Changed by Chance…Champion by Choice » Author, Elizabeth Barker

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    April 16, 1986, 9:49 AM

    This moment in my life unraveled years of careful planning. From that day on, I was forever changed. As if I were a pinball, I bounced around haphazardly for five merciless years, from one misfortune to another. I experienced the heartbreak of burying my daughter, the joy of pregnancy with my son, and the terror of discovering a cancer that could terminate my baby and possibly end my life. Despite these adversities, I not only survived, I thrived. I learned many life lessons, but the most valuable, the one I’d like to share with you, is - that you CAN come through dark hardships to find light, love, and happiness, but only if you make the choice to do so.

    My life may have been Changed by Chance, but I became my own Champion by Choice.

Face the Fear

Most of you know my background – I’m a vibrant 57 year old, thankful to be a 24 year breast cancer survivor. To stay healthy, I took up the practice of yoga about 2 years ago. I love it. Yoga is both a demanding physical workout and it exercises the mind by incorporating the concept of mindful meditation.

When I started practicing, I was enthusiastic to learn and to become better. With this goal in mind and with helpful instructors, I have steadily progressed. I notice positive changes in my physical self with improved posture, energy and strength. Just as important, I feel that my cerebral nature is enhanced too. Yoga connects the mind, body and spirit. I’ve learned that feeling good about my physical self reflects positively in my mental outlook and confidence.

Face the Fear at Sol Yoga StudioLately though, despite my progress, I was hitting a wall. I felt weak and incompetent to try some advances poses like “crow” – where you squat down, rest your knees on the back of your upper arms and float with your feet off of the ground. I also wasn’t confident enough to kick up and do a handstand. I felt handicapped by my past (reconstruction) surgery and my age. Most times, my yoga classmates are lithe 20 and 30 somethings. It’s nice that I can keep up with them throughout most of practice but not when it came to these things. I realized that the only thing holding me back from these advanced poses was fear and a lack of trying.

So, when masterful yoga instructor Kristin Frederick offered a handstand workshop this past weekend at Sol Yoga I decided to sign up and to Face my Fear. As usual, I was the only one there “of a certain age” but I was determined to learn. This was my chance amongst other handstand newbies regardless of age.

It was as hard as I thought that it would be. I clearly lacked the core strength that it took to kick both legs up, even one at a time, and to balance them straight. But I had Kristin or a partner to assist me with getting my legs up and I Did It – several times too (though I fell over once). It was exhilarating to have accomplished this.
Kristin said, in the beginning, 9 times out of 10, you don’t get up fully. Like everything else in life, it takes persistence and patience to master. (Don’t I know those lessons well from my past)? I am determined to practice crow and handstand at home now and to one day feel confident enough to do these in a crowded class without the fear of falling.

When we closed our practice with meditation, Kristin read an encouraging poem that she composed just for this class. When we ended, I shared with her that her poem inspired me to write this blog and to share my workshop experience. Her words are sage advice to live by and are applicable to multiple life situations.

“We are all afraid of something.”

“Fear is a part of life that we all experience.”

“We face our fears because if we don’t, we stop growing in life.”

“And when we stop growing, we stop living”.

This is wise advice from an experienced and wonderful person – Thanks Kristin!

Another famous quote that I love is:

“What would you attempt in your life if you knew that you could not fail?”

Lesson: Don’t let your fears hold you back

Sol Yoga Studio

Radiant Warrior

After my “Sip-N-Style” networking & fundraising event in May that benefited LBBC, I felt like I needed a short break from months of a whirlwind of activities. Check out previous blogs and FB to see all that I was involved with since the New Year. Whew, it was non-stop events!

I thought that it would be healthy, especially after our long winter, to take a breather and to literally stop and smell the roses in my backyard. (In other words, get out there in the sunshine and fresh air and do some yard work).

So after a brief respite, I attended this week’s Network Now “Meet-N-Greet”. It was an indulgence because this event was hosted by Daiva Klimiene, owner of the Radiance Spa at The Bucks Club in Jamison.
Elizabeth Barker
Daiva is passionate about her profession and caring for people. She’s familiar with homeopathic and natural remedies. I related to this because, after my traditional breast cancer treatments of mastectomy and chemotherapy, I went through 2 years of Homeopathic treatment to cleanse my body of toxins from the aforementioned. I am convinced that this adjunct follow-up therapy is a key reason for my longevity as a survivor. Daiva and staff treated us to a wonderful buffet of food & beverages and soothing chair massages. I was impressed by the combo of the elegance of Radiance and the reasonable price list for services at Radiance. I will be making an appointment. I’m a fan of massage therapy to purge built up toxins from our daily stress.

Changed by Chance Champion by ChoiceI met some interesting new businesswomen at the event. In particular, I enjoyed talking with Karen Hluchan. Karen is an author and a speaker (2 things I am aspiring to be), and a talented Spirit Medium. I have always been a believer in and fascinated by psychic phenomenon. In my book, I share several instances of “angel moments” and mystical occurrences that occurred to me. No wonder I felt an instant rapport with Karen. I hope to attend one of her upcoming events. And I’d like to host a spirit medium reading at my home for a group of friends soon. Cool, eh?

I called this blog “Radiant Warrior” for a couple of reasons. When I visited the (Radiance) spa, it reminded me of a yoga pose that I enjoy doing called Radiant Warrior. The pose has its roots in the story of a Hindu warrior who strikes it as a metaphor for striving to overcome his weaknesses. We can think of our own “spiritual warrior” nature as developing the courage, unwavering focus, and determination to deal with our life’s challenging moments. I’ve sure had some challenging life lessons… Then, meeting spiritual Karen just seemed to tie this all together for a great blog title.

Check out the websites for the spa and for Karen. I’d love to hear your positive feedback and experiences if you go to see Daiva or Karen. Please write to me here.