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Tag Archives: Meaningful

5 Steps For A Meaningful Storytime


A Focused Attention Activity

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
―Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

When my daughter, Michelle, was young, reading together was one of my favorite activities to do with her. Children naturally enjoy reading and being read to, and as parents, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to spend some quality, uninterrupted time with our children.

Chances are that many of us without young ones around still know a child or two who would love to join us for reading time. In fact, reading together is a wonderful opportunity to practice Focused Attention! Take a look at the following steps to create an enriching activity you and all children will enjoy:

  1. Set aside 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to read with a child, planning to give this activity your full attention. (Take turns reading with kids who know how to read.)
  2. Choose the book(s) you will read together. You can probably read 3–4 picture books or a few chapters from a chapter book in this amount of time.
  3. Look at the cover together and point out things you like about it, and then dig in! Turn each page slowly and deliberately, and read things like the title page and dedication, too.
  4. As you or your child reads, really pay attention to the words and pictures, if any. (Yes, even if you have read this particular picture book a hundred times before.)
  5. When the book is finished, spend a few minutes talking about what you learned and/or which parts you enjoyed best.

Although this may seem like such an ordinary activity to many people with kids, I suggest that there is deep meaning in these moments. As Hans Christian Anderson once said (and I completely agree), “The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.” So, go ahead and enjoy these miraculous moments with the children in your life and read a good book while you’re at it!


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.

5 Great Reasons to Laugh More Often


“The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that’s laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”
—Mark Twain

One of the most important aspects of living a deeply meaningful, spiritual life is humor. All of the great masters, mystics, and teachers I have studied with have had an amazing sense of humor. I have made laughter part of my practice, and I always say, “Don’t take life so seriously, but be serious about the life you live.”

So how can we be light, free, and humorous about our lives and live a deep, personally satisfying life? We can keep our hearts and minds open for opportunities to laugh. And one such opportunity is tomorrow, January 24-It is Global Belly Laugh Day!

For all of us worldwide, laughter is one of those magical qualities of life that we all happily share in common. Laughter helps ease our tension and brings us back to the truth where we cannot take things personally (most of the time, it is not about us)! When we are able to laugh, we feel lighter and not so concerned with trying to control others or even ourselves, for that matter.

There are so many reasons to laugh often, but I say the best reason is because it just feels great! Here are five more good reasons:

  1. Sharing a good laugh with someone is an excellent way to grow a new friendship. As comedian Victor Borge stated, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” And he is right. We have all noticed that when we enjoy laughter with someone we don’t know very well, we suddenly feel like we know that person a little bit better.
  2. Laughter keeps established friendships and relationships fresh by nurturing the emotional and social connection between people. A good laugh between friends is like caring for a flower garden. It helps you pull up the weeds and keep the ground moist and fertile to make room for more beauty and growth.
  3. Laughter eases tension. Have you ever heard someone say, “The tension in the room was so thick that you could cut it with a knife?” Laughter has the ability to “slice through” those stressful moments, making it possible for a lighter perspective to slip right in. As journalist Bennett Cerf said, “The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.” When it comes to benefitting from that laughter, we are all truly blessed.
  4. Want a great workout? Just laugh. “I laughed so hard, my sides ached” is a common expression, but it is no exaggeration! When you let out a hearty belly laugh, your abdominal muscles get engaged as if you are working out! As Norman Cousins said, “Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.” Your facial muscles also get a good stretch.
  5. Laughter really is the best medicine. From the relief of pain to improving memory to lowering stress levels, studies into the physiological benefits of laughter are ongoing. It is human nature to want to know why something works, but we do not have to know the reasons to experience the many benefits of this magnificent ability!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
—Proverb 17:22


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.

8 Steps For Writing A Meaningful letter


A Focused Attention Activity

“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”
―John Donne

Before the Internet, email, text messaging, and social media, people traditionally stayed in touch by sending letters. This might sound really outdated, but it wasn’t too long ago that writing letters was an ordinary way to communicate long distance with friends and loved ones.

Writing letters is still my go-to way to communicate with the special people in my life, but I am also a fan of today’s technology because it most certainly keeps us more closely in touch with each other than ever before. The problem is, there is just too much information passing our screens for us to take it all in, process it, and be present for it, one piece at a time.

I believe all of this incoming information is a main reason multitasking has become such an essential part of our everyday experience. But, as important as it is to be able to multitask, it is more important to practice Focused Attention—really being mindful and aware of the moment, giving the task or person in front of us our undivided attention. I ask, if it is not worth being right here with the person or task, then why would it be worth our time in the end?

I am very aware that being with one person, place, or thing is really difficult. We are conditioned to be all over the place. So, to begin living our lives in the present moment, I teach the practice of Focused Attention. To begin this practice, I suggest choosing just one or two areas in your day where you do only one task with your complete attention.

The idea that we can spend every moment of our day fully present might sound impossible to us, so that is why I suggest starting with just a couple of areas. This allows you to experience the feeling of being here and now and notice the effect it has on your life.

One excellent practice for giving a task your undivided attention is writing a meaningful letter:

  1. Choose a friend or family member to be the recipient of your letter.
  2. Sit down with a pad and a pen (maybe even some pretty stationery) and prepare to handwrite your letter.
  3. Repeat your Sacred Mantra a few times to connect your mind with your heart.
  4. Place all of your attention on your letter’s recipient. What stands out about that person? Good memories? Shared accomplishments? Commonalities?
  5. Thoughtfully reflect upon what you want to share with that person about yourself. What feelings do you wish to elicit? Love, support, humor, etc.?
  6. Take a deep breath and begin your letter. Write slowly and thoughtfully, giving purpose to your words. Don’t worry about making a mistake. Just write whatever comes to heart.
  7. If you get stuck on what to write next, simply take a few deep breaths and repeat your Sacred Mantra.
  8. When you experience a deep knowing that you have written all you have to share, stamp and address your envelope and take it to the nearest post office or mailbox.

Unlike an email or text that will get stored away or deleted, the heartfelt words you have taken the time to handwrite and mail will beautifully be appreciated for a very long time! Try it and let me know how it was for you!


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.