We ship worldwide from warehouses in the USA, Canada, Europe, UK and Australia!


Your Cart is Empty

Autism | Cacao and children | Cacao benefits | Ceremonial cacao

A Journey of Acceptance: Navigating Autism with Help from Keith's Cacao

Hugo's diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sent shockwaves through Liz's world, disrupting the idyllic narrative she had envisioned for motherhood. The revelation struck merely days before his fourth birthday, thrusting Liz Reilly and her husband into uncharted territory. Their struggle to conceive had already been a challenging journey. Still, nothing could have prepared them for the unique path that awaited them as parents of a child with special needs. In the face of shattered expectations and societal norms, Liz's candid recounting of her experiences unravels a poignant tale of resilience, acceptance, and the unexpected healing found in a cup of Keith's Cacao.

Here is Liz Reilly's story, in her own words.

"We struggled to conceive Hugo, and when we did, we thought we would get pregnant again, but we didn't. That's Nature's Way, I suppose. Maybe it was so we could give him more attention and time. I used to think my body was broken and carried a bit of shame about not being able to conceive. Having dealt with all that, I share pretty openly about the whole fertility journey in the hope it will help others realize there's nothing wrong with us. It's just life.

Hugo was diagnosed just when he was three, a couple of days before his fourth birthday. It was a big shock for us as parents. Trying to navigate this new territory, I explored every avenue I knew. Then, I started attending women's monthly circles in Wicklow, and they were serving Keith’s Cacao, which I had never drunk before. I had gone to Reiki sessions and stuff like that, but I had never drunk this type of Cacao. I remember it was really bitter, and I don't know if I actually liked it at first! Yet I was so taken by it. I felt overwhelmingly upset during the whole circle, but it was more like a release. It didn't feel "not nice"; it was more like knowing there was light after this.

I was grieving a lot. I was grieving over a preconceived idea of what motherhood would be. I thought motherhood was attending football matches on Saturdays, and I got occupational therapy sessions instead. We had envisioned sleepovers and people running around, but parties for a long time didn't happen. We didn't invite people over because Hugo didn't want noise in the house. He has since significantly adapted, and more importantly, I have adapted considerably, too. That's how Keith’s Cacao worked for me.

Keith’s Cacao softens your heart; it allows you to witness. Whatever pain is in your heart, it brings it to light so you can deal with it. So you don't keep burying it and putting it somewhere where it will eventually manifest into illness. Cacao brought me to the space of being able to grieve the conceptualized idea of what I thought I was going to have. Now I can really honor what I do have, which is just as amazing and as sacred. But I just needed to look at it through a different lens. Now that I do see through this lens, I'm very appreciative of this new life. It's only an idea, I told myself, and anyway, it wasn't even real. When I truly accepted that it's all about right now, that's when I really started enjoying this life. Keith’s Cacao helped anchor me into the present moment with my son.

Hugo has yet to warm up to Cacao. He is a fussy eater, so I am not pushing it. But it has done wonders for me. The very act of preparing it is magical. Hugo may be in the living room on his iPad or jumping on the trampoline, and that's when I have my time out in the kitchen. Just on my own, listening to lovely music, lighting a candle. Then, when I come back to our shared space, I'll sit on the sofa and pick up a book. I have loads of books, so I'll just take one of them and sit down, and it's my little way to decompress from the day.

I have a very busy work schedule and drive long distances for Hugo's occupational, speech, and language therapies. All while trying to be a golden mother, a good wife, a good friend, and everything else! So, I have become so appreciative of personal time. I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have my little time in the kitchen making Cacao and reading books!

My children's book, which I wrote for Hugo, is called A Time For Us. It's an illustrated children's book, all about the chakras. There's an introductory letter to the parents or caregiver and one for the child. There's this little spiritual guide, or whatever you want to call it, an animal that weaves you through the book and its mindful techniques and affirmations. I do a lot of affirmations with Hugo, like "I am strong" and "I am beautiful". He may not always be actively engaged, but that's okay. When you first get the diagnosis, you sometimes think that you're going to make Quantum jumps with these children, but they'll do nothing until they're ready to do it, and it's all at their pace. And that's a beautiful learning for parents. It teaches great patience.

