration and I am certain a good part of this had to do with my inability to allow myself the time for reflection, stillness, space and contemplation.

I recently read an article by Pico Iyer titled The Joy of Quiet  (his book The Art of Stillness was recommend to me by a dear friend some time ago yet admittedly, I have not been still long enough to begin reading it!)

Iyer makes a powerful argument for our need to experience stillness, and not just in the physical sense like sleep or rest, but a deep need for our mind and spirit to feel replenished and reconnected.

Reflecting on his visit to a near by Benedictine hermitage, Iyer shares,  “I don’t attend services when I’m there, and I’ve never meditated, there or anywhere; I just take walks and read and lose myself in the stillness, recalling that it’s only by stepping briefly away from my wife and bosses and friends that I’ll have anything useful to bring to them.”

When my daughter writes, she tells me it brings her joy in the way that she rarely finds in other endeavors. Perhaps what she’s saying is that she’s tapping into that space of stillness which is central to joy and happiness.

She inspires me to create an opportunity for stillness and quiet in my own life which allows me to feel my creative self again, and by doing so I have more of myself to give to others.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I created Community Chocolate,  it’s a place for women to reconnect to themselves and others.

And it’s why if feel “Craving Quite” – this weeks Tuesday gathering- is so relevant and so needed as a place to pause in our week, it’s a place to slow down, get quiet, be still, tap in, and fill up!

 This week at “Craving Quiet” we  created our personal “Oasis of Inspiration” by reflecting on a few of these questions. Here they are for you to consider.

My Oasis of Inspiration

My who, what, where, when, why, and how list of  inspiration …so when I am in need of a little inspiration, I know where to find it!  Answer any or all of the following questions to create your unique resource for creativity, imagination, originality, artistry, genius, vision and flair!

  1. Who inspires you? Why?    Who do you inspire?
  2. Who are you with when you are most inspired?
  3. What inspires you?  What are you doing when you are most inspired? What are you involved in? What are you experiencing?
  4. Where are you the most inspired? Where have you been (or traveled) that left you feeling inspired?  In what environment, place or circumstance do you feel most inspired?
  5. When are you at your most inspired state?
  6. Why is it important for you to feel inspired? 

Need a little inspiration to create your “Oasis”?  You can find a list of ways to become inspired here!

Wishing Mothers everywhere a sweet Mother’s Day!

Warmly,

Elissa

 

She’s smart, compelling, beautiful, and truly captivating.

conscious parent image

Smart, compelling, beautiful, and truly captivating.   

That’s what I thought of Shefali Tsabary when I heard her speak at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco last year.

And while her books are about conscious parenting I think her message about being mindful in relationship is relevant for almost everyone.

She speaks about how our children allow us to see deeply into ourselves if we pay attention. I love this quote she shares…

‘In all kinds of ways – if we are willing – our children take us into places in our hearts we didn’t know existed.”

Yet her message is  not reserved for those with young children alone.  It’s  about consciousness and being aware in all our relationships – in our friendships, our work relationships, with our partners, family members and even with our own parents. These relationships can all be reflections for us.

Her inquiry is beautifully honest and sensitive and I love how she asked us, her audience, to consciously examine our responses and reactions in our relationships – but she doesn’t sugarcoat it.

She’s potent, and direct in an uncomfortable way, yet reassuring at the same time. 

The talk she gave was titled “Pain as a Portal to Consciousness”. I know, the title itself is enough to make one cringe, and I did…there were times as she spoke that I felt she was being deeply controversial – even offensive!

Yet if I am truly honest with myself, those angry feelings were just my own discomfort and fear of being asked to let go of my resistance, my egoic opinions and to have more flexibility and acceptance in my relationships.

Her talk is not only worth thinking about…its worth talking about!  

Do you keep telling yourself you’d like to make it to a Community Chocolate gathering but find reasons not to? Don’t miss out on the meaningful conversation and community this week!

Come hang out with us on Tuesday at Community Chocolate and fill up…you’ll be glad you did.

Warmly,

Elissa

Community Chocolate…connection is sweet.

It’s more than skin deep…

Beauty of different 2Dear Friends,

This week at our “Together on Tuesday” gathering we  talked about how “different is beautiful”.   We took some time  to consider the nine fresh ways Karen Waldron explores beauty in her book The Beauty of Different and how it applies to our own concept of beauty. (I share more about this idea here…)

Karen shares…

“Beauty is something we experience and feel on a soul level. It’s more than being pretty or aesthetically attractive – it’s an intangible attribute that stirs something deep inside of us.

Each of us – because of all of our differences – possess the power to touch another soul.

Look closely. We are all beautiful.”

I love this quote I think it challenges us to revel in our own uniqueness, and I’m touched by the quotes Karen has in her book from people who share why they are different.   Their views inspired us to ask to ask deeper questions about our own thoughts on beauty.

“I’m different because I am a professional tuba player and I play children’s music”  -  Will

“I’m different because the fact that I was adopted always made me feel that I was chosen. For this reason, I also feel I’ve been chosen to make a difference” – Allison

“I’m different because I have a unique sense of style, and I’m not afraid of wearing Smurf blue shoes in public” -  Matt

“There’s no one who I wish I was more like. I used to live my life wishing I was like other people, but then I realized that was just me comparing their “outsides” to my “insides” you know? “  – Helen

“ I’m different because I finally figured out I’m really good at excepting  and embracing change” – Michelle

“I’m different because I have weird superstitions. Like, giving knives as gifts is bad luck unless you give the giver a dime so it doesn’t “cut the friendship”. Or if you’re holding hands with someone and have to go around an obstacle, you have to say ‘bread and butter’. “ – Abby

Here are some of the questions we considered on Tuesday, perhaps they will help you find your “different”.

What “different” do you hide? How often do you hide it?

What do you do to ensure nobody sees your hidden “different”?

If you claimed your “different” and celebrated it, embodied it, what would change in your life?

What kind of people would you hang around?  Who would come into your life and who would drop out?

 

I hope to see you at a Community Chocolate class or event soon,  you never know what you may learn or who you may strike up a conversation with.


Warmly,
Elissa

Community Chocolate…connection is sweet.