All posts by cherylkarina

Getting Real About My Anxiety…Real It Is, So Is Courage

Happy New Year!

Wow, 2014 is here and I don’t know about you but I’m about to tackle some of my fears…fears no one else understands but me. Don’t tell me you don’t have fears now or a reoccurring struggle that you’re unable to get a handle on.

Perhaps, part of getting a handle on this struggle is to share it for it can heal others and so, here it goes…

Never thought I’d be sharing what I know that I know that I know has been a real issue for me in my life, all my life even though I’ve never been officially diagnosed.

I’ve struggled with anxiety in many ways from as young as I can remember. Till this day I’ve determined early factors in my life that maybe the reason why I’ve had this challenge. A dysfunctional home at times, a sheltered upbringing, a rigid religion/parenting, overly protected as a child and just plain old fear from seeds planted in my subconscious mind never forgotten some environmental some not so much.

Don’t get me wrong now, God bless my parents and all who had a hand in those early years for there’s a lot of good…amazing goodness.

And yet, today, I declare and always will that we are products of our upbringing and that our early caregivers shape our perceptions of the world around us and thus, our beliefs and these beliefs you can hang on to for years especially if accompanied by constant negative thinking and conversations. They shape you, make an imprint on your heart and mind and can be the reason why you feel you do not reach your potential.

One of my earliest memories of that uncontrollable feeling of panic, perspiration and a throbbing heart was anytime I was about to do a test of some sort. I know, we all did but I always felt mine was too intense to be normal. This is probably around Grade 4 when testing really became a daily part of the classroom rhythm.

I managed to get through the test but easily distracted, watching where everyone else was on their test and worried sick I wasn’t there yet, so, I’d skip this or that section. Sheer panic!

I excelled in every subject for the most part but French and Math were a challenge in those early primary years.

Panic became almost unbearable exam time in high school but thank goodness, I had gotten through the hour or hour and a half and by each year’s end, maintained my honour roll status.

I hadn’t learned any coping mechanisms up until this point. What motivated me was the simple reality that if I just gave up, I would maybe pass the course but not with the flying colours I was used to. I had high standards and just couldn’t be being anything less than an honour roll gal.

By now, I began a walk of faith, a very sincere one but with all my sincerity I still struggled with worry.

Here comes university, more challenges, more demands and more balance required. At this time, I was also away from my family in America and so, this time called for courage and getting to know myself.

Again, who we are socially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and so on has much to do with those early beginnings or environment. I still found myself trying to learn myself in all these areas.

Somehow, with all my anxiety I never said “no” to opportunities I knew in my heart I was gifted to do. I’ve always known I was multi-talented and I think to a fault for it has overwhelmed me…

Any time I sang in front of a crowd, was the main speaker in a church service, presented a poem I’d written…or even today, standing before others and teaching a yoga class…all anxiety seems somewhat unbearable but then it suddenly and gradually melts like butter. It’s never completely erased but definitely less once I’m confident in the subject at hand, more importantly, passionate about it!

I know it shows and others can feel that energy, we feed each other’s and it makes for a beautiful experience.

Whenever I’ve voiced my nerves, it always surprises me to hear, “Really! You! You were so relaxed, calm and confident”. I’ve hung on to that and still do.

Today, for me, my anxiety and I are a work in progress. One article I read recently that seemed to have a profound impact on me was this one:

http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm

I saw so much of myself in this description, wow! May you find solace in knowing you’re not alone.

For those who know what it’s like to struggle with anxiety, join me as we continue to take steps everyday to overcome. One thing I’ve also hung onto is the decision to do one thing I fear everyday. Have you done this lately? Let us vow to this year. I can’t wait to hear your experiences.

Until then, hang on to some of my fav words:

Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. Hermann Hesse

Here’s the site I got it from, http://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2013/10/37-freeing-quotes-for-people-with-anxiety/

Fill your soul with such thoughts and don’t forget to meditate.

Be Strong!
Rize On!

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CoCo Love

Hi Friends! I have a new obsession but first I invite you to trust me as you go out and purchase the best quality jar of coconut oil, yes! And, listen, once it’s in your hand, know that what you’re holding is a miracle worker that has the power to change your life!  I’m not joking, I can’t begin to tell you.  You wouldn’t believe the savings you’ll incur once you become acquainted with one of the Earth’s most magnificent oils that has so many uses, uses I bet you never thought of, I didn’t lol. 

