This weekend I attended The Abounding River, a workshop taught in a
pay-it-forward style by the creators of Cafe Gratitude: Matthew and
Terces Engelhart. I had flipped through and purchased the Logbook (which
the work shop is based off of) so I kind of had a sense of what I was
in for. I was excited that I would be exploring my self-worth, my
relationship to money, and saying positive “I Am” mantras in the Cafe
Gratitude style. What I did not expect was that I would leave with a
much stronger sense of courageousness in my heart, a beautiful new ring
(I will explain more about that later), and the option to take on a
whole new view of my life.
The workshop started
Saturday morning. I snuck in quietly though the back door as a room of
friendly people turned their heads to gaze at the sound of the creaking
hinge. I managed to find a seat and the workshop began with us all
introducing ourselves. Matthew and Terces sat up front and shared “Ok,
so to start with this morning, We’d like for you to all share your name
and one thing you are uncomfortable with sharing about your relationship
to money”. Wow, I thought, as the source of my most embarrassing money
secret instantly came careening to the front of my mind. I tried to
think of anything else to share that wasn’t so embarrassing. As I
thought, I listened. In the moments prior to my arrival, Matthew and
Terces had created an environment of trust.
Many people around me were openly sharing their versions of their own
money nightmares: some people couldn’t stop worrying about saving enough
money or paying their bills on time while others couldn’t stop spending
and were deeply indebted to friends, family, and banks. Finally it was
my turn and the atmosphere of integrity couldn’t stop the words from
coming out of my mouth: “What I’m most embarrassed by is that I am still
supported by my parents and I’m terrified of the notion that I will
have to support myself one day”. Silence met my ears and it was over. I
felt a sense of relief. My fears were on par with everyone else’s, even
if the ideas that led to them were different: Now I know I’m not the
only one with major fears around money.
major perspective that is shared in this workshop is that money is
inherently neutral: it is our own personal blocks that create our
relationship troubles with it. We worked with partners to look at money
from multiple perspectives and unveil what our subconscious ideas around
money really look like. One example of this was thinking of our
relationship to money as a friendship or romantic relationship and then
answering questions like “Do you expect me to make you happy?” and “Is
our relationship security to you?” The implications of our responses
were profound. Most of us had terrible relationships. We worked to come
to see how our perspectives could be different, Matthew and Terces were
empowering us to take responsibility for our relationships.
Around lunch time we got an invitation to do a homework assignment:
“During lunch we would like you to give something away- whether it is
money- like a higher tip than usual to your waitress- or an item. We’d
like you to give it to someone who is not in the workshop, to someone
who has no idea why they are receiving from you then come back and
report your findings to us after lunch”. I left having no idea what I
was going to give- or how. I had no cash on me but I left it open.
I went to lunch with some of the participants at Gracias Madre- Cafe
Gratitude’s sister vegan Mexican restaurant. I was sitting, happy to be
out and exited to connect with some of the other participants on a more
casual level. As I sat down at the family style dining table, there was a
beautiful woman across from me wearing a lovely rose quartz and silver
ring. I could tell it was a beloved belonging so I complimented her on
it. I was looking for a connection to her and I had no idea how deep it
was going to get. She looked at me and she said “you like this ring?”
and I replied “yes its beautiful” she then preceded to take it off her
finger and hand it to me, “its yours now”. Yes, she wasn’t following the
protocol of the assignment, she knew clearly that I was in the workshop
with her, but she said she felt particularly attached to the ring and
had been inspired to give it up, make it into an offering.
felt honored and had some trouble receiving it. I had only wanted to
connect with her and being gifted was a challenge to me. I called my
own self worth into question. I was encouraged to accept and receive the
gift. The ring is still on my finger now as I write this, its a
beautiful reminder that life goes on, with or without our most prized
possessions and that sometimes life really does deliver unexpected
On my way back to the workshop I realized I had
nearly forgotten to give my gift. I reached into my bag and found my
BART (bay area rapid transit) ticket. It had enough on there to get
someone somewhere. I wanted to give to someone who clearly wasn’t in
need- I wanted to prank someone with my gift: sometimes giving without
reason is joyous and hilarious. I ran up to a girl my age putting gas in
her tank and handed her the public transport card. “I want you to have
this” I said. Surprisingly, without any skepticism, she said “thank you”
and accepted it. I could learn a thing or two from her.
we arrived back Matthew and Terces encouraged people to share their
stories. I learned so much from hearing the people around me speak about
their experiences. There were a few hilarious stories. I heard one
participant in the workshop who had given his money to someone on the
street and said to him “spend it well”. Apparently the person didn’t
take kindly to the statement and replied “excuse me sir but do I tell
you what to do with your money?”. It was a sweet anecdote that I felt
pointed to a much larger relationship that the man had with money:
needing to feel in control of where it went. We all laughed and took in
the lessons everyone had to share.
