The Northern Earth's Spring tilt is now bringing buds, berries, and beings ever closer to the Sun as it once again bears its pastel-hued warming. New buds appear on trees with new rings, old skins are cast off by creatures large and small, and the Divine energy of Creation is newly heralded by each crocus, blue jay, and warmer breeze. We are now guided by the elemental energy of rebirth and renewal, as our spirits are lifted into the balmy air where Hope flows freely.
Sounds nice, doesn't it? If you aren't feeling the winter blues, it's possible to easily feel re-inspired, re-freshed, re-invigorated by each little green leaf and every baby flower bud you see. But sometimes our vision of these epic beauties can be clouded by sluggish winter remnants. As a culture, our workload, stress level, and diet are often much heavier during the winter months - which is difficult because (unless you can't wait to hit the slopes or are able to hit the beaches) all you want to do is curl up under your comforter and sleep if you live in a cold region. In fact, most mammals on the planet hibernate during these months of cold! Many of us promise New Years Resolutions, only to feel guilty in the Springtime. Now that the Equinox has passed, this is the perfect time for Spring Cleaning - of our lives, homes, and especially of our bodies and minds.
This is what inspired me to add detoxifying herbs to the Spring Truffle Collection. I know I'm in need of some Spring Cleansing! While the past few months have been very exciting for Gnosis Chocolate - they have also been incredibly... just... FULL. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Chanukah, New Year, Valentine's Day, and now Spring/Easter is THE season for a chocolate company and we've launched over a dozen new products and events (Immune Boost, Sugarplum Gingerbread, relaunches of Almond Fig Spice and Mayan Heat, the Holiday Collection, Passion Collection, LuckChoc, adding Other Products like Bulk Chocolate, Goji Berry Jam, and Gnosis Body Care, the Paris Chocolate Show, the New York Chocolate Show, the Early Show, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, the Fancy Food Show in CA, the Holiday/Birthday Party, the Raw Integrity Project, the Grenada Project, the Chocolate Retreat in Belize, figuring out Sales Tax & getting Certified Vegan, Kosher, and Organic (thank you Pauline!) and now the Spring Collection... I'm sure there's more...) I've worked about 100 hours every week for the last 2.5 years. Whenever I'm not @ my desk, I'm doing something business related... which sometimes includes some really fun stuff! But with the holidays, there's really no "catch-up" time in between holidays. Which is to be expected, and like I've always believed - "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life."
Last month, 3 out of Team Gnosis' 4 members (excluding me), left with very little notice. It's totally understood! They left to work for a company I know well and LOVE, and I'm so proud of them!!! But with the busy holiday season, it literally took the wind out of me. It was really hard to see the beauty of new opportunity : the week of 800 resumes and 40+ interviews as little green leaves and baby flower buds. Kevin, Pauline, and Eva (who is still with us as we transition to our tentative new staff - thank you Eva!) are still in the heart of Gnosis and I am so deeply grateful to them for putting their heart and soul into the chocolate we made together! I am so happy that our paths met for the time it did, and that we were able to work to create so many amazing gifts for our community together. We both walk away enriched by the experience and I know we will stay in touch! I have no partners in the company... but by the grace of chocolate, a few people came out of the woodworks to help like Alison and Jeff, and my mom & dad helped as much as possible living far away... and thank goodness our wonderful chocolatier Lauren is still a part of the Team! And I think the new hires : Danny, Esra, and Jodi show a lot of potential!
And yet when you have literally hundreds of emails coming in every day, you are trying to delegate tasks but everyone is new and you are understaffed... the only way to hire more people is to make more profit but you don't want to compromise on quality or eco of ingredients or packaging or raise costs... and to make sure that the extra new people you've hired can receive raises after they are trained you need to keep focusing on making sure your customers are really happy... it's been incredibly overwhelming for me since the staff turnover started. As the person who is responsible for Gnosis Chocolate, anything that doesn't get done by the other Team Gnosis members falls into my lap. Which is GREAT! But it's just SO MUCH stuff that I'm learning from ground zero at 25 with no previous experience. I'm constantly calling on my intuition for decision making. And sometimes I have to make calls that aren't necessarily the most pleasant for everyone, like if we need to focus on figuring out things like taxes and cogs, argh! So the last few weeks, I've been having a hard time feeling that Spring is coming. Not that I haven't been deeply grateful for the experience and the people that have worked with me to make it hapen. But I've felt that something drastic needed to change. We just do so much beautiful collaboration with our customers, suppliers, and each other to let it become overwhelming...
And then I sat down to launch our Spring Truffle Collection this weekend and I remembered my 3 favorite quotes.
"Nothing is constant but change"
"To see the world in a grain of sand / And a heaven in a wildflower / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand / And eternity in an hour" Auguries of Innocence by William Blake
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly"
As T. Freke and P. Gandy wrote in the book that inspired me to write the word "Gnosis" on my first chocolate bar sold to a store: "In a poetic attempt to capture this paradox, Gregory of Nyssa and Dionysius call it the 'dazzling darkness'. Just as light is darkness when it has no objects upon which to reflect, so Consciousness is unconcsious when it is witnessing no experiences. The one consciousness of 'god' is the dazzling darkness. It appears as the light of consciousness when it has something to illuminate. What it illuminates is an infinite number of psyches - sequences of experience [...]." That's in a section called "The One Represented as Many."
And I realized that without the bitter beans, there could be no chocolate. Without the bitter moments, there could not be sweetness or joy! Without the cold winter, there couldn't be the bliss of warm summer! I RE-remembered, once again, that life is ALL ABOUT the ups and downs - the Samsara "cycle of birth and rebirth."
I'm also turning to the source of much inspiration in my life - the Institute for Integrative Nutrition - as I plan to begin taking on some Health Counseling Clients again to fulfill my ultimate passion. I know from the outside, it might seem that this 'chocolate girl' has always had a sweet life. But I know from deep experience that the darkest, most bitter moments are farthest from the end... they are often the catalyst for transformation into the most brilliant moments in life. It's my passion to help those who are in the dark about how to become physically healthy and how to fulfill their potential as human beings see the light within... and it can sometimes be as easy as launching truffles for springtime.
Thanks for listening. I'm sure the next few weeks will continue to be taxing (lol pun intended as we're working on ours now!) and stressful for me ... but with these reminders brought by the Equinox, I'm breathing a fresh breath of Springful hope! Please comment and let me know if any of this was nice for you to know about this side of Gnosis, or if it was helpful for you personally at all? I'd be happy to write more if you like, and if you are interested in health counseling with me, please let me know.