Hugo watches me do yoga, and then suddenly, he'll get up and do yoga with me when I least expect it. Children don't miss a thing, especially children on the Spectrum are very observant. They don't miss a beat; they hear everything and watch everything. Society is being conditioned to think that autism is somebody sitting in a chair rocking, staring vacantly, but that's not the whole story. These people can be artists; they can write symphonies. They have their own gifts, and it's all about trying to tap into what each child's gift is. Hugo can't read or write, but if I read a story to him a few times, he can recite it by memory.

Cacao can be a great partner and assistant, especially to parents who understand what many higher beings are saying, that autism is a choice to help stretch the boundaries that most adults have about what is and is not normal. When Cacao is not seen as a drug to fix the kids who have made this choice, that’s when it can help the most.

Keith Wilson: Cacao as Medicine

So the book was really for Hugo. When I leave this world and transition over, there's going to be this little part of me left behind for Hugo. I'm also producing an Oracle deck next year. I see these as little parts of me that will be left in this realm, tangible tools his mother would have created with him in mind.

Many children, like Hugo, are very inquisitive, strong children, and the book is all about trying to get their nervous system to relax and to create space for both child and caretaker to meet. Many times, trying to get them to play feels like work to them. Whereas, to Hugo, at least, picking up a book and reading doesn't feel like he is being worked. And it's a lovely way for kids to start expressing themselves and communicating with whatever vocabulary they have and strengthen that.

The book is, of course, for all children, but it may benefit children with additional needs more. They are the ones that need it the most. It provides a space for these children to regulate their nervous system in a way that isn't always in a therapeutic setting or in an office with a play therapist. It's a great way for Mom and Dad, Granny, and Grandad to just sit and have that connection. And the thing is, children don't have to be sitting down to read. They're not deaf; let them run around and hear you speak it into the ether. The pennies are dropping in there, always.

Keith’s Cacao broadened my perspective of energetic work and healing and made me realize everything is interconnected. I always had this concept of connection, but there was this specific moment when I really realized that essential oils and plants and everything on a planet are for us. It's like I said about what happened to me in the first Cacao ceremony: I remember, after allowing the grief, standing up and dancing and feeling free. Before, something was holding me back. It has definitely massively influenced my creative side. Cacao has created space. That's it, space. It continues to help me now I'm doing my Oracle deck. I always go to my Cacao for some lovely downloads or to receive something. It brings me into a space of clarity, concentration, and a little anchoring and gives me a sense of "I can do this." It's like it walks with me. It doesn't drag me. It walks with me through pain. It doesn't heal and get rid of it all; it navigates it with me. So I'm not alone. It's a compelling thing. But it'll only go as deep as you're willing to go with it, which is beautiful.

The message I have for parents with children on the Spectrum is that it's okay to grieve. You had a conceptualized idea of what tomorrow would be, and you are letting that go. It doesn't make you a bad person. You're not grieving the child; you grieve the idea of what might have been. They're very separate things. Acknowledge that and let it go. That's when the real magic happens.

Keith’s Cacao can help you navigate through grief. And you don't have to do it just in ceremony. Making a cup for yourself while listening to a nice playlist is a ceremony in itself. It's still such a gift. It gives you space and time, the most precious thing ever because parents of children on the Spectrum have such a busy schedule. Cacao demands that I stop so I can make it. I have to stop to prepare and drink it. I have to stop to reorder, giving me time just to sit.

It's so lovely to have it in the morning. What a great way to start off your day. Going into the kitchen, prepping it, listening to beautiful music, and singing along while it's being made. Who doesn't want to start out the day like that? Set your alarm clock 20 minutes earlier and enjoy that little time that sets you up for a really productive and beautiful day. It's well worth it.

You can order Liz's book through her website.

New to Ceremonial Cacao? Head to our Quick Start Guide to learn more about this versatile, magical superfood and instructions on preparing a perfect cup.

SUBSCRIBE to our weekly newsletter for updates on recipes, events, community, and more. Sign up today and enter our Monthly Cacao GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a free 16oz brick of Keith's Cacao: https://www.keithscacao.com/blogs/tes...

The discount code has been applied and will apply to your cart in checkout