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Q&A with Carolyn Ripp, meditation teacher

Carolyn Ripp (Submitted photo)

Have you been hearing a lot recently about meditation? The Cloquet Public Library will be offering a free meditation workshop taught by Carolyn Ripp, "An Introduction to Meditation," on Tuesday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. The class is free and open to all. Bring a blanket and a yoga mat or towel. Please join us.

This is part of the library's continued commitment to offer free workshops and classes that promote lifelong learning.

Ripp has been working in the field of physical, mental, and emotional health for more than 30 years. Her career as a healer began as a nurse, then as an American Council on Exercise fitness instructor, and now as a yoga instructor.

Carolyn has put in hundreds of hours to become a 500-hour level registered yoga teacher, as well as a certified meditation teacher, studying at two of the top training centers in Minneapolis. She opened a yoga studio in Cloquet, The Nest, in 2015.

Below are Carolyn's responses to some questions I asked her about meditation and how she makes it relevant to her own busy life as a small-business owner, wife and mother of three active young adults.

Q: When did you realize you are a healer?

A: I am not sure I am worthy of this title. Everyone is born with gifts. Our job as parents, caregivers and for ourselves is to discover what it is that we excel at whether that's being a good listener, being a great gardener, athlete, finding humor in mundane situations, patience with children or with elders, being a great motivator, etc.

My gifts are are my level of compassion, my faith and my relationship with God.

Q: Do you have a daily meditation practice?

A: I try and meditate every day, but often I miss a day or two a week due to scheduling conflicts.

Q: Where is your favorite place to meditate?

A: We can meditate everywhere, and I have. Try meditating when you're stuck in traffic, sitting in the car waiting for your children from school or practices, sitting in a chair at the kitchen table, in a waiting room, or whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Having said that, my favorite thing to do is carve a place in my home that is designated place of calm, a place where I could leave my mat out. Life gets busy with a family of five, and sometimes, it means centering, breathwork, a few poses and meditation, in 15 minutes.

Q: Do you have a favorite meditation?

A: There are hundreds of techniques used for meditation, but four major categories, or reasons to meditate, are:

• To become more calm, still and relaxed;

• To increase awareness, watch and witness your thoughts and emotions;

• To empower ourselves;

• For spiritual growth.

Q: How has meditation changed your life?

A: It has enhanced my ability to see clearly, to accept the human conditions of jealousy, fear and anger and realize when people do or say things that can be harmful to others, their soul is hurting.

I have gotten so much better at not judging others, as it's really not my job to judge. Mostly, I find joy in my day, in sunshine, in nature, in children's laughter, in helping others and in trying to be my best self.