Carol Hendershot

Acknowledging Our Suffering

“If you can sit quietly after difficult news; if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm; if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy; if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate; if you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill… if you can always find contentment just where you are… you are probably a dog.”  We all laugh because we know it’s true.  We get angry, jealous, sad, and anxious.  We don’t choose it. If someone gave us a menu of …

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Meeting Difficult Emotions with Compassion

Life is just hard sometimes. We get sad, angry, frustrated, lonely, and afraid—and the events of the last year may be providing us with a real test.  I have a long history of running away from pain.  When I was in college, there were times when my anxiety hit the roof and I would do just about anything to get away from it. As a young mother, I struggled with depression, and there were times when I would eat a whole pizza so I wouldn’t have to feel it. As a business person, I can remember being super overwhelmed and …

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Beginning Again in 2021

2020 has been filled with one heartbreak after another, each one seeming worse than the last. Many of us have felt at times like everything we’d thought we could count on was lost, and that the weight of the failures, setbacks, and tragedies might crush us.  I get it; sometimes things just feel too hard to face. I’ve spent way too much energy trying to bury my head in the sand – and then feeling more and more overwhelmed with each of my refusals to acknowledge the problem.  Looking to the helpers And yet, we have also seen the most …

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Greeting the Holiday in a New Way

Although I am normally an optimistic person, lately I’ve found myself feeling a bit down as I realize that so many of the things I love about this time of year won’t be a possibility; that this holiday will be like no other. Things like the whoosh of cold air when I open the door to welcome family on Christmas Day, or the warmth emanating from the fire as I gather with friends whom I haven’t seen in way too long. Or, watching the kids’ excited faces while waiting for the moment when the adults finally say, “OKAY, let’s open …

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Moving Forward: Embracing All Parts of Ourselves

I want to think of myself as level-headed and compassionate, slow to anger and reasonable, but lately, it has become evident that’s only part of the story. I am also a person who can get lost in feelings of anger, judgment, and disgust. Being forced to contemplate these two sides of my personality has been a struggle. It’s painful to look into the shadows.  Over the last few months, I’ve been depending on my mindfulness practice to bring me back again and again from the brink of despair to a level of equilibrium. As I’ve listened to the rhetoric of …

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How to Fall in Love with Yourself

Why is it crucial that we cultivate a relationship with ourselves? The truth is, most of us have a deficiency in our self-perception. And when we don’t see the whole picture, we tend to speak to and about ourselves in ways that deepen our shame and damage the one relationship that has the power to heal. Have you ever noticed that when you criticize yourself, it is much easier to criticize others? Have you noticed that when you feel the most shame, you are unlikely to feel tenderness for others? Have you realized yet that when you are unhappy, you …

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The Gifts of Mindfulness

These days, the word “mindfulness” has become ubiquitous across many industries including healthcare, school, work, and wellness, as well as platforms including social media, books, magazines, and more. But, what do we mean when we talk about mindfulness? Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness of our inner and outer experience.  Mindfulness practices are the things we do to strengthen our brain and to make mindfulness accessible.  When we want our bodies to become stronger and healthier, we lift weights, do aerobic exercise, or practice yoga; when we want to strengthen our awareness and cognitive abilities, we do mindfulness workouts. How …

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What Is This Thing Called Mindfulness?

“…we don’t have to look outside the present moment to experience wisdom, compassion, and the boundless purity of our true nature. In fact, these things can’t be found anywhere but the present moment.” —Mingyur Rinpoche We use the word mindful or mindfulness in a lot of different ways. Be mindful of your step. Do that mindfully. Be mindful of the planet by recycling. But mindfulness is not just watching your step, being careful, or recycling. Those things have been around for a long time, and they are very important but not what we mean when we talk about mindfulness here. …

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Change Your Brain With Mindfulness

It wasn’t all that long ago that scientists believed that our brains stopped growing and changing in our mid-20s. Then, new technologies were born. EEGs, PET scans, and fMRIs gave us the ability to observe the inner workings of living, functioning human brains, and everything changed! These amazing machines created a window into a brain that is constantly molding and re-molding itself from birth to death. When we learn something new or train in a new skill, our brains get bigger in areas that relate to that new knowledge. When we quit using certain areas of the brain, they shrink. …

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You’re Stronger Than You Think

I’ve been contemplating resilience in adversity a lot lately. We’ve been forced into a position where we can either fold to the insurmountable obstacles in our path or reach deep down inside and find the reserves to climb out of the hole. This pandemic has pushed us all into a place of discomfort and uncertainty, and the question we must ask is how are we going to respond? Because as we are continually reminded, we don’t get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose where we go from here.  Where it All Began When I was younger, …

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