Let me tell ya my experience as of late.

OK, so, I’ve always leaned towards the natural path but for some reason as 2013 approaches its end, my desire to go all the way in every way has heightened.  The more I research alternatives the more I recognize that in nature we have the most powerful gifts.  I’ve always known coconut oil as one of the many pure oils to be an alternative for cooking.  And to be honest, that’s all I’ve used it for on and off. I’ve loved knowing that I’m still gaining the triglyceride benefits even though the oil is heated to high temperatures.  It’s an oil that won’t lose its goodness due to high heat.  What I didn’t know is its benefit to my hair until I was reading an article and then another and another and realized I’ve been missing something.  You see, my hair is natural and for those who don’t understand, as you can see, I’m an Afro-Canadian woman who does not use any chemical treatments on my hair to straighten it. 

 My hair is in its virgin, thick, cottony state and it’s been this way for 15 years.  My only challenge during this time has been an incredibly itchy scalp, so itchy at times it would feel like my scalp is on fire or I wanna just rip my hair out kind of feeling! Through the years I’d style my hair by intertwining braids or the odd weave extension and always blamed the synthetic hair for causing me grief.  And so, I’d spray water on my scalp, oil my scalp with all kinds of products, natural-based but products I’d go out and purchase nonetheless and rely on to the fullest.   When that wore off, I’d begin the regime again.  Then, I stumbled on an article that suggested that oftentimes it’s the products we use that our scalp may very well have an allergy to.  My question was but wait, my products are natural, the shampoo, the conditioner, how could that be?.  I figured, maybe it’s the high heat of my blow dryer causing my hair follicles to cry out.  Then, I read, some of the ingredients that are hidden in the list that can definitely be the culprit i.e. Fragance or Parfum.  Did you know these are just masked word for a combination of chemicals you know nothing about but your scalp does for it reacts oh so uncomfortably.   I also figured that even though my shampoo did not have any unfamiliar words, strictly natural oils, perhaps the combination of so many oils was giving me any allergy too.  So, I concluded let’s try single ingredients, follow a more simpler path.  Here we go.

 I stumbled on the many uses of coconut oil and one suggestion was to use it as a conditioner before washing it.  OK, so, on the day I decided to wash my hair, I did just that.  I bought myself some non-hydrogenated coconut oil.  It liquefied at room temperature which was great otherwise it will just melt in your hands.  I scooped some out in a small contained then into my hand and then onto my incredibly itchy scalp, then roots to the ends.   By the way, I added a few drops of rosemary essential oil because I love the scent and its antibacterial benefits. It’s suggested to let coconut oil absorb for at least an hour but to gain even better results, overnight.  And, that’s what I did.   In keeping with the concept of single ingredients, I had already begun using baking soda powder as my deodorant (that’s another story and miracle worker and money saver!) so I thought, mmm, what about as a shampoo (another future blog).  Yes, baking soda is great as a shampoo topped off with diluted apple cider vinegar as your final conditioning rinse.  No worries, the vinegar is rinsed thoroughly and your hair is odourless and pristine clean!!  This is the path I took.  By the way, during the 12 hours or so my hair was soaking in the oil there was such a calming feeling on my scalp.  It’s as though my hair follicles were say, Haaaaaaaaaa, what a difference! In the shower I conducted a good rinse out of the oil then onto the next steps and by the end, my damp hair looked so shiny!  I re-applied coconut oil to my scalp and hair since it actually absorbs even better when it’s damp.  I patted my hair with a t-shirt (gentler on your hair) I set my blow dryer on a low setting and gently semi-dried my hair and then began to style it in soft, raised china bumps.  I thought it looked beautiful, clean and beautiful.  A few days later, after much exposure to the pre-winter air, itchiness returned and I was like, huh! My hopes and dreams of this miracle worker almost dampened.  A glimmer of hope existed and so, I filled a squirter bottle with h2O, some drops of rosemary essential oil and went to work on my scalp only and then rubbed in some coconut oil and what happened?

 Haaaaaaaa all over again.

 You’ll get the same results, believe me!

 You see, it’s the lauric acid *  present in coconut oil that does the work and once it penetrates, feel the difference.

Friends, I’m so proud to say, I’ve found THE solution to my itchy scalp! An aha moment indeed and I can’t wait to hear your personal stories once you’ve given the above a try.

Move over beauty and cleaning products, coconut oil is in the house and has been for centuries!! Wake up and be changed!!