We moved on to more exercises and talked about reconstructing our
perception of debt. One woman shared her fear around debt from
investments in music equipment. Terces shared “try to consider that you
have been blessed with the gifts of what you were asking for and now the
world is asking you to step into your gifts by creating wealth from the
instruments you have received”. This was a revolutionary way of looking
at the concept to me: Having debt comes from a place of having been
abundant enough in the first place to have received what you were asking
for AND you can choose to see it as a calling to create more abundance.
We closed out the day
with a final homework assignment: “Notice how abundant you already are
and come back tomorrow to share your findings with us”. My mind was
already calculating millions of anwsers: clean water, social services,
friendship, health… We walked around the room sharing information and
hugs and finally the day ended and I was offered a ride back to my
I would love to share with you about my second
day and beyond, but if I do this blog post might turn into a novel. This
workshop has been a blessing and has left me feeling more capable and
abundant than ever before. What is even more amazing is that this is
just one of several workshops offered throughout the year by Matthew
and Terces at a Pay it Forward rate. People who are interested in
supporting the benefits of workshops like these are encouraged to donate
a limitless amount while people who are experiencing a financial
challenge are encouraged to pay what they can: even if that doesn’t come
in the form of cash. I am so grateful for all of the gifts I have
received this weekend and I am paying my abundant feeling forward by
trying on this new view of life and passing it on to others: A view of
being provided for.
Level One Raw Dessert Series with Chef Chaya Ryvka
Visit www.thelivingvision.com to reserve your space today!
Level One Class Summaries
Class one: Elixir Crafting
Location: San Rafael, Cafe Gratitude Time: 5:00 pm Date: 04/13/2011
This 1.5 hour class will cover the basic methods of how to create raw nut mylks, shakes, healing smoothies, and Medicinal Elixirs. Students will receive a demonstration, tasting, and a personal packet containing recipes/instructions.
Class two: Bliss Balls, Crusts & Truffles
Location: San Rafael, Cafe Gratitude Time: 5:00 pm Date: 04/27/2011
This 1.5 hour class will cover the basic methods of how to create sweet Energy/Bliss Balls, crusts, and simple yet satisfying Truffles. Students will receive a demonstration, tasting, and a personal packet containing recipes/instructions. *
Class three: Raw Puddings & Ice Creams
Location: San Rafael, Cafe Gratitude Time: 5:00 pm Date: 05/11/2011
This 1.5 hour class will cover the basic methods of how to create sweet raw puddings, ice creams, and toppings. Students will receive a demonstration, tasting, and a personal packet containing recipes/instructions.
Class four: Confections, Cookies, & Parfaits
Location: Raw Manna Co-op, Berkeley, CA Time: 1:00 pm Date: 05/22/2011
This more advanced 3 hour class will cover the methods of how to create beginner level confections, cookies, and parfaits. In this class Chef Chaya Ryvka will also teach basic decoration techniques. This is a class you will not want to miss. Students will receive a demonstration, tasting, and a personal packet containing recipes/instructions.
*Optional Test: After Completing the first Four classes in the level one series, students will be qualified to take an optional certification test.
Classes are held at Cafe Gratitude in San Rafael and Raw Manna Superfoods co-op in Berkeley.
Classes will be held every other week throughout the series. Please view our calendar or see above for the current class schedule.
$30 for each 1.5 hour class $60 for each 3 hour class. If your purchase your place in each class in advance for the entire series the total cost is 120 instead of 150 and if you purchase three 1.5 hour classes in advance you will pay $72 instead of 90 (a twenty percent discount).
About the Teacher:
Chef Chaya Ryvka has worked with Master Raw Food Chef Elaina Love, the raw vegan chocolate factory Coracao Confections, and Cafe Gratitude. At Cafe Gratitude she oversaw the operations of the live food desserts as the bakery supervisor. Chaya-Ryvka is now the owner of The Living Vision. The Living Vision specializes in Raw Organic Cuisine – providing people with the opportunity to special order desserts and learn firsthand how to make the finest raw desserts available.
For more information on becoming certified a certified raw food pastry chef by The Living Vision please call 415-779-2111.
Living in the Bay Area, I am in the hub of Raw Food Restaurant Heaven. Besides the six locations of pioneer raw food eatery Cafe Gratitude, there are countless raw cafes and chefs around the bay making kitchen magic happen. One of these magical raw chefs is the father of raw foods himself: Raw Daddy. Raw Daddy also known as James Hall is a master of flavor. His food combination’s such as “mushrooms, raw-simmered in a white truffle oil smoked sea salt marinade, drizzled with a counterpoint of zesty mustard vinaigrette.” make me feel like I’ve left earth completely and wound up in a REAL raw food heaven. There is one bizarre catch to this meal though. Raw Daddy presents his food in a way that is a little bit eccentric. He crafts every luscious meal, sweet and savory, into a cone- like an ice cream cone for health-conscious adults.
