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Tag Archives: Comfort

The Spirit of the Season


“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
— Calvin Coolidge

As Christmas Day draws near, I cannot help but feel the excitement of the holiday. I had a difficult childhood, which I speak about in the Preface of my book The Practice, but when I was a little girl, Christmas was always a time of joy and excitement for me—and it continues to be so now that I am an adult!

There is something so grand about Christmas Day that has always made me feel deep within that everything is all right with the world. This hopeful and inspiring message “Peace on earth and good will toward all” has a sort of magical quality that, just by saying it, makes it feel true. But it isn’t magic:

Christmas Day is a reminder to me that peace and good will are truly attainable ideals. They exist within each one of us at all times.

For me, the peaceful feeling that permeates Christmastime is accessible every day of the year when I sit in silence. Within me, all is calm and all is bright, and I feel a deep and beautiful sense of comfort, joy, and benevolence. I carry this deep knowing in my heart following my morning meditation as I move through my day. Whether it is a celebratory occasion or just an “ordinary” day, I recognize the glory in each moment and the opportunity to spread feelings of love, hope, peace, and good cheer.

The messages of Christmas Day assure us that although the world outside may not yet reflect the “perfect light” within each of us, we can shine this loving light outward in all our activities and interactions. As we spread our light, more of us will come together to make peace on earth and good will toward all a new and glorious reality.

I invite you to spend the first few moments of Christmas morning sitting in silence and tapping into your wellspring of peace and good will. Open this gift to yourself and hear the sound of joy whisper from your core. Whatever the day ahead has in store for you, may you greet it with the spirit of the holiday in your heart.

I am wishing all who celebrate this wondrous holiday a very Merry Christmas!
“May you be blessed
With the spirit of the season, which is peace,
The gladness of the season, which is hope,
And the heart of the season, which is love.”
— Irish Christmas Blessing


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

Turning Stress and Tension into Comfort and Consolation


Stress—I think we all will agree that this is the word we use today to describe the physical, mental, and emotional strain we feel when there is a lot to do and constant changes are happening all around us and in our lives and in the world at large. Dr. Hans Selye (1907–1982), who is known as the “Father” of stress research, spent a good deal of his life studying this phenomenon. So when he said, “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one,” he really knew what he was talking about!

Have you noticed that when you are stressed, your muscles tense up, you might feel short of breath, and you get that nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach? This is your body’s way of telling you, “Slow down, and take a deep breath.” That’s the space you need to see things from a different perspective. Of course slowing down sounds contrary to what we really want to do: Speed up and get everything done or fix it all!

Unfortunately, stepping into overdrive is just not going to turn the stress into a positive one. Resolving one source of stress will not comfort us for very long, since there will always be another one. We simply cannot keep going full speed without a break. We know this to be true because we have all tried it without success, right? If this approach worked, I would say keep doing what you’re doing. But this just makes us feel even more stressed. It can even lead to health issues, or we might just collapse in frustration and say, “What’s the use and sense of it all?”

This is exactly why it has become my life’s work to help all beings see how important, how incredibly necessary, it is to meditate—to listen to our bodies when they ask us to “take a breather.” Meditating on a regular basis can help relieve the symptoms of tension, stomach upset, and shallow breath, while calming our minds and guiding us to our inner source of comfort and consolation. We will also begin to notice that not all the stress we experience is negative.

We can enjoy the changes taking place in our lives and rise to the challenges that are presented to us . . . “with the right attitude,” as Dr. Selye says. So, what is the right attitude? I think we can turn to the Buddha for this answer, because “right attitude” is actually one of the steps of the Eightfold Path. According to Buddhist teachings, “right attitude” is not harboring anger or greed.

When we look at the things we do and experience through a lens of love and generosity rather than anger or greed, we can really put the stress we are feeling in perspective. Do the things we are doing and experiencing align with the greater good, with our life’s mission? If not, maybe we can cross them off our to-do list. If so, approaching them with this inner knowing can ease the burden we might otherwise feel. I think this is what is meant by turning negative stress into a more positive one.

So next time you are feeling stressed to the maximum, ask yourself this question: “Is what I am feeling real?” If the answer is yes, ask yourself, “Is what I am doing taking me closer to leading the life I wish to live?” That’s something to think about, don’t you agree? I would love to hear your thoughts on stress. Do you think it is possible to turn “negative” stress into a “positive” one?


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.