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On July 31, I was given the honor of choosing the meditations on Insight Timer (a free meditation app) for the upcoming week. I’ve excerpted part of my recording where I tell my story and I’m excited to share it here.

My speech will be broadcast to the people who signed up for the 365-Day Playlist (55,000 subscribers). It will also be available to those who aren’t signed up. It is a very large audience for me!

I am honest when I say that I felt a little inadequate to speak on the topic of meditation to cope with grief and loss. I did not meditate when I was in deep grief. I do believe deeply in music and healing, which saved me many years later. So to round out my speech, I sought out input from my friends at Insight Timer. I have made connections all over the world that I treasure. My friends were very helpful.

I learned that many people listen to meditation music while driving, walking and/or going to sleep. I do those things. My music gives me joy: it soothes and heals me of all my sorrow. So perhaps I do meditate after all!

I wrote a story recently about meeting the CEO of Insight Timer, Christopher, and his assistant Maddy. It was truly a thrill for me. #547 My Fairy Tale Life.

I’ve created a page that is linked to Insight Timer. I want people who come to my blog to be able to easily navigate stories related to the meditation music that is available on Insight Timer.

My Insight Timer page link is under the header, just above the post title.

Right next to that page is another one I’ve named “Recent Music.” On that page, I have links to hear my most recent music recordings. They are being compiled for my next CD and until then, I’m happy to freely share them.

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“It’s helping them to replace behaviors,” Oklahoma City elementary school opens meditation room

“It’s helping them to replace behaviors,” Oklahoma City elementary school opens meditation room

OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s a basic reality for many teachers and students. Traditionally, when a student is disruptive in class, they’re sent to the principal’s office and some form of discipline will follow.

Well, this year, at Edgemere Elementary, the teachers and students will be trying out an alternative to the old forms of discipline.

Peace. It’s not something you find often at an elementary school – but Joanna Eldridge said, at times, it’s exactly what her students need.

“Meditation class was a response to a need to address mental illness in young children,” she said.

Eldridge is a special education teacher at Edgemere Elementary. She said, sometimes, students act out or struggle in school because they don’t know how to handle the cards they are dealt.

“I realize that we, as the teachers, don’t do enough to address those needs and they’re basic needs,” she said. “If we cannot address those, how can we help students learn?”

So, Eldridge started teaching meditation class during the 2016-2017 school year. In the class, they worked on deescalating with their senses.

“I use music therapy, I use color therapy and, also, I will using aromatherapy in this room,” she said.

They also use movement.

“We do yoga,” she said. “We talk about coping skills, strategies we can use as a response in specific situations to basically help them avoid certain behaviors and just replace them.”

Over the year, Eldridge started to see improvement.

“Students being able to address their emotions, begin able to name them, being able to respond in a specific moment with a correct response,” she said.

Edgemere’s principal recognized the success, too.

Before Eldridge knew it – a grant was written for the project through ‘Partners in Action,’ an initiative that connects Oklahoma City schools with community partners interested in making an impact.

“It’s so hard to have any resources nowadays, so I never expected that would happen,” she said. “That was a total surprise.”

Now, with the room – a different approach available to any child who needs it.

“It’s not punishing students; it’s helping them to replace behaviors they don’t want to have as a response to certain situations,” Eldridge said.

Edgmere is OKCPS’ pilot community school.

Ten local businesses helped make itpossible:

  • Mercy Communities – PD&C
  • Manhattan Construction
  • REES Architecture & Design
  • Axiom Core Energy Services
  • Oklahoma Electrical Supply Company
  • Key Lighting
  • Green Country Interiors
  • Custom Flooring
  • FER Waste Services
  • Fabrics Unlimited
How To Accept Everything & Stop Struggling In Meditation

How To Accept Everything & Stop Struggling In Meditation


Do you struggle against life or do you accept it as it is? I know, that’s a big question. You can’t really answer it with a simple yes or no.

But it’s an important question to be clear about when you meditate. And when it comes to your own sense of fulfillment in life, it’s essential.

I struggle with it a lot. And to be honest, I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone. And meditation is the primary way that I engage with this question.

