Quitting, Trying & My Passion For Chocolate!

Are you happy, or do you feel like something is missing?

Have you found what sets your soul on fire?

Do you dare to try?

I live with PTSD, chronic pain, and brain trauma. Some days feel like a constant battle to wake up, be positive, and attempt to live life fully, not fearfully. But I honestly believe we’re put on earth to find our passion, figure out what sets our soul on fire, and chase after it with our hearts wide open and a childlike wonder. 

We need to acknowledge that a fire is burning within us. While wondering what could be, we seek to understand our fears and what’s holding us back. 

When they told me I had cancer, a list of regrets flashed in front of my eyes. Not one of them was a material item. I took stock of how I was treating others, the many ways I failed myself, and everything I wanted to do but was too afraid to try.

Why was I scared? Why did I believe I wasn’t worthy of self-love? 

My favorite quote is: “Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.”
But, sometimes, we have to quit to find what lights a fire in us. 

I see life as a large basket filled with opportunities. I put things in, pull things out and try them on. Sometimes it’s a great fit, sometimes not at all. But every time, I learn something new.

Who says we have to play it safe?
We learn by trying!
We learn by living!
We grow by trying!

When we don’t try, we miss out on so many possibilities. When we find the courage to put ourselves out there, we heal, fall in love, and experience joy, excitement, and contentment. 

I’ve earned many certifications from online schools and educational establishments and never started a business, but the education was amazing! 

I’ve worked with developmentally disabled children and adults and was paid nothing, but those moments were life-changing!

Does any of this make me a quitter?
No, it means I figured out what I wanted and what I didn’t.

Life is a lesson in exploration. When we explore, we learn, but we stifle our creativity and growth when we hold ourselves back. 

In a few weeks, I am going on a new adventure!

I will be taking an 8-week chocolate tasting course with The International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting. https://www.chocolatetastinginstitute.org/

This is in addition to the chocolatier course I took many years ago with Ecole Chocolat https://www.ecolechocolat.com/. My education with Ecole Chocolat was thrilling, but I learned with brain trauma, becoming a chocolatier and having my own business was not in the cards for me. I had to recognize my different abilities and accept them, but in that course was a module on chocolate tasting and it would bring blessings I never expected. 

If I give my family a piece of chocolate, tell them to place it on their tongue, let it melt, and explain what they taste, they will say: “Chocolate!”

But to me, one tiny square of chocolate slowly melting on my tongue is a life-changing experience. I never know what flavors will grace my palate with their presence. Keeping my mind and heart open, I could feel a gush of smooth, velvety, fudgy chocolate or flavors of sweet berries, tangy citrus, honey, cinnamon, or hot peppers. 

With my eyes closed, I might taste sweet cherries or tangy mango, or the flavors could be bitter, flat, and hard to swallow. From wine flavors to earthy tones, my adrenaline is rushing at the possibilities of what this chocolate bar can bring. 

When the chocolate melts, it hits the front of my mouth behind my teeth. It might feel cool, crisp, and sweet. As it travels to the middle of my tongue, I might taste herbal flavors, it might warm the back of my tongue, and when I swallow, the flavors and feel could change altogether or stay the same.

The experience of chocolate tasting can change your life and your perspective of what chocolate is, how it’s made, where the bean originated, where the bar is made, and how many people are involved in the journey from cacao bean to chocolate bar.

I admire the farmers who work to remove the cacao beans from the trees and process them. I support the small bean-to-bar companies working tirelessly through the pandemic, trying to keep their small business afloat, all for the love of chocolate. 

I stand in solidarity with the community of chocolate-tasting educators who educate and share their passion for learning how a little cacao bean can transform into a tiny piece of heaven when in the hands of passionate business owners.

I’m intrigued by the healing properties of chocolate. The growing research on mental health, using it in meditation, reducing inflammation, improving cognition excites me because of my health issues. With brain trauma, memory issues, and carrying the Alzheimers gene, getting this evil disease is a frightening possibility for me and so many others. Chocolate could be life-saving!

This chocolate tasting course is eight weeks, and I need to pass two tests to receive certification. I’m used to having help with testing. The school administrators tried to find a suitable solution, but due to circumstances beyond our control, I had to choose to take the courses without testing and not receive certification, or take the tests and possibly fail.

Do I quit?
I believe if I take the course without tests, I am giving up on myself, and I won’t do that. Even with medical documentation, we truly do not know what we are capable of until we challenge ourselves, and I want to know what I am capable of. If I fail the tests, I retake them.

In closing, I want to challenge you to be like a child.
Children dream! They believe they can do anything. They won’t take no for an answer, and they wouldn’t listen if you told them they were incapable of doing something they wanted to do. We encourage kids to take chances, experiment, and explore. We get excited to color or paint with them, but we won’t make time to do it ourselves.

So let go of what weighs you down and be like a child!
Let’s fill our hearts with wonderment and plan what we will do next!

Are you truly happy? Or is something missing?
You can find what sets your soul on fire!
But you have to dare to try!


Amberley Charlotte

Photo Cred: Tijana Drndarski

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