 Feel free to ask any questions, I’m always happy to share. 

 Thanks for listening!

 Here’s a great read about the MANY, MANY uses of coconut oil: 

 *  Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties.  Coconut oild possesses the most lauric acid more than any other oil on earth!!

**  Be mindful of amounts, why, check here: 

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1138-LAURIC%20ACID.aspx?activeIngredientId=1138&activeIngredientName=LAURIC%20ACID

*** Indian Women and their hair Secrets!  Coconut Oil is of course one of them

http://www.boldsky.com/beauty/hair-care/2013/indian-oils-for-hair-growth-colour-033075.html

 

 

 

Time 2 MEditate!

Yoga  is an ancient practice worth sharing with the world.  A gift for young and old to gain physical benefits but also spiritual, mental and emotional.  My goal is to share this practice with you no matter where you find yourself in life, there’s something to gain. 

RizeYogiRize is about Yoga, Yums & Youspiration, read on, let’s begin our journey together :)))

Here’s a space I hope you find solace in knowing you’re never where you need to be because you’re a work in progress and can always go higher and still higher in your growth as a human being.  We all need comfort in knowing that we’re not alone in our thoughts, feelings, experiences or insights gained from life. 
 
Today, my first post, I just have to share how much my experience with meditation has transformed me as of late. I’m a yoga instructor who has always incorporated meditation in my practice, individually and as the closing treat during  a class for my students.  The thing is, it hasn’t been a regular practice until while on a trip to Jamaica, I was reading Richard Hittleman’s classic, Guide to Yoga Meditation.  This little book has had such a profound impact on my life.  One feature discussed that really got me thinking is how we use our energy stores.  Think of the ways in your daily life you may find yourself wasting energy.  Hittleman mentions repetitive habits we practice as ways we waste energy.  He discusses hours in front of the television as a means to wasting energy because it takes energy to take in a film with violent features for instance or intense emotional dramas.  He comments that oftentimes after all those hours, we feel sluggish instead of renewed.   What about persons in our lives that we allow to sap our energy stores? Hittleman’s insight about how I use my energy stores has had an intense impact on my life and has forced me to consider everything I do or invest my time in throughout the day. And so now, I’m more conscious of using my energy for things that will build me now and in the future.  A meditation pause, is part of the day!

Hiittleman suggests just 3 minutes of meditation focus on a candle flame.  You can choose any visualization feature, I’ve been practicing the candle method and what it’s done for me has been amazing.
 
I get myself a comfortable pillow, have on seat in a cross-legged position.  It’s usually in a carpeted area in a comfortable room with dim lighting.  I light that candle and make a choice to be still, to be present and consciously empty my mind of any distracting thoughts. It’s just me and my candle flame and its beauty, this is all that comes to mind as with my imagining lighting the world with positive warmth just like the flame.  I focus my attention for 3 minutes and the next 3, I close my eyes and hold the picture in my mind.  What I see is a circle, a bright circle surrounded by a red line, it’s amazing.  When the circle fizzles out, almost non-apparent I use the power of my mind to see that perfect circle of light once again.  And, there it is!
 
Now, onto how this simple break has impacted the flow of the rest of my day.  One thing I notice, I’m more focused when I have to accomplish something! Before, I’d have many things in mind that somehow I’m thinking I’ll be able to do and just overwhelm myself.  I still get overwhelmed but now, I have a better perspective.  You accomplish more when you add what I call push to a task, it’s done more efficiently and you get more done because now, you don’t allow yourself to be distracted. All that matters is the task at hand! You’ll find you’ll perform every task with an unwavering measure of focus.  Try it and please, let me know what begins to happen for you.  I guarantee you’ll be echoing my sentiments.
 
If you want to pick up the book mentioned above, here it is at Amazon, notice, it’s earned a perfect 5 stars:
 
 http://www.amazon.com/Richard-Hittlemans-Guide-Yoga-Meditation/dp/0553251627
 
For all my yogi sisters and brothers, do add this book to your library if you haven’t already.  It will also prove to give you insight into what yoga really is about, definitely not just a physical practice.  It’s so beyond that especially when you combine the yoga poses presented in the book combined with the meditation techniques.

And remember, if you’re going through something right now, think, when you’re looking at that candle, it sways, shakes and so on but, it’s foundation never moves.  Stay grounded despite the winds that are blowing.
 
Alright, let me know your thoughts, can’t wait to hear them! Happy Meditating!