The Way of Struggle

3192919171_4969ed7386_zFor me, meditation is like the leathery old Master and I am the perennial novice. Whenever I engage with the Master, he has an effortless way of exposing my struggle in the light of his zen.

But what does it really mean to accept or struggle against life? And what does it have to do with meditation?

Well, let’s start this way.

I love meditation. It’s never the same. It’s always fresh and, to the degree that I make sincere effort, it’s always rewarding. And, after nearly 20 years of practice, I have noticed that there are real consequences when I don’t meditate regularly.

What are those consequences?

One of the biggest consequences is this. I have a much harder time accepting life as it comes. I struggle against events, time, and circumstances that are mostly out of my control. When I’m with friends, on the street, commuting, at work, with my partner, things get under my skin more easily. I quickly combust or start running.

Can you relate?

And I have noticed that over time, the events and circumstances of my life are like a tide that slowly but surely pulls me away from myself. The circumstances of life just pile up and start to weigh heavy on my mind and soul.

One simple way to summarize that experience is that my life becomes more about struggle than acceptance. That struggle is like a default position.

The Way of Acceptance

Meditation has the opposite effect. It keeps me buoyant, and I don’t struggle (or more accurately, I struggle a lot less).

Meditation is like taking a metaphysical shower. Because I am letting everything be as it is, the events of the world don’t weigh on me in the same way. Its not that I’m not impacted. Of course I am.

4333316900_fcc747800e_zIt’s more that I’m rooted somewhere else. Somewhere deeper than circumstances and events. Meditation helps me nourish that root system so it can grow into the deeper ground of my being.

When I don’t meditate regularly, the undertow of life pulls me down and starts to crowd my mind and being. I become divided against myself, the world, and reality.

Now, I think there’s nothing wrong with getting a little lost every once in a while. Because, when you come back, your perspective is stronger and refreshed.

Acceptance versus Struggle

But meditation is interesting. Because real meditation is about letting everything be just as it is. It means not fighting the events in life or your various responses to them. And somehow, through meditation, those events are transformed.

How? Because you sit in a posture of acceptance versus struggle, embrace instead of resistance.

This distinction can get subtle. Because sometimes you really don’t know that you are struggling against life.

But then, all of a sudden, you’ll be meditating and you’ll just fall through the floor boards into a wide open space. And then you realize that you were holding on with white knuckles just moments before. It’s humbling and inspiring at the same time.

It’s amazing to realize just how much you resist life. And conversely, it’s equally empowering to see how much you can accept. When you sit sit perfectly still and just accept it all unconditionally, without judgement, it’s like another part of you is released. Suddenly wisdom and insight emerge spontaneously.

Giving Up The Struggle Never Gets Old

And let’s be clear. You aren’t making effort to get that insight or wisdom. It’s a spontaneous result of letting go and total acceptance. You just see more deeply. Your view was eclipsed before because you were holding on and struggling, and now it’s open wide without any obstructions.

That’s a great feeling and that’s what it means to accept everything as it is. And part of that, is accepting the fact that you will always discover, at deeper and deeper levels, that you are resisting and that you are holding on.

I think that’s why meditation is always so fresh. Your habit of holding on started at birth. So now, as you let go and stop resisting life as it unfolds, it’s exhilarating instead of terrifying. And even more that that, you start to see and know a different reality that’s always present. One which we’re mostly blind to, because we are always struggling.

That struggle is like a shield. It cuts us off from the very essence of life.

You know that nagging feeling you have? The one that whispers to you last at night or in your quiet moments? It says something like this: there must be more to life than this!

Well, there is. I heard that voice as well. I followed it and it led me here. Now it’s waiting for you to discover it too, as soon as you stop struggling.

The post How To Accept Everything & Stop Struggling In Meditation appeared first on About Meditation.

A Valentine’s Survival Guide for Singles.

A Valentine’s Survival Guide for Singles.

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All the fuss around Valentine’s Day saddens me.

And I hasten to clarify, it is not the holiday itself or being single on V-Day that upsets me. I seriously couldn’t care less about it.

