“Cera” (with one R) is a girl’s name meaing “firey one.” Cerro (with an O) is the name of a volcano in Nicaragua called Nerro Negro. But Cerra (with two Rs and an A) is the name of a company with an unusual, “personal growth” web site. The name “Cerra” is derived from Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. Cerres nurtured growing plants and oversaw the abundance of harvests, so, fittingly, Cerra’s focus is also on growth (but not plants, people).
I found the Cerra web site and products attractive and appealing, but how to accomplish personal growth with what they offer, is a bit more complicated. The web site has a variety of activities and information, but basically it’s a place to buy products, based around what Cerra calls “the seven Intentions.” These are universal human virtues, like Gratitude and Loving Kindness, and they’re interpreted into Cerra™ affirmations, inspirations, fragrances, tastes, and other things that you are supposed to do to create your own customized personal growth rituals.
You can sign up to be part of the Cerra community and interact with others, but you also can purchase lots of lovely things in the online boutique such as candles, journals, and aromatherapy items. If it’s a bit much to absorb, you might start with a Cerra Sample Kit: be be aware, act, reflect. Inside the cover of the corrugated box is a pretty brown vine, it’s tendrils reaching for the stars, with “Discover New Ways to Grow.” I love this! The sample kit has a bunch of curiousities and a booklet about how to use them. There is a tiny sample of Cerra “Grounded” Hand & Body Lotion; a sample packette of “Gratitude” keepsake notes (small, rectangular cards onto which you are supposed to write personal thoughts and feelings. This is supposedly like a portable journal, but you carry the strongly scented (with a fruited floral fragrance) with you. Each card encourages you to think about something that happened that day for which you feel grateful, and then you are supposed to write down what it was, and why it was special. This may sound corny and your first thought might be that you don’t have time for it, but the process of accumulating gratitude notes and reflecting on them might just force you to realize how lucky you are! You also get a sample pack of “Grounded” dissolving note cards. These tiny cards remind me of the ones kids loved in spy kits, but these are for adults. You use the little marker provided in this sample kit to write down something about how you are feeling right now, and then you place it in a bowl of warm tap water. Then reflect on how you feel as the entire note (actually a very thin soap petal) disappears in front of your eyes. Corney, but acknowledging an emotion and letting it go is actually a powerful experience. I’d grab a bunch of these for friends dealing with something difficult, be it a boyfriend breakup or something worse. You also get a purse-sized .25 fl. oz roller ball filled with sensory oil . The idea is to create life balance by associating your sense of smell with each one of the Cerra 7 intentions. With “practice” you should be able to associate a desired state of mind with the scent of a particular oil. I liked the one I tried, a lemony scented “Creative Energy.” I wasn’t mindful when using it, I just liked it on my pulse points for pure pleasure, not as an attitude adjuster. At the bottom of the box were three Tea Bags in Grounded, Creative Energy and Gratitude, and some strange Cerra “calling cards” that you are supposed to share with friends (but since these seemed just to be an advertisment for Cerra, and I’d never give them to anyone).
The quality of the items was good, and I think it’s a fun way to try being more aware of who you are, what you want, and to count your blessings. But I personally wouldn’t purchase this kit for myself. I just wouldn’t have the patience to follow the seven intentions in the prescribed ways suggested. Cerra’s approach to personal growth and enlightenment was probably be a bit too new-agey-y for me. But for $12.99 the sample kit makes a nicely boxed little hostess gift or pick me up for a friend that needs a little bit of inspiration, short of true therapy. It isn’t necessarily going to rock your world, but who wouldn’t want to aspire to being more aware and more satisfied?
All of Cerra’s products can be used in 3 steps: Be Aware, Act & Reflect (as on the box). The entire set of 7 is $49.99. For more information and to order, visit the cerra web site www.cerra.com