Hero Stories

Praise from students and clients who have applied the SkillfulMeans Method to experience more joy, presence, and wellbeing in daily life.


Noah’s Hero Story

Here’s how meditation helped Noah regain a greater sense of self-compassion and meaning in life.

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“As you become older you develop a different perspective on life. You begin to cherish all the things that you previously took for granted.”


We have all watched or read a hero story whether it is about Ferdinand the bull, Cinderella or a Star Wars saga. We can connect with these stories because there is something deep in our common humanity. We all in one way or another live our own hero story and overcome the inevitable difficulties of life by finding our own magic sword. These Hero stories are about how meditation and mindfulness can be a key piece in overcoming our difficulties and progressing in the areas of our life that are truly meaningful.

Ordinary World

Tell us about your life before you found meditation – what was it like?

My life was chaotic and filled with anxiety. On top of constant emotional mood swings, I found myself getting caught in endless loops of frustration, self-doubt, and self-loathing. Every experience was visceral and polarized and so every moment felt fleeting.

Refusal of the Call

When you first heard about meditation, did you have any hesitations about trying it?

I already knew about the concept, but when it came to actually doing it, I felt a lot of resistance. My anxiety prevented me from being able to just sit. I was frustrated with myself and walked away because I thought I couldn’t do it.

Call to adventure
What made you decide to give meditation another try?

In my junior year of high school, I was hospitalized for contemplating suicide. I was at my lowest point – self harming and dealing with addictions. After receiving my diagnoses and doses of medication, I was desperate to find another way. I started seeking a more holistic approach – one that went beyond medication to help me get to the root of my issues.

Meeting the mentor
Did you have a teacher or mentor to guide you through this difficult time?

My parents really wanted to help me. My father found success with using Buddhist practices in his life for the last decade. His teachers were gentle, filled with unconditional softness. They gave him space and believed in his well-being. He tried to share these practices with me…but I wasn’t ready yet.

Crossing the threshold
When did things finally start changing for the better? When did you realize you entered a new world?

The first important foothold was when I stopped hating therapy. I started becoming more honest with myself and others. Medication helped me interact better. I started doing things that were more beneficial for me – like yoga.

One day while I was still in the hospital on a 24/7 suicide watch, I was looking out the window while lying in shavasana. I had the experience of being fully present and held by the universe. I longed to experience that feeling more consistently – to know that I could trust in myself and in life.

After meeting William and deciding to practice meditation more consistently, I finally started feeling more love for myself. I learned to generate these feelings more reliably and to feel their benefit on my mental well-being. That’s when I committed to making meditation a daily practice.

Challenges/temptations/ allies/enemies
Do you ever feel the temptation to go back to your old life and habits?

I still face temptations every day. It’s those first moments of every morning that offer me the opportunity to make the right choice. After seeing that it’s possible to go from the bubble of self-loathing and addiction to compassion and self-love, I know that making the conscious decision to be kinder to myself is the right path. That’s what ultimately brings me a deeper sense of fulfillment and meaning.

Approach to the innermost cave
Is there a tender place internally that you have found and healed?

There was a lot of inner trash I had to take out to address the underlying causes of my pain. Meditation helped me see that it’s possible to do this from a different space of experiencing difficult emotions. I was able to face them with more courage and gentleness. I think meditation is the ultimate tool of introspection for healing – whether it be trauma, relationships, or other deeper needs.

Abyss (death & rebirth) /Transformation/Reward
Is there a part of you that has died during this healing process? Have you had any realizations that will change your life forever?

Being silent for multiple days in retreat helped me notice how my ego and negative habits were melting away. There was some sense of grieving as these old parts of me were breaking down. On the other side of those experiences, I experienced unforgettable feelings of gratitude and appreciation that I know I can always return to. Knowing that I can use mindfulness to cultivate these feelings at will has been life-changing for sure.

The road back
How have you applied these new realizations to your life? How has it changed the way you make decisions?

Mindfulness practice is now at the core of my being. I live from a place of the heart and all of my interactions with people have benefitted as a result. My beliefs and values have shifted and I know where to place my energy every day. Life has become much simpler and my needs are met more easily.

Return with the elixir/Ruler of two worlds
Do you feel you are different now? Has this journey inspired you to share anything in particular with others?

Learning to integrate mindfulness practices into my daily life has changed everything for me. I used to look at others from the perspective of what they can do for me – now I see them with gratitude and in turn find that they want to know more about me.

Others see how much of an impact this has had on me after living paralyzing anxiety for two decades. They want to know how they can do it too. I now feel that I have something to offer to others who are dealing with similar challenges – and this to me, is invaluable.

Download our Free meditation Guide

4 Steps For Meaningful Practice

In this free guide, you’ll learn how to create a mindfulness practice that will turn down the stress and turn up your focus, engagement, and enjoyment in daily life.

Download The Guide Today

Download our Free meditation Guide

Growing Up Mindful

In this free guide, you’ll learn how to create a mindfulness practice that will turn down the stress and turn up your focus, engagement, and enjoyment in daily life.

Download The Guide Today

Download our Free meditation Guide

Growing Up Mindful

In this free guide, you’ll learn how to create a mindfulness practice that will turn down the stress and turn up your focus, engagement, and enjoyment in daily life.

Download The Guide Today

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