But I feel really sad that so many single people feel lonely on Valentine’s Day—or feel bad about themselves because they aren’t coupled up.

I used to feel that way. And I’m not sure when I moved past that, but in more recent years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to notice that the whole hoopla of flowers, cards, and chocolates that explodes around us has no effect on me whatsoever.

Let me tell you, it’s great to be immune to the subtle shaming of our societal conditioning that we should be in a romantic relationship. But that’s not to say we can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether we’re single or coupled up.

These days, if I remember on the day that it is the “Feast Day of Love,” I do celebrate. Because love is for all of us, and the greatest love of all is the love we have for ourselves.

And even if we deeply desire to be in a romantic relationship, it’s a wonderful thing to be our own valentine. (The Law of Attraction would even recommend it, to help draw in another to be your future valentine.)

So, this Valentine’s Day, I suggest you do unto yourself what you would have a lover do unto you.

If you were in a relationship, how would you want to mark Valentine’s Day?

With a lovely candlelit meal? Then do that for yourself, or with other single friends. If the idea of hitting a restaurant filled with lovey-dovey couples is all too much for you, then do it at home. And order in, instead of cooking.

With flowers or chocolates? Of course you can buy your own, but do so in a ceremonial way. Consciously acknowledge that you’re doing this as a gesture of love and appreciation for yourself (as opposed to numbing yourself from feelings of loneliness, which is an entirely different experience). And remind yourself of this as you arrange the flowers and enjoy the chocolate.

With a weekend getaway? Treat yourself to a day trip or weekend away. Go it alone, and you never know what future love you might bump into. Or invite a friend to join you, and focus on connecting with each other and having a really good laugh.

Remember, though, that we don’t have to mark the day through treats. We can also do it by celebrating our feelings—even if they are uncomfortable ones.

If you’re feeling lonely in general, don’t try to suppress that. Sit with the feeling, and explore the thought patterns behind them—the judgments and the expectations.

Allow tears to come. They are a purging of our emotions. When we feel things fully, our bodies can release them. Hence, the sometimes surprising experience of feeling better after having had a good cry.

And once you let those out those feelings of being deprived because of the romantic relationship you don’t have, then consider making a list of all the other loving relationships you do have. Spend some time soaking in appreciation for the good people already in your life.

Most of all, remind yourself that you are okay, exactly as you are.

Single may not be our preferred state, but it’s not a death sentence.

And don’t be fooled by all the exchanges of flowers and chocolates going on around you—a lot of that is nothing more than conditioned expressions of what society expects from people in relationships.

Love yourself—today and everyday—as best you can, and hold out for a loving partner who will truly love you back. Remember, true love isn’t marked through flowers on Valentine’s Day. It is marked by the little things, day in and day out.

Because here is the other thing about Valentine’s Day that saddens me: it is a salve to ease the pain of a less-than-fulfilling relationship. A sticky plaster to try and hide festering wounds that aren’t being properly tended to.

In truth, singletons aren’t the only ones to potentially feel lonely on Valentine’s Day. But at least we are a few steps ahead of those for whom the holiday is surfacing the knowledge that the relationship they’re in isn’t right for them. Knowing we need to have difficult and honest conversations and hurt another in order to be true to ourselves….that’s a hard place to be on Valentine’s Day.

And even worse is to find ourselves accepting the flowers and chocolates as a consolation prize for a poor quality relationship that we don’t yet feel ready or able to leave, for whatever reason.

Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be something to dread. We are in a great place to celebrate our own selves and turn the holiday into something we can enjoy on our own. And I think we should embrace that.

Wishing you a self-blessed holiday.

This Valentine’s Day, Love like a Buddhist.

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Hilda Carroll is a certified meditation teacher who is passionate about making the benefits of the practice accessible to all. With that in mind, she has created a 28 day beginer’s ecourse which is specifically designed for busy people with not much spare time.

An eternal student, Hilda is currently focussing on interior design from the perspective of creating sacred spaces. If you want to turn your home into an everyday sanctuary, why not join her free 30 day decluttering challenge.