Each cone is just $5 and there are 12 flavors to choose from. By creating these delicious treats that are easily crafted and sold, I think Raw Daddy might have one of the most marketable products in the raw food world- as long as he can get everyone to get hooked on their first bite. Last night I had the pleasure of sampling one of Raw Daddy’s cones: The Spicy Thai. This masterpiece of flavor was made with cabbage, mango, herbs, and cashews tossed in a creamy dressing and topped off with tamarind sauce. Need I really say more? Its hard to describe the shock that I experience when I bite into one of Raw Daddy’s cones and my taste buds go into some kind of nirvana-like trance. It must be done by everyone as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately Raw Daddy doesn’t have a permanent store front. You have to seek him out to find him if you are serious about wanting to try his food-and you should be. His regular haunts are the Santa Cruz Farmers Market and the Palo Alto Farmers Market. Click here to see his regular calendar. I feel blessed to have experienced the wonders of a Raw Daddy Cone and will be on the hunt for another one in the near future. Meet me there?
What: Lulu’s Love Pack
How Much: $22 for 6 different Flavors -Coconut Cin, , Maca Green, Aztec Crunch, Maca Love, Chocolate Maca Crunch, and Raw Love.
Review: If this is your first time trying Lulu’s chocolate and you know that you are a dark/raw chocolate lover I suggest buying the entire “Lulu’s Lovepack” . It is an amazing value for any raw chocolate let alone the magic that lays tucked inside of this seductive box. $22 for 6 bars puts each bar at just under $4, a steal for any raw chocolate bar. If you arent so interested in making a $22 investment in the Lovepack, Read below, pick out your favorite description, and give it a try.
Lulu’s chocolate is hard to describe- to say it is my favorite is not quite true, its quite impossible to have a favorite raw chocolate. Raw chocolate is like a fine wine, each bar has a character of its own. Lulus chocolate is one of many of my favorites but if I have to put it into any category I would say that Lulu Makes the Sexiest Chocolate.
Now lets get to the chocolate- The Coconut Cin Bar has a layer of crunchy/chewy raw coconut crisps that lay atop of a mystical cinnamon dark-chocolate bar. This is a nice piece of chocolate; its a little sweet, a little spicy, and the coconut adds in a bit of something different to keep your teeth busy. Putting a piece of the Maca Green Bar in your mouth is like you’ve suddenly discovered passion for the first time- in the amazonian Rain forest. Erotic and Exotic. You can taste the flavor of the fertility in the forest. The Aztec crunch Bar, if I must be old fashioned, is much more masculine-When it says crunch it means crunch, there’s a layer of gorgeous purple and brown cacao nibs. They are Rough, dark, and delicious. If the Aztec crunch bar is the Masculine warrior, the Maca Love Bar is the Goddess of them all. This chocolate bar has a golden off-white color to it- from all the Maca. Be sure to eat small nibbles of this one or you will wonder what happened the next morning when you miss your alarm because you stayed up all night making love! To be fair I ate the whole thing, doh! Yes, it was amazing- and I am talking about the chocolate. Chocolate Maca Chunk is the perfect fusion of masculine and feminine in one bar. You have the smooth silky taste of the Maca, with the rough bite of a layer of cacao nibs, yum! If you are a lover of straight dark chocolate and fine vanilla then The Raw Love Bar is for you, personally I like the exciting, exotic flavors but I’ll take Raw Love over no love any day.
Now that I’m done with this portion I have to wonder was this really a review or a dark confession? Its clear I love Lulu’s magical creations.
After that last review is anyone else reminded of the Lasse Holstrom’s film Chocolat? (If you haven’t seen it, try to rent it asap)
To me, Lulu (pictured to the right) is the real life version of the main character in the film. I swear she must be doing some kind of ancient magic to bring the passion back to our busy modern lives.
What: Luscious Body Butter
How Much: $12 for 4 oz
Review: Just when I thought Lulu’s products couldn’t get any more amazing, I bought her Luscious Body Butter as a gift for my partner. Ok… maybe for me as well! If you like the smell and taste of cacao plus its silky buttery smooth quality then you might just love this product as well. It is fun, edible, and don’t be fooled by the size of the jar- a little bit goes a long way. Even though its fun to use in the bedroom, I often rub it on my wrists and neck before I leave the house, something about the smell of the cacao- I find it strangely soothing, maybe I should lay off the cacao for a while….
I hope you enjoyed this review, please visit www.luluschocolate.com to get your hands on some of the treats I mentioned! Feel free to comment below. Blessings!